A little background info first for those of you who don't know me. My name is Steven Wagenheim. I started Internet Marketing back in 2003. I built up a six figure a year business since that time and am now semi retired. That's why I don't write as much as I used to. But I felt this article was long overdue.
A lot has changed since 2003. Video, which was almost non existent back then, is now almost a requirement. People don't like to read as much as they used to, which ironically makes this article kind of a dinosaur in the land of online money making. Still, I'm counting on at least as few people taking the time to absorb what's inside.
There are a number of methods that are used and have been used to generate traffic to one's web site. Some of those methods are still viable while others have been ground into dust. Unfortunately, the losers far outweigh the winners.
One of the biggest losers has been article marketing. In the old days, one could write up a 250 word article, submit it to a directory or list of directories and get a great deal of traffic to their web site. Then Google came along, saw how much crap was written and submitted to these directories, and ultimately decided that they would start giving less weight to these content sites.
If you've been article writing and marketing for any length of time, you have probably noticed that your traffic has gone down considerably depending on what niche you're involved in. Yes, the niche does make a big difference. For example, my articles in the health niche are still doing well while my articles in the make money online niche are doing poorly.
I'm going to guess that the reason for this is because there was more crap submitted to the make money online niche than to the health niche and thus, that niche didn't get hit as hard. Of course, there could be other reasons as well such as quality of the articles, amount of competition writing the same articles and so on.
For example, the articles that I have written in the health niche that are still doing very well have two things in common. One, they are all very well written. Two, they don't have a lot of competition as far as subject matter. Given how much I have written over the years, this leads me to only one conclusion.
If you write well, write on a subject that people are interested in, and write on a subject that hasn't been tortured to death by every snake oil salesman in existence, you give yourself a pretty good chance of getting a good amount of traffic to your site.
So the problem isn't with the article directories themselves. Yes, they've taken a hit. But a well written article that actually helps people is still going to find its way onto the search engines and listed reasonably high for its chosen keywords.
Let's move onto something else... paid advertising.
Paid advertising is a dirty word for a lot of people on a budget. Unfortunately, some of your best traffic comes from paid advertising. Let's take Google AdWords as an example,
Because of the same crackdown that has affected articles and article directories, Google AdWords now rewards those who run solid campaigns. Okay, what is a solid campaign? While a course on AdWords would take up a book, I can basically sum up what you need to do with a few bullet points.
1. Write ads that grab the prospect's attention.
2. Target ONLY buying keywords.
3. Have landing pages that are QUALITY sites.
Let me just elaborate a little on each of these points.
Ad writing is a skill and one that not everybody has. If you can't write a three line ad that makes somebody click on your link, hire somebody who can. Otherwise, your AdWords dollars are going to go down the drain quickly.
As for keywords, too many AdWords campaigns target keywords that have very little chance of turning into sales. You want to target keywords like "looking to buy" and so on. Generic keywords such as "Fine Jewelry" tell me nothing about whether or not the person using that as a search phrase is looking to buy.
Finally, there is your landing page. Years ago you could put up some cheesy sales page and do well. Today, your ad will most likely be denied. You need to send people to a REAL web site... something with REAL substance. Take a look at the main web site for Wizards of the Coast. THAT'S the kind of site you want to send people to.
AdWords, in general, has tightened up a lot. What worked in 2003 doesn't work today. If you want to compete, you need to produce ads and sites of quality.
Let's move onto search engine optimization.
I can sum this up very simply. The days of crappy sites are over and done with. The days of generating fake backlinks are gone. In short (and I learned web design back in 2000) you have to go back to the early days of SEO where you had to have a good site and it had to develop a REAL following in order to move up the SERPs. Anything artificial and you will find your site buried at the bottom of the SERPs for good.
I mentioned video earlier in this article. Yes, video is very important. But not cheesy videos. I'm talking about well made, professional quality videos. You have to say something important in these videos. You want to capture the attention of your prospect and not let go. If you can't speak well on camera, hire somebody who can. Cheesy slide presentations don't work as well anymore.
Probably the most important thing about video today is that you want to make it interesting enough so that people will talk about it. That's what makes a video go viral. Sites like YouTube are excellent for building a following. But you better have something to say and say it as well as you can. You only get one shot to make a good first impression.
With all the new laws regarding marketing (the FTC crackdown has been brutal) one thing you want to be, more than ever, is up front and transparent. If you're going to put testimonials on a sales page, you better make sure you have documentation to back everything up.
If you are marketing products as an affiliate, and you put up review pages, you have to publicly state that you get paid a commission from any sale that is made based on your recommendation. And if you're smart, any reviews that you do better be truthful. In other words, you better make sure you've actually USED the product.
In short, all of this really comes down to ethics. If you look around, you'll see a lot of the stuff that used to float around the Internet just a few short years ago is gone or in short supply. The reason for this is because a real cleanup has begun. If you've seen a drop off in traffic then you yourself know this is true.
So what's my final report card on Internet Marketing? Well, for those who decide to try to play by their own rules, I have to give IM a D+ at best. For those who understand that the game has changed and follow the few simple things that I've listed in this article, I give IM a B+. No, things aren't quite as easy as in the Wild West days, but for those who play by the new rules, they can be quite profitable.
Because there are still so many people out there who think that they can get away with poor quality and tricks, who end up with no web presence and no traffic, that it makes it easier for the rest of us to get a bigger piece of the pie.
So when all is said and done, quality will rise to the top.
If you need more detailed info on how to create that quality, you can find it in my signature below.
And with that... I will sink back into semi retirement.
Yes... for some of us... life is good.
To YOUR Success,
Tired of busting your behind for peanuts online? Want to learn everything that I've learned in 9 years of marketing online that has allowed me to make a six figure yearly income? Check out my Ultimate Income Generation at http://www.stevewagenheim.com/giveaway/salescopy/index2.html and start making a solid income online TODAY!
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