Wow, I have to admit, that was one heck of a month and I feel that I have learnt an awful amount of stuff around my key topic of how to make money online. I also gave up drinking for a month as part of ‘Go Sober for October’, so I had an incredible amount of energy and ideas flowing, that it was actually difficult to try and focus on my core themes.
Well, I’ve obviously taken the first few steps and started up www.mylifestyledream.com and even though I’ve worked in Digital Media for the past 15 years, I’ve realised this month that there is soooo much to learn and that if you want to do things well, then you’re going to have to invest a lot of time into it.
The other thing I’ve learned is that even though there is a lot to learn, it is actually really exciting stuff, and you find that because all of your efforts are going towards your own business, you will have a lot more drive and enthusiasm to learn and create. In fact, the hardest thing that I have found this month is deciding what to focus on as there are so many things I want to learn and master right now!!!
WordPress Set Up
Getting WordPress up and running was really simple and painless and I’ve described the process in my article: Setting up a Website – 3 Simple Steps
It was really tempting to start messing around with lots of different plugins, themes and bells and whistles, but for now my goal was to get the basics in place and move on to more valuable things. My thoughts were that I can easily come back and make changes once I have the core of the site up and running.
After going through and setting up the basics of this website, the main curve ball that has taken up most of my time this month has been keyword research.I hadn’t actually thought about this much before at all, and the more I read about it, the more valuable I realise this subject is. The key learning that I have taken away from this month is that you really, really should try to understand your market before you head off writing articles and basing your whole business on a whim that you might have had.
Doing detailed keyword research really helps you to understand whether there is a market at all, how many visitors you think you could get for a potential market and most importantly what your potential returns will be. You’ll probably find that the market that you thought you could enter is already saturated with high ranking sites, that you’re never going to compete with, so you need to look at alternative strategies.
The best approach that I have found this month is focused on ‘Long Tail Keywords’. These are keywords that have less traffic and less competition for them, but means that you are more likely to be able to rank well for them. Rank well for a number of these long tail keywords and your site will start making money.
For example, you might be passionate about ‘Basket weaving’ but you will find that this keyword is heavily competitive and will be difficult for you to get onto the first page in Google. The long tail approach would mean that you would curate articles specifically around similar topics but your keywords (typically 3+ words) would be things like “A beginners guide to basket weaving” or “What are the most popular basket weaves”.
I’ve written an article on this, but have to say that my head nearly exploded this month, trying to figure out what I should target for both this website, and other website ideas that I have.
All of this keyword research led me on to the concept of ‘Niche Websites’, which I hadn’t really come across before either, but is another great way to make money online. This all backs off of the idea of doing keyword research to uncover niche markets that have a decent amount of traffic, low competition for the Top 10 slots on Google, and are sought after by advertisers.
The idea is that you then set up a basic website specifically targeted at that niche and make money through the Adwords banners that you put on the site. This is a really exciting angle that I am dying to get started on soon, but will probably need to focus on this a little further down the line. If you’re interested in learning more about this then I’d recommend heading over to http://www.nichepursuits.com/ and following the Niche Site Project 2, where you are taken through a series of tutorials on how to set up a Niche website that makes you over $500 a month.
There are some great tools out there as well that can help you with your keyword research and I signed up to trial versions of Long Tail Pro and SECockpit, both of which can give you invaluable data that you need to start your websites, but be warned, you are likely to sink hours of your life into this activity, which is often compared to sifting for gold to find the right keywords.
The other key thing that I’ve learned this month is about WordPress security. I previously ran another website for many years on Drupal, that never had any issues, but to my surprise one of my test sites got hacked last week. I’m still not really sure what happened, as I just set up a test instance of WordPress on one of my domains in my hosting account and then got alerted from my hosting company that I may be involved in some kind of phishing scam! Needless to say, I deleted my test accounts as soon as possible and then beefed up the security on my other sites.
I definitely see potential online income streams from setting up niche sites in the future, which looks like a great revenue model to help me with my lifestyle dream of travelling the world and working as little as possible. I like the concept of doing some hard work up front to set up something that will continually reap you rewards for months after. Feels a little bit like digital gardening!
The only downside at the moment is that there is sooo much to learn and it is so time-consuming, without providing any short-term financial reward. Some potential other online income streams that have come out this month are looking at affiliate sites for Amazon products and the concept of drop shipping…. But we’ll save them for a later date
Next Month’s Goals
- Finalise the structure of www.mylifestyledream.com (At the moment I can’t decide whether to have a site based on posts which are structured by categories and tags, or a more traditional page based site)
- Choose a suitable theme (I need to understand more about themes and how they can be customised, because I can already see the limitations of my simple ‘Atomic’ theme that I am currently using)
- Understand backlinking strategy (As soon as I have got the core of my site together I am going to need to start generating traffic towards it)