Money For Nothing ...
I'm not an Internet Marketer. I've never been willing to work hard enough at it to try to make any real money.
That being said, I do end up earning $3-$6 a day, on a pretty consistent basis, for doing pretty much nothing ... or at least nothing new .. today.
I know all about choosing keywords, optimizing my sites, building backlinks, etc., etc., etc.,
But really, I don't do any of it.
The little bit of passive income that I earn from Internet marketing is pretty much a combination of two things:
- Luck - The majority of the posts and/or websites that I have which, actually earn any money on a consistent basis were total accidents. They were/are domain names I found while searching for something else. Random pictures I took, and decided to write posts about. Or posts that I wrote mainly for information purposes (in many cases, so that I would have an easy way to reference something I wanted to remember how to do). For the most part, websites that I've set up, or posts that I've written, which were researched (chose "good" keywords) and promoted (built backlinks) with the Intention of trying to earn money, have failed miserably ... at least from a time spent vs. money earned, ROI perspective.
- Experience, Knowledge & Judgment - Those "miserable failures" weren't necessarily totally useless though; because of the time I spent "failing", at least I'm now able to recognize a post or domain that has the potential to make money .. and have some ideas about how to actually monetize it in ways that people might respond to.
Ok, so what exactly do I do to earn that "massively impressive" couple of dollars a day?
Here's the Most Important thing ...
Monitor your traffic - watch the analytics for your websites, and individual posts. If you see something that is consistently getting Organic Search Engine Traffic it may be a post that you want to consider trying to monetize.
Personally, I don't try to monetize anything until I see evidence that search engines are sending traffic.
Two reasons ...
- Search engine visitors are significantly more likely to click on ads than my friends who subscribed to the feed, or clicked through from Facebook (or some other social networking site).
- Because of #1 above, I don't see any good reason to purposely show ads to people who aren't likely to click on them anyway. Not only that, but I don't want my friends who read my articles to think my purpose in writing them was/is primarily just to make money .. because for the most part it's not.
So once I've decided to put advertising on site or post, what works "best"?
Although there are a myriad of monetization options out there, I'm going to suggest two that have worked for me.
- Ebay Partner Network - I was fortunate to join EPN several years ago, when it was much easier to get accepted. That said, it's not impossible today. I use a tool called phpBay to place the ads on my sites. In the past, I've earned hundreds of dollars a month from EPN, but alas, many of those sites died with Google algorithm changes. Today, I only have ebay ads on a few sites, but the returns vs. the work are pretty nice. For example, I have sites that I haven't updated in 6 months, that get 30-40 visitors a day. Those 30 visitors usually click on 15-25 ads .. at an average of .13 a pop. $2 a day, for doing Nothing.
- Adsense - I'm not a big proponent of adsense .. mainly because I've never really had significant success with it. That said, I've got a dozen or so posts on this very blog which are monetized with Google ads ... it's inconsistent, but these posts earn anywhere from as low as a quarter, to as much as $5 or $6 a day. It's probably tempered by the fact that I'm not at all aggressive with my ad placement .. ie, you'll never see a big 336 ad block, above the fold, on my blog. I'd probably get more clicks with these, but I just don't like the way they look; or what they'd "say" about me, and this blog. I prefer to just put one 468 link block at the top of the post (usually resting on the top edge of a picture), and then sometimes (depending on how long the article is) one other 300x300 block within the post .. floating either left or right, with the text wrapped around it. Silly as it sounds, one of my goals is aesthetic .. if an ad doesn't look like it "belongs" in a post, I'm not gonna put it there .. if that makes any sense.
Well, we've established that I do know how to make some money via Internet Marketing, with relatively little effort.
You might be asking yourself, why don't I just put a bit more time/effort into scaling what works, and trying to earn a more significant income?
Glad you asked, here's why ...
Internet Marketing income, especially when it's based on search engine traffic is just too Inconsistent, and Unreliable ... at least in relation to my goals
You see, I'm going to be retiring from the Air Force in a couple of years, and I'd really like to not have to look for another job. I need to turn my extra income streams, into my primary income. I'm just not comfortable with the idea that my bills could get paid every month with my adsense and ebay checks.
So, what do I do with this extra money?
Easy ... any money that I earn from my Internet Marketing "efforts" goes into the local advertising budget for our home business. Basically, I take my online money, and use it to purchase offline ads in the newspaper; so that I can meet people here in the Fort Hood, Texas area, with the goal of continuing to build the business that I consider to be a more reliable long term source of passive /leveraged income.
In other words, instead of spending the extra money, I'm reinvesting it, and putting it to work.
What do you do with your extra Internet income?