Monday, 2 December 2013

Using Keywords in Titles and Thinking About SEO

Keywords, Titles, SEO for CMS

Four important factors that can dictate where you will rank on Google and other search engines: keywords, titles, search engine optimization (SEO) and content management systems (CMS).

Your titles on pages within your website should be a brief sentence about what that page is about. Note the word brief: not your life story! They are important because search engines match page titles with the content you place on each page. Your page titles should include keywords that your target audience and or buyers might type in Google and other search engines. You can conduct your own keyword research to see what people are typing in.

Content Management Systems are a fantastic tool for the average person to be able to update their website, without the need for knowledge of the complex scripting used by website developers. Fortunately CMS nowadays are conscious of the requirement for pages to be search engine friendly. So when you input your page title into a program such as Joomla, chances are it can take that title and make it part of that page's URL - its web address.

It is a timely reminder to write this article, because Christmas is a busy period for everyone and retailers in particular need to capitalize if they can. If you are selling products which may appeal to buyers at Christmas, make sure your titles include things like 'Christmas Gift Ideas', 'Xmas Gifts for him/her.' People will type these word combinations into Google, especially when they are unsure of what they are looking for or going to buy.

Making sure your titles include keywords and your pages are search engine friendly will go a long way to helping you achieve more hits on your website, lower bounce rate and hopefully more sales! Ensure your titles match page content and are not misleading: you will only be punished by the search engines with a lower page rank. It is in the true spirit of the internet that you work towards making it easy for your customers to find you.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Apple MacBook Air the way to go!

Mobile + Portable = Apple MacBook Air

Okay, so I am an Apple convert and have been ever since buying my first Apple MacBook. For me, Apple put the enjoyment back into computing and using the internet. The reliability and speed of a Mac meant that I was finally able to put desktops computers and Windows generally in a grave where I think they belong and never look back.

If you are going to work from home on the internet, you cannot go past adopting an Apple MacBook laptop. They are the ultimate. They start up and shut down fast. You don't have the same problems with viruses and fatal errors and the dreaded Windows Circle of Death! They are a sturdy and reliable machine and will last years longer than any PC. For a start, going to a laptop means you don't need an entire desk in your home cluttering up space with a tower, monitor and all the peripherals. When you travel or go away for weekends your laptop will fit snugly anywhere. When you're at home and finish work, you can turn the laptop off and pack it away out of sight.

Operating your own internet business, you want mobility, portability, reliability and speed. The new MacBook Air looks about one-third as thick as the old MacBook. It is super light and very thin which makes it very portable and an excellent alternative to the iPad. The battery life is meant to be longer, but that decreases when you start adding devices and running lots of software. Running I find that the MacBook Air is really very helpful because I can take it anywhere and show customers what they need to see and then pack it away fast and have a coffee and chat without dilemma or hassle. They make everything convenient and enjoyable, too.

The biggest thing I can note as being lacking is the loss of a DVD writer. I still like hard copy backups and that the MacBook Air does not have a DVD Burner is an issue for me. I'm old fashioned so I would have liked to see Apple give us something super-advanced that does not sacrifice the size/weight benefits but retains the DVD writer. So now I will be using Cloud more often! And my USB memory sticks, of course.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Debt Levels Unsustainable: Asset Prices Unbelievable

Too much debt for overpriced assets.

This is the equation for the chaos that defines the global financial state and dictates economic recovery or lack thereof. In times past I have joked that suited-up kids fresh out of university have become qualified valuers without having any real life or business experience to give reliable asset valuations. The greed that has long been the cancer of world stock markets has crossed the border and invaded residential and commercial property markets. And it is a problem that will not easily or quickly resolve itself.

In western economies the long-held establishment that your principle place of residence - your home, always be excluded from the value of your investment portfolio, has been washed away. The greed of the Baby Boomer generation has, within the space of ten years, destroyed the hopes and dreams of generations to come. There is now a mentality that real estate is the new gold and that once you buy it, it always goes up in value and is always worth more than you paid for it. This dangerous and uneducated view has been accepted wholesale by financial institutions, who have been quick to exploit and perpetuate the stupidity further by lending heavily into this asset class.

Institutions such as Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae collapsed because of stupidity. In plain and simple terms, that is all it was. You can create as many financial derivatives as you like and spin whatever story you like: DEBT is still debt and equity is (these days), rare! Zeitgeist has us believe all money is debt and the GFC, sparked largely by debt burden in the housing markets is probably a good argument for this. But debt levels have accelerated away from equity levels and definitely outpaced revenue and profit growth worldwide.

The stark reality is that too many people became complacent. And overconfident in real estate holding its value. You can argue that a real estate asset is valued at what the market values it att all you like. The reality is that the bulk of the 'market' are not financially educated or financial experts. So what does this say about how the market 'values' real estate in the first place. We have real estate agents who will enthusiastically give an opinion. Their pay is based on commission on the sale of the real estate - WHAT DO YOU THINK THEY'RE GOING TO SAY? "Gee sir, it's a dilapidated piece of sh** and I think it's only worth half of what this dreamer wants for it." 

My own brother often brags about how he made close to $100,000 profit on the sale of his house when he sold it just 3 years after moving in. He now regularly complains about the fact his sons and daughter will not be able to afford to buy their own home. Ah...wakey, wakey! The sad fact is that people like him have created this dilemma and are now griping about it. Now that the economies of the western world have slowed and gone backwards, we are coming to the sad realization that assets in all classes have been overinflated in value. Everyone will be paying the price of this for years to come.

The impact is worsened in terms of economic recovery, because individuals, companies and Governments are forced to stop altogether and reassess their balance sheets. This 'halt' is caused by the fact that everyone is so deep in debt, they are physically unable to carry any more of it. So business activity has stagnated while everyone tries to get hold of their debts levels and get back on an even keel. This is a good thing, but it also means productivity stalls because no one can really borrow more money for acquisition or expansion.

The biggest problem with real estate is this: it was promoted as a quick way to make money. Instead of being a long-term investment, people were educated they could make money fast and so even private housing became a business! The underlying problem is that houses are NOT a business! They do not produce goods. They do NOT offer services. They do not offer productivity or genuine ongoing employment! My argument has always been that the economic value of a house is absorbed and consumed after the builders and carpenters have completed construction and walked away! The only economic benefit residential property offers thereafter is occasional work and maintenance for upkeep. In other words, employment for plumbers, gardeners, roof tilers and other home handymen.

Some might say that you can consider housing a business in that it offers a rate of return when a house is rented out. But would you go into business and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a four, five or six per cent return? Most likely not. And my argument still stands - there is no genuine economic benefit provided, even if the property is rented out! When you buy a legitimate business, you are paying for the cash flow it produces from the economic activity it engages in. You pay a multiple of the net cash flows and the reality is that you cannot expect a higher rate of return from something that simply does not produce anything!

But with dollar signs in our eyes, we have allowed the myth to perpetuate that real estate 'never goes down in value.' Right. Well, as with any other form of investment yes, real estate can go down in value. Too many people have learnt the hard way and paid the ultimate price: losing their home and in many instances, going bankrupt. With any luck, it will be a timely reminder that people need to reacquaint themselves with the lost art of negotiating price. This current economic climate could have been avoided and certainly should have been addressed well in advance of corporates like Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae going bottom-up.

My suggestion would not be popular with real estate agents or economists anywhere. But my argument would be for a system of zoned valuations. Picture in your mind a map of New York, but with red rings forming a Bulls Eye target over the top of that map. Any property within a 5 mile radius from the epicenter of the CBD in NYC would at maximum, have a set price no higher than one million dollars - $1,000,000. No higher; legislation would prevent it. Ten miles out - $800,000 maximum. Twenty miles out, $500,000 etc etc. Those values might differ city to city and suburb to suburb, but essentially the system would dictate the maximum amount a property can sell for. It would allow plenty of room to negotiate up and to that maximum value.

A system of zoned valuations for real estate would give the market transparency, based on each property's proximity to the center of the most important economic hub. Setting prices and importantly, setting them lower - would encourage a more fluid market with properties changing hands more often as businesses and individuals seek expansion, growth, downsizing, upsizing etc. It would also prevent individuals and businesses from being cut out of the real estate market, which invariably occurs as prices soar. Real estate agents who would otherwise complain about lower commissions would be rewarded with more sales. Not to mention more confidence amongst buyers and sellers who have a firm guideline on values.

The point has been proven that income, revenue and profits cannot keep pace with price and value rises. The million-dollar question of what something is worth is the same as the adage 'how long is a piece of string?' It is doubtful anything remarkable will come about through the haze of stupidity that has led to the GFC being cast upon us. With debt levels still at elevated levels and western jobs and employment heading east, there is still much concern to be addressed. We now have a new dilemma that there is a decreasing number of jobs and prospects for economic activity to service the existing debts. Let alone be capable of borrowing more in the future. Scary stuff.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Can I make money using Adsense?

Using Adsense to Make Money Online...

Doesn't really make any sense. Unless you live in a country where you can survive...on a few cents. Because that's how much you're likely to make in a day. And you can blog your little heart out, but the reality is that unless you have hundreds of millions of visitors to your website or blog each day and millions of them click on ads, you're not going to be ordering that Ferrari anytime soon. I'd prefer a Lamborghini, anyway.

Yes you can run dozens of websites and blogs and use every backlinking methodology known to mankind - and thousands of people do, but you will find it's exhausting and yields little returns. We'd all love to be earning advertising revenue streams sufficient to make this process worthwhile. Most of the time, you will be keeping your day job! The time and effort (and sometimes cost factors) required to create a blog or website can prohibit what you can achieve in a set period of time, based on the fact you are operating by yourself. If you can employ 10,000 people to blog for you, go for it!!!

Yes there are people and businesses who make in excess of one million dollars annually using Adsense and other advertising platforms such as Chitika. But how many people are there in the world now? A tad over 6 billion? Um, that doesn't sound like good odds to me. And to make money online, you need consistent and regular effort over time. Additionally you need to be able to attract and keep attracting high volumes of traffic both through organic search results and also through constant online and traditional marketing methods.

Adsense is simply another tool in your arsenal that you add as a 'fruit for the sideboards' function if you are building something up that you are happy to work on and grow for years to come. A blog or website aiming to generate a material income stream from advertising needs high page rank and literally thousands upon thousands of pages of content. It cannot be done overnight and if you use blackhat techniques or scraping, you only get penalized by Google. There is no short-circuiting the system!

Keep working from home, building your website, your shop fronts, eBay stores, blogs and social media and keep Adsense in the background and in the back of your mind! That's the best tip I can give you. Focus on your product and satisfying customers and if you make anything at all out of Adense (and most of us honestly don't make anything significant), be grateful for what you get! You can waste too much valuable time trying to make advertising strategies work than millions of others have already tried.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

World Economy Not improving

We all might as well go and lie on the Beach.

Because if we don't get rid of the morons we have running our corporations, our justice systems, our Governments at different levels and our financial systems, we won't have any means by which to support ourselves or our way of life. It's almost as though the top executives and bankers have seen that the writing is on the wall for western economies. They are raping and pillaging the carcass for their multi-million-dollar salaries and bonuses because the system is beyond repair and beyond a joke.

Zeitgeist Addendum hits the nail right on the head. The entire financial system is created in thin air through debt. The economic model of land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship is a complete falsity because if you take away the labor component, the whole system shuts down. The wealthy elite would have nothing if everybody stayed at home and watched TV! Economic slavery - which encapsulates the use of debt as a tool of fear and motivation, spurs legions of people worldwide to work in jobs they hate, doing mindless activities completely unnatural to what the fiber of being a human being is about.

The whole scenario has been allowed to play out like the plot of the movie 'Changing Places' starring Eddie Murphy and Dan Akroyd. Except Eddie Murphy's character represents eastern economies and Dan Akroyd the western economies. The bankers, (through corrupt manipulation of even-more corrupt politicians) have orchestrated a change in fortunes for the two sides of the globe. But what they don't care about is the Ponzi Scheme effect of the plan. For even once the bulk of the western wealth is siphoned away, very few in the East will ever see the financial windfall trickle into their pockets.

Most people in countries like China and India will never directly profit from the increase in manufacturing that has poured into their countries, states, towns and provinces. A broke, corrupt system never allows for the masses to profit long-term, because the insipid greed of those in power never abates for that to occur. So what happens is that the Chinese and Indian population are given more manufacturing jobs, start to get confidence, start believing the propaganda they are fed for breakfast and initially start to see some positive changes come their way; more money, more job prospects, better clothes, cars, you name it - everything material.

Then inflation kicks in. Governments start to intervene and the corporations have to step in and make people compete for jobs for less money. So in China now there are millions who find that although they've gone from the farm to a factory and earn twice as much as they did before, they now have rising costs of living five-fold as high as when they were on the farm living a simple life. Not to mention that as labor costs have become higher in China, business is being transferred to their imminent competitor - India. What does this do to relations between those two nuclear-capable countries? Not a good scenario to contemplate, folks.

The Baby Boomer generation we have running all our important institutions is little more than a bunch of 1970's marijuana-smoking misfits. The problem is they are now in positions of power and are abusing them for self gain. The result is unraveling and being played out over a period of decades. The United States quite realistically, has been bankrupt for decades. Manufacturing in countries like the USA, Australia and the UK is being shipped offshore. The machinery is scrapped in those countries, as are the workforces and systems that held them in place. The job losses cannot be matched by job growth in new industries. And technology advances to further make labor even more redundant, just as Zeitgeist theory observes.

So the Indian and Chinese workers cannot afford to buy the very goods they are making - which are meant to be shipped out to us for our consumption. Oh but sh**, we've lost all our we can't buy the products either! In eastern countries they have gone from earning $1 and a bag of rice a week to $10 and two bags of rice and paying $9.50 in expenses and rent. So they are screwed backwards anyway.

But never mind. Because the bankers are coming to the rescue again. Now they have all the money and no no one else has f***ing anything, they've started a new industry. It's for themselves, but at least it's growing popularity in its ranks. It's called superyacht manufacturing. Done in China or anywhere else you can rip off people and pay them nothing, it involves raping your customers and shareholders so that you can have a two, three, four or even five-hundred foot long superyacht built for yourself. Whilst the rest of the world dilapidates into anarchy, you can float around all day on your own passenger liner and remain anonymous out in the Maldives, or off the Greek Islands somewhere. While everyone else is knifing and shooting each other to death for their bag of rice.

We have seen the GFC come and go. Hang on, wait a minute. It's still here. It's not going away this time. The financial cliff was jumped off a long time ago, friends. What is going to be the light at the end of the tunnel? At least gun and knife production will be in high demand. And when the stabbing and shooting increases there will be more work for lawyers. Who can then join their banking mates at the gold club (which by then will need to be protected by heavily-armed sceurity guards) and on their new superyachts.

We can make simplistic impasse at what is going on. But where does this leave the next generations? Many are university-educated and in danger of becoming university-educated derelicts, burdened with enormous debts. There is no jobs for them to go to and the service industries will only be shipped offshore, too. If you can make goods overseas cheaper, you can bet you can get an accountant, lawyer or even a banker overseas cheaper who is trained in the western ways. Just look at computer programmers and telemarketers!

We are now seeing banking organisations who are powerful enough to buy up the world's largest agricultural businesses and farms. They are not business people and have no empathy for people or society generally. So they only sinister conclusion to be drawn is that these massive properties will be assets to be sold off to eastern investors. Western countries are not only losing their manufacturing (and MORE importantly, the ability and knowledge to build), but also losing their food bowl capacity. Add this stupidity to privatization of public assets and infrastructure and you don't have a very bright future ahead.

Buy a printing machine and print your own money, folks. Don't worry about it being illegal, because eventually there will be no legitimate ways left to make money. Unless we get rid of the current lot and bring in a new generation who will take their social obligations more seriously; we're doomed. Go down to the beach, lie on a big colorful beach towel. Open your eyes and absorb the blue sky and suck in refreshing salt air. Have handy a beaut bottle of your favorite ale or wine. Because the people running the show don't give a shit. Why should you? And look; if you get caught printing $50 notes on your Brother or Epson laserjet, just tell 'em you're mentally incapacitated and were raped by a mountain goat when you were young. Because there is bound to be a lawyer (or twenty) hanging around waiting to defend you in court. He or she desperately wants to upgrade to the six-hundred foot long superyacht.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Money-making tips and techniques

How to Make Money Online

Most of us at some point in our lives have worked for money. Often, it involves toiling away at jobs we do not enjoy, or have any passion for. It seems to be the way of the world these days and in an economic climate dictated by uncertainty, it is little wonder more and more people want their own businesses. But the fact remains, a wage that is always there (we hope) pays the bills; a business in its infancy has no such steady income for its founders!

The internet is so vast that definitive ways to generate consistent and reliable income streams significant enough in volume to support living expenses are hard to find! Yes, you can operate an eBay store, yes you can run your own standalone website and yes you can write and participate in blogs and forums. You can use social media and free online classifieds for marketing your wares and do a myriad of other web-based activities with the goal of making money.

The problem has become that as time elapses, our costs of living have increased drastically. This means the income we need to support ourselves also needs to increase to meet our day-to-day needs. The principle of keeping everyone in perpetual debt as per the Zeitgeist formula means that most people are kept in fear of starting a business. The risk is simply too great and when combined with having families to feed and negative social stigma associated with failure and bankruptcy, it becomes a task to justify starting your own business.

Obviously, starting small and cheap is the way to go! You might work full time for someone else and come home to work a couple of hours a night on your own small business. Many successful business people start this way. What can be even more successful is if a number of family members can work together on the business. Especially for internet-based businesses. As some family members are out working, others can work on the home-based internet business. So there is always someone working on growing the business!

Having more than one person is a huge asset, because building an online business is a game of stamina and time. One person can easily wear themselves down trying to do all the work; I know because I have done it! But if you can spread the workload, the effort and growth is something that consistently takes the business forward. It can only be a hindrance if people are not working together and following a uniform task list. Working with family can be a nightmare! It doesn't need to be.

One of the biggest keys to success on the internet is finding ways to 'raise your voice above the crowd.' Most of us cannot afford a multi-million-dollar Google Adwords campaign. So we resort to sheer cunning, word of mouth marketing, social media and as many free online resources as possible to build our little brand into something of value! Link building is one of the biggest keys to your success.

In simple terms, link building is like trying to build as many footpaths and roads to your shop as you can. If you think about your online business as being a retail outlet shop in the real world, you would want:

  • great positioning in an area renown for retail, shopping and spending;
  • that is accessed by major roads and arterials to deliver shopping traffic;
  • and have a big, bold storefront with fantastic signage and lights to draw attention.
Making it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to find your online store/s and businesses is the critical ingredient in an increasingly-complex and ever evolving internet environment. This takes sustained effort, much time, patience and stamina. In the next few days I will upload an online business blog entry which is a large list of social bookmarking, social media and resources. These will play a pivotal role in you developing link-building strategies for success.

How to Make Money on eBay

How to Make Money on eBay

eBay has become a complicated creature. Its sheer size and volume of listings means that it has global reach and enormous power in terms of Google search results and its search engine rankings. Put simply, eBay is a necessary evil whether you like the money-making machine that it is or not! If you are going to sell online, chances are you will require an eBay store at the very least to complement your own retail website, as well as eBay alternatives.

Once again you will be presented with the challenges of trying to 'scream' over the voices of the millions of others who also sell on eBay. This is where you need to consider keyword strategy in your eBay listing titles and also in the main body of your store and product listings. You also need to consider being careful with regard to keyword spamming, as eBay will penalize you in your page rank within its global store settings.

We have established that to work from home using the internet, having an eBay store is a useful online asset. This is because it allows you to work actively it alongside other stores such as your own  independent retail website plus stores on eBid, Bonanza and Quicksales. Then you can use social media to promote your various stores, offering online customers the option to buy from which ever website they feel more comfortable using. Having this choice is also helpful for your own search engine page ranking - just make sure you can secure the same online store name for each of the major websites. That way you can build a reputable online brand over time.

The problem with eBay is two-fold. Firstly, you really do need to utilize its power because it has enormous pull with Google in terms of Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERP). Most 'things' of any description more often than not can be found for sale on eBay. Therefore a Google search often results in eBay listings coming up, because there are hundreds of millions of them - eBay operates in so many countries!

The above gives rise to a big problem. With so many sellers and stores on eBay, how can you get business or sell items when there are so many others trying to do the same thing? Using keywords in your listing titles and product descriptions is one thing; but everyone is trying to do the same! Sure, professional-looking photos go a long way. My eBay store had several product lines and the best-selling items were those where the supplier had awesome product photos. Pictures do tell a thousand words and they'll sell you a thousand items on eBay! You might be lucky enough to operate in a niche market or be the first to offer a new product. But most of us are selling in existing markets with intensive competition; especially from overseas sellers!

There are certainly some good tips on how to succeed on eBay:

  1. Definitely use professional product photographs where possible. Your supplier hopefully has them, but if not you need to get great photos yourself or have someone do these for you. Photos sell product, descriptions and words just back up the photos!
  2. Use keywords in your listing titles. AND make sure you use as much of the character spacing as you can in your titles. For example the current limit on eBay is 80 characters. So be sure to input as many keywords as you think someone looking for your items will type in.
  3. Use product photos in the main body of the item description; not lots of them but two or three is useful just to complement the text and description. 
  4. Offer free postage if you can. Lots of eBayers hate this, but eBay rewards you with higher listing rank if you provide free postage and post items same or next business day! Depending on the size and weight of your items, this is not always feasible. 
  5. Incorporate YouTube videos where ever possible. If you can make a 20 or 30-second YouTube clip of each product and then build this into your listings, it will certainly go a long way. It also goes back to what I mention about using social media to help promote your brand, products and services.
  6. Use a blog and social media to link back to your eBay store, especially when having sales and introducing new stock lines or new products to the store. If you contribute to other blog, online forums and feedback/review websites, then also put your link in there if possible.
  7. Continually add new products; the more you have the more likely you are to be found in eBay and on Google. The more you grow the store inventory, the more hits you are likely to receive. Make sure your listing titles are different and make good use of keywords so you do not end up with one hundred listings that have almost identical titles! 
  8. Use traditional marketing to tell everyone about your eBay store; local business groups, flyer drops, do weekend markets and make sure your eBay store is marketed on business cards and brochures! Tell people - word of mouth is still unbeatable! 
  9. Try to keep your eBay inventory to a minimum!!! This can be a balancing act if you must have it, but learn what sells fast and make sure you have reliable suppliers and wholesalers. If possible, use dropshipping or resell items without having to handle the product at all!!! More on that later.
  10. Focus on building a brand and find new ways to reinforce that brand. That way, all your listings should include things like a business name and logo and use consistent colors and themes. If you decide from the start your intention is to build a business with the intention to resell it, you will start to pay attention to the things you can control and ways to make it an appealing buying proposition!
The mechanics of eBay mean that it is an incredibly difficult proposition to set up any genuine opposition to it! has more listings, products and stores than any other auction or buy/sell website. It generates enormous revenues and profit and when combined with its payment processing subsidiary - PayPal, it is almost unbeatable.

Over time however, eBay has upset many store operators with continual changes to policies and guidelines. Most of these changes have frustrated sellers, as they rarely fall in their favor! This includes myself. I started and ran a successful eBay business for the best part of 3 years before selling it, primarily due to the ever-deteriorating relationship I had with the company. Despite this, eBay remains the number one website and the alternatives are playing catch-up.

So in summary, try to focus on products that are small/light and easy and cheap to post. Fast-moving and popular items are often best, which is why fashion features so prominently on eBay. A lower-priced but higher profit margin item will more than likely by more successful long-term than trying to sell high priced items. This is because eBay has always been a place to buy items cheaply.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Buying and Selling & Working from Home to Make Money Online

It's a worthy goal, isn't it? Getting up out of bed on your own terms, taking your time to really enjoy breakfast and the company of loved ones. Not worrying about being late, getting stressed about the daily commute to work or trains running late, trying to find a parking space if you drive, getting a speeding and or parking fine! Such simple pleasures.

Starting small and working from home, the logical choice is to open an online retail outlet of some description. Buying and selling online has become a popular pastime for many, as it is convenient in terms of saving both time and money. Buying online is also a great way to research what you want and discover the product range and alternatives available. And the good news is that you can start your own online business with little if any seed capital and virtually no inventory!

Your own online business can have a professional-looking website shopfront - a virtual store. It can take inquiries from customers, process sales orders and accept payments even when you are asleep. An online business genuinely has the ability to be 'open' 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The only thing limiting your growth potential is your imagination and the time you put in to developing the business.

Like their offline or 'real-world' counterparts, the majority of online businesses will close or be left for dead in the pivotal 3-5 year growth stage. What is required is constant effort, especially finding niche ways to market and promote the business. This means engaging social media marketing; both your business social media accounts and your private accounts, too! It means finding and listing new and exciting products, researching new wholesale suppliers online, managing sales strategies and handling customer inquiries as soon as you receive them.

The starting point for many, including myself is eBay. Over time I found to be a necessary evil. My relationship was one of love-hate. As my business developed and grew and my product range expanded, I had some difficulties managing the more than1,500 product listings. I was a one-man band and I had many arguments with eBay which I found frustrating and somewhat nasty. Whilst alternatives to eBay do exist: Etsy, then there's eBid and especially Bonanza (which have really nice looking and easy user interfaces) and also craigslist. In Australia there is Gumtree and Quicksales, although Gumtree is now owned by eBay.

In running your own online store, I would say start with eBay but definitely give the others a go. Make sure you have a Bonanza and eBid store to support those guys but also get yourself free and valuable market exposure (and the much-appreciated odd sale from them!). You should also consider starting an independent low-cost website, using a model such as Weebly or Wix. These offer professional-looking website templates and good instructions on setting up your business webpage.

This blog about how to make money on the internet will focus strongly around;
  • running your own retail (or service) business online;
  • using social media to promote your web-based business and importantly, HAVE FUN doing it;
  • starting a blog to tell others about your online experiences, share ideas with other home-based online operators and every now and again mention you are having a stock clearance sale or special offer!
  • Adopting proven technologies such as Google Adsense to make a little bit of extra money, for realistically not much in return except some space on your webpages!
  • Finding and utilizing free resources and tools online to help you grow your business; and
  • running one or more business simultaneously and linking and weaving all the above factors into thee businesses to complement and support each other to grow!
We will also cover important topics like time management, which is critical on a day-to-day basis for home-based online businesses with only one or perhaps two operators. There will also be discussion of how to weave online activity with real-world marketing to make sure we access local markets. The old adage, 'why go down the street if you haven't even crossed the road' still applies today!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Making Money using Alibaba and Aliexpress

One definitive way of making extra cash online is through running your own online retail store. The existence and profitability of businesses such as eBay, Etsy, Amazon and Overstock proves this. There are millions of internet stores, but using tried and proven platforms like Ebay and Amazon can increase the potential of reaching your target market and generating online sales. To this extent, sourcing reliable and price-competitive suppliers has become ever-important.

As manufacturing industries have increasingly been outsourced to China and India, we have seen the emergence of super websites like Alibaba and Aliexpress. These enormous websites are fine examples of businesses that got in early when the opportunity presented itself. As more and more manufacturing businesses started up in China and India, Alibaba and Aliexpress came to prominence as the means by which westerners could source cheap product and inventory without needing a Madarin-to-English interpreter!

However, like most things on the internet - as they became more popular they also became saturated with duplicates, copy-cats, fakes and scammers who were keen to take advantage of unwitting overseas buyers who would have little if any recourse once ripped off. If you do a search for almost any product on either of these and similar sites, you will often get hundreds or even thousands of results. The prices range wildly and frankly, you would not want to stake your new business's reputation on relying upon dodgy suppliers.

The sad fact is that many of the so-called 'suppliers' are not manufacturers or wholesalers as they state. At best they are painting themselves as such and offering goods at retail prices and at worst, dearer than retail prices in your own country!!! My advice if you are going to make money online: avoid them like the plague. Having said that, I have managed to find two or three good wholesale suppliers in the past. But that is two or three in probably over one hundred extensive searches on these websites that often lasts more than an hour! Not real good statistics for ROI in terms of time!

If you cannot find a good deal reasonably quickly or get swamped with thousands of search results, do not invest too much of your time at these websites. If it is super-important, either book a flight to China or India or find a smaller independent or boutique operator to act as a buyer or buyer's advocate. Time is money and you cannot buy your time back! We will look into online business ideas later in the blog.
How to Make Money Online...and how you won't make money!

Welcome to my blog about making money on the internet. Many people dream of throwing in the towel on their day job, telling their boss where to go and working from home, choosing their own hours and enjoying the fruits of their own labor. In an ideal world and if only it were that simple, we'd all be doing just that.

Making REAL money is hard enough in the offline world, let along making dollars in the online environment. In a post-GFC economic apocalypse, we have all become voices trying to scream over the top of each other on the internet. Big corporations with heavy financial firepower at their disposal have a hefty marketing advantage over Joe Bloggs, who is starting with next to nothing in terms of an advertising budget, staffing resources or business acumen.

To start this blog off, we should perhaps draw a line through the ways which - more than likely, you will not make money. The are methodologies commonly touted by other 'how to make money' blogs and websites, splattered throughout the internet. They mean well, but the fact remains that everyone has tried and tested these same techniques.
  • Playing Online casinos - internet gambling
  • Completing Online surveys
  • Selling stock photos
  • Trading Futures online
  • Playing the stock market online - internet share trading
  • Participating in Affiliate marketing programs and schemes
  • Writing your own blog
  • Relying solely on Google Adsense
  • Freelance your services online
  • Create and sell an app (short for application)

There are two predominant problems implicit with each of the exciting and lovely suggestions listed above. Number one; everyone is either doing these or trying to do them. Number two; they are directed aimlessly at the masses. That is to say, there is no consideration for segmentation, targeting and positioning within the market. When millions all jump on the bandwagon, it's too late and there is little if any financial reward to be gained.

Online surveys and affiliate marketing scams all sound great at first, but the harsh reality is they pay a pittance for your intensive efforts. This is because the businesses operating them do so for a profit and want to maximize that profit for owners or shareholders. Paying you and the millions of others having a go means there would be nothing left for the operator! Sorry folks, but that ain't going to happen.

We can paint a pretty and rosy picture of each of those ways to make fast cash online. But the reality is that as month after month passes and you find little if any dollars are swinging your way, people begin to drop by the wayside and revert to their old day job. When you are in business for yourself, revenue and sales are not a given, definite, fixed or infinite income stream; your expenses are. Your day-to-day bills and costs don't go away; they remain constant and they keep coming!

So look at each of the money-making items above and put a line through them, as you are more likely than not to join the millions in the ranks who have tried them and walked away disheartened and disillusioned. Once you become cognisant of the get-rich-quick mentality, you will begin to focus on legitimate ways to make money, build a brand, build an income stream and hopefully enjoy yourself along the way.

Throughout this blog, I will share concepts and ideas that have made me or others money. We will explore what others have or are doing and what possibilities exist in the market. Along the way, we will look at insurance, finance, the state of the economy and definitely some useful resources, tools and techniques to assist you create some extra cash online!

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