25 October, 2014

Websites don’t have to be pretty

If you building your website for the first time, you have probably spent many hours looking at blog themes or website designs and then when you do have your design tinkering with it or worrying if the logo really should be blue or a warmer orange, but blogs and websites especially the types of website that one person can put together are not all about looking pretty.

A website is designed for a purpose, that purpose might be a blog where people read information about a particular topic and click affiliate links to earn the blog owner a fulltime income or it might be a service website, a website about making crafts where you can buy the crafts that have been made from an online shop.

What your trying to do with your website or blog is attract an audience and keep an audience, turning that audience into your fans that love and support you. That will buy from you and will come back to your website maybe daily, weekly or monthly or maybe even a year later when they have decided to buy what you're selling.

Blogs and websites really need to polarise their readers, the reader must either really love you, your brand and your website or be totally disinterested and surf on buy, the reason is what's called a sales funnel, you don't want to waste your time with 'tyre kickers', a phrase taken from the motor industry where if your selling a second hand car a customer would 'kick' the tyre to see if the tyre was good or inflated property etc.

Tyre kickers don't buy, better polarise that tyre kicker into not interested in your car, website or blog and have him or her surf away so you can concentrate on customers who really do want to hear what you have to say.

One such website which polarises users very well and which by the way I really do love, and whilst I'm not a customer, if ever I was thinking about buying I would go to this website. The website is Lings Cars a car leasing company run by a Chinese lady called funnily enough Ling, the website is a fantastic mass of flashing gifs, funny comments and hours of running down rabbit holes and entertaining people, like marmite your either love it or hate it. Your be immediately polarised into loving Ling or hating Ling and her website.

If your ever in the market to buy a leased car and you loved the site, your remember Ling and could become a customer even years later, that's what you must strive to do with your website, build loyal fans that will buy from you, want to hear from you and eagerly await newsletters and your latest blog posts.

You might have seen Ling on Dragons Den which I assume she did for the promotion of Lings Cars, as if memory serves she didn't take the money, she's a real character, a love or hate character, 'I am Chinese, I eat dragons for breakfast', I think was her Dragons Den quote.

Now I'm not saying that all blogs or websites must look like Lings site, far from it, but they must all polarise the reader into loving you or hating you, there's no middle ground, make a fan or make an enemy, those are the only two choices, just as in life, people buy from people, they don't buy from a website (unless it's a very well known brand) and even then they probably had a recommendation from a friend.

Now don't let a shocking/messy website designed to polarise people make you think that somehow that means less business savvy or less good at business, like Ling you still have to be a superstar business person, so visit Lings site, I'll wait the two seconds if you hate it or the two hours if you love it until you come back here after taking a look.

25 October, 2014

Working from home on the internet

It's many people's dream to give up working for someone else and start working for themselves, no more long commute with the expense of season tickets and no more boss telling you what to do, but it's also true that many people are 'stuck in their jobs' fearful of loosing their jobs and at least they have a job when so many others do not.

If your one of these people but also have a burning desire to work for yourself online where you can control exactly what you do each day then let me ask you if you have thought how you will go about it.

Many people want to work at home on the internet but few do anything about it, it remains a dream for many people, a dream that goes unfulfilled, yet here in the UK and around the world individuals are creating their own websites, making those websites a financial success and quitting their jobs, so how are they doing this and how can you do it too.

Firstly you have to stop dreaming and take action, after reading RichardPF I have had people contact me and say that they will take action but they are just in the 'information gathering' or research phrase, when I email them back and ask how long they have been gathering information I get answers that range from two weeks to six months and oftentimes a lot longer than that, the truth is you have to take action, even an action that goes wrong will lead you to plenty correct actions and at least get you on your way.

With an online business it's easy to have 'analysis paralysis', where all you do is analyse everything and never actually do anything! At school I was taught that when you where in the exam room about to start on your paper, the best thing you can do is immediately put your name on the paper, because then you have soiled the paper, dirtied the paper, it is no longer white and pristine and you have started to work on the paper and so will continue to answer the questions on the exam paper, the paper is no longer white and your able to start writing, that's the same with your website, make a start, keep working at it and keep amending.

Another point that I'd like to raise with you is the question 'when is or was the best time to start a website', answer 'ten years ago', when is the second best time to start a website, answer 'today', imagine if you had started a website ten or even five years ago, maybe you just messed around with it, but with constant updates and information for people to read it would have grown over those years and you would now have a successful business.

So to put today's comment to rhyme 'don't delay, start today'.

02 October, 2014

The Money’s In The List

How many times have you heard that phrase, 'the money's in the list', when reading about making money online, but what does it actually mean. Well when you get a visitor to your website from the search engines that visitor might decide to buy what you're selling or bookmark your site or other great things, but just as likely they might leave without having done any action on your site.

If the visitor leaves your site they may well be gone for good, the search engines sent you a visitor and you wasted it, the user has gone forever, but what if you managed to get them to sign up to your newsletter, now you have that user and can email them every week with articles and reasons to return to your website, and best of all because that visitor gave you their email address willingly it means they actually want you to send them email.

So with an email sign up you can remarket to that user, trying to get them to visit your site again or even click an affiliate link or buy now link directly from your newsletter, so if they do buy from you from the email the money really is 'in the list'.

Use Free Newsletter Software And Never Worry About Sending Costs

Now say that something happened to your website, maybe you got some virus warning on your site or stupidly you forget to renew your domain name or the search engines just decide to send you less visitors, if you have an email list you can continue emailing them even when your site is down or not working or when no more visitors are coming from the search engines.

There's lots of different newsletter programs to use MailChimp, iContact, Constant Contact, Aweber and many more, what do they all have in common, they all cost money, so I want to tell you about a free newsletter program you can easily add to your own sites that's totally without cost, send as much email as you like, collect as many email address as you like and never be charged, it's all completely free, it's also really easy to use and your be sending emails within the same day you set it up, now I have got you excited about the email program let me tell you it's name, it's called CCMail and can be found with a online search for CicoandCico, there's no database needed and you can setup the email program to email through PHPMail, SendMail or SMTP so its compatible with all hosting solutions.

Basically just copy the files to a directory on your website and login to the admin panel; with the username and password specified in the software (and then change the username and password).

Make £1 for Every 10 Email Subscribers (£4,000)

Another really good program for sending emails and again totally for free is SMF Forum, Simply Machines Forum, it's a well kept secret that website forums have really good email systems built in for free that enable the forum owner to send email newsletters to all the forum members, in fact your be really surprised at how few forum owners actually send email newsletters to their user base, so if you're thinking that you might want more interaction then just a newsletter and by that I mean website interaction then consider a forum as your get free newsletter software thrown in and with a forum like SMF its incredibly easy to use and you don't even need to setup a database which is a personal hate of mine as so many databases on cheap hosting run real slow or have other technical problems its nice just to bypass that whole program.

So how much can you make with a newsletter, well assume that for every ten people subscribed on your email list you can earn one pound, that's not actually accurate for ten users but that's how it breaks down when you have a large list, so assume you have 100 newsletter subscribers you can expect to make £10 every time you send a newsletter. Assume you have 1,000 email subscribers and your make £100 every time you send an email and assume you have 10,000 email subscribers and you could be making £1,000 every time you send an email and you can send an email once per week, so now you could be looking at £4,000 a month just from collecting email addresses on your site and sending your subscribers great articles and special offers, obviously these figures are just me averaging out several markets I'm in, markets like finance or web hosting payout a lot higher commissions than say golf club manufacturers but if you have a hungry crowd of users on your email list your make money no matter what the niche.

01 October, 2014

Making Money By Planting Trees

I love trees much more than flowers, to me trees are what a garden should be all about, they grow big and strong and if like me you love fruit trees your have fruit to eat in the summertime.

One of the best things about fruit trees as opposed to planting vegetables as that a tree will take care of itself generally whilst every year you have to plant and cultivate vegetables. A tree is still in the ground each new year and will continue growing and getting stronger.

Now you might need to buy an all purpose fruit tree bug killer spray from Homebase once a year and give the fruit trees a good spraying to keep the bugs off or else you won't get much fruit, but that's really all you need do for your fruit trees, some people will recommend pruning and cutting branches but really unless a branch is overhanging a neighbours fence there really is no need, the fruit tree will do pretty well all by itself.

Selling The Fruits Of Your Labour

In my own garden I have a pear tree, apple tree, cherry tree, plum tree, hazelnut tree, sweet chestnut tree and walnut tree, all these trees will give you fruit all summer long and nuts in the autumn, you can if you want plant more than one of each tree and have your own little orchard, harvesting the fruit to eat yourself or to sell in a local market.

What I wanted to write about today, was not that you can sell the fruit which of course will be 100% organic and taste so sweet and fresh as you can literally eat it off the tree, I want to tell you how to make money with walnut trees, with a walnut tree not only do you get the walnuts those big nuts that you can crack open with a pair of nutcrackers and eat but you also get the wood, now whilst it might take a walnut tree 35 years to reach full height and produce a lot of wood, that wood is famous for making furniture as walnut is a very expensive wood used for high end furniture and inside luxury cars and yachts or the boardroom table, with the wood from a walnut tree fetching a price of £25,000 for a single full height tree you can see that's a lot of money.

Buy walnut trees online as little saplings and plant them in your garden or any area of spare land that you have, you can make your own walnut grove of walnut tress where each year your be able to harvest the walnuts to eat yourself or sell at the local market then after 35 years your be able to cut the trees down and sell the wood for up to £25,000 per tree.

Make £25,000 per Walnut Tree Planted

Now that might sound like a long time to wait for your profit, but look at it this way you have had to do absolutely nothing for 35 years whilst the trees grow, your enjoy the blossom of their flowers and the nuts each year which you can even sell and then after 35 years your be able to sell the wood.

If you have a patch of land then why not fill it with walnut trees, look at it this way you can buy all the sapling (little walnut tress) your need for under £100 so really no cost for a great return, think of it as ensuring your child's inheritance you children will be able to sell the wood and the money will set them up very nicely, say you had the space in your garden for ten trees, not unreasonable for most people's small gardens well 10 trees times £25,000 equals £250,000, would you like to leave a quarter of a million pounds for your children, or what if you could plant one hundred trees, you would have 100 trees multiplied by £25,000 equals £2.5 million pounds, would your children like to be millionaires, how about a millionaire twice over with half a million pounds to spare.

Fancy A £2.5 Million Inheritence For Your Children

Or how about yourself now, your working hard at work, you're in your twenties, add thirty five years and your fifty five years old and able to take early retirement with a million pounds or more in the bank.

Plant walnut trees and you really will be rich long term.

29 September, 2014

Making Money With Free & Open Source Software

You might think that it's impossible to make money with software that's available for free, but let me show you how you can make a good living out of free and open source software, firstly I don't mean actually selling the free software although with open source software that uses the GPL licence that's actually perfectly legal, but that's not how we are going to make money.

If you know anything about computers, and by anything I mean just more than the rest of your family and friends your probably the one that gets asked to do any 'computer repairs', when friends and family complain their computer is running slow all you need to do is download the free CCleaner program from Piriform and run this automated program to clear the rubbish out of the computer and fix any broken registry items.

Fix Old Laptops For Profit

Grab a copy of the free Defraggler also from Piriform and you can speed up their computer for them as this program defragments the disk returning the hard disk to its as new and fast condition. If there's a likelihood of viruses or malware on the computer then download the free Malwarebytes program and run that, it's all automated so nothing to know other than starting a scan and if viruses are suspected then the free Avast! Antivirus can be downloaded and installed on their computer, I used to recommend AVG Antivirus but it's got so slow and bloated on older computers that it's likely to slow down the computer too much especially if you're trying to fix someone's already a bit ancient laptop or desktop.

Now armed with those free bits of software you can pretty much install them and run the automatic scans with no skills needed by you and leave the programs to auto-fix your computer, if you're doing this for friends and family it's one small step to put an advert in the local paper and offer to fix peoples laptops and computers for fifty pounds a time.
Whilst it's tempting to ask for more money, you have to bare in mind the cost of the laptop that someone is bringing you for repair, with an average laptop costing £300 or just over, you cannot charge a big proportion of that as it would be cheaper for your customer just to go out and buy a new laptop.

How To Make £3,200 Per Month Part Time

Another source of revenue is to take yourself off to the local tip where your find many laptops and desktop PC's being brought for disposal, run the above tools on those laptops and your return them to working condition which you can now sell, selling your average tip acquired laptop for £95 and you can easily repair eight laptops in a weekend bringing you in nearly £800 for a weekends work, that's £3,200 per calendar month for working weekends only, not bad, sell the laptops through an advert in your local paper or to people who bring you their 'broken' laptops for repair, offer them the laptop for £95 on the condition you can have their old laptop for 'spares', then simply repair their old laptop and sell that on too.
Now if you're a little concerned about taking a laptop or a desktop computer from the tip, then simply hang around the tip and as someone brings in their laptop to dump, quickly ask if you can have that for spares rather than them dumping it, I've never known anyone to refuse to give you their laptop yet.

Another source of free laptops to repair is freecycle, check out their website and join their mailing list where your get offers of free laptops and computers if you go and get them. Join the local freecycle to you and maybe a freecycle a little further afield to get more free laptops.

Work Weekends Only For A Full Time Income

As well as an advert in your local free paper offering to repair broken laptops for £50 or a reconditioned laptop for £95 you can also offer to install business software for them, now here is where we use free and open source software, if a individual or a business wants Microsoft Office put Libre Office on their laptop, it's the Open Source version and just as good and completely free, if they want antivirus put Avast! on, if they want a mail server for their business put Pegasus Mail on their server, a bit more knowledge needed to setup, although not much more and the possibility to charge £500 for setting up a mail server, target specific businesses for example engineering businesses will want a good Computer Aided Design CAD package and FreeCAD is just as good as AutoCAD and of course it's free and you can charge £50 for each install you do on the company computers.

Get over your initial fear of making money, get yourself on Freecycle or down your local tip, put an advert in the local paper and your be making money this weekend and if you like computers your find it an enjoyable way to make some extra money and meet lots of interesting people as you help them fix their laptop and even though your charging them (although a lot less than the going rate) it's a good feeling to be helping people and helping yourself at the same time.

20 September, 2014

Making Money With A Forum

Forum's are great I run a few forums myself, whilst my forums only make approximately £500 a month profit each I don't have to do any work to earn that money as the forum earns by itself, so I'd like to provide a few tips and tricks that I have learned along the way.

Firstly your need some forum software, the good news is forum software is free and there's lots of different software to choose from, my personal favourite is SMF Simple Machines Forum, it's free and what I most like about it is that it has great security out of the box and can be run using a SQLite database, meaning you don't even need a database it can run all the database actions from a SQLite file, just select SQLite as the database when you install SMF, the advantage of this is that you don't need a database server, the database can really take up a lot of resources on your server and cause your site to slow down or error if it gets busy or more likely attacked by bots trying to spam your forum.

So select SQLite as the database when you install the software, whilst some might say that a file based database won't be fast enough the SQLite people themselves say its good enough for 500 simultaneous accesses to the file, that's pretty huge and would mean thousands of simultaneous users which would mean that your server had hundreds of thousands of registered users, so not something that you would have to worry about.

Make £500 A Month Easy With Your Forum

Another reason that I like SMF software is that to keep the spam forum posts out of your forum you can setup your own registration questions like 'when do you need an umbrella' is it when the sun is shining or when it rains, those type of questions only a human can answer not a software spamming program and couple that with a few similar registration questions and your forum will never get spammed, you might have to deal with the occasional person who creates an account to spam you, but your find that nearly all spam is automated and will be blocked automatically by those tough registration questions.

When you first start a forum it will be empty and your need to create a few user accounts and start to post yourself, create an account called john and an account called mark etc and ask and answer each other's questions, your doing that to get good posts that the search engines can index and send you visitors for those search terms, once you have a few real users simply delete those original accounts and let the forum run itself.

To make money from your forum the best way is to join an affiliate network that has similar products to what your forum is about, for example if your forum is abut fishing then you would want to show banner adverts for fishing tackle and fishing rods companies, another good way to make money from a forum that not many forum owners do themselves is to make use of the built in newsletter facility that SMF has.

Use The Forum Newsletter Feature To Earn Even More Money

Basically you can email out from the admin interface of SMF and it will send the email to all your users, you can even tell the software to send the email slowly over an extended period of time so you don't overload your servers email account limits, with the email newsletter facility on your forum you can not only email out news about new fishing products that they can buy by clicking your affiliate link in your email but you can also join an affiliate network that specialises in competitions and free giveaways like the Monetise affiliate network, whatever your forum is about a percentage of your users will always like to enter the free surveys and free competitions and your find that every time you send an email newsletter you might make £500 depending on the number of registered users you have on your forum.

Lastly one of the best reasons for owning a forum is that after you have seeded the forum with users and content and the forum starts to take off by itself, the forum users will be generating all the content themselves without you having to write any content and the search engines will index that new content and send you even more visitors so once you have a few users it's a virtuous circle of ever increasing user numbers.

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