Problogger: The Blog About Blogging
Problogger.com is the blog site about blogging. It offers lots of articles, some books, kits, a podcast, and more. It is a major resource for anyone who is exploring the idea of making money through blogging. While the podcast has current episodes, I was a little discouraged when I saw one of the top items for sale was the 2012 edition. In the age of the Internet, that’s pretty old. There is a book on Amazon by Problogger about blogging your way to 6-figures and that’s also a 2012 edition. What’s up with that?
I really wanted to buy something that draws from the current landscape but I guess eBooks and books are not big money makers. Apparently, the current thing is live events. Tickets run $97 to $500. If you can get to one of those events, that probably would be a pretty good thing to do. Unfortunately, I have filled this year’s conference quota, so no more events for me this year 🙁
Despite the age, I purchased the Kindle version of the book anyway after looking through a few of the pages. After spending several weeks immersed in Wealthy Affiliate’s training where they teach promoting affiliate programs through your own branded blog, I figured this would provide some additional motivation to finish my next assignment. I really like to read, especially when it’s content from experts like Darren Rowse.
Reading will only get you so far
I have to be honest and tell you, you can read about blogging for money, you can listen to podcasts, and even attend live events, but the “doing” part is what will stop the average person from ever becoming successful. Once I started WA, my eyes were open; this is a lot of work. I had no idea blogging as a business model was different than just being a writer. I am a writer but that’s not enough to make it in the pro blogging business.
If you do happen to purchase the book, you will soon realize that monetizing a blog is not something you accomplish over a weekend. It takes time and if you are learning from trial and error, that could end up being years. No thank you! I am going to finish my next assignment for WA and then sit down and read my book. An evening of reading is going to be my reward for rolling up my sleeves and getting some real work done.
Lessons Learned WA Style
I came to WA with tech skills. Building web sites and working with WordPress was not an issue for me. I skipped those lessons. From another program I am in, I learned about Yoast, an SEO plugin for WordPress that is absolutely amazing. I discovered the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) from taking a class from a guy who was creating close to 7-figures with his WordPress Blogs and an assortment o f niche affiliate programs. That got me to thinking, “hmm, I wonder if I could learn to do that?” I went to Google and did several searches until a stumbled upon Wealthy Affiliates. I was not looking for them specifically but after a few rounds of searches, I found out they taught the exact skills I wanted to learn. Below are the learning outcomes covered in just one of the two free modules they offer as part of the Free Starter Progam. If that seems like a lot, trust me, it feels like a lot, also. This program covers the A to Z of Affiliate Marketing using a blog for content marketing purposes.
My recommendation is for anyone interested in making money from blogging is:
- Get the Problogger book. It’s available on Amazon.
- Take a look at Problogger.com
- Learn more about Wealthy Affiliate’s Free Starter Program
Wealthy Affiliate University Reviews:
Is it the real deal or is a scam?
I have written two different Wealthy Affiliate University Reviews, one looks specifically at the Free Starter Membership and the other looks at the overall program. But in neither article did I address the concept of a “Wealthy Affiliate University Scam”. So let’s talk about that first. On the Internet, there is a lot of junk out there. Some of it is just not well designed and some of it is, to be honest, nothing but smoke and mirrors … a scam. While free trials and money-back guarantees do not assure you that a program is legitimate, it’s a good start. Free trials and free memberships are always a plus in my book. No credit card required, even better. Wealthy Affiliates University meets all of those criteria and it is not a scam.
Wealthy Affiliate University Reviews:
How to avoid online hassles and scams
I have some thoughts about what to look for before signing up for anything online. Watch out for programs that let you try free and then charge after x days. The issue here can be when they don’t allow you cancel without contacting them. That’s not a big issue but with programs offered through Clickbank and Teachable, they require you to contact the seller and that can be a pain in the A$$ if they are unresponsive. I always take a screenshot of the money-back guarantee page in the event that I need to have my credit card company or Paypal intervene. That has actually never happened but better safe than sorry. If you plan on doing a lot online, I highly recommend setting up a Paypal account; it’s free and they are great at protecting your information and being a consumer advocate.
Protection with Paypal is a plus
What I like about sites that allow you to pay with Paypal is they will get involved on your behalf and you can always go into Paypal file a dispute or cancel a subscription. Wealthy Affiliates University has an option to pay with Paypal and that is my preferred method of engagement for the reasons I mentioned. Wealth Affiliates does not have a written money-back guarantee because they have a free forever option. You can complete the two Level 1 courses, build your two sites, continue interacting within the community and never upgrade.
Incentive to upgrade
When you start the Wealthy Affiliate University’s Free Starter Program, you get two free websites. Paid members get the premium version and that includes 50 websites, 25 free and 25 premium. The difference between the free site and premium is the premium is more suited for real businesses and give you 100% flexibility and support. Also, premium sites will rank faster in Google. However, they incentivize you for upgrading within 7 days by allowing you to try some of the premium features for 7 days only and then offering a 60% discount for your first month.
For $19, you can get the full effect of the program. I did upgrade because I saw the value after just doing the first few lessons. Besides I waste $20 eating out a couple of times a week. Of course, that’s not the best option for everyone. I knew exactly what features were important to me and free was not going to give me the premium website which I knew I needed. I recommend staying free until you feel you are ready to commit to doing the work to build an affiliate marketing business.
Online Support? Do they have real support?
Another gotcha that most people don’t think about is the quality of the support. Many online companies are notorious for having very poor customer support. Timeliness and quality of helpfulness are two important things that will clue you in on how well their business functions. On the flip side, I have seen large brand companies that also have a bad reputation when it comes to customer support. I guess it’s the new way to cut cost… skim on the level of support you offer after the sale is made. 24/7 live chat and support is only available to free members during the first 7 days. If you start, you want to jump in and work on the first lessons so you can get 24/7 help as you do. After the 7 days, you can ask questions through your profile and still interact, but you lose the 24/7 live chat option.
Wealthy Affiliates University? Really?
The one thing I want to discuss in this article is why they call it a “University”. The word University suggest a higher degree of learning that just taking an isolated course. It suggests that there is a curriculum involved that has several courses, each with a unique set of learning objectives.
Let me digress and tell you why I am highly suited to weigh in on this. I have a Master’s in Education with a specialization in Instructional Design. My pet peeve with many online courses and training programs is that they think a bunch of recorded conference calls and videos put on web pages is the same thing as training. IT IS NOT. NOT EVEN CLOSE. Okay, I’ll stop yelling. This really irritates me. The world wide web is full of information. You can go to YouTube and get tricks, tips, hacks, and tutorials on just about anything. These are great resources, but it is still not the same thing as training.
Wealthy Affiliates University has been training Affiliate Marketers for over 10 years. They accomplish this through two curriculums; one will teach you to build a business based on a niche of your choosing and the other will teach you how to promote the Wealthy Affiliates program.
A very active learning community … overwhelming
I do not like how the moment you log in, you are thrown into this very active online environment. It’s like a Freshman walking across a busy University Campus trying to figure out where the first class is. They could do a better job with the Start Here Intro before dumping you into the main site. It’s overwhelming and I’m a techie and I felt like … What the @#$$#! Seriously.
But the good thing is, you quickly discover that why it is such as active place is the learners are interacting with something that looks like a Facebook newsfeed without images and next to that is the 24/7 live chat. The community is very engaged and it’s distracting. You see the flurry of activity before you look to the left and see the menu items to start your first Level 1 Certification Course.
I’m not sure why there is such a high-volume of activity. Maybe it’s because the learners are Global Citizens and/or maybe because there are a lot of insomniacs who like being online. But when you start the first free course, you quickly realize, this is not designed for quick learning and the passive consumption of information. You will be building your online business as you progress through the lessons.
There is an iterative and progressive nature of the learning which means when you get to lesson three, you may be directed to go back and improve some aspect of your web site that you created in lesson two. Whoever designed the curriculum did a really impressive job.
Feedback and Live Chat
Wealthy Affiliates University: I give them a B+
Because of the depth of training and the two well-designed curriculums, I would say they have appropriately described it as a university-type learning environment. Another reason I say that, is no one goes to a university and expects to take one class and become an expert. By following a prescribed curriculum over time, you can achieve mastery level skills if you are willing to do the work; the same is true for Wealthy Affiliates University.
Overall, if I were grading them, I would give them a B+. I would give them an “A” except the news feed and 24/7 live chat drive me crazy. Sometimes I am sitting there eavesdropping on the live chat, laughing and adding my two-cents instead of doing my lessons. Okay, maybe that’s my fault but I still think they could do a better job of making the front-page a little more orderly.
If you are looking for a comprehensive program that takes you from A to Z and gets you up and running in a relatively quick time, I recommend the beginning with the Free Starter Membership.
What Is The Best Way To Make Money Online?
When a person asks, “what is the best way to make money online?” The truthful answer is … it depends. Not all people are suited to make money online. There is a learning curve to any path that leads to substantial income and making money online is no different. Therefore, I will address the question based on a few assumptions about your level of skills and interests:
- You have reasonable online skills. You can’t be like my sister who can’t remember how to delete her emails.
- You have to have an up-to-date computer. You can’t be like my friend who is still using Window’s XP.
- It’s good if you like technology and aren’t like someone I know who refuses to upgrade the old flip phone.
- Beyond having some basic skills and tools, you need to be willing to learn some new skills.
If you are the kind of person who is willing to learn to earn, then the best way to make money online is find a legitimate training program. Once you find the right program, immerse yourself in the learning process and diligently apply what you are learning. I am a techie and I have been playing on the Internet since the 90’s but I didn’t know how to make the money using these tools. I had to learn. The program I recommend covers A to Z so I am still learning more. You can go slow or you can go fast but if you want to see progress, you need to devote at least 5 hours a week to it.
Learning To Earn Money Online
Sometimes the learning process is a bit overwhelming and that’s the other thing I like about the program, the community is super helpful. There are real people there who are ready to jump in and answer your questions including the seasoned veterans. I help people with technical questions because those are the skills I am already brining to the table. Different people come in with different strengths and we have an community of mutual support. You don’t find that with most online training programs.
Every program will tell you the best case scenario for income potential but there’s always a chance you won’t make anything; that’s true for all businesses. But honestly, if you just want to make a few dollars here and there, you certainly don’t want to invest your time or money in training. However, if you are interested in serious income I want to tell you, there are options.
Recommended For People Who Want To Start Free
Learn How To Make Money Online
I’m in more than one program but the one I recommend is more suited for the person who want a step-by-step roadmap. It has the best training and lowest entry point (i.e. Free) and it is called Wealthy Affiliate. It’s basically about learning to create a really good blog and tie affiliate products to your content. You don’t have to be a great writer to make this work, but of course if you hate writing paragraphs, this probably won’t appeal to you. If you hate to write, skip done to the section on using Youtube videos.
Wealthy Affiliates has a free and premium training program and both include training and includes your websites. Of course, you can make money with the free program but you won’t get the advanced training which exposes the techniques that are used to create a real online business. Free members get two sites, premium get 50 along with other premium features. The free version is called a Starter Program for a reason; it let’s you get started, check out the program and determine if it’s right for you. What I like about this program is the training is exceptional and that compliment is coming from someone with a Master’s in Education with a specialization in Instructional Design.
A Good Investment That Doesn’t Break The Bank
There are some things I don’t like about the program but there is no such thing as a perfect anything. You can read my Wealthy Affiliate Review here. I really like the price point for the premium program; it’s 1/3rd of what I pay for a similar training program. That’s $49 versus $150; a big difference. Plus with the more expensive one I am paying over $1,500 for the coaching piece of the program. So you can see, I am getting similar features but the price point is way different.
WA is suited for people who want to make money by attaching income to what they already have a passion for. It’s about finding your preferred niche and then discovering affiliate programs that compliment it. Some niches are more profitable than others but the program really teaches you how to navigate this and make it work for you. Amazon is one of the largest affiliate programs and they sell literally millions of things. That is one place to explore as an example.
There are some many affiliate programs out there. Doll houses, Harley Davison fanatics, designer fashion, , appliances, vacation resorts, and the list goes on and on.
Your Niche + Relevant Affiliate Programs = Income
Large Affiliate Brands
Many large name brand stores have affiliate programs but there are also small boutique-like programs that you can explore. The reason I think this is the best way for a person to make money online is because you can tie it back to something you already love or are interesting in becoming an expert in. So much of what it takes to thrive as an online marketer of anything is taught in this program.Once you learn the skills you can set up multiple streams of income from multiple niches. I know someone who boasts, “I’m almost at a million a year.” He gave some insider tips and that’s when I realized he was using SEO skills to get his sites ranked in Google from each niche he was promoting. That’s when I set out to learn about SEO and then found this program.
Skills can be learned and with a well-designed program and learning community, it becomes a matter of following the road map that is provided to you.
- You can learn to create content that attracts buyers
- You can learn to get your content listed in the first few pages of Google (Search Engine Optimization)
- You can learn how to accelerate your earning and to scale your business up for more profits
You could start making money within 90 days and start earning money while you are learning these skills. I really like that aspect of the Wealthy Affiliates programs. It’s not like getting a degree where you invest four or more years, incur a large student loan in the process, and hope it pays off in the end.
Earn Money With YouTube Videos
Another option for those who are not camera shy is Youtube. However, it’s the same basic premise. You make videos that relate to your niche and the relevant affiliate programs you represent. This strategy is actually faster than blogging, however, it takes more effort and the learning curve is higher. Here is more information about a free training I am offering visitors.
When you combine blogging with YouTube video to drive traffic to your blog and affiliate offers, you have the best of both worlds. Even with YouTube, you have to know how to optimize your pages so they they are found when people are looking for help. You have to know how to do keyword research to know what people are searching for. You have to know how to evaluate the competition to know if and how to position yourself. Video Marketing is an advanced technique that is taught in Wealthy Affiliates. But if it’s where you want to start, then we have the perfect free training for you.
Free Course Teaches You How To Get Free Leads With Twitter
Learning to get free leads with Twitter is easy when you have the right training. We are offering this free resource because, quite, frankly, I never paid Twitter any attention until after I took this course myself. While everyone is paying for ads on Facebook, this free strategy can generate leads daily by investing a little time into a few daily task that are unbelievably easy. In fact, I am paying my nephew who is in college to do it for me. Either I am a good Aunt, lazy, or both. I vote for the last option:-)
Blending Free With Paid Traffic: Start Free
While getting organic traffic through search engines like Google is important to the Affiliate Marketer and Blogger who are leveraging content marketing, social media is also important. Of course most people will agree that Facebook is the most active social media platform but it’s not the only game in town. When working with my own coach, we looked at strategies for getting immediate traffic while content was starting to rank in Google.
Facebook paid ads was part of the strategy but so was Twitter. Paid traffic and free traffic both have a place in your marketing took kit, but let’s face it, free is very attractive and often allows for a better learning curve. Why learn about your target market while paying for it. Use free strategies first to make sure your entire sales funnel is performing, then add in paid traffic.
This free course is long …. over two hours. I have a membership with MLSP because there social media training is very good and, of course, they are an affiliate program … but they cater to Network Marketers. As a member I get weekly live courses and lots of training and they are organized in nice bite size pieces. I am always courting out great training and when I find it, I share it.
Twitter Lead Generation: The Insider Tips
Add Twitter To Your Lead Generation Strategy
This training is long but well worth watching. We are sending you the link so you can come back and watch it later or in parts. Implement these strategies and watch the leads come in. Here is the link to the training. It opens in a new tab.
Below are a list of tools used for implementing this strategy:
- Automate your posting with SocialJukebox.com – they have free and paid version
- Follow/Unfollow users in your target market with Statusbrew.com – they have free and paid version
- Royalty Free images – 123rf.com – on demand $1 per image
- Creating stunning visual posts with Canva.com – free and paid version
(NOTE: Do not buy images from Canva. They are $1 per use. Instead buy your images from 123rf.com or other sources for ROYALTY FREE IMAGES)