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Internet Marketing 2010 – A Year in Review

I was giving this blog a little facelift today and noticed that I never did a review of 2010 to tell how that went and what I learned. Income wise I earned 16% more money than in 2009. The amazing thing about that is the fact that I didn’t really work that hard to increase my income in the first place. I would say I did the bare minimum but some new hobby projects as well as the aging of already established sites and projects brought in more cash.

The Back to School season was very profitable for me, again. I think I doubled last year’s earnings in that regard and I think my bento lunchbox site may have overtaken my naturemoms site in that arena. I have been updating the prior site often, adding content, in preparation for another great year in 2011.

I dipped my toes into the Halloween niche in 2010 too. I created two blogs, a static html shopping site, and a few Squidoo lenses in a specific vampire niche. I created them all just because I am completely fanatical about the cable TV show that they were created for. I did it because it was fun and I wanted a place to share my thoughts and ideas not so much for the money but they were all pretty successful anyway.

Both of the blogs started getting good traffic and one in particular got up to around 20,000 monthly page views after only a couple months! I started selling Blogads spots like crazy for romance novel sellers and made an extra $500-$600 in just a couple months. The shopping site linked to various costumes for the TV show characters and between it and the Squidoo lenses I made another $500. I actually got my first ever check from Commission Junction! Not bad for my first foray into Halloween sales. The sites are still getting nice traffic and the show they were created for starts its fourth season in mid summer so I am looking forward to seeing what type of income they will bring in.

I almost always choose niches that I am truly passionate about, and not ones that I think will monetize well but it still works out well. It just goes to show you can make money without analyzing niches and keywords. Just write about something you LOVE!

Christmas was also better than in 2009. Honestly I did almost nothing to increase sales in that regard except update my existing green gift guide. I am going to assume it was the economy that spurred the increase in sales. I did make some decent money on Squidoo for those months, on old lenses.

My ebooks are still selling well… several dozen a month (each). I REALLY hope to add two more ebooks to the mix in 2011 and see what magic that will bring.

Anyway that was 2010. The year was full of personal turmoil and I didn’t really work that hard on my business but made 16% more anyway. I LOVE Internet Marketing!

My Money Makers for 2010:

  • Amazon
  • AdSesnse
  • Private Ad Sales
  • Vita-Mix Affiliate Program
  • PLR Sales
  • My Recipe Books
  • Shareasale
  • BlogAds
  • Text Link Ads (TLA)
  • Squidoo
  • Linkshare
  • Commission Junction
  • Various Small Affiliate Programs (ebooks, ecourses, ect)

Internet Marketing 2009 – A Year in Review

Hard at Work

I was reading my review of 2008 this morning and had a few thoughts. I started out 2009 all gung ho and really didn’t end up doing as much as I wanted to. 2008 was really the year I found out what worked and where I needed to go but all in all 2009 was not as big of a growth year for my business as it could have been.

My income went up by 30% yes but not because I did very much that was new… older projects and web sites just had time to marinate and get better with age. I did not not add any new info products to my line up.. I just have the three ebooks and they continue to amaze me with steady sales. I still giggle when I think how I hoped the sales would at LEAST be able to pay for the shopping cart I use to sell them. Those books were one of the single best things I ever did business-wise.

I guess a big part of why I didn’t really reach all of my goals would be because we moved to a new town. Our expenses doubled and it made us more reliant on my income for mundane things like bills. Instead of spending time dabbling in new income streams I had to stick with what I knew would pay the rent. I also moved away from my extended family and starting spending nearly every weekend traveling back to see them.. that took 3 days off my normal work week… since I usually do work (a least a little) every day.

But I did accomplish some new things. I added a new niche site that did really well. During the peak for that niche I earned $450 a month from that one site. In off peak months it makes anywhere from $20-$60 so I am really happy with it and have already added a similar site that was earning money from the first week.

I also revamped my Squidoo efforts. At one point early in the year I got discouraged with my Squidoo earnings and I sold off half of my lenses. Then a few months later I got an invite to an exclusive group within Squidoo called Rocket Moms. It was basically a group project to give Squid moms a special place to house their lenses and encourage them to make more. I made some new lenses during the Rocket Moms challenges and they started to do pretty good. I decided to try and become a Giant Squid… which meant I had to have at least 50 quality lenses. I bought about 10 lenses and reworked them and I made the rest.. about 30 in all! Anyway I am a Giant Squid now and I am working my way to the Giant 100 club.. I have about 70ish lenses right now. I am making MUCH better money than before and my lenses direct traffic to my other blogs. I am a happy Squid.

Now at about 6 months or so into our new house I am finally getting down to business with new growth projects… better late than never right? Last year I bought a site for $500 and pretty much just sat on it. I re-did the design and added articles sporadically but that’s about it. Even with that teeny bit of attention though it has earned a modest amount of money via affiliate sales and the list attached to it is over 2000 strong. This past month I converted it to a blog and I hope to dedicate as much time to it as I have my other blog. It has the potential to be just as big, if not bigger… I feel it in my bones.

I also created a couple new blogs in an entertainment niche that I am passionate about. I finally made that leap after I started to see how well my Squidoo lenses on those topics were doing. Squidoo is an excellent place for market research too!

My love of seasonal affiliate sales has only grown as well. In addition to having another great xmas season, I also had a great Halloween, and a great back to school season.

Going into 2009 I know that I need to take some risks and work a whole lot harder if I want to double my income again. I plan to create a new ebook and have the topic picked and the cover designed… I just need to write the book! I am going to really focus on blogging for 6 blogs… 3 in the natural niche I love and 3 in the entertainment niche I love. I want to add a few more static product sites since those have performed really well for me. I have big goals again this year but let’s see if I can generate the steam to see them through.

Marketing to Your RSS By Email Readers

I saw a question on a business forum recently that asked why a blogger should have more than one way to subscribe to their RSS feed. This is important because visitors subscribe so they can be updated whenever you add new content. You want to keep them happy so they keep coming back.

There are two main ways that a site visitor can subscribe to your web site/blog or your “feed”.  They can subscribe by adding it to their feed reader or they can subscribe by email. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

Personally I choose to subscribe to my favorite sites using a feed reader. My personal favorite is the built-in Internet Explorer feed reader. Most of my own readers also subscribe via feed reader. I do have the option though for email subscriptions. Some people like to be notified of new content with an email either daily or weekly. Others, like me, may subscribe to so many RSS feeds that they would be bombarded with emails. I like to read on my own time.

But it is still important to let your visitors choose for themselves. You can allow for email subscriptions through services like Feedburner or FeedBlitz. I chose Aweber to manage my RSS email subscriptions because it allowed for many options that other places didn’t offer and it has ended up being a very savvy way to market to my readers. For one monthly price I can host as many newsletters and feeds as I want so if you have more than one site…Aweber is awesome.

When my readers subscribe via RSS they get an email about once a week with links to all the content for that week. I set it up to look like a newsletter rather than a random group of links so that I can get my affiliate links in front of more eyeballs each week. My main blog has about 1400 email subscribers and this is what they see every week. It matches my web site colors, it links to new and fresh content, and it has affiliate links or text link ads from advertisers. Ever since I switched to this format for email subscribers I have had better retention rates and more sales. Even if MOST people like feed readers it is just silly to let pass an opportunity to email your readers directly on a regular basis.

newsletter template