6 SEO Myths That Prove We’re All Idiots

Humans will do anything to look smart and competent. Comedians like Jimmy Kimmel feed off of this propensity for hubris. And then we all benefit from it. Try it for yourself sometime. Go up to a random stranger and ask, “Do you think Bill Clinton gets enough credit for ending the Korean War?” (HINT: He wasn’t old enough to be President of the United States during the Korean War.)

Ironically, this behavior often exposes our ineptitude.

SEOs and bloggers are no different. We want to look like experts so bad we bullshit our way into corners all the time

Here are a few ways SEOs B.S. themselves all the time and really make themselves look like idiots.

1. Do What These Massive Brands Are Doing

When I was a kid, I played the game Lemmings. Often, I’d get bored with a particularly difficult level and just set up traps for my lemmings rather than rescue them. I’d watch them all follow the digger to hell and then hit the nuke button.

The fact a lemming is bigger and healthier looking than the other lemmings doesn’t change the fact it’s a lemming. That lemming still might be heading for a cliff.

Big brands aren’t always wise sages, especially when it comes to SEO. Think of it this way: a bigger brand has a much wider margin of error than you do. If they make a mistake, they can bounce back when you might splat at the bottom.

You’re also assuming their HR department knows what they’re doing when they hire SEOs and web designers. Often the philosophy of “throw money at it to make it grow” doesn’t work. And that’s exactly how some big brands function once they get the big cash.

Don’t be a lemming, seek real advice.

2. SEO is Snake Oil

Ok, SEOs typically don’t say this. They wouldn’t make any money this way.

But I’ve heard it from Google employees, bloggers, and anyone who just doesn’t want to do the work of ranking well. I even had a friend from YouTube tell me this, backpedal, and then say, “well, it’s just that the target is constantly shifting.”

There’s a lot of surface-level SEO information out there. And while it’s not exactly snake oil, it’s often not enough to have any real impact on your SERPs.

SEO is like psychology. It’s a soft science.

We can’t peak into the box and know what’s going on but we can observe the effects. Sometimes Google will give us a heads-up, but often we’re scrambling to patch holes after the fact.

This can make it seem like SEOs are behind the curve, but they’re more in the know than anyone else. It’s not an exact science, but it’s not snake oil either.

3. Worry About Keyword Stuffing

Seriously? What year is this? 2012?

Can we be done with the keyword stuffing thing yet? No? Well, I guess we gotta slay this beast while we’re here.

Sure, keywords still matter a *little* bit. But here’s the bite: they gotta be so natural, even you don’t see them as keywords.

Google’s RankBrain is now all about user intent. It’s so important to give users what they’re looking for that keywords almost don’t matter anymore.

Where Then Are Keywords Relevant?

Until our language goes fully pictographic, search engines will continue to take keywords into account. And you should definitely research a keyword to put in your title tag.

Otherwise, just be natural (grammatically correct, and concise, and…well, content is king, right?).

4. Content is King

Aw, what? Didn’t I just say content is king? Yeah, yeah, I know, plot-holes, right?

But this myth is just like the “write what you know” rule in writing. People take it, run with it and have no clue what the hell they’re even doing. And then they end up writing boring crap because their life is so boring.

Novice bloggers do the same thing with content. If you write it, they will come, right?

Wrong. You need more than just content (even great content) to make the SEO wheels turn. We’re looking at links, tags, design, usability, speed…

Yeah, content is just an important piece of the puzzle, one you can’t do without. But it’s not the end-all of SEO.

5. Links Are a Dead Horse

I’ve said this before, but the internet is — drumroll please — a network! Without links, you are just a powerless tool in a sea of well-connected and well-dressed geniuses.

It’s just that, like keywords, and content, links are only one step in many to get you to the SERP prize. No, don’t put a billion links in, but don’t ignore them either.

Don’t go buying links for cheap either. Negotiate for access to high ranking sites instead. And again, be natural.

6. Google is Penalizing You

I only cried once in Hockey. I’d just come back after time off from a broken ankle and I was reckless on the ice. I almost whacked someone in the throat with my stick. I ended up in the penalty box a teenage mess because I had lost skill.

Google’s algorithms aren’t referees. They’re a content elevator. When one site drops in the rankings, it’s because of a change in the algorithm they weren’t ready for. It also means another site was ready (knowingly or not).

There is no Google algo penalty box. There are referees at Google, but Google actually notifies you on the Google Search Console when you’ve violated their Webmaster Guidelines.

Talking about SERP rank changes like hockey penalties only serves to malign Google and cause confusion.

Don’t Be an Idiot

Humility is an underrated quality in our society. I’ve found that when you admit ignorance, you’re rewarded with knowledge.

Only idiots pretend to know eveything. If you’re on the SEO struggle bus, seek help. Your SERPs will thank you.


How to Choose Affiliate Products

In one of my recent posts, I touched on picking a product or service to use for affiliate marketing. It should be something that you have both used to your personal satisfaction and believe it can help your readers solve some of their problems. This is ideal, but there are many other factors to consider. The first thing you want to do is choose a niche. Then build out your site to see how it looks. Write some starter content and build your readership. Only then should you start to consider what kind of products you can or should offer.

If you’re on the fence about what kind of products or services you want to use on your blog or niche website, here are a few tips for you to consider.

Choose a Network, Not a Product

Individual companies don’t really care if you get paid. In fact, I personally know some affiliate marketers who have been ripped off by companies.

When you choose a network, such as Shareasale or Amazon, you get paid all the time. There is no argument. If you sell the product, you are compensated according to the terms and conditions of the program.

Many people think that money is guaranteed when you get into this hustle, and then they find out there is no such thing. Picking a solid network with a decent reputation can help keep you from getting burnt.

Sell Less, Make More

It’s easier to tell a hat than a lawnmower.

Let’s say you get a 5% commission on the hat. Each hat retails for $12.99. This puts your cut at $.65 per hat. To make $100 a week, you need to sell 154 hats. Sounds like a lot of work to me.

What if you also get 5% commission on a lawnmower. It’s one of those real spiffy zero-turn things that cost about $4,000. Selling just one mower will get you $200.

Do you see the point I’m trying to make?

The best affiliate marketers are selling a mix of items. Some cost thousands of dollars and others cost less than twenty bucks. Blending in the quick selling and the big-ticket items together on the same site can keep income rolling in consistently.

Make Multiple Sites

My mentor, who taught me almost everything I know, has over two dozen affiliate sites. He’s semi-retired, hasn’t made a site in years, and still pulls in over $100k per year from his sites.

He doesn’t worry about things like SEO. He outsources it to a company like Register It.

While I always tell people to make multiple sites, I don’t recommend making them all at once. You need to find that winning formula. Build sites until one sticks and then take some time to research and find out why it is successful and your other sites are not.

Then you can start cranking out site after site. Find that winning formula, then duplicate. It’s as simple as that.

The Takeaway

Picking the right affiliate offers is one of the hardest parts of affiliate marketing.

At some point, I’m going to write a post to talk about how to properly interlink to your content that contains these offers without looking spammy.

But for now, go out there and do some research. I definitely recommend starting with Shareasale or Amazon. They’re good networks, you always get paid, and they offer a wide selection of merchandise.


Thinking About Affiliate Marketing? Read This First

Anyone who reads blogs on a regular basis probably knows about affiliate marketing. If you’re a new blogger, you’ve probably considered becoming an affiliate marketer. Ads, especially if you’re just starting out, aren’t going to bring in much income. You could build a digital product, but without any traffic, you won’t make any sales.

So for new sites and people just getting into the hustle, affiliate marketing is definitely the way to go as you build trust and authority in your niche. Here are a few quick tips for those of you who have yet to get started but are tinkering with the idea of building a niche website or you want to monetize your blog.

Focus on the Audience

If you’re all about sales, your readers will pick up on it. Instead, put your focus on helping people. Affiliate sales are all about quality products that you have personally used and recommend to readers. This is really the purpose of affiliate marketing and why so many bloggers have had success over the years.

As a blogger or website owner, you are an influencer. People trust other people more than they trust companies. Just be real.

Play the Long Game

This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. Google has seen to this over the years. They no longer let people create and promote “churn and burn” websites to make a quick buck.

The best case scenario is your site will see some Google rankings in about 6 months. This gives you plenty of time to create amazing content and research the right products for your website.

If you want to speed up the process a little, you can spend some time on social media. Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter are great resources that can get early traffic to your new website if used properly.

Outsource Your SEO

Many website owners have fallen victim to themselves. You can research SEO all you want but if you aren’t an expert, you are playing with fire.

Building the wrong links can get your whole site de-indexed by search engines. If you want success with Google, then you need to play their game. And no one knows the game more than the pros. Reputable businesses like CloudRock SEO Agency can make all the difference.

A great agency will take a lot of hassle off of your plate. This will allow you time to focus on building out your site, researching products, and writing great content.

The Takeaway

I can spit out affiliate marketing tips all day long. But these three are all near the top of the list.

Building out your site or blog requires a ton of work and patience. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to sit back and take a deep breath on occasion.

It’s tempting to check your sales and traffic a hundred times a day and honestly, it’s normal. We all did this for the first few months. But the sooner you get yourself out of this habit, the better.

Find your niche, find your groove, and be prepared to work hard.


What You Need to Consider Before Outsourcing Anything

In college, I took a course on global capitalism from a fairly liberal political science professor. Back then, globalism was a conservative idea to be eschewed by the left. Outsourcing was an evil corporate activity exploiting workers all over the globe. Now, nobody bats an eye at the word. It’s divorced from sweatshops and third world economies. The most reputable companies now outsource all over the globe.

But not everything about outsourcing is roses and sunshine. Here are a few things you should consider before outsourcing whole departments.

1. Does Your Management Know How to Manage an Outsourced Department?

Every business decision comes at a cost. Even outsourcing, which is supposed to save you money in the long run, can end up costing you dearly.

Cost cutting is the number one reason businesses outsource. But if you don’t have the structure in place to manage an outsourced department, are you really going to save money?

You could end up with more of a headache trying to wrangle an offshore team if your management has no experience handling an outsourced department. Especially if you have clients waiting on outsourced projects, time delays and cultural misunderstandings could tank your business.

2. The First One Might Not Be Your Forever Freelancer

If you’re running SEO services in Singapore and you need a writer for your SEO blogging service, be mindful. The first writer to come along may not be a great fit.

Here’s a great trick: make them do a paid test.

No matter what industry you’re hiring for, there will be a skill set needed. This should be the entry fee for getting into any outsourced or remote position. If you don’t have the requisite skills, you can’t even get in the door.

Once they pass the paid skills test, you can hire them on a one week to one-month trial basis. They must work well with your team, hit their deadlines, and get along well with clients.

Feel free to let anyone go who doesn’t fit these criteria. It’s a cutthroat freelance world out there and you’re not indebted to the first person who walks in the door and passes the skill test.

3. Price Shopping Might Not Get You Quality

The biggest problem with platforms like Upwork? It’s a race to the bottom line. It’s the opposite of an auction.

The goal is often to find the freelancer who is underselling themselves. The novice who is actually good at what they do. This might be ok for a while, but soon enough, you’ll land a dud.

And the quality of those you hire directly affects your clients and your ability to increase revenue. But at the same time, you don’t want to overspend on your budget.

Just Do It

The goal here should be to pair down the local company tasks to what you or your employees are most efficient at. While you might have talent within your company to do various tasks, are they efficient at those things?

If not, take those tasks and outsource them. This will free up time to get the most important tasks done for your company.


Is Drop Shipping Really a Good Idea?

Weebly founder David Rusenko isn’t a fan of drop shipping. He believes we’ve flooded the world with enough cheap crap. We don’t need any more middlemen flooding out Instagram feeds with knock-offs.

But is he right? What’s wrong with middlemen doing the marketing legwork?

I’ve been around the web a time or two and have seen drop shipping touted as the next affiliate marketing. But I’ve encountered few who’ve made it work.

Here’s why you should be careful with one of the hottest trends in e-commerce right now.

1. What is Drop Shipping?

I use the word middleman literally. If you sell or make lanyards but don’t really care to market your lanyards, a drop shipper is a great way to get your product out there. A drop shipper essentially sets up shop and sells your product as if it’s theirs.

Often, a drop shipper works directly through a wholesaler like Alibaba. This is where the cheap crap comes in. A ton of stuff on Alibaba is cheaply manufactured knockoffs.

Despite this, drop shipping is appealing to home entrepreneurs for a few reasons. You don’t have to store or ship, you just have to market. If you do it right, fulfillment centers like Amazon will store and ship your product for you.

You only purchase what you sell. And all you really need is a computer.

Sounds amazing, right?

2. Nothing in Life is Really Easy

You are still running a business. While part of that business isn’t in your hands, all the same marketing, customer servicing, website maintenance, etc are things you must do to succeed.

The only thing drop shipping really eliminates is product overhead.

It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s a true business niche. And if you thought otherwise, it’s time to go back to that nine to five.

Online money-making is all about working 60 hrs a week to avoid working 40. Even if your drop shipping business becomes a hands-off affair later, it will take a lot of work to get there.

3.  Everyone Else is Jumping Off the Same Bridge

When you Google drop shipping, some of the top articles are from six years ago. Drop shipping isn’t a new idea. It’s as old as Amazon.

In those six years, how many people do you think entered the drop shipping business? Too many. “Competition is a good thing,” you cry. I wouldn’t argue with you if this were a normal business situation.

The problem with drop shipping is that you can’t control supply and demand. You can’t actually compete because you have no control over your products.

If you’re willing to put in the time and money, you might be able to find a niche nobody else has tapped. But you’re gonna be digging for a while.

Some have compared hopping onto the drop shipping bandwagon to arriving at a movie 45 mins late. You’ll get some value, but you’ve missed the entire setup. It would have been better if you’d gone to a different movie altogether.


Not Getting Any Bites? Try These Five Marketing Hook Tactics

Fishing without the right bait is pointless. You’ll sit there on the shore or rocking back and forth in your boat all day hoping for some action. Marketing isn’t much different. If you put the wrong bit of content or information for the wrong niche, no lead is going to follow. What is a marketing hook? It’s a sample, something to give your leads a taste of what they’re missing if they don’t click.

For fish, this means the food they already consume on a daily basis yet better looking. For leads, it means the media they consume on a daily basis yet more entertaining or interesting.

Here are some tactics that might help you reel in those leads.

1. Command Their Attention

Babies and marketing campaigns are killed by passive voice. You don’t want either to happen to you, do you?

This is why it’s crucial you use a commanding and active voice in your marketing hooks. If your hooks sound like they rolled off the tongue of an academic, you’re in the wrong field.

57% of leads have already made up their minds before reaching your hook. The other 43% need a nudge.

Commands such as “Try!” “Do!” “Feel!”  compel people to act.

Here are a few examples:

Give in to your cravings and buy [insert delicious sale item]

Watch this!

Stop wasting your money!

2. Show Them a Better Future

Dissatisfaction is your friend. In 2017, only 33% of Americans said they were happy.

If over 75% of the population is dissatisfied, then it’s your responsibility to satisfy them. You merely need to find out what better future they crave.

What does your product or content do that will improve someone’s life? Hook them with a tutorial or an entertaining look at what they could be if they bought your product or clicked on your link.

3. Find That Pain Point

Sometimes people need to feel uncomfortable before they decide to make a change. Often they’ve been uncomfortable for a while and the solution just hadn’t presented itself.

This is where your hook comes in. You remind the lead of a problem they have. It needs to be fixed immediately.

Create a video that speaks to this. Write an article that solves their problem in part. And if they click the link, they could solve their problem permanently.

4. Show Off What Others Have Said

90% of consumers claim that a positive review will influence their buying decisions. A sincere, positive, and voluntary testimonial or review could be the perfect hook to bring in leads.

But be careful with this one. Your testimonials need to sound and be genuine. Otherwise, your leads will pass you by with nary a glance.

5. Show Them Value Upfront

You want to avoid sounding “salesy.” There are ways to present value and there are ways to present value.

When spouting off dollar amounts, you sound like a car salesman. Instead, show them what they could have if they clicked through to your product or content.

Ask yourself, how can you help your customers? That’s where the value of your product or content lies. Don’t sell specs or even the product. But hook them with how the product will solve a problem in their lives.


What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Shakespeare

William Shakespeare — king-killer, gender-bender, master of pun — ran one of the most lucrative businesses in the British Isles. Playcraft. It is a miracle that he (or she if you believe certain theories) did not wind up hung by the neck for roasting the king on multiple occasions. But he made a pretty penny doing so. To understand Shakespeare’s attitude toward business, you merely have to look into his plays. He wasn’t big on the leadership at the time and he said much about ambition. Yet the overall themes prove quite useful in guiding a young entrepreneur in his path toward success.

1. Don’t Assume You Know All the Facts Before Making a Decision

When you’re young and in love and the world seems to be against you, you’re stupid. You may not realize there is a Friar meddling in the affairs of your family. You may not see his scheme to use you as a pawn.

When you first start out as an entrepreneur, you have all the force of passion found in Romeo and Juliet’s relationship. Instead of a woman, you’re in love with an idea. That idea is success.

Be careful. Your passion may blind you. You may not see those hidden fees attached to funding. You may not fully understand the contract you’re signing.

2. (Mis)Communication is Everything

I know what you’re thinking. Literally, every play in the history of mankind hinges on communication. And you’d be right.

But something about how the Bard crafted his narratives gave them the power to endure for 400 years. And there is much ado about communication in his plays.

In the play, Much Ado About Nothing, the characters understood how to wield (mis)communication effectively.  Don John uses miscommunication to (attempt to) undo the marriage of Claudio and Hero. Hero’s father uses miscommunication to shame Claudio after he disgraces Hero. And Don Pedro and company use (mis)communication to convince Beatrice and Benedick they (love)don’t hate each other.

If you’re a wise leader in your newly minted company, you can use both communication and miscommunication to influence others. All truly successful entrepreneurs are masters of communication and influence.

3. Beware Hidden Influences

As you can see, Shakespeare creates characters wise and dumb in the ways of human emotion. Both Beatrice and Benedick in their hatred (love) for each other are mildly dumb in the ways of human emotion and thus easily susceptible to outside, hidden influences.

Don’t be Beatrice and Benedick when it comes to your business. The excitement of a new venture could make you blind to events, factors, or even malicious actors trying to take advantage of your emotions.

4. Always Fix Your Mistakes or Else

Don’t Puck up. But when you do, don’t Puck up again. Fix your mistakes the right way.

Oberon meant the love potion for Demetrius and not Lysander, but Puck couldn’t keep the two straight in his head. Oberon tried to rectify the mistake by giving Demetrius the love potion too and this created a true comedy of errors.  Both characters fell in love with Helena and fought.

This is a comedy. Of course, Oberon fully rectifies the situation in the end.

Relying on others is a must in most business situations. Sometimes they will fail you. Perhaps they’ll mess up your SEO. Plan for this or even avoid it completely by hiring a reliable SEO company.

Don’t let other people’s messes become your messes. Plan ahead for eventualities.


5 Affiliate Marketing Conference Guides You Need to Follow

Internet marketing conferences are an excellent way to make new connections with brands and business, while also getting that face-to-face experience you might have been missing out on. While email is great for running an online business, nothing beats being able to meet your freelancers, blogger friends, and affiliate managers at a live event. It’s easy to talk about the many benefits of attending internet conferences from a personal perspective, but I wanted to highlight some other expert guides and write-ups instead. Even John often talks about the many benefits of growing his personal brand by speaking at different events, and how covering various conferences and events through his blog continues to grow his audience and brand in the process.

To improve your internet marketing conference knowledge and getting yourself ready to attend that next big event, but sure to follow these industry guides on affiliate marketing and blogging conferences around the world.

Leadbit’s Guide to International Marketing Conferences

Back in the day, affiliate marketing conferences were mainly held in the United States. Now they are all over the place! At the same time, if you wanted to get the perspective of how these events were, you would likely need to come across an affiliate blog and read up on their perspective. With so many global affiliate networks in place, that’s no longer the issue. Not only do most of the affiliate networks in the world today have blogs, they are also attending such events like never before. You can see a perfect roundup and Q&A session with the team over at Leadbit, in their “International Affiliate Marketing Conferences” reference guide.

Ngo’s Guide to Top Affiliate Marketing Conferences to Attend

Speaking of affiliates and their affiliate blogs, an excellent one to follow is Charles Ngo. Through his blog, you will find a wide selection of detailed tutorials, articles, and reviews on everything related to affiliate marketing. Charles also has an excellent guide on the 26 Best Affiliate Marketing Conferences in the World. If you’d only had the opportunity to attend a handful of conferences, be sure to run through this list and see which are most recommended, or headed to your area soon.

Expert Guide on “How to Prepare for Affiliate Summit”

Affiliate Summit is one of the most popular and largest affiliate marketing conferences in the world today. It’s currently held twice a year in Las Vegas and New York City — but it in the works of expanding to outside of the US. Shawn Collins is the co-founder of the conference, and he’s always providing some great resources and guides on the event for first-timers, and those who are making their way back again. A new post on his blog (by Adam Reimer) covers everything you need to know about attending Affiliate Summit, whether it’s your first time or 15th. Topics include how to choose the best sessions to attend, the best parties to attend, and of course… the importance of networking and getting real business from the event.

2018 Calendar of Affiliate Marketing Events: Conferences, Expos & More

As great as online reviews and guides are for learning about upcoming affiliate conferences, sometimes it’s better to just see a list or calendar of what’s on the horizon. With literally hundreds of internet and affiliate marketing conferences happening annually, it can get quite overwhelming!

Geno from AMNavigator has a constantly updated list of the top conferences and events happening around the world. Be sure to check out this list, as you never know when a new event might be heading to your area.

Affiliate Summit Parties: East and West

As mentioned earlier, Affiliate Summit is where most of the attention is going these days in reference to affiliate marketing conferences. One of the reasons for this is because of the heavy advertiser and network attendance at these events, and the massive parties they throw at each event.

Networks will always send out mailings and invites to these events, but if you are looking to find all of the information on one site, ASWparties.com is the place to go. The site name says ASW, but they have a page and updates for ASE as well. The site also now provides other events and parties outside of just Affiliate Summit.

It doesn’t matter if you are a complete newbie to attending affiliate conferences, or a veteran — each of these resource guides will provide you with a ton of information and resources to make sure you are ready for that next big trip. In addition to each of the resources below, also be sure to check out any of the top affiliate marketing blogs on the internet today , as they are always releasing new articles and topics that have yet to be discussed before.

Feel free to leave your favorite internet marketing event or conference in the comments below.

AdSense Alternatives to YouTube Monetization

In a move that even out-shadowed the whole demonetization controversy of 2017, YouTube announced significant changes to its partner program in early 2018. As a result, many smaller YouTubers got booted from the YouTube Partner Program because they no longer met the new requirements. As a refresher, the new requirements called for at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours watched in the last 12 months. And no one was grandfathered into the program either.

It’s through the YouTube Partner Program that video creators could monetize their videos using Google AdSense. This includes the pre-roll video ads and the banner ads shown in the video themselves, among other possible placements. Without this revenue source, many YouTubers felt distraught… but maybe they’re forgetting about all the other opportunities to make money on YouTube too. Here are a few that you may have left on the table (that you should now pick up if you haven’t already).


Amazon Associates

It probably won’t surprise too many of you to learn that many of the people who watch YouTube are interested in what equipment goes into shooting YouTube videos. This is especially the case with vloggers and other channels that target creative professionals (and amateurs and prosumers too).

One of the simplest things to do is to leverage Amazon’s affiliate program and provide links in the video description to the gear that you use. Similarly, you should be including links to any products you mention in the video too, just as I did in the video where I compared different Amazon Kindle versions. If someone is watching a product video, they’re probably interested in buying it.


You might remember when I wrote about Patreon in the context of YouTube monetization a few years ago and it’s arguably even more relevant today. The basic idea here is that instead of trying to get money out of sponsors and advertisers, you get money from the people who are watching your content in the first place. It’s a much more direct relationship and Patreon only takes a 5% fee for providing this platform.

Many of the top YouTube channels have taken this approach. Science video channel SciShow, as of this writing, brings in over $20,000 a month from over 5,000 patrons. That’s nothing to sneeze at and even if you have a smaller subscriber base, Patreon can provide a more consistent and predictable source of income that isn’t subject to fickle algorithms.

Affiliate Lead Generation

If you want to talk about the bigger bucks, this is definitely John Chow’s preferred method of making money from YouTub e. To put this all in perspective, his YouTube channel brings in about $1,000 a month in AdSense (as reported for May 2017). His MOBE earnings for the same month was nearly $250,000 and YouTube referrals accounted for almost a third of that. Put another way, the resulting MOBE affiliate earnings beat out his AdSense revenue by about a factor of 70-to-1.

When you position and target your YouTube videos accordingly and partner up with the right big ticket affiliate program, your earning potential can shoot through the roof.

Your Own Products and Services

You’ve got an online business, so why not leverage your YouTube channel to help build and promote that business even further? The natural tie-in would be if you have a specific product to promote. If you just published a new book or launched a new membership site, there’s no reason why you can’t spread the word on YouTube or include a “promotional message” (from yourself) at the beginning or end of your videos to coincide with the launch.

Collaborations and Sponsorships

Influencer marketing is bigger than ever before. It’s a common misconception that brands only want to work with online influencers who have millions of followers. That’s just not the case. Brands are oftentimes better off working with a larger number of influencers with smaller followings to get the most bang out of their marketing buck.

Speaking for myself, I worked with Subaru Canada on a video that showcased the new Impreza at a local event and that was a sponsored video. Similar partnerships, collaborations and sponsorships are available both through influencer networks and by working with brands (and their PR agencies) directly. Don’t be afraid to reach out. There’s no harm in asking.

Of course, there are innumerable other opportunities for making money on YouTube beyond the AdSense alternatives listed here. Do you have any favorites? Share your experiences and insights in the comments below!

The Changing Landscape of Ads on the Internet Today

Remember when the internet was plain and simple? When it came to running an ad campaign, it was a choice between running text placements or static banners ads in 728×60 or 468×60 sizes. Now, it’s a full-time job just to manage the different types of ad placements and campaign types available today.

Even with the internet now being more saturated and competitive than ever before, it also holds more opportunity and upside for anyone willing to put in the time and effort where others won’t.

Today we are going to look at some of the various advertising methods and ad campaigns available today. Why, you ask? Simply to give you a nice little resource guide of what’s currently working today and to also cover all of your bases if you don’t have all of these formats in place.

Static, Animated, and HTML5 Banners

Every since people started using the internet banner ads has been the best and most used method for getting exposure to a brand. If you recognize the LinkExchange banner below, congratulations, you’ve likely been using the internet almost as long as I have!

LinkExchange.com was one of first big banner advertising agencies online, and millions of sites were displaying these little 468×60 banners on their sites in exchange for free impressions and clicks on other sites. Advertisers could then purchase inventory directly from LE as well. At its height, LinkExchange was actually being seen by more than half of all internet users.  Microsoft actually went on to acquire the company for $285 million back in 1998.

Jump forward 20 years, and banner ads are still being displayed all over the place today — however, it’s not just your traditional static 468×60 banner ads that are getting all of the attention. Thanks for Google Adsense and third-party advertising platforms, nearly all banner ad sizes are possible. Not only are they in different sizes, they are also more animated, engaging, and interactive than ever before.

To see the many different possibilities with creating animated banners today, look no further than the examples available through Bannersnack. Not only will you find a selection of rectangle, half page, leaderboard, skyscraper and various other banner sizes, you will also discover the many options for animated your static banners with blur, fade out, slide in, moving and elastic features thanks to the power of HTML5.

While banner trading platforms like LinkExchange are no longer around, there are plenty of third-party ad platforms like BuySellAds and AdClerks — which both rely specifically on banner ad placements. Of course, Google Adwords also offers banner ad placements across their network of sites as well.

Social Platform Ad Placement & Demographic Targeting

If you thought it was amazing for LinkExchange to be seen by more than half of the internet’s population back in the late 90s, as the internet continued to grow, so did the users and way people used the internet. With the introduction of MySpace and Facebook, online advertising (and banner advertising) continued to change along with it. While MySpace was the first ‘real’ social network to change the world, they had a mostly traditional banner advertising platform in place, and one that really didn’t take off.

At the height of its popularity, MySpace was the most popular site in the entire U.S.; in July 2006, MySpace was ahead of both Google and Yahoo Mail. That dominance, however, didn’t last very long, as Facebook overtook MySpace in the number of American users by June 2009. Today, just 50 million people even visit MySpace per month, and while that may not seem like a small number, compare that to how many people visit Facebook each month: 1.44 billion users, as of March 31, 2015.

However, once Facebook grew in size and released their own self-serve advertising platform, then the floodgates for ad placement and demographic targeting really changed the game. We’ve all seen Facebook ads — as either a user or on the advertiser side. Here are three big takeaways for you to know about advertising on Facebook.

  1. Two billion people use Facebook every month.
  2. Facebook and Instagram are within the top mobile apps used 1 of every 5 minutes people in the US spend on mobile is on Facebook or Instagram.
  3. Serve your ad up to 500 million people with Instagram 500 million Instagrammers use the app every day.

Not only does Facebook have some of the best reach out there, they’ve also successfully accomplished all of this without relying on traditional banner ad sizes. Instead, advertisers can create image, video, slideshow, canvas ads and much more. Still new to the concept of creating an ad campaign with Facebook or how to select the best image sizes for your campaign, follow this Adespresso guide for a quick step-by-step on everything.

On top of all of this, Facebook also offers some of the best targeting around — specifically with their custom audiences, in-form ads, demographic targeting, and desktop/mobile options.

Media Buying, Landing Pages, and Popunders

As much as online advertising continues to change over the years, the one thing that continues to stay the same is the importance of split testing and using different paid traffic sources to find what works best for your audience and offer. This is also what makes the internet a level playing field for anyone to put in the time and effort. Where else could a teenager living in their parents home compete with some of the top billion dollar companies in the world simply by creating and split testing different ads, targeting, and traffic sources — nowhere!

With all of this in mind, when it comes to any type of media buying, landing pages, call to actions, and popunders… it’s all about using as many variations as possible. This is something Disruptive Advertising covers in some great detail, while also showing the many different banner sizes accepted by Google Adwords. Even with so many advancements and options for advertising online today, some of the most basic banner ad sizes like 468×60, 728×90 and 300×250 are still some of the most used today.

And just to touch on the importance of split testing, this is the difference between having a profitable ad campaign and one that fails. This is also something Jeremy has touched on in several split testing case studies on the blog. A simple addition of “Claim Your Copy Now” and a different design and color usage on the “Add to Cart” button, resulted in a 78% increase in sales.

The same also holds true for Facebook split testing as well. When click-through rates range can heavily affect the pricing and conversions of your ads, it’s important to always run as many tests as possible. Need a perfect example? Take a look at the similar images below… yet also take a look at the big difference in click-through rates. If you were to stick with just one of these images for the life of your campaign, you could be killing your budget and profits in no time.

Another key takeaway here is to keep an eye on not just the CTR of your images, but also how they can affect the overall conversions as well. Just because an image is getting more clicks, it might not be resulting in the best conversions or call to action on your offer. Use an advanced tracking platform and pixel placement to measure the various metrics.

Online Spy Tools and Reverse Engineering are Your Friends

It’s no secret that the internet is a very open place and finding out information like website ownership, ad campaigns details, who’s running what offers and ranking for what keywords is all pretty much just a click away. This is especially true if you have time and time and money to spend on any of the top spy tools on the market today.

This is something Leadbit recently touched upon in the affiliate resource blog. Many people know these types of tools and reports exist, but not as many are willing to learn how to effectively use them or want to put up the monthly $99+ fee to access them. In this free how to use spy tools and find winning campaigns PDF report, users are walked through the process of how to find winning ads, creatives, and learn from what’s currently being promoted online today.

The important thing here to remember is that there are many different factors that come into play when creating a successful online campaign. Simply copying someone’s banner ad and going live with a campaign of your own likely won’t find success. These tools also weren’t created for stealing, it’s more about learning and implementing your own changes and also applying what working for some campaigns into completely different ones.

How to Master the Art of Online Advertising

One of the most exciting things about running a business on the internet is that you can work on fun side projects and ad campaigns. You really never know what might be your next big winner or the different types of results you may come across. The important thing to keep in mind is that using different banner ads, traffic sources, and always split testing your results is what’s going to matter most.

How to Fail at Affiliate Marketing

In 2016, retailers in the United States spend almost $5 billion on affiliate marketing. In the next few years, that number will grow to almost 7 billion dollars. You heard all of these incredible numbers and you dreamed of how a piece of that pie could be yours. It’s months later and you’ve made absolutely zilch. Hours of work to make less than a beggar on skid row. You’re probably looking for someone to shame you, right? Tell you all the things you did wrong?

Great! So let’s get to it! Here is a guide on how to fail miserably at affiliate marketing.

1. Jump Right Into Affiliate Marketing Because “You’ve Got This”

Really, you should just skip the research phase of this business because you can make money online without lifting a finger, right? All you have to do is look up the “Top Ten Most Lucrative Affiliate Networks,” sign up and put the links on your website.

Nothing else in life works this way, so why shouldn’t affiliate marketing. Doesn’t sound like a scam at all. *waves hands like a magician* …here’s my e-book on why what you just read is guaranteed true.

Affiliate marketing is work. You work 60 hours a week to avoid working 40. But the end result, a fairly passive income stream, is worth the hours of research.

Eventually, the research will end and your job will mostly be maintenance. But until then it’s easy and fairly cheap to get started on your education. You don’t have to pass any tests and you don’t have to hole up in some dorm with the weird kid who plays WOW all day.

Know Your Sources

There’s a lot of bad advice out there about affiliate marketing. Separating the wheat from the chaff can be exhausting. So here is a small list of reputable affiliate gurus:

  • Neil Patel
  • Seth Godin
  • Guy Kawaski
  • Brian Clark
  • And, of course, Shoemoney!

2. Productize Nothing

As with all great visions, there is nothing substantive about what you do in affiliate marketing. You just flitter away some words online, plug in a few links, and wait for the money to roll in. That’s what the research will tell you, right?

Once you’ve done all of that research, it’s a cake walk. You don’t need to actually sell anything, especially not that pesky e-book. All that writing and formatting, it’s just not worth it.

Said no affiliate marketer ever.

While, yes, affiliate marketing is basically about promoting products, you don’t want all your income to roll in from one direction. What if someone decides to shut off one of your affiliate streams? All that work will have been for nothing.

This is where the e-book, the e-course, the drop shipped products, etc. come in. You want to diversify your income streams while at the same time driving traffic to your blog (you built a blog, right? Great! We’ll ruin that next too.)

Productize for Marketing

If you haven’t heard of a marketing funnel, Google is your friend. An e-book or e-course is an incredible way to get people to fall into your marketing fly trap. This is why you need several “free” products and several paid products.

The free products are the bait you place near the top of your funnel and the paid products you place near the bottom (your landing page.) Yes, this takes work. But if you provide a product of worth and you know how to market it, you’ll quickly have several income streams and more traffic than you need.

3. Just Start a Blog

Just start a blog, they said. It would be easy, they said. And so you did. You even spent $2000 on a web designer to make it look all fancy while telling your wife that such and such expert said you could make ten times that.

Now you’re months down the road, you’ve written a blog about everything under the sun, and you’re attending marriage counseling classes. What have you done to yourself?

“If You Build It They Will Come” Was Merely a Field of Dreams Nothing More

You bought into the “if you build it, they will come” fallacy. Too many people just build something without a vision or a direction. This is the main reason why so many marketers fail.

You’ll hear this from every affiliate blogger out there. Niche down. Find a subject you’re interested in and then find a small corner where few people are camped out and make your mark.

If you create a running blog, don’t do a general running advice blog. Every runner has “great advice.” Ask yourself, what brought you to the sport? Do you look up to anyone in the sport? What do you think others will be interested in reading?

Use the tools available. Ahrefs.com and moz.com have wonderful tools to help you understand how much traffic various niches and topics are generating.

The Stubborn Survive

Fail early and fail often. The best entrepreneurs aren’t always brilliant but they are always stubborn. They learn from their failures and correct their mistakes.

If you’ve already fallen into the failure wagon, then it’s time to hop up to the reigns and do it right this time.



How to Make Money on YouTube in 5 Easy Steps

YouTube is a completely different place than it was only a few years ago. Back in the heyday of YouTube, even the smallest YouTuber could make a little bit of side cash. Now, it’s harder than ever to make money directly from YouTube.


Because YouTube decided to fight for justice. Well…sorta. For a while, YouTube has struggled with fake accounts, troll accounts, and upset advertisers. The only way to clean up the riff-raff was to raise the bar for entry.

Previously, the only requirement for a channel to remain an active partner was 10k lifetime views. That’s it. Now, you must have a total watch time of 4k hours in 12 months and a minimum of 1k subscribers.

In essence, to make money directly from YouTube ads, you have to work a little longer and gain a decent audience. But in the interim, there are a few things you can do to make money with YouTube without relying on YouTube’s Partner Program.

Start Selling Merch

If you’ve built an audience and they’re loyal, they’re gonna want to show it off. But what are the things that people sell on their YouTube channels that actually make money?

Not all popular YouTubers sell merchandise. Only 9% of channels with 10,000 subscribers sell merchandise. But the more popular the YouTuber, the more likely they are to sell merch. A full 78% of YouTubers who have five million subscribers or more sell merchandise.

What’s this mean? It means that you should do what the popular YouTubers are doing. It’s the surest way to gain an audience.

Clothing is the most popular merchandise sold out there. It makes sense because the easiest merchandise to show off is clothing. Most people won’t see your VSauce mug, but they’ll definitely see your Run Steep hat.

Other popular items include bags, backpacks, posters (almost as popular as clothing), and mugs (least popular).

Few YouTubers have their own shop. And most of them have a Redbubble shop.

Fan Funding

Say you’re a bitcoin mining maven and you give valuable information that makes your fans thousand to millions of dollars. You’re giving this information for “free.” Why not ask your fans to give back?

If you’re unfamiliar with the idea, go check out Twitch. The streaming platform is free for anyone to get on and watch just like YouTube. But the site has given users the power to “cheer” on their favorite streamers.

Cheers are essentially tips. Twitch gets a portion of the money and the streamer gets a cut as well. You’ll quickly notice as you wander through various streamer’s profiles that people are more than willing to give back to their favorite streamers.

YouTube does the same thing. It’s called Fan Funding and it’s essentially a tipping jar you can add to your videos. Just make sure you point it out if you’re going to place it on your profile or video. A simple call to action will suffice.

Other tipping sites exist. Patreon is another popular platform for creators and artists. Fans can subscribe to their YouTuber and receive perks for doing so. Just know that you will have to follow through on delivering the perks you promise.

People won’t give you money if you fail to give them what you promised. They’ll think you’re a liar.

Content Licensing

Ok, I’ll admit that this one is far-fetched. But, if you are able to make it big and go viral (doesn’t always help your channel much), you can do some content licensing.

What is content licensing? It’s essentially when other entities such as news outlets and talk shows and other YouTube channels want to use your video because it’s so totally awesome (or because you did something stupid on YouTube).

But even if your content doesn’t go viral, you can list it on a marketplace. Places like Jukin Media will take your video if they think it’s quality material and sell it to places like NBC and CNN to cut up and use in their own media campaigns. You get royalties on this.

But if you see other people taking your content and using it without your permission, don’t be afraid to speak up. Facebook is notorious for letting their users steal YouTube creator’s videos and using them to get likes and views.

Crowdfunding to Create Something Even Bigger

This one takes a bit of a following. You should probably at least have 1000 subscribers or a larger following on Instagram before you attempt this one. Crowdfunding works only if you have something awesome to offer.

If you’re an author and you’ve written other books, you could crowdfund your next book through YouTube. If you’re video game designer like my friend Matt Bromley, you could fund your next board game.

Crowdfunding is a tough route to go, however. You must know you can follow through on your commitments. If you aren’t sure you could finish the project you’re purporting to crowdfund, don’t even start. You’ll ruin your reputation and possibly sink your YouTube channel.

Affiliate Marketing on YouTube

There are thousands upon thousands of affiliate programs out there waiting to let you become their cheap advertising method. We’ve talked about affiliate marketing on Shoemoney before, but let’s do a little refresher.

Affiliate marketing is essentially how brands can sell things outside of ads. You put links in your content that point to specific products or services, users click on the links, buy the product, and you get a portion of the money. Depending on the brand, you might get more or less of the sales profits.

You can place links in your YouTube videos and in your video descriptions. You can also link a blog to your YouTube channel and place links and ads there.

The Online Game is Constantly Shifting

It’s getting harder to make money online. You must be creative and find various new avenues of making money. Soon the blockchain revolution will change everything. But until then keep being creative.

If you liked this advice, check out more online entrepreneur wisdom with Shoemoney’s Shoeintology.


Affiliate Marketing Strategies – How to Adapt to the Changing Times

Affiliate marketing is one of the greatest business models and opportunities in the world today. Anyone can start a business no matter where they are located, how much money they have, or even what language they speak or the type of education they have. However, as great as affiliate marketing is, if you’re going to find the success you will need to put in a lot of time, work, and effort.

Having been in the industry now for over 20 years now and getting my start an affiliate marketing back in the mid-90s, I can tell you right now one of the most important things to finding long-term success is being able to adapt with the changes around you. A lot has changed with the internet and affiliate marketing over the past two decades since I started making money online. What was once a static environment of one-way conversations, HTML websites, and easily ranking at the top of Google, has evolved into an engaging and competitive world of social media, WordPress-powered sites, and mobile usage at higher levels than ever before.

With all of this in mind, today I wanted to cover a few different affiliate marketing strategies and potential opportunities that business may need to change and adapt to as they appear on the horizon. As always, if you want to survive in this game, not only do you need to stay ahead of the competition you also need to adapt to these coming times.

The only question is… are you and your business ready?

Blockchain Technology Makes Its Way into the Affiliate Industry

Blockchain technology is getting so much attention lately and it’s not just because of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. This form of technology is quickly changing the way data, online processing, and payments are being made online — while also being more secure than ever before. It’s simply only a matter of time before we start to see this type of data tracking and integration move into the world of affiliate marketing as well.

Actually, there is already a decentralized affiliate platform in place today at Attrace. Through their technology and blockchain processing, this platform is making it possible for merchants and advertisers to eliminate the high-costs that most affiliate networks are charging today, while also making the payment and commissions out to affiliates in a more seamless matter as well. Instead of paying traditional network fees that can range from 20-to-30% per transaction, Attrace is focused on payments of less than .05% per transaction while also offering immediate commissions and payouts to Affiliates through blockchain technology.

What also makes the network stand out, is how they are built from the ground up with blockchain technology, and also how the direct relationships between affiliates and merchants work. As listed on their site; “Attrace is the only affiliate marketing blockchain project that tracks and attributes every individual click/lead/referral of a prospect – sale or no sale – which means insights and statistics which are impossible to manipulate.

With so much discussion on cookies, browsers and mobile usage on the rise, it’s about time we saw a more secure tracking solution in place. How soon will we start to see more affiliate Platforms in a great blockchain technology into their business model?

Expanding Your Business and Reach into Asia

As we know, affiliate marketing is one of the most powerful forms of advertising on the internet today for several reasons. Affiliates love it because of the simplicity and never needing to hold inventory or process an order, and advertisers love the concept of only paying for actual leads and sales that take place. Best of all, it’s a working business model that can be applied to all business, brands, and audiences throughout the world.

While the United States and English traffic are always going to be a top priority and have the highest payouts, it would be a huge mistake not to take advantage of what other countries offer. Just focusing your efforts on the US and top-tier traffic will easily eliminate more than half of the world’s population. However, while many people think non-US traffic sources might be junk, others are finding it to be their own secret cash cow.

This is something Leadbit has been finding success with for years now. As one of the larger global affiliate networks in the game today, Leadbit focuses mostly on non-US traffic and affiliate offers – which makes them an expert when it comes to the reaching audiences outside of the United States.

To show the true potential of marketing to non-US countries (specifically Asia), be sure to check out this Asia Internet Usage infographic guide on their site, which breaks down the various countries within Asia and how to best target such audiences.

Media buying platforms and Facebook Ads makes the process of targeting exact countries, demographics and audiences so easy. If you aren’t currently advertising your own brand or affiliate offers outside of the US, what are you waiting for?

The Role of Artificial Intelligence to Improve Business

No matter where you look these days, there is so much talk about artificial intelligence, robots eventually taking over the world, and how businesses can start using AI to improve their dat to day operations. While most businesses and brands are focusing their efforts on using AI for customer support and chatbots, other brands have been using artificial intelligence in new and creative ways to propel their businesses to that next level.

Designhill is a brand that has been doing just that. Not only are they using AI to improve business and how people use their site, it’s actually building significantly on their bottom line as well. One of the most exciting components of their site, is their new logo creator that is completely powered by artificial intelligence. What’s unique about the tool is that it will provide users with a high-quality and professional logo in seconds, while also costing a fraction of what a typical freelance or design agency might charge — while also improving productivity, volume, and revenue for Designhill itself.

The way their innovative logo creator works is quite simple. The process starts when the user types in their company name, selects from a few different examples designs of their liking, along with a few color schemes, and also provide their site name, slogan, and industry. The last step in the process is to select a few icons and images that they might want to incorporate into their logo as well. Using all of this information, the technology, and AI-based platform will then spit out an unlimited supply of logo designs and concepts to choose from.

So what does all of this mean for your business and the future of AI?

If you aren’t currently using artificial intelligence for your business or brand, you likely will. However, don’t just think about the most common ways to implement such technology into your business. Instead, do something drastic like Designhill and create a platform or service, that can basically run itself and is always learning at the same time.

GDPR Regulations, Compliance, and New Businesses

Never before have so many emails been sent out in one day to let you know businesses around the world have updated their privacy policy. The average person probably had no idea what was going on, but every online marketer, brand, and affiliate were fully aware of what was taking place! While the majority of these emails were seen as a nuisance and probably just deleted, it was actually just the first wave of implementation of the GDPR regulations that just recently went into place.

In short… gone are the days of just randomly picking up, tracking, buying, or selling data without the expressed written consent of the end user… unless you want to pick up a few billion in fees like Google and Amazon have?

I’ll spare you the boring rules, regulations, and legalities of GDPR right now, but what I would like to focus on instead is how companies need to get compliant and have better control of their data while also having full transparency. The more exciting and interesting aspect of GDPR is the billions of dollars that will be generated from companies trying to implement these methods and getting compliant. The truth is, most people (even lawyers and the governments around the world) aren’t sure of the long-term effects of GDPR, or how it might change in the coming months.

One such example is of a company takes advantage of this opportunity is Bulletproof, an online security and data management company. While there is always going to be a risk for data leaks and attacks against a company, Bulletproof saw the business opportunity and demand here, thus launching a division of their company that focuses solely on GDRP compliance and regulations.

With so many harsh fines coming into play, and nearly every online business or brand affected in one way or another (Google Analytics tracking, affiliate links, cookies, lead forms), everyone needs to make sure they are fully covered. If you still have no idea what the GDPR is, the infographic below will give you a quick overview in a moments time.

As an affiliate marketer or brand, it’s no longer just an issue of making sure your business is compliant, it’s also a matter of figuring out ways that you can promote such offers or Services while also cashing in on the process.

What’s on the horizon for affiliate marketing in 2018-2019?

It’s not enough to simply know what changes, trends, and regulations are going to come into effect in the near future. You need to know beforehand and adapt your business accordingly. If you want to see a perfect example of legitimate business empires that failed to adapt to these changes, just look at what’s currently happening with Sears, ToysRUs, and many other well-known and loved household name brands around the world today.

The good news is, you likely don’t have hundreds of employees and millions of data records to take care of. In fact, adjusting to many of these changes won’t take much time or effort on your part at all. This is something that many businesses, affiliate marketers, and brands have done for a while now as a great majority of their audiences have moved from desktop browsing to mobile devices and also using social media more than heading to Google for a simple search result.

Feel free to leave your comments on what you feel the upcoming trends for 2018 through 2019 are, and how we can best adjust our businesses and adapt to these changes over time.