Ask Yoast: Facebook or Adwords advertising?

If you want to give your products or events that extra push, should you promote them on Facebook? Or would it be better to use Adwords to drive traffic to your site? If you would have to choose, perhaps because of a limited budget, which one should you pick, Facebook or Adwords? At Ask Yoast we received a question from someone who doubted between these two channels:

“If I only have a limited budget, would you recommend advertising on Facebook or Adwords?”

In the video below I’ll explain what’s the best strategy!

Facebook promotion or Adwords?

Read the transcript here:

“Well, this might not surprise you, because I have been telling people to use Facebook for advertising for a while now. But Facebook advertising really is a ton cheaper than AdWords. So, unless you’re very sure that you can convert traffic from AdWords better – and this is something you should test – usually Facebook advertising is cheaper and gets you a lot more people to your site for the same amount of money. So I would start with Facebook and if that converts you can also start with AdWords later on. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

Are you stuck on some SEO issue?  Need an expert to give you advice on SEO? Send your SEO question to! You might get a personal answer on video!

Read more: ‘How to optimize your Facebook reach’ »

Monetizing your blog (part 2)

For lots of bloggers, their biggest dream is to eventually live from the money they make with their blog. Once your audience is getting a bit bigger, you can start making money with your blog. I already discussed selling your own products and advertising as ways to monetize your blog. In this post, I will talk you through the possibilities of writing promoted posts and affiliating as ways to make money with your blog.

Make money with your blog

Read more: ‘Monetizing your blog (part 1) ’ »

Promoted posts

If your blog has a large (and loyal) audience, companies may be interested in reaching your audience, telling them about their stuff. They could ask you to write about their products. And they could pay you to do so. Lots of bloggers receive products to review and use. Some bloggers are only paid by the free products or services they receive, but some companies also pay bloggers to write about their products. Writing posts in which you promote a product can be a nice way to make money with your blog.

Writing promoted posts also has a downside. Your objectivity as a blogger could become the object of speculation. It could be wise to make clear to your readers when you’re being paid for your opinion (in writing, or by making it clear in the design). It all depends on your blogging style and subjects.

When you’re selling promoted posts, receiving products for free or adding affiliate links to your site, make sure to disclose this to your readers. Not only is this the morally right thing to do, you’re also required to disclose this by law in many countries.


Another way to make money with your blog is via affiliate products. An affiliate product is a product that you recommend or write about in a blog post, or for which you place a banner or an ad on your website. If someone clicks on the link on your website they will go to the webshop of the company which product you are promoting. If people actually buy that product, you will receive a percentage of the amount they are paying.

A lot of retailers offer an affiliate program. You will receive a trackable link that you include in one of your blog posts (or in an ad). You will get a commission if someone clicks on the link and buys a product via your blog. How much commission you’ll get varies greatly on the type of product. It could be only 1 or 2% for physical products, but for digital products it could really be a lot more.
There are a number of affiliate networks you could join, large ones like CJ and Shareasale, but there are also company specific networks, like Amazon’s affiliate network and the eBay affiliate network. What fits well really depends on your niche and what type of product you could sell to that niche.

Affiliate can be a really good way to make money with your blog. As with promoted post, the risk with affiliate could be that the objectivity of the author could become object of speculation. In our view, you should make sure that the products you promote are products you really like. Products you would recommend to your friends and family as well. That way, you will make sure that you’re not promoting things to your beloved audience that do not fit you or your blog.

Make sure to add a rel=”nofollow” attribute to each affiliate link and to any and all links in promoted posts so they don’t count for Google and other search engines. You need to do this to make sure you’re not getting penalized as Google might deem you to be selling links.


In my view, there are four major ways to make money with your blog:

  1. by selling space on your blog for advertisements;
  2. by writing promoted posts;
  3. by affiliating (promoting products or services on your blog and getting paid if someone buys that product or service via a link on your blog);
  4. by selling your own products or by increasing indirect sales with your (company) blog. 

The way you choose to make money largely depends on your own preferences and on the audience your website attracts.

Keep reading: ‘Monetizing your blog (part 1) ’ »

Monetizing your blog (part 1)

Just writing a blog post every day does not pay the bills. For some bloggers, the ultimate goal for their blog is to be able to make a living out of it. But in what ways can you actually make money with your blog? In this post, we’ll talk you through a few ways of monetizing your blog. We’ll give some practical tips and discuss the up- and downsides of these different strategies!

Monetizing your blog (part 1)

1.Selling your own products

Of course, you could make money with your blog by selling your own products. The moment you start selling your own products, your blog will also become a shop. Selling products doesn’t necessarily mean selling physical products. You could also sell digital products like eBooks or apps.

Read more: ‘Things to consider for your online shop’ »

For lots of (larger) companies, the blog is a section on their website, mostly used as a marketing tool. A company blog could be a really powerful tool to get some indirect sales. If you blog regularly about relevant topics, you show your audience your expertise and involvement. Also for people who offer consulting, or give workshops for instance, a blog can be the way to present yourself to the world. The exposure to your blog will, in the end, result in more sales for your company.

2. Advertising

You can set up an area on your blog’s home page dedicated to running advertisements. You’ll get paid based on the number of clicks on the banner, or on the number of times the ad is shown to your audience. Google Adsense has a relatively easy pay-per-click model you can set up in just a few steps. Google Adsense will then decide which ads will be shown on your webpage.

Advertising is simple to set up, but it won’t make you rich unless you have a lot of visitors. Also, ads can make your site much slower and potentially annoy your readers if you place too many. Above that, ad blocking has become more and more prevalent. A growing group of people uses software that will hide all advertisements. This trend is making advertising with Google Adsense somewhat more difficult. It’s hard to predict how ad blocking will develop from here.

Of course, if you’ve got a blog with a large audience, perhaps there are companies who want to put an ad on your website directly. You’ll have to reach out to them and communicate a bit more in that case. Major advantage of communicating directly with the companies that place ads on your website, is that you’ll have complete control over the types of advertisements shown on your blog. That way you can make sure that the ads fit your weblog and that you agree with the content of the ads. Advertising in such a way won’t make your site much slower and ad blockers won’t hide these advertisements from your audience.

In the early days of Yoast, we had a great experience using They sell ad space on your site but you can approve each ad individually. Especially when there are advertisers in your space you’d rather not have on your site, this is a very good idea. These ads can also be paid by the time period they’re showing on your site, irrespective of the number of page views or clicks.

More ways of monetizing your blog

Selling your own products, or selling space on your website for advertisements are just two ways of making money with your blog. In an upcoming post, I’ll discuss some other ways of making money with your blog: by writing promoted posts and by affiliating.

Keep reading: ‘10 tips for an awesome and SEO friendly blog post’ »

7 Quite Deadly Indicators That Your Online Business Website Is In Bad Shape


One beautiful day, I sent out an article to be published on a given website. I got a no. A fairly common thing. Not all posts find their home at first try, so I just decided to broaden my research and look for other sites that could be a good host for that article.

I found one and submitted it.

How surprised I was when the editor got back to me and told me that the article didn’t pass Copyscape (the plagiarism checker). What it basically meant was that someone else had previously published the article.

After connecting the dots quickly, I found that the article was indeed published by the first person I sent it to. They published it on a different site, with no attribution.

Contacting them didn’t produce much of an effect. So I’ve decided to give it a rest and share the article with you here instead. Fighting those kinds of people is never a productive habit. If you can afford it, leave such things behind you and move on with your projects (a general advice).

Having this lengthy introduction behind us, let’s focus on the topic at hand. We all desire some recognition, don’t we? Some online popularity, preferably profits, and overall stardom…things like that.

However, the road to success can be long and difficult, and at some point, we can stumble upon some disturbing signs that we might not be going in the best of directions. I’ve had a number of sites failing in the past, so I know what I’m talking about.

But you know what, I don’t mind. Failure is just a step towards success.

So what to do and what are the indicators of our website going south? Here’s my list and some advice on how to deal with them:

1. Content published irregularly

Every website (this also goes for business sites) should publish content as regularly as possible. It really doesn’t matter whether you’re publishing twice a day or once a week as long as you stick to your schedule.

Of course, you can change things up a bit over time, but don’t do it for no apparent reason every two months or so.

For example, publishing 4 posts one week, then nothing for the next month, and then switching back to 4 a week is NEVER a good idea. Your readers won’t be able to follow your blog because they won’t know what to expect.

In essence, predictability is nothing negative when it comes to publishing schedules.

2. No emails or other forms of contact

If you’re doing something good, chances are that other people will want to reach out to you and either congratulate you, or propose some form of a joint project that can present a completely new opportunity on its own. I, for example, was surprised when I was offered a paid freelance writing deal just because someone enjoyed my style of writing.

More than that, you will probably also start receiving some hate mail. I’m not saying that hate mail is something I enjoy seeing in my inbox, but it’s surely an indication that your content touches people personally, which, in essence, is a good thing.

Anyway, if there are no emails or other messages in your inbox at all, then there’s a lot of room for improvement.

3. No user feedback

A website exists as long as it’s alive, so to speak. A website lives when people read its content and interact with it in one way or the other.

This all depends on your niche, style of writing, and other things, but there should always be some form of reader activity. Some topics attract a lot of comments naturally. Others are more social-media-friendly (a lot of re-tweets). Others are more prone to bringing you a lot of direct emails (sometimes angry ones, like I said). No matter what it is, there has to be something.

If there’s no user activity at all, you’re probably in trouble.

4. Low-quality design

You really don’t have to be a designer to be able to tell whether a site is of good quality or not… However, when it comes to our own websites, we tend to NOT notice bad things about them, and we do it on purpose.

The best way of protecting ourselves against such problems is to start with a quality premium WordPress theme in the first place. Yes, you do have to spend some money if you want a quality design. Thankfully, spending it on a premium theme by ThemeFuse or Studio Press is a lot better investment than hiring a designer directly.

The truth is that visitors will evaluate your site just by looking at the design. If the design doesn’t seem professional, they will reach a conclusion that you’re not professional either.

5. Using only the “new” SEO techniques

In all seriousness, SEO indeed is the most powerful method of promotion online, especially if you’re working on making your business profitable directly because of its presence on the web. That being said, SEO doesn’t always work, and sometimes it can even hurt your site altogether.

Most problems happen when we try to do many things at the same time and make it our effort to test every new technique out there. The thing with new SEO techniques is that Google always needs a while to decide whether something is “cool” or “not cool at all.” Therefore, whenever you try something new, and then Google decides that the technique is not in tune with their guidelines, you’re cooked.

If you don’t want to lose your search engine presence, always make sure to focus on well-tested SEO techniques.

6. Poor rankings and low traffic

This is probably the simplest indicator of them all and it somewhat connects with the previous point. Google’s goal is to promote quality sites that are valuable to their readers, and to bury the weak sites at the same time.

If your site is not quality enough, Google won’t give it a good spot in the rankings, which will have a huge impact on the traffic.

If you’re not receiving the traffic you think you should be receiving (check via Google Analytics, or better yet, Clicky) it’s probably a good time to take care of some SEO and also to step up your game when it comes to publishing quality articles.

You can check your rankings through a tool like Moz or Raven Tools, or a number of free services available on the internet.

7. You have no real business plan

I know that business plans are not fun. To be honest, I hate working on anything that resembles a business plan in any shape or form. But sometimes there’s just no escape…

Generally, I advise you to treat business plans as guidance for yourself, rather then for some third-party entity that might be interested in your business. Your business plan must make your goal clear to YOU. That’s the only rule.

But what does it have to do with your website, right? Well, if you don’t have a thought through business plan then your website likely doesn’t have any action or promotion plan either. In short, your business plan is what is going to guide your actions regarding your website.

Once you have the plan ready, you can, for example, tell whether paid advertising is a good method of promotion for your site or not, and make many other similar decisions. Crafting a business plan is hard…but it pays off.

That’s it for my list of these 7 deadly indicators, but I just have one last question: What are you doing to keep your site on the quality side of the web and make your business profitable?

7 Quite Deadly Indicators That Your Online Business Website Is In Bad Shape |

What to Do if You Get Banned From Google AdWords


So you’ve just been banned from AdWords … now what?

If that’s the question on your mind, you’re in the right place.

On a personal note, I didn’t really mention this until now, but one day, I too got banned from AdWords.


As a matter of fact, I can even do you one better. I got banned from AdWords twice!

It happened a couple of years ago, at a time when I was making some nice monies with the AdWords-to-affiliate business model. Everything was going well, until this email appeared in my inbox (actual email):


Hello AdWords Advertiser,

Your AdWords account has been suspended because it doesn’t comply with our Advertising Policies and our AdWords Terms and Conditions. Please note that this means your account and any related accounts have been suspended, you can’t create any new accounts, and your ads will no longer run on Google, our search partners, or on Display Network placements.

Let me translate this into plain English:


We, Google, don’t want to have anything to do with you. And although you are ready to throw a lot of money at us, we won’t accept it because f*** you, that’s why.

So how did I manage to get banned twice? I don’t know why exactly (I can only imagine that it’s because there’s a big mess at Google), but a stunning 2 years after the initial ban notice, I got another one saying the exact same thing.

I don’t know, maybe Google feels that once in a while, they need to remind me I am banned.

Anyway, onwards.


The not-effective way of handling an AdWords ban


A standard human reflex is to just send an email back asking about the issues, trying to negotiate, saying that you will improve, promising to be a good boy, etc.


But with Google, none of that works.


Google AdWords is notoriously known for not responding to any email, so you’re just hitting a wall with every attempt to experience any form of actual human interaction with anyone at Google.


The alpha-male way of handling an AdWords ban


Note. Sorry, but if you’re looking for classic “nice guy” advice, this is not it. I won’t be talking about how you should fix your site, reach out to Google, apologize, and so on. None of this has made its way to this tutorial.

Before I go into the nitty-gritty, let’s take a look at the two possible scenarios that you might be in at the moment:


Scenario #1:

AdWords was the only traffic source for your site. A fairly common thing in the online business space, especially if your business model is affiliate marketing or advertising.
Scenario #2:

AdWords was just one of the traffic sources.
Now, this might sound counterintuitive, but the first scenario is a lot easier to deal with, even though you are losing 100% of your traffic after the ban.

Here’s what you do:



Things to do if AdWords was your only traffic source


Step #1.

Start by buying a completely new domain, new hosting account (at a new IP address; you can do this with IXWebHosting, by the way – they offer unique IPs to every customer).


Step #2.

Install WordPress, pick a new theme, and create a new structure on your new site.

The structure should be a bit different than that of the original site, but it should provide a somewhat similar experience.


Step #3.

Copy your old content to the new site. At this point, your new site is very similar to the old one, content-wise. But it does have a new design and a new structure. Not to mention the new name and web address.


Step #4.

Now the best part. Create a new AdWords account with another credit card number.

Yeah, I know, Google tells you that you can’t do that, but the fact is that it’s not so much that you can’t … you’re just not allowed.

Kind of like your mom saying “don’t touch the pie until it cools down.” You know you’re not allowed to, but you will do it anyway…

With Google, the worst that could happen is them banning you again. In which case, you will just repeat the process.


Step #5.

Launch new campaigns on your new account.



Things to do if AdWords was one of your traffic sources


This is a bit tougher.

You can’t just scrap the site because you don’t want to lose those other traffic sources, but you still want to get your advertising traffic flowing.


The simplest solution, although I will be sounding a bit obvious, is to start testing new advertising networks. Often, it’s also the best solution.

These days, there really are many possibilities. And I’m not only talking about other PPC networks, like Yahoo Advertising, 7search. You can also try media buys, direct blog ads, sponsored posts, newsletter ads, and so on.


Let me emphasize the point here. This really is the first thing I would try after being banned from AdWords.

However, if you do want to somehow get back in the system, you can do the following.

Note. High risk method.


Step #1.

Create a gateway site. This site is just a one-page site – a landing page. It should play a role of a middleman between your ad and the target page on your main site.

This means the gateway needs to feature some strong copy to convince the visitor to click through to your main site. This will obviously lower your overall CTR, but that’s another story.

The technical side of this gateway is similar to the approach described a couple of paragraphs above – you need to get a new domain and a new host.

Step #2.

Cheat your way into AdWords one more time with a new email and a new credit card. Just like described above.


Step #3.

Set your campaigns and point them to your gateway.

I’ve labeled this method high risk because it’s a lot easier for Google to get a grasp on what’s going on, so the lifespan of your new site will be even shorter.


What about “the right thing to do?”

There’s no right thing to do here.

I said it multiple times in the past and I’ll say it again; I’m not here to teach the right thing to do. I’m here to list the possibilities and leave it up to you to decide whether it’s a path worth taking in your specific situation.

I’m not judging. If you are okay with the methods described here, it’s your call. If not, that’s cool too.

Looking for some online business advice for normal people
and more resources just like this one? Jump in.

What to Do if You Get Banned From Google AdWords |

Does Sending Mass Emails (Spam) Work for Grey-Area Online Entrepreneurs?

So the other day I got an email. After giving it a thorough 3-second examination, it went straight to my spam folder. Then after a couple of hours, I went back to see it again as it actually was one of the most out of place spam emails I received in a while.

It was trying to sound like it was a personally crafted email by a real human who actually visited my site and then wrote the thing. But in the end, it was a lame attempt, mainly because of the topic of the email, which made it clear that the person was just sending mass emails. See for yourself:


Just to be clear, even though you surely know this, I don’t have anything about IP video surveillance practice published on my site. Well, at least until today I didn’t.

Anyway, it got me thinking. How effective can email spam actually be? I mean, since there’s so much stuff circulating around then maybe it is profitable for those with thick enough skin to push the send button every day?

These are the things I wanted to find out so I did some sniffing around, also known as researching. Here’s what I found:

(Disclaimer. I’m not encouraging you to spam in any way. I’m just telling you what the reality is and reporting about the numbers I’ve found. You’re a responsible human being so you can surely do the right thing with this information.)

Problem no. 1 – new stats on sending mass emails are hard to come by


Although there’s much stuff about the volume of spam circulating on the web in general, there’s not nearly as much about the results that spam brings to the ones sending it out.

Spam has become a real no-no topic and it’s probably not politically correct to talk about its effectiveness. Well, I don’t care about being politically correct… So here goes.

The data I found came from the year 2006 up to today. I do realize that a lot could have changed along the way, but I believe that the general principles are still the same. This is purely because people don’t evolve that much over a 7 year period, so most basic impulses should still be there.

Starting with:

Click-through rates are surprisingly high

Sort of…

Before I reveal the market that scores the biggest click-through rates (CTR), let me talk some raw numbers:

  • The no. 1 market scores up to 5.6% CTR.
  • The no. 2 market scores only 0.02% CTR.
  • The no. 3 market is at mere 0.0075% CTR.

It’s clear that the winner outperforms all the others by a long shot. As it turns out, not every market/topic or type of product is good for sending mass emails.

So…who’s the leader in spam? No real surprise here, it’s porn. No. 2 is pharmaceutical spam, no. 3 is advertising Rolex watches.

As explained by Francis de Souza:

Successful spam is about impulse purchases. Things like home mortgages have a lower success rate than things you’d buy on impulse. Things like Viagra, porn.

Conversion rates are predictably low

While CTRs were somewhat of a surprise to me, the story levels out with conversion rates.

To say it simply, there’s on average just 1 sale for every 12.5 million (!) spam emails sent.

This is not just an estimated number. In 2008, a team of researchers from the University of California took control over a spam network of hijacked computers and decided to use them to send their own fake spam and see what results it will produce.

After 26 days of the experiment and nearly 350 million emails sent out, they only got 28 sales. These were sales for a fictitious herbal remedy to increase one’s sex drive (seems the researchers knew what markets work for sending mass emails).

If you ask me, the small number of 28 doesn’t really make the results statistically significant. A lot can be attributed to pure chance with the numbers so low. But it’s still worth noting down that the actual conversions are surely not impressive.

Here’s the kicker, though:

Spam is still extremely profitable


Despite the fact that there’s one sale in 12.5 million emails, it still represents revenues of around $100 per day – as reported by the researchers.However, the thing with spam is that some “pros” scale it to bigger volumes and send tens of millions of such email a day. The researchers estimated that with the simple setup they had, they could make $7,000 per day if they kicked it up a notch.

The technical setup needed to send spam on a large scale is not that expensive, so it turns out that the ROI should be quite high for spammers. Basically, spammers use zombie-computers with infected software for sending out emails. The owners of those computers don’t even know that they’re sending anything. In other words, spammers use other people’s machines, bandwidth, electricity and whatnot to send the emails.

Most active spam markets


The markets most active in the spam space are:

  1. Sex/dating – 42.51% of all spam.
  2. Pharmaceutical – 32.61%.
  3. Watches – 8.55%.
  4. Jobs – 6.85%.
  5. Software – 5.86%.
  6. Casino – 1.60%.
  7. Weight loss – 0.11%.

As you can see, the list tightly follows the things that spam is proven to be most effective for – mentioned earlier in this post.

For me, the only surprise is a relatively low position of weight loss on the list. It might seem that weight loss is something that a lot of people are interested in, yet it’s not that popular when it comes to the overall spam volume.

Spam is not only email

Email is the oldest type of computer-based spam, but these days we also witness Twitter spam (both via @mentions and DMs), social media spam in general, search engine spam (hey, if a site has nothing on it yet it ranks for a popular keyword then it’s still spam), YouTube spam (videos optimized for certain keywords, with only a picture throughout the whole video and a link to a spam page), and more.

The social media spam space gets a bit ridiculous if you ask me. For example, there are 3.5 billion (that’s billion) spam tweets posted on Twitter every day. A staggering 40% of social media accounts are spam accounts, and 8% of all social media posts are spam (and if you add all of people’s pictures of their children and their pets this will probably make it more like 60%).


In the end, sending mass emails and spam in general is huge on the web. It’s the new black. Scratch that; it has always been the new black. And it’s not going anywhere.

But again, I am not writing this to encourage you to join the spam-world. I’m just reporting on the reality that we have to face when working on the web. It’s always better to know this stuff than to believe in a fairy tale that spammers are just stupid. They’re not. They make a ton of money off our frustration.

If you like the stuff, just enter your name and email below to sign up to my newsletter,
where you’ll get more resources just like this one.

Does Sending Mass Emails (Spam) Work for Grey-Area Online Entrepreneurs? |

Dangerous SEO – How Not To Fall Victim

And we’re back to SEO again… sorry about this. But it just so happens that I’ve been browsing some of the guest posts I had the privilege to publish in the recent months and I’ve decided to share three of them with you. As you’d have guessed it, they are about SEO. To be more particular, it’s about how easy it is to screw up your site.

I’m sure you can see why this is highly relevant to running an online business. Quite frankly, if you mess up your reputation with Google, then you have very limited possibilities when it comes to promotion on the web. I mean, there’s still paid advertising, social media and direct visits from guest posts, but for most businesses, the loss of Google rankings still equals a huge knockout blow.


To be honest, I have to admit that I was kind of getting the whole SEO game wrong. I mean, I knew the easy part, which is that rankings = traffic. But as it turns out, this is a big BIG simplification.

Mainly, rankings are not the important part in SEO. And as counterintuitive as this sounds, it is true. To find out what I’m on about I’m inviting you to the first post on the list:

Rankings Are Not Important In SEO! Then What Is?

I believe that the above is a crucial thing to understand if we want to protect ourselves from making some silly mistakes and ultimately, killing our reputation with Google.

Just think about it, if you don’t know what exactly you’re aiming at with SEO, then Google will likely get a grasp of your uncertainty very quickly and then penalize you for it. Well, that’s the short version of the story.

Next, we have a range of issues that can present themselves when you already have a plan, but you’re starting to overkill on the execution, so to speak.

As it turns out, it’s very easy to over-optimize a site. I, for example, have done it repeatedly in the past year or so. All it takes is just this one new SEO automation plugin, this one new nofollow link here, this one new site-wide link there and before you know it, you’re screwed. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

Here are two posts of mine that explain some of the common problems in detail. The first, WordPress-specific one:

WordPress SEO Guide: Things to be Careful With

And the second one:

5 SEO Mistakes That Will Kill Your Website

Of course, to really have your finger on the pulse, I highly encourage you to subscribe to some popular SEO blogs to get the most updated top-of-the-line advice available; blogs like SEOmoz.

Not every entrepreneur enjoys this fact, but a big part of growing an online business has a direct connection to SEO. And although you can outsource SEO tasks completely, I don’t think you should. Essentially, SEO is your most powerful method of promotion and often the thing that defines your online being. Having at least some control over it gives you the ability to take action in case something unpredictable happens, hence, the importance of education and learning the basics of SEO at the least.

Anyway, what do you think? Do you take an active part in your online business’ SEO?

Dangerous SEO – How Not To Fall Victim |

If You Were Interested in The Essentials of Online Business, Where Should You Go?

EssentialsHonestly, if I were to start all over again with online business, apart from the fact that I would be seriously scared due to all the things I’d have to get familiar with in a short span of time, I’d also need a clear and understandable starting point.

And when I’m talking about starting an online business journey, I don’t simply mean launching yet another business. What I actually mean is building everything from the ground up, including your knowledge, expertise, learning the essential skills, getting familiar with the tools, having the right mindset, creating a business launch blueprint and so on. In a word, lots of things to do.

You may have noticed that I’m releasing quite a bit of new resource/hub pages here as of late, and this post follows the trend announcing yet another similar page (it’s not the last one, by the way).

I’m talking about this:

Things you can find inside:

  1. Launching your first online business step by step.
  2. What the most common online business models are.
  3. Where to get some essential tools.
  4. How to build the essential knowledge and skills.
  5. How to start building your mindset (probably the most important thing).

With that being said, this hub page is the shortest one to date. This is purely intentional as I really wanted to focus only on the essential stuff and no by-the-way content, so to speak.

I guess that’s enough advertising for the page. I hope you’ll enjoy it and that it’ll help you get started with your online entrepreneurship adventure. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them here.

If You Were Interested in The Essentials of Online Business, Where Should You Go? |

What if I Took the COMPLETE How-To on Building a New Online Business Site and Published It IN ONE PLACE?

tabletWell, actually, I just did.

This concept of structured resource pages is really taking off here at newInternetOrder so I’ve decided to keep up the paste and publish another page today. This time, as you can see in the headline, it’s about building and launching a new online business site.

First or all, it focuses on the technical side of things. So no niche research, no keyword research, no advertising, no partnership building or anything like it. Just straightforward technical how-to for everyone who wants to launch a new site quickly, and then use it as a base of a new online business.

Here’s the link to the page:

And here’s what you can find there:

  1. Choosing a domain name for your online business – tools, how to select a domain name, what TLD to get (.com, .net, ?), where to make the purchase.
  2. How to handle web hosting for your online business – why you need a web host, free vs. paid hosting, choosing a web host and a hosting plan, where to buy hosting, connecting your domain and hosting together.
  3. How to build and install your website – getting started with a website, why you don’t need expensive designers and developers, what is WordPress and what it can do for you, installing WordPress in 5 minutes, selecting a theme (and where to get a quality one), understanding plugins (and which ones to get), SEO, site security (important).
  4. Blogging for online business; how to blog effectively – does your online business need a blog, how to blog, how to turn your blog into a valuable asset for your business.
  5. Getting an edge in online business – advanced WordPress tactics – what steps to take next in order to make your WordPress site hyper-optimized and highly reader-friendly.

There’s truly a lot of content. But you can consume it in one of three alternative ways. You can either (1) read the whole thing from start to finish, (2) go directly to the parts that interest you the most (there’s a cool navigation provided on the page), or you can (3) display the content as a list of links for future reference.

I hope you enjoy it and that it’ll help you get going with your new site. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them here.

What if I Took the COMPLETE How-To on Building a New Online Business Site and Published It IN ONE PLACE? |

The 6 Pillars of Online Business

pillars-sBig sounding headline, isn’t it? Actually, I’m using it to convey the gravity of the topic, and emphasize that running an online business requires you to put some groundwork in place, hence the pillars.

Of course, this is just my take on the matter, and you’ll surely find other entrepreneurs and bloggers who will present a completely different approach. However, if you want to find a good starting point for your online business, I believe this is it.

The trick with online business is that it’s not the most intuitive line of career out there.

I mean, if you want to open a traditional brick-and-mortar café, for example, then even though the venture will still be challenging, you kind of know what you need to take care of in order to succeed … things like: good location, nice interior design, good deals with suppliers, professional team of employees, education and training programs for employees, advertising, good and unique offer, attractive prices, and so on. Listing all these things isn’t that difficult. But what about online business? Well, online business has its own pillars…

(Note. I encourage you to check out one of my posts talking about the differences of online business vs. offline business.)


1. Core technology

The first, and crucial, pillar. There’s no online business without at least some technology involved. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a tech pro to be able to handle it.

I admit, I’ve a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, but to be honest, I never actually use any of my “university knowledge” when doing business online.

Your absolute minimal core technology is comprised of just three things:

  1. Domain name.
  2. Hosting account.
  3. Website.

(Well, okay, you also need a computer, but this is kind of obvious.)

Domain name is your address on the internet. Mine is

Getting a domain name isn’t a complicated process, but choosing it can take some research time.

A while ago I published two posts on how to select a domain name. The advice is fully relevant today too. Check them out:

The actual registration can be done through Go Daddy. A domain will cost you around $10 a year.

Hosting account. If I said that a hosting account is where your website is hosted then it wouldn’t be very helpful, would it?

“Hosted” is just another way of saying “stored.” Therefore, a hosting account is where your website is stored. On top of that, it’s also where every visitor can access it.

Hosting is actually one of the more complicated aspects of computer technology, but the good thing is that you don’t have to know a lot about it in order to work with your website.

The setup process of a hosting account is actually fairly straightforward. You just have to sign up for an account, and then work with the support team to get your domain connected to the host. (They can also help you to install your website if you don’t feel like doing it yourself.)

Not that long ago, I wrote a post titled web hosting for online business – complete guide. Feel free to check it out to get all the information you need for a quick start.

Website. This is the last element and actually the one you’re going to work with on a daily basis.

Interestingly, the creation, development, and launch process of your new site can be as long or as short as you make it.

The thing is that you can either go with some ready-made solutions, develop new ones yourself if you have the skill, or hire someone to help you with the whole process.

This also depends on how much money you want to spend on this. Doing things on a budget won’t consume more than $100. On the other hand, hiring a professional can set you back $5,000 or more.

Since it’s the bootstrapping approach we’re focusing on here, let’s keep this on a budget.

Rule #1: use WordPress. It’s a website management platform that’s free and powerful (it’s the one I’m using to run this site).

You can find out how to get and install WordPress in 5 minutes in one of my other articles.

Once you have WordPress, you need to get a unique design that’s going to represent your website and convey its brand. If hiring a professional developer is not an option then consider one of the respected theme stores like ThemeFuse or WooThemes. They will provide you with really great quality themes, that are optimized, safe, and in-tune with modern standards.

When you have the theme, you can install it on your site. This is a quite simple process: how to install a theme.

Apart from the above, there’s a ton of other things you can do with your WordPress site. The number of available plugins is truly exceptional. It’s kind of similar to the situation in the Apple App Store … meaning that if you need some cool feature on your site, there’s surely a plugin for that.

(You can check my list of essential plugins if you’re interested.)

2. The offer

The second pillar is your offering. In other words, what is this cool thing you do that can benefit other people up to the point where they’d be ready to pay for it?

One of the most important things to keep in mind here is not to do any shitty product creation like some people advise … the “you can create a product in one day” -fairytale.

Product creation takes time. This is simply a fact. If you don’t want to believe me then it’s your call. The internet is full of sites where the author will be convincing you that products can be created in hours. If that vision is more attractive to you then by all means tune in to it. But the reality still stays the same – there’s no quick and effortless product creation (something I talk about in the art of polishing a turd).

But products are not the only way for online businesses to make money. Offering your services is another approach that works really well.

For instance, my freelance writing services is something I started offering by accident, but it led me to my first book deal (PACKT Publishing). So you never know what outcome the future holds for you.

There’s a series of posts on this blog that talks about various online business models, feel free to check it out and try to find the one that appeals to you the most:


3. Marketing

The third pillar is marketing. In other words, how you’re going to promote your offering.

An interesting thing we can notice among online entrepreneurs is that some of them have a lot of natural talent for marketing, while others have to spend long hours learning and testing things out.

Either way, your business doesn’t exist on the internet if you’re not doing any marketing. In my opinion, the first rule of marketing an online business is:

If you build it, they won’t come.

Internet is simply too vast for anyone to stumble upon your site by accident. In the real world, for example, when you have a café, people will come across it every day if they just happen to be in the neighborhood. On the web, it doesn’t work like that.

Here are some popular elements of online marketing:

  • advertising,
  • SEO,
  • link building,
  • social media,
  • word of mouth.

Each of these elements is powerful enough to make your business profitable on its own, but as I said, it requires a lot of testing.

Although you don’t have to be an expert in all of the above, getting at least some knowledge in each of these topics is a must. That way you can pick the most suitable one for your needs later on.

Check out my brain dead simple explanation of marketing, and one of my favorite post on this blog – what being drunk can teach you about life and online business.

I also encourage you to look for advice on other blogs, but be careful not to get fooled into buying some crappy education (distraction marketing). Speaking of education…

4. Minimal education

In essence, education is great. But there’s just so much stuff available online that this whole information overload can paralyze you completely.

I’m a fan of minimal education. If you want to do something, obtain just the minimal amount of information needed and take action as soon as possible.

And this is not an opinion I always had. There was time when I was so lost in consuming this “yet another piece of advice” that I literally couldn’t get anything done. It really is a dangerous habit.

On top of that, there’s just so much crappy educational products about online business out there that getting scammed is more than easy. Here’s a two-step process on how to protect yourself from getting scammed:

  1. Realize the 1st rule of BS.
  2. Understand that most of the so-called gurus just want to get you on their email lists so they can constantly push their crap and sell you something every month.

Let’s do a simple exercise, think of a certain guru, the first person that comes to mind … got it? okay … never ever buy anything from that person!

If you want to get some heads up on who’s on the bad guys team in this industry, feel free to follow the Salty Droid.

5. Tools

To be honest, tools are a pretty individual thing (everyone has their own favorites), so I encourage you to experiment and check a bunch of them out before making any final decisions.

The typical set of tools for online business consists of:

  • a market research tool,
  • a keyword research tool,
  • marketing tools,
  • productivity tools,
  • data synchronization and backup tools,
  • content creation tools,
  • monitoring tools.

There’s truly a massive amount of stuff available online. The best thing to do before you decide to get any particular tool is to search for some genuine reviews online (reviews published by people who actually have the tool in their possession, and are not just writing a review based on the promotional material).

You can find my recommend set of tools on the official tools page, and my top 12 favorite tools ever. Additionally, you can also check out my review of Market Samurai – one of the top market research and keyword tools.

6. Productivity

The final pillar of online business. The topic of productivity has gotten really popular in the recent years. The thing is that no matter what we do, we only have 24 hours in a day, and if we learn how to use this time effectively, we can make a lot of things happen in our lives.

For an online entrepreneur, productivity is especially crucial because there’s no boss standing above us and telling us what to do. It’s really easy to fall victim to procrastination, or other common problems.

What has turned out to be a great solution for me is a work and time management methodology called Getting Things Done (GTD). Over the years, I wrote a number of articles related to the topic of productivity and GTD.

If you want to give it a shot and learn this methodology too then hop over to my series at Lifehack titled “Productivity Made Simple” – it provides a cool GTD guide.


Okay … now what?

These are the pillars … okay … so now what? -says you.

The key to success is to develop your skills/background in all six pillars at the same time.

Think of it like building an ancient structure of some kind … if you place just one pillar instead of the required six, your structure will fall right away. Using three will probably keep it standing, but not very stable. Only having the complete set of pillars put in place guarantees a stable structure.

I know that it seems like a lot of work, and it kind of is… Sorry the be the one to break this to you.

Unfortunately there are no shortcuts, and if someone wants to convince you that there are, they’re just trying to sell you something.

The good side, though, is that you don’t need to become an expert in all pillars at once. You can do everything step by step. Start by building small pillars and then expand each one gradually. This way your business can grow evenly in all areas.

Okay, enough talking. It’s about time to take some action! (That includes me too.)

The 6 Pillars of Online Business |