How To Make Money Online In 10 Steps: Steps 1-5

MAKING-MONEY-ONLINE-Steps-1-through-5

 

» Related: Part II of E-book: How To Make Money Online in 10 Quick Steps

Introduction

Step 1 – What Do You Want?

Step 2 – Find a Host

Step 3 – Choose Your Platform

Step 4 – Equip for the Future

Step 5 – Customize

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Introduction on How To Make Money Online In 10 Steps

Introduction

To those about to create, I salute you!

First of all I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you, for taking the time to contribute to the online world and read this post. Nowadays we don’t have much time to relax and read, even things that are of great benefits to us, as I hope this post will be to you. For this reason, I will try to keep it short and simple as much as possible without sacrificing key points.

Secondly, I want to congratulate you on taking the most important step of any journey, the first step. You can wish and hope all you want, and you can have ideas that would make Einstein himself applaud you in awe; but if you don’t take that crucial first step, well then your ideas are worth about as much as monopoly money is in our monetary system. In other words, worthless!

Which is why I am very excited that you are here, that you took that first step with great vigor, and are anxious to equip yourself with proper due diligence before embarking on a long and prosperous journey to financial stability!

This post will present you with a great deal of knowledge, gained through many years of experience; knowledge that has been sifted again and again, discarding irrelevant material and bundling the shiny gold nuggets left over in the sifter, into ten key steps.

This post will carefully guide you, step by step, through each of the phases and ultimately by the end of this post this post you will be ready to operate your own internet money making machine. This is my ultimate goal and ambition, for you to make money using this knowledge.

One day, when you have already journeyed for quite some time, my hope is that you shall want to do the same for future generations, and by then you will have something to teach me too.


how to make money oinline steps 1 what do you want

How To Make Money Online: Step 1 - What Do You Want?

Please, please, please, answer this question prior to going forward with this endeavor. It is of the utmost importance that you know and realize what it is that you are ultimately seeking to achieve with all of this.

Ideas

As you go along, you’ll often find that ideas will come at you from all directions. The more you learn, the more your imagination will expand and begin to recognize and create all sorts of patterns and potential million dollar ideas. Be careful of this state of bliss, delusion, and most importantly of the expert syndrome.

Don’t ever stop learning. And the only way you will continue to learn is to snap out of the imagination phase and actually begin to create and learn through trial and error. This is the greatest knowledge you can attain, and this is something that no one can teach you per se, your mind has to go through it.

So, the next time you conceive that multi-million dollar idea, take a step back and re-evaluate the situation a bit. Grab your laptop, notepad, pen and paper; whatever you can access easiest, and write down the necessary steps for materializing your thoughts.

This will help you to initially identify the resources you will need for bringing the idea to life. It will also help gauge the feasibility of the idea, by breaking it down into chronological steps it will give you a better picture of how much money, time, labor etc. you will have to provide for its fruition.

Finally, if the idea still makes sense, and you are not dissuaded by this process (as is often the case), you transfer the steps you wrote down and turn them into goals. I love this step, and you should too!

Goals

What I mean to say by this is exactly what Harvey MacKay had in mind when he said,

A dream is just a dream. A goal is a dream with a plan and a deadline.”

Set a goal for yourself, and more importantly, set a deadline!

It doesn’t matter whether you are a high school or college student with all the time in the world, and are looking to experiment with whatever money making opportunities are out there. Nor does it matter if you are a full time employee at some company and are looking to build a passive income channel with hope of turning it into your main income source. Set a damn goal and a deadline!

At this point you may be asking; well what does that have to do with what I want? Good, keep asking questions, question everything.

Here’s the deal. By setting goals and deadlines, you will have taken the steps you extrapolated from your grand idea earlier, broken them down into smaller more easily attainable steps, each with a dead line as to when it has to be done, and each working towards a greater goal.

Ultimately you will answer the question which is the title of this chapter. You will do this by having taken an idea, turning it into a collection of attainable goals with due dates, which collectively is what you really meant when you shouted your idea. Except in this way, it will actually materialize and not become another one of a gazillion could have been, should’ve been types. Neat isn’t it.

All you have to do is write down what your goal for doing something is, and by when it needs to be done; no excuses.


how to make money oinline step 2 find a host

How To Make Money Online: Step 2 - Find a Host

A host…you know, like when you go out of town to that long lost friend’s house in sunny San Diego, and they play host to you and your five cousins looking to drink all the available alcohol in California in three days. Well, kind of like that, except your friend is now an Accountant and charges you. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we.

Domain Name

But, but…what am I going to name my website?  You never even mentioned this seemingly most important thing! How am I to name my website!? I can already hear you thinking this aloud.

First of all, naming your website is definitely important, and though you can rebrand later on, the name you choose will most likely be your brand name from the get-go. So choose wisely!

You will find that many so called “gurus” or “experts” (really dislike that word by the way) will try to sell you on this thing called the EDM, or Exact Domain Match. Essentially, if your website is to be about pet food for huskies, name it PetFoodForHuskies.com. Please take some time to think about the sustainability of your website before taking this approach.

Firstly, the Big Brother himself (ahem, starts with a letter G) has stated that they have taken a stance against the effectiveness of this approach. You can thank all the spammers out there who, for years, bombarded the internet with absolute garbage for that. So, off the bat, if you choose this approach the long term success of your site will technically be at a disadvantage.

Secondly, and more importantly, the name you choose, however much meaning it carries for you personally, is ultimately only as good as what’s behind it. So, some very valuable advice many wish they had when starting out is, in lieu of trying to come up with a perfect name, think instead about long term success via providing valuable content for visitors. This is what matters my friends, value. There is nothing greater in this world than to be of value to others.

Hosting

Alright, here we are! So, you’ve decided that you like the name you came up with; and you’re not worried about your know it all cousin who keeps trying to persuade you to rank for these things called “keywords” by putting them in your domain name, because you know you will outrank others in search results by providing value!

Great! So, uh, what now? Well, now you find a host provider.

A “Web Hosting Provider,” is someone who is in the business of providing space on the internet for websites. Therefore, if you want to make a website and publish it on the internet for people to search and find, you must buy space. Similar to paying rent actually, or to your Accountant friend in San Diego for your stay.

The way it works is that the host stores you website files in high-powered computers, or web servers, which are connected to a very fast network, much faster than say, you internet connection (sorry, it’s true).

So, when someone types in your domain name into their web browser, the internet connects to your host and requests that they transfer your website files to the visitor’s computer. Your host happily obliges (you do pay, them after all) and the person who searched for your website is able to see and search the entirety of your website from their own computer, notepad, smartphone, etc.

Hosting Providers

It can be a real pain to switch hosts at times, especially as your website grows and you just can’t afford to risk losing crucial files, having the site down for an extended period of time, and just going through the hassle of figuring out what went wrong and where.

As you can imagine then, choosing a host is quite important. It’s like getting into a long term relationship, you have to be willing to grow with each other and work out and problems you may encounter along the way. On that note, remember that external beauty is not necessarily all there is to a person, analogously though a hosting provider may look amazing on the outside and have great marketing, it’s more important to find the one that fits your needs and to accomplish your set goals.

Hosting providers that have made a name for themselves on the internet over the years include: HostGator, Bluehost, GoDaddy, and WebHosting Hub.

But they are by no means all there is out there; it’s a very competitive market due to the lucrative nature of the industry. Additionally, each has different packages to offer you, at different prices. But for the most part, the differences between hosts lie in the user interfaces and the quality of their customer service. The general features and offered hosting packages are relatively similar from one company to the next.

A good way to choose amongst the bunch, and receive an honest evaluation on the pros and cons, is by utilizing the various review websites out there, such as WebHostCritic.com, Lifehacker.com, and WebHosting.info.

Most hosting providers are also domain registrars as well and therefore, to entice you to sign up, will provide the domain name for free.

Finally, my guess is that you will want to go with a basic package in the beginning, but you will want to upgrade later, so choose wisely.


how to make money oinline step 3 choose your platform

How To Make Money Online: Step 3 – Choose Your Platform

You’re already at the point of choosing a platform!? Your progress is admirable! Ok, let’s get right to it.

In the interest of time, and assuming that you are reading this with a basic level of understanding when it comes to setting up websites/blogs on content management systems, I am going to try and keep it as simple as possible.

Content Management System (CMS)

To put it simply, this is ultimately what your website is all in one place. All the pages, articles, blogs, images, etc. are stored and accessible through this system of content management which you install onto your website with a click of the mouse, from your hosts control panel dashboard; when you sign up with a host you are able to login to the dashboard and see your websites entire backend operation.

The reason this is genius, is because nothing has to be stored on your personal desktop/laptop. It is all stored in the web server hosting you purchased in Step 2. So let’s say you published an article and need to make a change, a CMS will let you simply login, edit what you want, and update the published piece. Brilliant, isn’t it! No more storing that article on your computer, making changes, and then uploading that same article from your computer for every little change.

CMS platforms also allow multiple administrators or editors to maintain online content without conflicting with each other. And most importantly, CMS products provide separation between articles and web design, thus allowing you to focus on writing content and not worry about copying the web design from page to page.

CMS products can also automatically update menus and links between pages based on the list of articles you create; therefore you don’t need to worry about your website becoming broken when you rename pages. There are many, many, benefits of CMS when it comes to aspiring entrepreneurs and saving time, but we’ll leave it at these for now.

Choosing a CMS

When it comes to choosing the right Content Management System for your needs, it can end up being a challenging decision. However, in this postthis post, once again assuming you are somewhat of a novice of the internet money making world, I will narrow it down to three choices: WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

I firmly believe, and my experience tells me rightly so, that the three presented choices will more than suffice for what you, as an aspiring internet entrepreneur, will require. If you still don’t believe me, here is the market share breakdown of the top one million websites using CMS. [2]

Best Content Management Platform

 

Note: You will come across persons who have differing opinions of CMS platforms based on their personal needs, prior experience and comfort level with specific technologies, that is usually later on in the game; for now please take into consideration that this guide is provided only as a general overview of popular CMS choices for those unfamiliar with CMS products or concepts (ahem, YOU).

Let’s get back on track shall we.

The three main questions to answer when choosing a CMS are:

  1. Does it match your needs?
  2. Will it allow for growth and extensibility as you scale?
  3. Is there a support community?

Luckily for you, any of the three mentioned CMS platforms will more than match your needs when you are starting out. As far as allowing for growth and extensibility, the three mentioned platforms are perfect examples of scalability. In essence:

WordPress     
Perfect for starting out small, things like: blogs, small business websites, affiliate sites, or personal sites.

Joomla
Great for: medium sized business sites, multimedia sites, membership sites, directories, small e-commerce websites, etc.

Drupal
Ideal for: enterprises sites, companies that have IT staff, large sites.

To sum it up, when it comes to allowing for growth and extensibility: WordPress is great if your needs can be met by a light and simple template based site or a simple blog style site with a few plug-ins for added functionality.  Joomla maybe very well be the best choice for dynamic websites designed for growth and multitude of features. And if this is mission critical and you will have high traffic then Drupal might be the way to go even if you have to hire technical help.

Moving on to question number three, this is one of the most important aspects, because at some point, YOU WILL GET STUCK. Many times actually, it’s just the way it goes.

This is also a big part of why I presented you with the three choices I did. They have huge support communities! When you find yourself going through the learning curve and just can’t seem to figure something out for the life of you, all you will have to do is pull up the community forum and type in your question. It wasn’t always like this by the way, some of us (hint, hint) had to go through the Dark Ages and suffer first hand. Only to build a solid foundation that yourself can now stand on and further build upon.

Beginners Choice

I suggest you use WordPress to start out with and here is why.

WordPress has the biggest usage rate at 15.70% for a number of reasons:

  • it is easy to use
  • has a large community
  • tons of templates
  • huge selection of free & paid plug-ins for extensibility

Additionally, if there is something you need to do that you can’t currently do with WordPress you can bet someone is working on a plug-in that will add that functionality to it right now, as I write this. And most quality hosting companies offer one-click installs of WordPress.

It’s very easy to:

  • add new content,
  • add widgets by drag-and-drop functionality
  • add change the look/theme of your site

Optimizing your website for search engines with WordPress is very good if it’s set up properly and there are several search engine optimization plugins that focus specifically on WordPress. Trust me; this will save you hours upon hours of work and be of great benefit to you; by making sure Google and other search engines know your site exists and thereby showing it to people when they search for specific keywords related to what your site is all about.

Installing the CMS

As mentioned earlier, most hosts offer “one-click” installations of the main CMS platforms out there. Simply login to your hosts Control Panel; or cPanel as it is known. When you signed up with a host you should have been provided login credentials to the cPanel.

Accessing the cPanel is quite elementary, you just type in you domain, forward slash, followed by the word cpanel; as such yourdomain.com/cpanel. That’s it! That is all you have to do to go to the login page.

Once you login, navigate to the CMS platforms installations section. Usually this is self-evident with most hosts; they either name it “One-Click Installs,” “CMS Platforms,” or something along those lines. It should not be overly difficult to locate, should you run into any trouble, simply pull up a Live Chat session with your hosts customer support.

Once you are able to install the CMS, play around with it until you get comfortable with it and then proceed on to the next step.


how to make money oinline step 4 equip for the future

How To Make Money Online: Step 4 – Equip for the Future

Before I can go any further, I’d like to point out that the following “equipment” will apply to WordPress specifically. However, the concept and the general categories of the plugins are applicable across CMS platforms and should be utilized accordingly.

Furthermore I will list the ten plugins I believe are of the utmost importance, before you begin working on anything else.

Ten Free Quality WordPress Plugins

Don’t worry if the above list looks like hieroglyphic symbol to you; every great artist was once an amateur.

Let us decipher the Code of Hammurabi written above, and go into more detail about what each of those words really means and why it is of the utmost importance to have installed on your Content Management System.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

WordPress already has a great foundation for SEO, but adding this plugin helps you learn what factors are important and impact search results. Using this isn’t going to necessarily translate into top rankings, but it immensely helps you hand through simple search optimization steps. Basically if you aren’t optimizing your content for search engines, no matter how good your content is, it doesn’t have a good chance of being seen by others. This plugin makes sure you do just that, by analyzing your drafts, grading them, and telling you where your errors are.

Akismet

Ah, Good old Akismet. A must have plugin that prevents your website from being filled with spam comments. It lets you review all of the spam comments, and believe you me; there are tons and tons of them. Akismet stops them from being automatically posted and showing up on your website; it lets you review them firsthand via your WordPress dashboard. Website visitors dislike spam very much, but not nearly as much as me!

Contact Form 7

You want your visitors to be able to get ahold of you. Maybe they noticed an error on your website and are providing friendly feedback. But you don’t want just anyone contacting you, for example you don’t want non-humans being able to send you stuff. Non-humans are programmed robots that spammers use. This plugin allows you to manage multiple contact forms on your website and has security features such as (human verification) CAPTCHA and (our good friend) Akismet spam filtering.

Google XML Sitemaps

Let’s just say that, if you don’t have this installed, your rankings will suffer and take longer to be noticed by search engines. This plugin generates a sitemap of your website and helps the pages and posts get indexed by the major search engines promptly. Every time you publish a new post, the plugin notifies the search engines. This is the easiest way to provide Google and other search engines an easy structure to index. You don’t do anything but install and activate the plugin. Sweet!

Digg Digg

Nowadays social sharing is one of the most important aspects of content marketing and making money online. Search engines have hinted that they are increasingly beginning to look at the social strength of content. This is an all-in-one social sharing tool. When you install and activate Digg Digg, it shows up on the pages and posts that you set it to show up on. It provides a nice looking social toolbar and gives your visitors an easy way to share the content across their social media profiles. I’m sure you have seen this around the internet; there is a good chance you’ve used it before.

404 to Start

We don’t want your website looking like it is down, or that it is not functioning properly. It could cost you dearly. If someone comes to your website and see a big error message, they will get deterred and possibly for good.This is a plugin that quickly eliminates those errors (called 404 Errors) by redirecting any broken page to the homepage or another page that you can specify. Also, if someone attempts to visit your site through a broken link they will land on the homepage (or any other specified page).

Subscribe2

Want to know the best way to make money online? Build a user database. You can do this by obtaining names and e-mails of your visitors. This plugin is all about helping you achieve that. It’s an easy to use subscription management system as well as an email notification system. Your visitors can submit their email addresses to be alerted when new content is published on the site. It’s an extremely important tool in building you database of users, and also by bringing your users back to your website and continuously providing them valuable content.

Google Analytics for WordPress

Pretty much just connects your Google Analytics (we’ll talk more about this later) to your Content Management System (WordPress), swiftly. Very cool tool, because you don’t have to continuously navigate to Google Analytics to see what your traffic is like, it is all there on the WordPress dashboard for your viewing pleasure.

All-In-One WP Security & Firewall

Imagine working on something so hard and for so long, only to have it taken away from you by someone with malicious intent. Thus, this plugin is important for obvious reasons. Though WordPress in itself is a very secure platform, this plugin adds extra security, and though it is written and designed by experts it is very easy to use and understand.

W3 Total Cache

This makes sure your website is operating at its optimal speed. There is nothing worse than surfing a slow website in the modern day and age. I’ve been there, and I’m sure you have as well. Having your website that forever to load and jump from page to page, will definitely result in your visitors leaving relatively quickly and probably not returning. Maybe not the first time, but most likely they will not go through it.

Wrapping Up

These are by no means all that is out there; in fact you’ll come to find that there are literally thousands upon thousands of various plugins and extensions out there for WordPress alone.

I’ve chosen these to get you started not only because they’ve personally worked for me and friends of mine, they are also generally agreed upon by the internet community utilizing WordPress as a CMS platform. Additionally, if ultimately you end up not choosing WordPress as your CMS platform, this list of essential plugins will give you an idea of what to look for and install on your chosen platform, as the intent and functionality behind the plugins is the same across all platforms.

Before moving onto the next step, make sure you install and familiarize yourself with the above mentioned plugins.


how to make money oinline steps 1 through 5

How To Make Money Online: Step 5 – Customize

You’ve seen thus far what plugins are and how they can extend the functionality of the site. Let me just illustrate one more imagery and use that in this chapter to advance your comfort level with customization.

When you think of a website, it helps to think of it like a Lego set. You have different things that you can put together, like blocks or wheels, depending on what you intend on making. A website, especially one that is like WordPress, comes with the basic site, and you plug in the different blocks to make different things. That’s what plugins do. They are the blocks of functionality that plug into the basic site and allow the content to come alive.

This framework-plugin model allows you to customize just about anything. Whether you are planning on erecting an e-commerce website or if you just want to rant about frustrations at work. The basic framework can be expanded or contracted to fit your needs.

Another area that helps in the customization of your site are something called widgets. Widgets are a little different from plugins. Widgets do handy little things around your site. Compared to a plugin, widgets are tiny in terms package size and adds to the functionality of the site.

Customization has a number of degrees. You can either customize the entire site from the way it looks to the way to responds, or you can take something off the rack and do minor tweaks to make the site accomplish what you need and look the way you want. The flexibility of this framework and the ease of putting it together makes a difference for those of you who are only interested in getting the site off the ground, instead of having to become a web designer and programmer to get your site up.

In the pursuit of making money online, you need to do two things to profit from your product. First, you need to get the word out. Getting the word out is the function of the content. At the very least, you need content. Without content, you have nothing to communicate.

The second thing you need is great visuals. The website you build gives you the opportunity to deliver content and visuals. Only on top of this can you even think of getting social media and marketing done.

The customization you need to think about can be categorized into three areas.

Look & Feel

The first round of customization needs to address the look and feel of the site. There are two ways you can handle this. One is with of the rack themes that allow some degree of customization in terms of color and layout. The second, if you want something completely unique, that follows your branding down to the last pixel, then you need to get in touch with a web designer.

When you want to customize the look and feel, you start by look at the various themes and skins that are on the market. There are enough out there that are free and can get you started before your product breaks even. Once you’re making money, there are a number of premium designers and themes that really raise the site to a new level. However, start humble.

Functionality

The next thing to consider is the functionality of the site. Many of the CMS solutions even have comprehensive commerce flexibility and allow you to set up shop directly from the blog or website. Setting up is also very easy. Functionality has two dimensions to it. One is the extent of the functions. This really refers to how far the site can do what you need it to do. The second is the easy of doing it. When you set up the site you need to be able to cater to the lowest common denominator of you target market.

This just means that you need to make the site easily navigable. There are quite a few people that are still getting to know their way around a website. If you make it too complicated it will affect your conversion rates. One of the ways to overcome this is to make sure you keep tabs on your analytics.

There is a very cool tool that you can use for this and it’s referred to as heat mapping. Heat mapping tracks the position of the user’s cursor. Users typically use their curses when they read. It tends to follow their eyes. Because of this phenomenon, you can record where the cursor travels on the screen.  How do you use this? Well if you start seeing your bounce rate remaining lofty and when you look at the heat map to see where everyone seems to be jumping ship, you may just find the offending text, paragraph or content that sends your potential customer packing.

The third set of plugins you need to think about are ones that optimize the search engine profile of your site. There are numerous parameters that o into determining the weight of your site. Only one of them is authority and even though that is very important, search engines also pay attention to the technical aspects of your site. Some engines even measure the length of time it takes your site to load. Slowly loading sites are given lesser priority. These are things that you need to keep track of. Even professional SEO managers have software to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. You need that too. When you use the CMS framework there are a number of plugins that you can chose to accomplish this.


 Wrapping Up Part I

Congratulations on making it through the first five steps on the journey of learning how to make money online. You are now properly equipped with the basic knowledge of the pre-requisites to a solid foundation to online success.

Don’t stop here, Part II is ahead. Continue your progress by taking on the knowledge presented in Part II and beyond that by implementing the techniques mentioned in this guide.

» Continue To: Part II of E-book: How To Make Money Online in 10 Quick Steps (by Ethan Young)