Success Is Achieved By Doing The Fundamentals

Part of the Kenno's Blog series.
By Ken Brown
Editor, You Can Learn Series
December 28, 2007

As 2008 quickly approaches it is time for us to consider what we can do to improve our websites and blogs. We need to look back over what we accomplished in 2007 and determine if we are happy with the results. Did we get the number of visitors we wished for? Did our visitors click on revenue producing links and ads? Were our page views up for the year or down? Did users visit more than one page? Did they make it to the order form and then abandon or did they continue and purchase our products?

Sometimes we are so busy writing articles, fulfilling orders and commenting on other blogs, we never take the time to see if all the things we are doing are producing the best results. I encourage you to stop today and evaluate where you have been. If you could analyze your current results and see holes in your strategies that could up your numbers by 25%; wouldn't that be excellent?

I am a big believer in the philosophy that there are certain fundamentals that if performed correctly and consistently will produce better results. I liken it to a basketball player. That basketball player has to know how to dribble, pass, and shoot. If she doesn't know how to dribble then she will have a leg missing in the three legged stool of fundamentals. You don't make it to the pros without learning and applying the fundamentals successfully and consistently.

What are the fundamentals for Internet Success?

The first section of this article I will deal with what I believe the fundamentals of Internet success are. Once we get the fundamentals and perform those successfully you can see improvement in many areas including revenue.

Number of Visitors

One of the first fundamentals is getting traffic to your website. You can't sell anything or get clicks without getting visitors. The first indicator you want to up is the number of visitors coming to your website. It is a fact, the more visitors you receive the greater chance of you meeting your revenue goals.

It is also a fact that once you get the visitors you need to lead them to the money pages. Here are the basics of the type of traffic to your website.
  • You have to have good link bait to your website.
  • You need search engines sending spiders
  • Excellent On Page Optimization
  • Quality articles, well written and thought out
  • Feedback mechanism such as comments or a forum
  • A way to get referral traffic
  • You need direct traffic or some kind of RSSfeed

Creating Link Bait

Creating link bait is up to you. This is where you can utilize your creativity. Sometimes it can be accomplished by writing thought provoking articles. Other times you have to be controversial or outlandish. A photograph or unique video has been used to drive customers and create viral content.

But, link bait can't do it all. You have to grab their attention and get them to make that second or third click into your website that will produce revenue for you.

Using Sitemap.xml File

Create a mechanism to help the search engine spiders. You need to drop little spider bait. Let the search engines know you exist. For Google that means creating a sitemap.xml file. Which is very easy to create and update. This file is similar to a regular sitemap file. It contains a url for each article you write. When was the last time the article was modified and how often will the article be changed? This is known as the change frequency. Then the last thing you can add to the file is the priority of each url. The priority indicator runs from 0 to 1.0.

Having the sitemap.xml file then Google spiders will visit that page, determine when you have created a new page or changed a page. Then they run through your website eating all the spider food. You can even specifically go to Google and request they look at your sitemap.xml file. You can submit it as often as your website changes.

Search Engine Optimization

Are you using the best search engine optimization you can to drive search engine traffic to your website? Do you know and use the Secrets of SEO for each page in your blog? This is such a key to driving search engine traffic to your website.

Let's be honest. If your article is not on the first page of the search engine results pages, then you aren't getting any traffic. (Okay you are getting a little, tiny, miniscule, drop of traffic.) But, you want to play in the big leagues. You don't want to stay in the minor leagues your entire life. Learn and use search engine optimization. Don't blog randomly. Plan your articles to maximize the benefits of SEO.

Writing Articles

How much time do you spend on your articles? Are you racing to finish an article just to "get it on the blog?" Do you take the time to look at sentence structure, spelling and paragraph relevance? I don't pretend to be a great writer. English teachers probably cringe when they come to my website. I do know that bad spelling turns off readers. Paragraphs that don't stick to topic confuse readers. Stories that don't flow from the headline through to the last word cause visitors to not come back.

Take some time to review your article before you publish your article. Read it all the way through. Read it out loud. If it doesn't flow then try to rewrite it. Look for spelling errors. If you question whether you misspelled a word then look the word up in a dictionary. A good way to look for spelling errors is to read the article backwards. I learned this in my direct mail career. If you read it from bottom to top you are then forced to look at each word. This helps find spelling errors. Luckily the web is more forgiving than 4 million printed mail pieces. If there is an error you can just republish the article.

You need some kind of feedback mechanism. This can be a forum or just a commenting section. Comment sections are like the yellow and white lines on the highway. They keep you from going too far off course. Getting feedback from readers can help you grow and I think makes some articles more interesting than the article themselves.

Referral Traffic

How are you getting referral traffic? Are you just hoping someone stops by and likes your articles and places a link on their website? It might happen. NOT! You really need to cultivate referrals. They rarely just happen.

I have found that by commenting on other blogs and forums that people have stopped by my website. Read my articles on Free Traffic and Drive by Commenting to find out how to comment in a way to bring long term traffic and get referrals from other sites. There is a right way and a wrong way and I highly encourage you to read both articles before running around dropping comments throughout the web.

Another wonderful methodology for bringing in referral traffic is using a service like Entrecard. I have found it an excellent method to bring in FREE traffic. There are other services similar to Entrecard that can bring you real traffic.

Direct Traffic or RSSFeed

If you haven't created your RSSFeed yet, then stop and create one now. You are missing out on the opportunity to get repeat visitors. These are people that actually like your articles. The ones that might bookmark your site. They might subscribe to your newsletter or they might use pull technology like rssfeeds to get the information they want.

Understanding Your Customers

Once you are getting real traffic from multiple sources what do you do with the visitors? Do you understand what the cost is of each visitor? How much are you spending in advertising? If you are commenting on other blogs how much time are you spending? What is the cost per hour for the time you spend? You might say, "It is free when I am looking and commenting on other sites." No, your time is not free. If you aren't commenting then you could be doing some other revenue generating task.

Once you realize that your time is worth $3 an hour or $100 an hour, then you can get serious about maximaizing your value. You won't comment on sites that won't ever bring you any traffic. You will look for the high-value sites. Sites that are getting traffic and sites that can send you quality traffic.

Revenue Per Visitor

Once you know what the cost of each visitor is, then you need to determine the revenue per visitor. Calculate the amount of money you earned. Then divide that by the number of visitors to your site. That is the revenue per visitor.

Your goal then would be twofold. One goal is to increase the number of visitors. Then the second goal is to increase the amount of money you earn per visitor. Once you have a baseline, then you can work on upping that number.

It is important that I mention here that even though your revenue per visitor might go down, you can still increase total revenue and total profit. But, highly successful companies want to up both total revenues and revenue per visitor.

Getting Visitors to Click on Revenue Producing Links

Okay, you just increased your traffic by 25%. Now what? How do I make more money from them? You need to learn sales techniques that produce results. You can't just have a link that say's, "send me money." Or a link that say's, "click on my sponsor ads." That isn't going to drive much traffic. You can however write articles that really sell an idea. Then people are primed and ready to go where you want to send them.

You need to maximize your Google AdSense views. What are the ads being generated for your pages? Are they relevant to the article itself? Why not? Is it because the page is also loading information totally irrelevant to the article? Then what can you do to bring the relevancy up?

Optimizing your AdSense spaces is an art. But, it does require work. You need to evaluate if your customers really want to see these ads. If they aren't relevant to the article then you will not get clicks. Are the ads high enough on the page to produce the best results? Do you have them at the top of the page? Are they only at the bottom? Are they above the fold? Do you have only one instance of Google AdSense ads on your pages. I believe you can have as many as 3 instances on every page.

I suggest you get the Adsense ads closer to the top and ideally above the fold. I personally put them below the fold because I have other revenue generating tools above the fold. But, you make more money by knowing where your money is coming from and optimizing each and every page to produce the best results for that revenue source.

When do I do the Fundamentals?

When do you do the fundamentals? Today. Tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. In fact everyday. You don't just do them when you want to. You have to consciously decide to optimize each article. You have to consciously try to optimize your revenue sources. This is a business. You want to earn money from your business. Why are you spending so much time doing this work, writing aritcles, dropping Entrecard business cards and commenting on other blogs? Because you want to earn more money.

So, why aren't you getting serious about these fundamentals. I am guessing you have already heard all these things. You know you can do better. I encourage you to take the step to really create the blog of excellence.

Is anyone else doing the fundamentals?

I love this question. Is anyone else doing the fundamentals? You bet they are. They are the high achievers. They are the ones who are bringing down $10,000 a month in revenue. They have 2 million page views a year. Their pages are highly optimized. They are looking at their revenue generators each month and removing the crap and finding new real money makers.

What are you doing? Are you just going to read this article and then go off somewhere else and read another article? Or, is today the day you decide to get serious about your future as a blogger? You say you want to create a million dollar a year business. But your actions speak louder than your words.

I don't mean to come down hard on you. I should just let you go on into the blogosphere. But, I truly do want you to succeed. It isn't easy. But, I know you can do it. I know you are smarter than me. (My brothers always told me I wasn't very smart and they wouldn't lie to me would they?) So, use that intelligence and start making smart decisions about your blogging business.

Key to Making Money

The key to making money is this. I am telling you this at the very end of the article. Very few readers will get this far so you truly are receiving a secret that only a few will ever know. To make money you only have to do two things. Increase revenues and reduce costs. But, if you never evaluate either, then you are going nowhere. You don't know if you are doing better or making a profit because you don't know your costs or revenues.

Listen, you are very smart. I see the burning desire for success in your eyes. I see the aching you do at night wondering if you can succeed on the internet. The answer is yes. You can succeed. As my 9th grade basketball coach always told me. Ken, you aren't starting because you need to work on the fundamentals. I encourage you to work on the fundamentals of internet success. This is a great place to start, but it still requires ACTION on your part.

I apologize for yelling at you, but you are terrific with tremendous promise. I can see you have the ability and the desire. You Go For It. You will succeed.

I Ran Out Of Blog Ideas What Should I Write About - Blog Article Idea Starters - Do you ever reach that point where you don't know what to blog about next? As long as it isn't fatal, meaning you are so sick of blogging you never want to see your blog ever again, then these tips may prove useful for you.

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