"Find something you love, and go for it."
DIY Dollars header image 2

Ten Essential Rules to Follow for the Online Marketer

October 10th, 2007 by shawn · 7 Comments

1. Never do a task manually that a computer can do automatically. Automate all tasks that don’t require a human to actually do, using either a program or script someone else has written or a PHP script that I write.

2. Replicate the things which show success. For things that do not show success, improve them and try again. When it’s obvious that something will simply not work, either revamp it and start all over from scratch or leave the site alone with the intent to come back to it at a future date.

3. Don’t do anything illegal, but don’t be a naive follower. But don’t get Google’s “rules” confused with “laws”. There are very few “rules” and those “rules” were totally made up by regular people. Why should you have to follow every one of their decrees? A rule does not apply unless it can be enforced. (People aren’t “supposed” to fly – but they hacked together solutions to circumvent that rule. You aren’t “supposed” to do a lot of things with the SEs, either – but if you can find a solution, go for it.)

4. Never have a short-term mindset. If I create a site, I create it with a vision of what it will do in a week – sure. But I also have plans for the site months or even a year down the road. (i.e. my Wanted movie site was started in March, a full year before the movie will be released.) Even if you have plans to create a site that you’re sure is going to be de-indexed in a month, it should have a larger purpose other than “churn ‘n burn”, don’t you think? (See Eli’s SEO Empire post for solid examples.)

5. Spread out your resources. I have a few different shared hosting accounts (pre-paid for a full year), and a dedicated server. This allows me to distribute my sites across various locations without necessarily connecting them by name, links, IP address, or even hosting company. I have a few different registrars I use for my domain names. I have a few different affiliate programs I use. I use AdSense, sure – but I don’t just rely on AdSense. For one thing it’s negligable income and I count on a site’s AdSense ONLY to pay for it’s existence (i.e. the cost to reg the domain, host the site, and pay for the snacks I eat while setting up that site. Whatever.) The real money is in things like affiliate offers, zip submits, affiliate signups, etc. I make different types of sites. Some sites are eBay affiliate RSS-fed blogs which I told you about. I also have a bunch of affiliate sites set up with SSEC and I have a bunch of YACG sites as well. These sites both earn aff income and they also drive traffic to other sites I have. I have a bunch of free-host blogs on different hosts, each to provide links to certain niche sites I have. In other words, I do a bunch of stuff and have a bunch of accounts.

Interested in making more money? Learn more about Internet marketing options available for you and your business. Find useful marketing tools and information to help you get noticed online!

6. Keep track of everything. I use spreadsheets to do most of my tracking. It doesn’t matter how you do it, just keep track of 1) What you spend, 2) What you earn, 3) What you have. Look at it like a real estate empire, because that’s what it is. Look at it like a business, because that’s what it is. If you want to analogize it as a bunch of hookers and you’re the pimp, fine. If each site is a piece of land and you’re the landlord, cool. Whatever you do, you must know if you’re losing or making money and you must know what you currently own. (BTW I do NOT know what I own off the top of my head, but I can look at a couple of spreadsheets and tell you.)

7. Stay inspired so you can keep going. If you don’t maintain your mental state, you’ll quit. This is a business full of highs and lows. AdSense is one way to look at it, one that I keep track of each day. Somedays are really nice, some are dismally low. CommissionJunction is another. Some days I have NO commissions – but other days are phenomenal. If I let it get to me, I would be either high as a kite or down in the dumps, so I learned that I need to just stay inspired and maintain a fairly even level of enthusiasm. How you choose to do that is up to you, but I like to read business books and I enjoy watching The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch because those things constantly keep me in the mindset that “Yes, regular people achieve big dreams and become rich and successful.” And that’s what I want. Which brings me to the next point.

8. Have big goals, and document them. You need to have some kind of goal, right? Else you’ll just wake up each day, surf the web, and check your stats every 45 minutes which is retarded. So you need to have a list of goals that you cross off each day – like “Buy five domains for baby clothes niche” “Create 1000 keywords for new site” “Implement new mailing list script on blog” etc. Have tasks laid out and do a couple each day. And not only that, but have long-term goals, like “100 sites running on SSEC” “Create five new templates for future YACG sites” etc. which are bigger tasks, but tasks that you can complete within a reasonable future timeframe of two weeks or a month if you work on them a little each day. And of course you need bigger goals that tell you where you’re going to be: “Own 300 domain names, earn $50 AdSense per day, sell five affiliate items/offers per day, by January 31st.” or better yet set certain financial goals that you can measure and reach such as “$10000 per month earnings within two years.” It’s impossible when starting out, so to get there, you break it up into smaller goals that you can reach, and keep reaching them…until you win.
9. Be cool and help people. I absolutely hate it when I email people and they won’t answer my questions or at least respond. (Certain well-known blackhat bloggers have done that to me, in fact – you know who you are.) So what did I decide? I decided that if someone asks me for help, I will give them my help. I don’t get a lot of emails like that, but the ones I have gotten I have responded to and given my resources. Why?? Because I believe in being helpful. It’s in my personality, but it also means I am more likely to receive help when I need it. What goes around comes around. Same thing goes for forums, blogs, etc. When you can comment and leave a good link or leave a good tip or good advice, do it. When someone on a forum asks a question and you know the answer, why not just answer them and help them out? There’s plenty of room on the internet to help each other – helping people isn’t going to harm your business. In fact, it will probably gain you some friends in the community and will help you in the long run.

10. Be patient. This is one I need help with. I always want to write the script now – so I stay up for hours working on it, trying to write it in one shot. I want to see results now, so I obsessively check my site stats and affiliate stats to see if the results are coming in. Then I realize that if I lay off, and come back tomorrow, the stats will show what is happening and I can make a better judgment on performance. If I take a break from writing that program, when I come back to it I can probably think about the problem with a clearer head and come up with a better solution. Making money online takes time. It might take a year or two or even more time before you are regularly making money. So be patient and when you look back you’ll see how far you’ve come and you’ll know that as long as you keep working and moving forward, you’ll make progress until you get to your goal.

Related Posts:

    Tags: Advice & Inspiration

    RSS feed


    Comment by TigerTom
    2007-10-11 14:38:43

    “Never do a task manually that a computer can do automatically. Automate all tasks that don’t require a human to actually do, using either a program or script someone else has written or a PHP script that I write.”

    That’s EXCELLENT advice. In my early days on the ‘net, I’d try to write scripts, instead of buying them, or getting a freelance to code them. Boy do I regret the amount of time I spent coding ….

    … except now I can debug, modify or commission any script I want, and get exactly what I want, and that is a great boon.

    (Comments wont nest below this level)
    Comment by Holly
    2007-10-12 03:51:28

    This is all excellent advice for any webmaster. I saved it and will most likely use it for inspiration to keep on truckin’. Thanks a lot!

    (Comments wont nest below this level)
    Comment by shawn
    2007-10-12 14:08:26

    Thanks for the comment – I’m glad I could help!

    Comment by Ellie Mae
    2007-10-17 16:17:08

    “Stay inspired so you can keep going”-That’s really important! It’s essential not to let the lows get to you. I find that if I keep spreadsheets that allow me to see the big picture it keeps me more focused than seeing the day to day ups and downs, and helps me stay motivated.

    (Comments wont nest below this level)
    Comment by Andy
    2007-11-04 01:26:05

    Some of these I am doing already, some of them I am not. The ones I’m not doing I know I should be so I’m going to save this to use as a reminder. Number 10 is so true. We expect everything to be instant these days. Post a new page and it has to be indexed immediately and making money the next day. That just doesn’t happen and whilst it’s so frustrating the best thing to do is to sit back and wait.

    Another mantra I live by is “Think yourself successful”. I have yet to make any real money online but I know I will. I just have to get the combination right and it will start flooding in. If you don’t believe in your ability to do it then chances are you will ultimately fail.

    (Comments wont nest below this level)
    Comment by SwivelSweeper
    2007-11-20 13:54:34

    Cool pic.

    (Comments wont nest below this level)
    2011-09-03 01:15:24

    Good points you got there. With all ten of those rules or methods, you’ll be a great online marketer. Then you’ll just need a very good product to go along with those principles. Then added with a website, you’ll go very far in the business.

    (Comments wont nest below this level)

    Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.