Affiliate marketing

affiliate marketing

Affiliate Marketing

By Maria Julia

Joining affiliate programs for fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers, and personal finance bloggers are the best way to start increasing your blog revenue overnight.

It’s pretty solid long term strategy too: Many pro bloggers also cite affiliate marketing as their favorite way to monetize a blog because once you’ve set your links, your income is mostly passive, just like with display ads.

So, if you haven’t been doing affiliate marketing yet, now’s the right time to get started! In this article, I’ll show you exactly how to monetize your blog with affiliate links and tell you in detail what the best paying affiliate platforms for fashion bloggers, beauty bloggers, and business bloggers are!

Let’s dive into it!

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

Simply put, affiliate marketing is selling and recommending other people’s products on your website, much like salespeople in high-end retail stores would get a commission for any sale that they influence.

You will typically receive a nice commission ranging from 6-15% on any sale that you influence, and what’s even better is that the cookie length for these products is typically 28 days!

Also, it doesn’t matter if the customer who goes through your links buys something completely different and unrelated to what you’ve talked about in your blog post – as long as you’ve influenced a sale on that retailer’s website, you will receive a commission for it. Sounds amazing right?

 

How Much Do Bloggers Earn From Affiliate Marketing?

The sky really is the limit when it comes to affiliate marketing earnings. Your blog niche and content play a part in how much you’ll typically earn, but every niche has the potential to earn a good amount from affiliates.

From my own experience, you can start making decent income already with 30,000 / mo page views. When I had my first 30,000 page view month, I made about $1200 just from affiliate sales. Now that I have 80,000 page views/mo, I typically make about $2600 from different affiliate programs.

However, I know that there are a lot of bloggers who make even more money than I do with fewer monthly visitors! It all boils down to the content that you’re creating.

Does My Niche Matter? What are The Best Niches?

Yes, niche matters, but not as much as you would think. What matters more is that you write sales centered content like review articles, and that choose to focus on marketing products that will pay you a decent commission.

For example, let’s say that you run a lifestyle blog and like to talk about personal development. There are a couple of things that you could market, all the way from books to online courses. Books typically cost around $10 a piece, and 10% of that is nothing magical.

On the other hand, courses and info products often sell for $100-$200 AND you might even earn a higher commission from recommending them (usually up to 40%), so for just one sale you could end up banking $80.

This is why your niche is actually not as important as you may think. There will always great products to promote, no matter what niche you’re in.

 

How To Start Making Money With Affiliate Marketing

 

1. Have a self-hosted blog. (Don’t have a blog? Check out my step-by-step guide here!)

2. Apply to AwinShareasaleFlexOffersAmazon Affiliates and Ultimate Bundles. Have your pick or join all of them – it’s up to you!

3. Scan through the list of affiliate programs below, choose relevant programs for you and sign up.

4. Start earning money!

Tips On Getting Approved By Affiliate Networks

Most of these affiliate networks will be pretty easy and straightforward to join. Before you apply, make sure that you have these few things in check:

  • Have a blog. Most affiliate networks require you to be a publisher, thus it’s much easier to get accepted to an affiliate network if you already have a blog. If you don’t, check out my super simple guide on how to start a blog today, or sign up to my FREE email course where I teach you exactly how to build a profitable, successful blog.
  • Have a few pages of content. Affiliate networks want to see that they’re partnering with a reputable blogger, so make sure that your blog looks great and that there are no “under construction” pages!
  • In your application, clearly explain how you will be an asset to their team and how you plan to promote their products.

I hope, you like this article about email marketing. If not, just send me an email. To stay up to date, just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money or more general about digital marketing.

Video marketing

video marketing

Video marketing

Videos can be animations, live-videos, promotion videos etc., but why are they important? Because about 80% of consumers buy the products or services right after they watched it. A very high conversion rate!, because it can explain in a more comprehensive and emotional way to the potential customers, what the products or services can do for them. Another reason is, that our brain is able to process visual things way faster than only text, but how much faster? Up to 50 000 times faster! Impressive, right? That is one of the reason, why Instagram, Pinterest etc. are doing well. Here are some more benefits of video marketing:

 

trust

It creates trust. It’s more inviting and it feels closer, which also encourages potential customers to interact. That is why it decreases the obstacles in buying online products. All in all, it is a good way to present your products and services.

Using videos increase the ROI. Of course, it needs more effort to create a video, because you need equipments, good cameras, video software, suitable environment etc., but it is worth the time and money spent. Companies reported, that by using videos they could get 66% more qualified leads and a 50% better brand awareness, so that 80% of them will continue on using it.

Promotion videos are getting more important. In this fast-paced world, people want to know everything on their fingertips. That is why promo videos are needed, because it can explain and show the potential customers, what they need to know and to see. 90% of the customers say, that they watch at least a promotion video to get to know more about the products or services.

Have you ever heard a textual content went viral? Me neither! Only videos have the potential to go viral. That is why, videos on Facebook for example are 1200% more likely to be shared than textual content.

I hope, you like this article about video marketing. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money or more general about digital marketing.

Social Media Marketing

social media marketing

By Income Sprout

Social media is the most effective way of collecting leads and you could see many big marketers are using it to build their list, mostly paid but using the free method will also give you results. I have never paid for ads yet, but still have a decent sized list.

Make an account on every social media possible which has the potential of putting a link in your profile.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin these are the best sources of gaining a lot of Email subscribers. Just put your opt-in link in your description of every account with description of your lead magnet.

So every time someone checks your account your lead magnet will grab their attention and if they like it they will opt-in.

But this will only happen if you have a huge following, if you don’t have many followers start collaborating with other people in your niche with huge following, start using facebook groups, linked in group, Pinterest groups, if you want to reach your goal fast or let it grow organically which will take a decade.

This will gain you a lot of followers and also a lot of opt-ins only if you do it consistently and provide value in your collaboration’s or group posts.

Get in Forums like Quora
Forums usually get millions of visitors each and every day and, what would be better if you would get some of them in your list?

Setup a good looking profile with describing who you are and what you do. Then get your signatures on and past the link of your opt-in there and start answering people questions.

Look out for the questions which are getting more comments and likes and answer them with a long detailed answer, the more questions you answer the more reach your opt-in page gets and the more opt-ins you get. So try to answer every question you find that maybe it could go viral.

You could also insert multiple links to also get traffic to your blog or website from forums and then if they like your content they might sign up for your email list.

How to use your Email List
Once you get people to subscribe to your list send them a welcome email immediately with the free giveaway (if you have one) and ask them to add you to their address book you can ask your email service provider about how to do it, This will prevent your emails from going in to the spam or the promotions folder cause sometimes it might happen and you don’t want it to happen.

By doing this you might get higher open rates if more and more people add you to their address book, which they will do if they like your content.

Be Consistent
Just tell them how often you will be sending emails in your welcome email and be consistent to it.

If you promised to send them emails daily, every 2-3 days or weekly then do it. If you don’t stay in touch with your subscribers they will forget about you and then your list may no longer be worth anything.

The whole point of building an email list is to build trust on a deeper level with the people who are already interested in your content selling to them comes after that.

You usually don’t spend money on a product that you don’t know or trust the product so why would your subscribers spend money on you if they don’t know you or trust you?

You can use the autoresponders provided by your email service provider which you could set up and it will automatically send out emails which you scheduled after an interval time, a gap of 2 days between every email is ideal.

Automation makes the work a heck lot easier for every marketer but there are also some autoresponders which might not be able to work properly and even if they did the email may end up in spam folder.

So it is highly recommended to invest in a good autoresponder like convertkit.

The owner of convertkit was a blogger in his early days and then shifted to form a software company so he knows the needs of a blogger and have made the platform completely beginner friendly because not every blogger is tech savvy.

 

Don’t just send email only if you have anything to sell or don’t just send emails regarding any affiliate products every single time.

Feed your list with information.

Show them your expertise in the emails you send so that they would trust you and then sell them your product. If the information you provided is good they will buy your product to know more.

Regarding affiliate products, only promote them if you have personally tried them and loved it don’t lie to your subscribers.

The inactive people
Your list will have some inactive people who signed up just to get your freebie.

To get them to open your emails could be a little tricky as they might have just blocked you, but for the once who haven’t send them a different set of emails with some entertaining content like a QUIZ.

Ask them questions just about anything related to your niche and try to get them back on your website just to remind them that your website exist and this is where you signed up from.

Once they are on your website reading their results just put a good blog post with a catchy headline underneath the results if they are interested they will read it and you might add another engaged person to your list.

I hope, you like this article about social media marketing. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money or more general about digital marketing.

 

Complete Beginner Guide for Email Marketing

email marketing

By Income Sprout

Have you ever received an email from Amazon about their products, and after looking through those products you found something which you need and made a purchase immediately? (Don’t know about you but I have)

Imagine something similar happening to your business, where you send an email and 100s of people bought your product.

That would be life changing for some Entrepreneurs, and that only happens if you are good at Email marketing.

But how do I exactly get started? Or is there a step by step process for Email marketing?

This guide will walk you through all the initial steps which are necessary for mastering email marketing.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is making a list of potential customers who are interested in what you are offering in return of their email and then building a relation and trust with them by sending valuable emails and then selling them your products.

People may say “Emails are dead” but still they are one of the most converting of all.

Email marketing helps in gaining more and more loyal customers which convert in repeating customers.

Email Marketing Consists of

  1. Creating a huge list of people targeting a niche
  2. Sending Valuable emails consistently regarding the niche
  3. Building trust and relation with your list
  4. Selling them products.

Sounds easy right?

Just to let you know Email marketing has the highest ROI (Return on Investment).

So if you plan to invest in building your email list there is a possible chance that you could easily make a 4x or 6x profit or even more.

And if you don’t have an email list you are just leaving a bunch of money on the table.

Well let’s dive into the step by step guide for mastering email marketing.

Recommended Email Marketing Services

If you don’t already have one, don’t worry I got you covered.

Email marketing service providers make it so much easier to send out emails, track them, automations and much more.

You can do email marketing without using them but it will cost you a lot of time and effort and if you are an Entrepreneur you already don’t have enough.

Below are some of the best Email marketing services which I have tried. I would recommend starting with Convert kit or Mailchimp if you are low on budget.

Convert Kit (Recommended)

Convert would be amazing if you are just starting off and want to make your work a lot easier with their crazy automation.

The only reason I am preaching Convert kit is their automation. Drag and drop builder, sending emails to inbox (deliverability), and basic automation is done by all the email marketing services out there, but convert kit stands out when we talk about automation.

And if you run into any issue while using the platform they have a 24/7 live support, who are always happy to help you.

If you really want to automate your list converting funnels then all you need is just this tool.

Its first plan starts with 29$/month or 288$/year for 1K opt-ins with unlimited email sending capability. Note: I would recommend you to go for the monthly plan because if your list goes over 1000 emails then you will have to upgrade your plan. So here monthly payments come in handy.

Active Campaign

Active campaign also does a pretty good job at automation. In fact, it does better than convert kit in terms of automation.

But just because they give you everything to work with, most of the time I would find myself lost and trying to figure out what to do. Their automation is great but it is too complex for a beginner.

Sure if you are a pro at it then there should be no problems and if you run into any problem their customer support is really fast and live 24/7.

One more thing to keep in mind, while it provides you one of the best automation system they don’t have any option for you to create landing pages.

So every time you want to send your visitors to a landing page you will have to use your own websites page or third party apps like leadpages or instapage paying more for these apps.

Their first plan starts at 29$/month or 204$/year for 1K opt-ins with unlimited emails sending capability.

Try Active Campaign for free

Aweber

Aweber is another popular (Beginner) tool which offers you a wide variety of tools like autoresponders, email builder, segmentation etc.

I am a pure automation fan (cause I’m lazy), so when it comes to automation it’s just not as good as convert kit or active campaign but it gets the job done.

It has a very user-friendly interface and also an amazing support team.

It also comes with a mobile app which allows you to do almost everything that you could be doing on your computer so you don’t have to open your laptop every time you want to check how your campaign is going, you can do it just on your phone.

Its first plan starts with 19$/month for 500 subscribers with unlimited email sending capability. It also allows you to access their full features even with their starting plan and also gives you over 6000 stock photographs and 700+ email templates.

Mailchimp

Mailchimp is one of the only services which come to mind whenever I hear the word email marketing.

Mailchimp was the first email marketing tool which I used in order to get my first 500 subscribers and then I switched to convertkit.

The reason why mailchimp is so popular is that they offer a forever free account to you for your first 2000 subscribers and limits you to sending 12000 emails per month (which are enough).

When I started using mailchimp I quickly upgraded to a paid account in order to get access to their automation system. Which is good for basic necessities but it won’t surely automate everything like convert kit, but you will be able to automate basic things.

Mailchimps prices starts form 10$/month for 500 subscribers and unlimited email ending capability.

Try Mailchimp for free

Growing Your List

Off course you don’t want to get stuck at certain no. right?

There are many different ways which you could use to grow your list and get more subscribers to your blog.

Lead magnet

What most people do is, they just put their opt-in form saying “Sign up for our newsletter” which unfortunately doesn’t work quite as good as it used to work before. People are already getting tons of emails from Amazon, Facebook, other marketers who they have signed up for etc. They just don’t want to add another name to their list.

Instead of just asking for a newsletter signup offer them an ethical bribe or a Lead magnet. Lead magnet is when someone offers you something for free in exchange of your email address.

This is the best way to grow your email list, you might see a majority of marketer using this strategy to grow their email list.

A Lead magnet can consist of anything like an eBook, series of videos or a single video, free Webinar, a cheat sheet, Work book etc. or if you are in eCommerce you could give them a 10% or 20% off coupon if they signed up for your list.

One thing to remember. Don’t just upload your Lead magnet to Dropbox and redirect them thereafter they signed up, this would result in you receiving a lot of fake or inactive emails. Instead, ask them to sign up with their most active email as they would be getting their freebie in their inbox.

Use automation provided by your email service provider and set it up, so that if someone opts-in they will immediately receive an email from your name send by the email service provider containing the freebie. Setting this up is fairly easy it doesn’t require you to be tech savvy.

Leverage your Website/Blog as much as you can

I am sure you would be working hard to get traffic to your website so why not turn them into your email subscribers.

Leverage every part of your blog or website where you could potentially get the visitors attention and they would signup for your email list.

Put an opt-in the sidebars, between a paragraph, at the end of the post, pop-ups, Sticky Header or footer widgets these email capturing techniques work like a charm for your website and they are proven to boost your list if you use the right lead magnet.

The most converting of these are the pop-ups. Most people might think that pop-ups are irritating but that really helps in converting visitors.

Another type of best converting option is between paragraphs. These also convert like crazy as these forms appear in between the paragraph or text while the user is engaged and reading with your content and if they like your content then surely love to get more of whatever you are offering.

While these two are the most converting options they can also be irritating for some people and might lead someone to exit your website. So as long as you don’t mind losing a few people then you are good to go.

But if you don’t want to irritate your visitors then the rest options like sidebar and footer are the way to go. If you really want to use pop-ups then optinmonster have some of the best pop-up options available.

Optin monster makes it easier for everyone to maximize their potential of capturing more emails and building a huge list. It has several options which you could use in order to show your opt-in forms like Pop-ups, Slide in, Fullscreen, Yes/no, Mobile, Sticky footer, inline forms, sidebar, countdown timer etc.

It helps you to show relevant opt-ins according to the users interactions, Category, page, post, Geo location etc.

The refer detection feature separates it from any other plugin, it tells where the user is actually coming from (Facebook, Google, Twitter) and show different opt-in to them (if you want to). Get 66% off on your purchase only through this link.

I hope, you like this article about email marketing. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money or more general about digital marketing.

How we make $20,000 per month blogging business

blogging business

By Tiny love bug

Would you like to make more than $20,000 a month with a blogging business? We have achieved financial freedom in our early thirties by blogging about personal finance.

Having the freedom to work anywhere in the world and being your own boss sounds like a dream come true, right? Many people love the idea of blogging from the comfort of their own home and earning over 6-figures a year online.

HOW IT ALL STARTED

A few years ago, we set out to achieve the goal of financial freedom. I had developed crippling depression, partly from working for an abusive boss. I was working 80 hours a week as a physicist, but barely making ends meet. We were just accumulating more and more debt. I knew something had to change!

We started trading stocks online as a way to make extra money. We signed up for many different stock trading educational services that helped us learn how to trade profitably. We were even able to pay off our student loans with the extra money we made from stock trading.

However, stock trading is an extremely stressful way to make money. We started a blog to talk about our experience with stocks. We started to sell stock trading educational products on our blog and make a few hundred dollars a month on the side.

We also started working on freelance businesses (like proofreading online) and even real-estate investing. We made quite a bit of money doing these side hustles, but we decided that we were most passionate about blogging. We started our blogging career as a part-time side hustle and transitioned to full-time a couple of years ago.

Over the next few years, we were able to grow our blogging business to over $20,000 per month. The goal of this article is to give you some insight into our relatively unusual blogging strategy.

WHY WE FELL IN LOVE WITH BLOGGING

Blogging is one of the best businesses that you can start. Here are some of the advantages of starting a blogging business:

  • The cost of starting a blog is extremely low (less than $100)
  • The earning potential is unlimited
  • You can work from anywhere in the world
  • Spend more time with your family and be your own boss
  • Blogging can make an impact and help other people
  • Potential for passive income

Blogging is the ideal business! However, it is not a get rich quick scheme. You have to be passionate about what you are writing about and put in many months or even years of hard work before you will earn a significant income from your blog.

HOW DO WE MAKE $20,000 A MONTH FROM OUR BLOGGING BUSINESS?

Many people believe that you need to have millions of visitors a month to your blog to make a significant income. But we have less than 50,000 visitors a month to our blogs and still make a great income!

Our blogging strategy is a bit unusual because we don’t use some of the popular blogging tactics, for example:

  • We don’t have an email list
  • We barely have any blog subscribers
  • We don’t sell our own products

So, if you are interested in learning our secrets to earning $20,000 a month from our blogging business then read on!

Affiliate marketing to make money blogging

The first part of our strategy is that we rely on affiliate marketing to generate the majority of our blogging revenue.

When a visitor comes to our website and clicks on a unique tracking link to a product or service, we receive a commission if they purchase anything. We are affiliates for many different companies, but we focus on products that we have had experience with and that we really think will add value to our readers.

Affiliate marketing is WAY more lucrative than other monetization strategies like putting display ads on your site. We focus on selling high-cost services that cost anywhere from $300 to $10,000. You can imagine how quickly our commissions add up when we receive 50% of every sale that is made through our sites!

Selling high-cost products to make $20,000 a month blogging

Many bloggers are intimidated by the idea of selling an expensive product to their audience. This might seem like a difficult thing to do, but if the product offers amazing value, people will invest in it. Selling an expensive product is almost as easy as selling a low-cost one! So why work for $10 per sale when you could make $1000 per sale!?

That being said, we had to overcome the mental hurdles that people would actually spend thousands of dollars based on our recommendation. The thing to remember is that even if you are not inclined to spend $1000 on a stock alerts service, there are many people that are! This is especially true for products that will help the customer to make more money or learn a valuable new skill.

WHAT WE CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING AN EXPENSIVE PRODUCT TO PROMOTE

It is so important when choosing a product to promote that it has a GREAT sales funnel. Selling expensive products online is much easier if the company that you are selling for has a very high-quality funnel.

This is so important because people are unlikely to spend large amounts of money if they are not familiar with the company. The level of trust that has to be built is quite high before they will part with large amounts of money.

A high-quality sales funnel provides a ‘courting’ like process with a potential customer. For example, a funnel starts by offering a high-value freebie to show that the company is legit and helpful. This usually involves the potential customer submitting an email address to get access to the freebie.

The company then follows up with an email marketing sequence that offers attractive discounts, more information and builds a relationship with the potential customer.

We have found it best to let the company that owns the product do this part! They have all the expertise and resources to do the heavy lifting. This reduces our workload and massively increases the products conversion rate.

We actually consider the quality of the sales funnel when selecting a product to promote. We also look at some other criteria:

  1. The first thing that we consider is if the product is ‘life-changing’ for the customer. We only want to promote amazing products.
  2. We want large commissions so the product must sell for more than a few hundred dollars and pay a commission rate of 30% or more. Ideally, we would like to earn $500 or more per sale.
  3. We look for companies that will ‘upsell’ other great products to customers. This will often increase how much we earn per customer that we refer.
  4. A free webinar or masterclass often get customers interested in the products.

We usually invest in the product before we promote it to our audience. This is a good investment because we can genuinely review and discuss the product. We want to be 100% sure that the product is high quality and will actually help our audience with their goal of making more money.

Other considerations include:

  • Popularity and longevity
  • Do we trust the company?

We want to partner with companies that have popular products that are well-established. We put in a lot of effort and money when promoting these expensive products, so we can’t afford a company to go bankrupt or just stop paying us.

Our core strategy for promoting high ticket products

Writing product reviews is one of the best ways to sell higher priced products. There are two reasons for this:

  1. Product reviews are extremely helpful with helping people make up their mind about a product. We try to offer them an exclusive discount (often possible if you ask the company!) to help them to make the purchase. People that spend $5000 on a course will usually do extensive due diligence before purchasing and a big part of that is reading helpful reviews.
  2. Reviews offer social proof. If the review is positive, it can help the reader to make the decision to purchase.
  3. Reviews often rank well in Google which is the highest quality traffic. The reason is that people who find your page from Google search are usually serious buyers or ‘warm leads’. This means that the conversion rate is much higher for these visitors.

Here is a real example of what we do to sell high priced products

We attempt to provide real value and insight into the products that we are recommending. An example of an educational course and service that we promote.

Here is a review post (Kyle Dennis FDA Insider Alerts Review) that we make a lot of money from. It is a post about an expensive ($2,997) stock alerts and educational service run by a millionaire stock trader called Kyle Dennis. We earn 40% commission on every sale and it is an amazing stock alerts service!

We have included a lot of valuable information, including examples of stock trades we made on Kyle’s advice. We show real evidence that the service is high quality and discuss it in detail. We try to provide as many links as possible to helpful resources, especially at the start of the article. If the visitor signs up for the free webinar and later purchases one of Kyle’s services – we get paid the commission! It is a win-win for the customer and for us.

We also have an aggressive exit popup that entices people to signup for a related free webinar that is another affiliate link for us. Many bloggers do not recommend this, but we have found it to massively increase our conversion rate.

Website traffic sources that convert well

We regularly test different social media sites to see which source performs the best for our different affiliate products. We have found that:

  1. Twitter works really well for stock trading services but does not work for much else!
  2. Pinterest traffic converts very well for freelance business courses but not for stock trading courses.
  3. Google traffic performs better than all social media for all products.

It makes a big difference in how much money you can make if you can just get your site seen by your ideal audience. When you have the ideal audience, you don’t need as many visitors as you might think. We make more money with the strategy that we have outlined above than some bloggers with 10 times our traffic.

I hope, you like this article about making money online. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.

How to rank for thousands of keywords

keywords

By She means blogging

Are you looking to create topics that rank for thousands of keywords?

To be able to get organic traffic.

To rank higher on search engines.

To improve your domain authority.

But, how?

You may wonder if there’s an SEO strategy or not.

Well, there’s a lot more into this.

Today, Leanne Wong is going to teach you a process to create topic clusters to rank for thousands of keywords. She is a guru when it comes to SEO so this post has got golden nuggets for anyone who wants an SEO approach.

Guest post

With 3.5 billion searches done everyday, organic search traffic is one of the largest and most valuable traffic sources to grow your blog and business.

Content is the foundation of search engine optimization – articles that serve users’ queries tend to rank better on search results.

But how do you optimize your article for SEO?

By targeting specific keywords?

Not anymore.

To rank in Google today, we have to create contextually rich content.

how to create topic clusters to rank for thousands of keywords, seo strategy, find thousands of keywords

After Google’s Hummingbird algorithm update, it was able to understand the relationship between words and topics.

Google doesn’t just crawl billions of web pages for individual keywords. It’s ranking algorithm is looking for words with related meaning – semantic context.

In this post, I’ll share with you a high-value approach to creating content that’s optimized for search results.

We’ll learn a step-by-step process to create semantically rich content through topic clusters so you can rank for thousands of keywords in your niche.

Using topic clusters, we can create contextually rich content optimized for Google’s semantic search, and rank for thousands of keywords in a single piece of content.

So you no longer have to create individual posts for each target keyword you want to rank for. Instead, you can create one post targeting various sub-topics and keywords in the same topic.

It’s an SEO strategy that optimizes content for semantic search. This shifts the focus on topics instead of keywords to get more blog traffic. I got the idea of topic clusters from Hubspot’s research article and started to simplify the concept further in order to apply it.

HOW DOES SEMANTIC SEARCH WORK?

In layman terms, semantic search is Google’s attempt to understand searcher intent. Google wants to provide users with more accurate results by understanding what they meant when they typed in a search query.

A single query can be searched for in many different variations. You can’t guess it all.

But you can create a huge piece of article that answers every possible question in that topic.

Imagine this:

When Google finds your site, it will crawl and analyze your page content – looking for a thematic relationship within your body content and then evaluate how well it can answer a search query.

The more comprehensive your content is, the more keyword variations and sub-topics you write in that single post will help build that thematic relevance.

Related : SEO-Demystified : How To Improve SEO strategy and Keyword Ranking

HOW DOES THIS AFFECT BLOGGING?

This meant that Google would rank pages that best matched the user’s intent and context, instead of pages that have the highest density of individual keywords.

Content has now shifted from targeting exact-match individual keywords to a focus on topic relevance and semantic context.

The more comprehensive and semantically rich your content is, the more contextually relevant your content is to answer a given search query.

To shift your content focus from keywords to topics, you can use the concept of topic clusters.

Related : The ultimate guide to get organic traffic from Google

WHAT IS A TOPIC CLUSTER?

Refresh: A topic cluster is an SEO strategy that focuses on topics instead of keywords. By optimizing your blog post around a topic, you’re essentially creating contextually rich content.

The concept of topic clusters originated from Hubspot, which used the concept of pillar and cluster pages to organize content.

First, create a pillar page that will cover a big topic comprehensively. Think about it as a gigantic blog post, like an ultimate guide that can umbrella 15-20 mini-topics.

Second, create those 15-20 cluster pages that will each be about 1 mini topic.

Simply put, pillar pages are your ‘trophy’ pages that you want Google to notice. You want to give them the best chance to rank. The topic cluster pages are the cheerleaders that all point to the trophy page.

For example, if you want to own the term, “Pinterest marketing”

create topic clusters for thousands of keywords

Cisco - Service Provider

STEP 1: CREATE BIG TOPICS FOR YOUR PILLAR PAGES

  • Pinterest for business
  • Pinterest analytics
  • Pinterest visual strategy

Big topics are gigantic pieces of content. (e.g, ‘The Ultimate Guide to using Pinterest to grow your business).

This pillar page should be able to answer every possible question when somebody searches for X keyword.

Ask yourself, can you create 15-20 smaller blog posts under that pillar page?

Related: The Pinterest SEO Guide For Bloggers

create topic clusters to find thousands of keywords, find keywords, seo strategy

STEP 2: CREATE AN UMBRELLA OF CLUSTER TOPICS FROM YOUR PILLAR PAGE

Pinterest for business

  • Brand building with pinterest
  • Find client leads with pinterest
  • Email list growth with pinterest

Pinterest analytics

  • Analyze traffic performance
  • Measure pin performance
  • Analytics tools

Pinterest visual strategy

  • Color & font combination
  • Pinterest graphic dimensions
  • Pinterest graphic templates

STEP 3: INTERNALLY LINK ALL CLUSTER TOPICS TO THE PILLAR PAGES

 

how to create topic clusters to find thousands of keywords

The last step touches a bit on technical SEO – internal linking.

All your cluster pages (under same pillar page) will link to that pillar page. This chain of clusters tells search engines your content pages are related to each other.

Related : How to build free high quality backlinks to your blog

How does this help with rankings?

The more internal links a page has, the more link juice it acquires. In the eyes of search engines, the pillar page with tons of link juice via internal links will be considered more important, and that pillar page will perform better on search results.

<<CHECKOUT SEO DEMYSTIFIED COURSE>>

Essentially, by linking all individual topic clusters to your big pillar page, it boosts the strength of that pillar page.

When you have a group of 15-20 cluster pages linking to a pillar page all in the same big topic, this builds a semantic relationship between content pages through links.

Voila!

I hope, you like this article about making money online. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.

His parents wanted him to get a corporate job, until he made $154,000 in one year

travel

By CNBC

He’s known to millions as Drew Binsky.

While his career path is far from traditional, Drew made a name for himself in just two years — transitioning from being an English teacher and blogger, to creating short travel videos that have generated more than 500 million views online.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013, he told his parents he would move to South Korea to teach English. „A double degree from a major university and he’s running off to teach English?“ recalled his father, Danny, as he spoke of his son’s career choice after obtaining Economics and Entrepreneurship double major degrees.

Last year, Drew said he made more than $154,000 in income through advertising revenues from Facebook and YouTube, along with brand partnerships with companies such as Booking.com, which use influencers to help promote their business.

„At first, it was hard to convince my mom and my parents that I’m going to do this full time,“ Drew told CNBC Make It. „My mom’s like, ‚When are you going to come back to get a corporate job?'“

His mother, Ellen, said she never expected her son to live outside the United States. „We’re very traditional, so, you know, we send our kids to college and then they get a degree, and then you expect them to work and hopefully, come back to Arizona,“ she said.

Drew Binsky, a travel video maker, in Kerela, India.

Courtesy of Drew Binsky
Drew Binsky, a travel video maker, in Kerela, India.

Today, Drew has already visited 163 countries and plans to visit every country in the world. His strategy as a content creator is to make one video per day. „You can’t just overnight become a successful video-maker or anything with any profession,“ he said. „If you’re a golfer, you can’t just wake up tomorrow and be on the PGA Tour.“

Drew claims he never set out to make it big.

In the first few years of living overseas, he used to update his travel blog and post videos to his Snapchat account. But his career really took off after he took an organized trip to North Korea and posted videos from the trip that collectively generated more than 10 million views.

His income, meanwhile, can vary greatly. He said he’s earned between $1,000 and $30,000 in a single month, depending on the number of views his videos generate. „I never look at the money as a motivation or a drive to do what I do,“ he said.

Meanwhile, he keeps his travel costs as low as possible and travels on a tight budget.

His parents now accept that he’s not getting a corporate job anytime soon.

„It’s just amazing, the millennial generation, they will figure out,“ Danny said. „Five, six, ten years ago, this didn’t exist.“

His parents Danny and Ellen are now traveling to places like Vietnam and Thailand, even though they had never left the U.S. before Drew moved abroad. „It’s opened up our lives to different cultures, different foods and ya know, different areas,“ Ellen said.

Drew said he feels a sense of validation when his parents approve of what he’s doing.

„There’s like an, ‚Ah-ha‘ moment, where I’m like, ‚Yea, I’m happy they’re seeing what I’m doing is real,'“ he said.

I hope, you like this article about making money online. To stay up to date. Just like my Facebook Fanpage: The Doan’s Blog. If you want to know, how to get sustainable traffic, read this: What is SEO? My most popular blog article: International money.

Website Flippers: $300K/Month Helping People Buy And Sell Websites

website

By Starter Story

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Gregory Elfrink and I’m the director of marketing with Empire Flippers. We’re a three-time winner of the INC 5,000 award for being one of the fastest growing companies in America and we help people buy and sell online businesses.

In the last few years, we have become the thought leader and one of the largest M&A advisory businesses for digital assets in the sub $10 million range. Though, I am pretty certain we will soon be selling businesses above that $10 million mark as well.

We have brokered over $50 million worth of deals, and since we’re a big believer in transparency we also created a scoreboard that details most of our stats – from the hundreds of thousands of website visitors we get to our pool of potential buyers that grow by the hundreds every month.

empire-flippers-20m-year-helping-people-buy-and-sell-websites

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

We originally started out as an outsourcing company in the Philippines that helped businesses in the USA with various administrative tasks, but when we lost one of our main clients we had to find a way to fill our team’s hours.

If you are committed to systems and process, then failure holds no meaning because it’s simply you learning the systems and processes better.

So, we heard about this whole niche site thing and had our staff start creating micro niche sites monetized with Adsense. If you’re not familiar with the term, niche sites are usually just small sites that are talking about a specific thing. Usually, they’re heavily informational based (Ex: How do you stop snoring?) but can also include product reviews. Most of them are monetized either through Google Adsense or Amazon’s affiliate program, or a mixture of both. We blogged about the whole journey and soon started selling the sites we made.

Though we had a lot of success with this, not all of our sites turned into successes and we had our fair share of failureas well. Overall, we succeeded more than we failed and when we started selling the websites our team was making, we ran into something VERY interesting to us.

A lot of people in our audience who also had sites came to us asking if we could sell THEIR website in exchange for a commission.

We thought… well isn’t that an interesting idea?

Soon we rebranded completely to Empire Flippers and went into the brokering field full time.

As far as me personally, I came on board with the company in 2016. My background is pretty varied but most of my career before Empire Flippers was in the oil fields in Alaska.

However, I’ve always been obsessed with internet marketing and I saw in Empire Flippers something truly exciting – a product that could literally change someone’s life forever whether they ended up buying or selling a business through us.

This is still at the core of my enthusiasm for the company. I’ve seen so many stories, met so many people, whose lives have changed dramatically because of our service. It’s really inspiring.

Take us through the process of getting started and launching.

Our launch was pretty simple in many ways – we started off initially as just a blog. We blogged about building up these micro niche sites for a few months, then we started blogging about how we had sold other peoples niche sites for them. Soon, we added a very rudimentary marketplace to our blog where we would publicly list deals for sell.

This has grown significantly since the initial days. Where before we were a blog that happened to have a marketplace, we are definitely more in the category of a marketplace that happens to have a blog.

Initially, all of our promotion was pure content. That remains true up to today. The majority of our leads still comes through organic traffic, and our audience loves sharing our empirical research and case studies we produce based off real data in the marketplace.

Our business model’s core became connecting people with an online business they wanted to sell with people that wanted to buy an online business. When people submit their business with us, we charge them a $297 first time listing fee.

This is really just to weed out potential tire kickers, but it also covers some of the manhours that goes into vetting the businesses as we make sure every business on our marketplace really is earning the money and the traffic the seller states it does. Once the business is live on our marketplace, we start marketing that business and our team of business analysts begin negotiating with potential buyers. It is only after the business is successfully sold that we get cut of the sales price of that business.

That commission cut ranges from 8% to 15% depending on the size of the business, and again we only take that if the business is successfully sold. We’re pretty buyer-centric despite often giving sellers the best price possible for their business.

We have an entire department devoted to migrating a business over from the seller to the buyer, and we include a revenue verification period for the buyer so the buyer can confirm everything is as stated by the seller. As far as I know, we’re the only broker that offers so many safety nets for both the seller and the buyer to make sure everyone is getting what they want.

Our secret weapon – transparency

It’s helpful that other brokers are often secretive with their actual numbers, so one way our promotion has become effective is just how transparent we are. People find it refreshing and they can relate to you better when you’re sharing both your success and failures and just the reality of the situation instead of always trying to sell them on something.

As far as financing goes, we’re entirely self-funded. We’ve looked at the possibility of taking on outside money but turned away from the idea. While we could grow much faster (potentially) with that capital, we like the fact that we’re the captains of our own ship at the end of the day.

While we want to become the biggest and the best, we still also want to be building a business that represents us and our values. A big part of that value system is being able to live a life by design rather than forced into doing things because you have to meet shareholder expectations or other similar concepts.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

The most important aspect of retaining our customers and really our brand evangelists has always been being able to listen to feedback. Sometimes that feedback is painful to hear. You hear about good friends selling their business with someone else and you get it, they had a better opportunity to do it with someone else than us.

Yet, it is exactly that kind of feedback that ultimately makes us better. We are always tweaking the way we work to make sure that everyone feels like the best deal they’re going to get is with us.

My best advice is you shouldn’t care if you fail and you shouldn’t care if you succeed. The only thing that matters is you simply do.

Over the years, this has become truer and truer. We’re not perfect, but we often can get the best price and the most buyers looking at a deal than anyone else.

When it comes to marketing, much of our marketing remains the same: content. We published case studies, do polished testimonial videos, success stories with our buyers and create original research on various business models.

While we produce a lot of content for SEO, a lot of our content is also middle of funnel content for people that are already aware of what we do. This is something most content marketers just don’t do, but it can be incredibly powerful.

A good example of this power is the blog post we wrote called Winning the Wire Race. This blog post was written because people wanting to buy businesses would send in the wire to us but then not get the business because someone else’s bank wire would hit our account first. Obviously, the other buyers that sent in the wire didn’t like this.

We used to joke about the wire race internally, but then I created this blog post that explained how the wire race works and how buyers can leave credit on file with us by wiring us money before they find a business they want to buy. That way when they do find a business, they can instantly acquire that asset without worrying about the wire race.

Now, no one is searching for how to win the wire race on Google, or if they are than they are most likely not googling for what we’re talking about.

empire-flippers-20m-year-helping-people-buy-and-sell-websites

As you can see below, middle of funnel content does not produce a lot of pageviews.

But it also not really supposed to do that.

It exists purely to move people along the buyer’s journey and into your funnel on a deeper level by providing “inside knowledge”.

You can see our analytics on this post here:

empire-flippers-20m-year-helping-people-buy-and-sell-websites

A little over 1,000 page views since we published it and placed it into our marketing automation has led to some of our most voracious buyers leaving money on file with us and buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of assets from us.

That is why we’re so passionate about content. It’s a long game for sure, but it’s a long game that just plain works and can you set you completely apart from the competition.

While we’ve remained closely tied to our blog as the main gateway for this, we are starting to expand into other powerful media channels like Youtube so we can expand our content bases to audiences that prefer other types of media, such as video.

We’re also working on a much more robust email automation funnel that will help people personalize their entrepreneur’s journey regardless of where they are or what kind of business they’re working on.

While we do everything you might expect such as paid ads, conferences, webinars etc., it is still content that remains our strength. In fact, content fuels every aspect of all our marketing whether it’s organic, a paid ad, or a conference sponsorship.

I think one mistake people make often when it comes to being content marketing focused is they focus too much on the SEO style content. While SEO is great for getting new eyes on your products, it is not the end all be all of the content.

Content exists at every stage in the marketing funnel. What I find is most content marketers have almost zero content speaking to their leads that are in the middle and bottom of the funnel of their buyer’s journey.

If you can focus on this section the most with your content, you’ll often get the best bang for your buck. It is this kind of “insider knowledge” that people crave and is the reason why they’ll join your newsletter in the first place.

When I first came on board, we didn’t have an editorial calendar at all. This was the first thing we changed when I was still the content manager. Initially, we did two blog posts per week, every week and kept that up for a little over a year.

Initially, I would just use Ahrefs.com to analyze competitor websites and “shoulder niche” websites. A shoulder niche website is just a website that talks about something that is very similar to what your business is talking about, and this can open up the floodgates of potential SEO traffic that your competitors aren’t going after.

An example of this would be me putting a website like Moz.com into Ahrefs. Usually, you’ll want to go after a shoulder niche website that has a similar or lesser domain rating (DR) than you in hopes to outranking them. Moz, in general, is an SEO SaaS tool but they also talk a ton about internet marketing in general. That is the content crossover that both of our businesses share. So I would look through Moz’s Ahrefs data and see what kind of keywords could I possibly turn into an article for the Empire Flipper’s blog.

You can Moz’s overall stats here:

empire-flippers-20m-year-helping-people-buy-and-sell-websites

And here is ours at EmpireFlippers.com:

empire-flippers-20m-year-helping-people-buy-and-sell-websites

One day we’ll hit the legendary DR of 90+! 🙂

There is likely a plethora of websites in your niche or slightly broader than your niche that talks about similar topics that your audience would love as well. Plus, if you aim your SEO efforts at going after keywords that are ranking on a lower DR website than yours, then there is a good chance you’ll eventually outrank them with some SEO efforts and start reaping the benefits of that keyword’s traffic.

If you want to make content a big focus like us, then here are some of the best kind of topics we have done that has worked well for us:

  • Controversial topics specific to your industry (Example: Our post on private blog networks)
  • “Breaking news” articles, which helps you feel on the bleeding edge of the industry for your audience. (Example: When Amazon cut their affiliate commissions)
  • Data-driven studies using your own original research (Example: A blog post we did on people selling Amazon FBA businesses using real sales data from our marketplace)
  • And of course… case studies of people that have used your product and created an interesting story because of using your product.

Right now, we’re working on making a content production system so we can produce even MORE high-quality content. For now, until we get the system done, we’re keeping to a blog post every two weeks.

The only reason why we have pushed our editorial back so long is it gives us time to write more in-depth pieces, plus we have so much content now that we are working on updating every piece and implementing them throughout our marketing funnel.

Ideally, in the future, we’ll have been producing enough high-quality content about buying and selling online businesses to rival any media company out there.

My best advice is to consider your company as a media company. It doesn’t matter if you’re a local plumber, a furniture store owner, or a SaaS founder. Almost every niche can benefit from having a media mindset with their content marketing.

In my opinion, content is the future of marketing and that future is being laid down right now. It is the one kind of marketing you can do effectively that even the most well-funded competitor will struggle to just “throw money at” and usurp your position.

What’s the business model and how you do make money?

We’re an online business broker, specializing specifically in online businesses. What this means is if you have an affiliate site, an ecommerce store or a SaaS business that you want to sell, you can come to us and we will help you find a buyer or investor to take over the business.

Our business model as a broker means we will help sellers build out respectable Profit & Loss (P&L) statements, help them get all of their documentation in order and ultimately market their business for sale.

We handle everything from helping both the seller and buyer on negotiations, to actually migrating the business over to the new owner. As far as I’m aware, we’re the only broker that has a consistent vetting and migration department. While other brokers will do a one-off vetting for an influential seller, we vet all of the businesses that come to our marketplace to make sure they’re legitimate opportunities that are making the money the seller says they’re making.

Our average traffic to our site sits between 80,000-120,000 visitors per month. We have seen way bigger spikes than this though, like when we got onto the front page of Reddit for an AMA we did.

We usually have between 80-100+ businesses live on our marketplace at any given time (89 at the time of this writing), and we’ve sold just under a 1,000 businesses at 949. With over $61 million of businesses sold and a buyer pool of 105,000+ buyers, we’re the largest curated marketplace in the world.

This is all in alignment with our big vision to become the #1 place for helping people buy and sell online businesses.

Our operations have grown from a small five-man team to having full blown departments and department heads, including sub-departments. Right now our departments are:

  • Sales
  • Operations (Vetting, Customer Service, Migrations)
  • Marketing
  • Engineering
  • HR

Considering we grew so fast into a 50+ person company, our plans for 2019 is going to be focused on increasing our process and efficiency. When a company grows so fast, it is not uncommon for its entire dynamic to change. It really is like reinventing yourself over and over.

So, we’re going to be making our processes even better and our customers even happier as we create better workflows.

There are a couple BIG things we’re planning which will likely happen at the end of 2019 or early 2020, but…. I can’t exactly say what those are just yet 🙂

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Personally, as an employee and someone that hangs out with entrepreneurs day in and day out, I have found one thing the most surprising and helpful to me.

You know all those books about business that you read that always say the same thing about how having a vision statement and a core values document is important?

I used to think this was just some nice feel-good fluff years ago. But as your company grows bigger, even as your department gets bigger and more complicated, I realize more and more just how VALUABLE these concepts really are.

If you are ever going to build systems in your business that work whether you’re there or not, that means you also need to bake into the system the ability to make decisions. Sometimes, the system is going to need to make really hard decisions where there is not any data on what the system should or shouldn’t do. Even if you tried obsessively to be present for all these decisions, there is just no way you can be once you get big enough.

That means you need to rely on your team making decisions from the right “operating system”.

That operating system is your mission, core values, and vision statement. It should be bred throughout your culture whether it is the entry-level worker or the VP of your company.

It gives them a valuable document of principles to base their decisions from and is invaluable to you as a founder.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

At the marketing department at Empire Flippers, my favorite three tools are:

Hubspot Enterprise

Marketing automation and sales CRM in one, having all of our tools live in the same place is incredibly effective for us gathering correct data. Something that is quite a complicated thing for us since we’re a marketplace dealing with both buyers and sellers as our customers.

Monday.com (project management software)

Marketing is filled with endless projects, so it is important to have something that can truly organize everything. I’ve looked at Asana and other tools but I just never could get behind them. Monday is super flexible, great UI and is geared as a project management tool for creatives like a marketing team.

Ahrefs.com (competitor analysis tool)

While we don’t use this constantly, at the start of an SEO campaign it is a fantastic tool to do research on your competitors. It also has a lot of great features they’ve added over the years that replaces several other tools. Similar to Hubspot, I prefer tools that have multiple tools all in one to reduce the learning curve and keep things simple.

While not a marketing tool, I think there is a system of goal setting that is important for companies as they mature. This applies mainly if you have a sales department.

Rather than having marketing project goals, look to bind sales and marketing goals together. If sales need to hit a certain revenue goal, break down that revenue goal into how that looks like from a lead perspective. Now your marketing team has a real tangible numerical goal to hit.

This model used by many companies, including Hubspot and is called MQLs or Marketing Qualified Leads. We’re still new at testing this model out, but so far it has given us something to really shoot for and aligns marketing and sales together more.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

My favorite podcasts are not actually business podcasts, at least not in the normal respects. I love Freakonomics by Steve Dubner and Making Sense by Sam Harris (formerly called Waking Up). I think both of these podcasts often analyze things we take for granted in a critical fashion that makes you think. It opens up all kinds of doors for creativity and just in general thinking deeper about the world.

For the same reasons as above, I also used to read the Wait But Why blog religiously when he was posting more consistently.

As far as helpful business books, I still love the classics like Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. The first one is great for the inspiration and motivation and the second one is a pragmatic way to build out your Rolodex.

At the end of the day, I think wealth is truly measured in the relationships you keep rather than your bank account. That makes Dale’s book one of my favorite reads and I’ll read it every couple years again to refresh myself.

I would also recommend The Richest Man in Babylon as a pragmatic view on personal finance, and most things related to Stoic philosophy (Marcus Aurelius, Seneca etc.)

These books are very much principles first rather than tactics.

There are tons of awesome business books on tactics, but they become outdated. If you study the core principles of things, then you can apply those principles to the ever-changing global marketplace.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

My best advice is you shouldn’t care if you fail and you shouldn’t care if you succeed. The only thing that matters is you simply do. Fall in love not with the product or the niche, but in love with the systems and the processes.

If you are committed to learning the systems and processes, success is an inevitability for most of us. Likewise, if you are committed to the process, then failure holds no meaning because it’s simply you learning the systems better.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Right now we’re not looking to hire in 2019. This could change but it is unlikely. We want to systemize our departments and workflows better before bringing on more people.

However, there is a good chance we’ll be hiring a content manager for the marketing team in early 2020.

Where can we go to learn more?

You can learn more about us at EmpireFlippers.com.

You can stay updated on most of what we’re up to at our blog EmpireFlippers.com/blog

And if you want practical business insights and fantastic interviews with other amazing entrepreneurs, check out the Empire Flippers Podcast on the podcast platform of your choice.

Justin Cooke,   Founder of Empire Flippers

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We interview successful business owners and share the stories behind their business. By sharing these stories, we want to help others get started.

If you liked this story, join our mailing list for new interviews every Tuesday.

Interested in sharing your own story? Shoot me an email!

Pat Walls,   Founder of Starter Story

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This woman earns $13,000 a month writing YouTube jingles on Fiverr


freelancer

By Business Insider

SarahFiverr freelancer Sarah Hughes.

  • Fiverr, the freelancer marketplace, has opened an office in the UK and is hiring marketing staff as part of an international expansion push.
  • CEO Micha Kaufman won’t comment on rumours that Fiverr is looking to float, but the firm has bulked out its finance and accounting teams in the last year.
  • Business Insider spoke to one British freelancer on Fiverr who currently makes $13,000 a month writing and selling original jingles and tunes.
  • The company has raised $111 million to date.

Even the most talented musicians struggle to turn their skills into a regular income, but 28-year-old Sarah Hughes has already bought her own house and paid for a wedding in the last year.

Hughes, like most of us, works between the hours of 9am to 5pm every weekday. But unlike the average commuter she also takes time out of her day to potter around the house, do chores, meet friends, or go shopping. She never works after 5pm, or on weekends.

And she makes $13,000 a month, before tax, or about ten times higher than the UK national average.

Hughes is a freelancer on Fiverr, a marketplace where anyone can buy freelance services for as little as $5.

She has been using the platform since 2013 and charges up to $300 a time to create original jingles. She can play the ukulele and sing but, she says, her real talent is with Apple’s recording software, Logic Pro X.

Her Fiverr page advertises original ballads for Valentine’s Day, voiceover work, and nursery rhymes. More recently, she told Business Insider, there’s been a lot of demand from YouTube creators who want cutesy backing music for videos designed to entertain kids.

Without Fiverr, Hughes said, her finances „wouldn’t be good.“

„I got married in November, and just exchanged on a house,“ she told Business Insider. „We’ve saved up for huge things.“

SarahHughes gets demand from kid-focused YouTubers asking for original backing tunes and jingles.Sarah Hughes

Hughes isn’t the only person to make decent money through Fiverr. One US dad coined $1 million and got himself out of debt doing voiceover work.

Fiverr is a marketplace for freelancer to sell their wares, and has been around since 2010.

While Fiverr has strong associations with that $5 price point, popular freelancers like Hughes can charge considerably more for their services and after winning loyal customers and good reviews.

The company has raised $111 million to date and, according to Bloomberg, is mulling a public float at a valuation of around $800 million.

Fiverr may be worth almost $1 billion

Chief executive Misha Kaufman says there has been 50 million transactions in total on the platform, although he wouldn’t share details of revenue, user numbers or active sellers.

He wouldn’t comment on the possibility of a float either, saying it’s „just a rumour.“ Still, LinkedIn postings analysed by Business Insider show that Fiverr has bulked out its finance and accounting teams with at least three new hires in 2018, suggesting the firm may well be prepping for an IPO.

This is Kaufman’s fourth company, he told Business Insider. His previous startups included encryption software firm Keynesis and user ratings service Spotback.com.

„What really drove me to start this company was that I’ve been an entrepreneur for many years, and I’ve worked with a lot of freelancers,“ Kaufman said. „I’ve worked a lot with freelancers, and that usually involves a lot of friction. The way most freelancers‘ work is done to this day is very old-fashioned. You usually get your freelancer through references, then you get in touch, meet in coffee shops, figure out if you want to work together, then there’s all the contracting that has to take place.“

The process, Kaufman said, is highly inefficient, even as the number of freelancers is set to rise. According to Morgan Stanley, freelancers represent about a third of the US workforce.

„What we wanted to do was increase the efficiency of this market,“ Kaufman said, likening Fiverr to Airbnb and Uber, and other big marketplace companies. „We make purchasing a service online as easy as buying a product on Amazon.“

Fiverr made negative headlines after PewDiePie hired freelance workers to hold up a sign saying ‚Death to all Jews‘

PewdiepiePewDiePie hired two Indian freelancers through Fiverr to hold up an offensive sign, earning instant blowback.YouTube

Buying another human’s skills „frictionlessly“ has some drawbacks, as the company discovered in 2017.

Felix Kjellberg, the Swedish YouTube star better known as PewDiePie, hired a couple of Indian comedians through Fiverr to hold up a sign that read: „Death to all Jews.“ The two comics, who call themselves Fiverr Funny Guys, have been banned from the service since, and Kjellberg was widely criticised for the anti-Semitic stunt.

Kaufman is stoic. „Everybody needs to remember Fiverr is a marketplace, it offers services that are offered by people,“ he said. „It’s user-generated content. You might come across things you find offensive or inappropriate. Much like YouTube, we give you the option to report these things and we have a zero-tolerance policy.

„As much as we put technology and marketplace integrity in place, it’s the internet, you’re never going to field everything 100%. That’s why we encourage our community to report anything inappropriate.“

With a possible IPO on the way, would Kaufman consider raising the base price above $5, in order to boost Fiverr’s own earnings?

„We won’t be encouraging that for many years,“ he said. „The $5 is a tiny fraction of our business. Historically it’s what we were associated with, but it’s a very small part.“

The $5 price tag, he added, has caused journalists and commentators to hold Fiverr up as an example of a race to the bottom for freelancers, in a world where struggling workers are turning to unstable „gig economy“ work like driving for Uber to supplement their income.

„Fiverr has tried to do the opposite,“ said Kaufman, noting that Fiverr freelancers are free raise their prices as they build up loyalty and regular customers. „We’re trying to allow people to price in the right way in terms of what they’re offering and experience.“

The US is Fiverr’s biggest market, Kaufman said, but the firm is making its first major push in the UK. It already has a chunk of freelancers and customers here, but the platform has hired dedicated staff to support its users. The idea is to run meetups for freelancers, offer tips and tutorials to help people win more business.

Fiverr points to Hughes as an inspiration, as someone who has managed to build up a steady income and enjoys the freedom of working from home. „I don’t think I would have got anywhere without Fiverr,“ she said. „I’d have been stuck in a job I didn’t want to do.“

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How Jeff Bezos Became the World’s Richest Man

Jeff Bezos

By Investopedia

Jeff Bezos is now the richest person on earth, with his personal fortune eclipsing the wealth amassed by legendary investor Warren Buffet and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates. Bezos made the top spot of Forbes magazine’s 2018 400 Richest in America list with a net worth of $160 billion.

The founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of global e-commerce behemoth Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is responsible for running a platform that accounted for 4% of all U.S. retail sales in 2017 and a whopping 44% of digital spending. As digitalization reshapes human behavior and the cloud computing revolution does the same to enterprise, the leader in online retail, with its high-flying cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services (AWS) is only forecasted to propel higher — spelling more good news for its CEO.

When Bezos had his idea for „the everything store,“ his well-intentioned friends and family tried to talk him out of quitting his „stable job“ in finance. Yet Bezos, raised by his teen mom and later his Cuban immigrant stepfather, always dreamed of creating something different, once telling his school teacher that „the future of mankind is not on this planet.“

Beyond Books

The tech visionary graduated from Princeton with a major in computer science and electrical engineering. Upon graduating, he turned down job offers from companies such as Intel and Bell Labs to join a startup called Fitel. He went on to launch a news-by-fax service company with Halsey Minor, the founder of CNET. After the venture failed, Bezos became the youngest senior vice president at a hedge fund called D.E. Shaw, working his way up the ranks in just four years.

Bezos could have stayed on Wall Street for the rest of his career if he hadn’t been enthralled by the knowledge that by 1994, the internet was growing at the rate of 2,300% annually. Soon enough, his idea for Amazon was born, and the CEO began making a list of 20 possible product categories to sell online.

Amazon.com, then a platform for selling books, grew in its early stages out of a garage with a pot-belly stove. Bezos, who put his own $10,000 in the company comprised of himself, his wife and two programmers, ironically conducted most of his meetings at the neighborhood Barnes & Noble. Within its first month after launch in July 1995, Amazon sold books in every state in the U.S. and 45 countries around the world.

Beating Expectations

During Amazon’s first year, Bezos tried to raise money by predicting $74 million in sales by 2000, far underestimating the reality: $1.64 billion. He managed to gather $1 million in seed funding from angel investors after using up investment from his family, primarily from his parents, who chipped into a significant portion of their life savings. According to the CEO, the first 20 or so outside investors in Amazon put in about $50,000 each for a stake of less than 1%. Each investment would now be worth around $6 billion, representing a 120,000 times return, given the investors held onto their entire stakes and that they had never been diluted by later investors. In June 1996, Amazon raised another $8 million in Series A from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. (See also: Amazon Forces Suppliers to Play By Its Rules.)

Amazon went public in May 1997 and turned out to be one of the few startups that survived the dot-com bust. As the platform diversified its product offerings and solidified itself as a market leader and pioneer, annual sales skyrocketed from $510,000 in 1995 to over $17 billion in 2001. In 2013, Bezos revealed his first plans for the company’s revolutionary Amazon Prime subscription business, with Amazon Prime Air, which would use drones to deliver to customers.

In 1998, Bezos also became an early investor in Google. While he has not revealed what he has kept of the stock after its initial public offering in 2004, his $250,000 investment would be worth well over $6 billion today. In August 2013, the business mogul bought The Washington Post for $250 million. Since then, its audience and traffic has exploded, surpassing The New York Times in terms of U.S. unique web viewers in October 2015.

The company’s share price reflects this phenomenal growth. The stock has given an over 523% return over the past 5 years and is up 67.7% year-to-date as of October 3, 2018. Bezos owns about 16.3% of the 24-year-old company, making it the biggest source of his wealth. A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing in November 2017 showed that the CEO sold 1 million shares of his company for $1.1 billion. The last filing, dated August 2018, shows Bezos owning 78.8 million shares.

Rocket Man

With his booming wealth, Bezos is now able to fulfill his childhood dream of becoming a space entrepreneur. Each year, he commits $1 billion to his space-exploration company, Blue Origin, which, in 2016 became one of the first commercial companies to launch a reusable rocket. on July 18, 2018, Blue Origin sent spacecraft „New Shepard“ into high altitude order to test its safety systems, which worked.

Amazon boasted of $52.9 billion in net sales in Q2 2018.

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