What being an Internet Marketer Means To Me
I was sitting here today on Christmas morning 2013, thinking about all of the benefits of being a successful Internet Marketer. The benefits of mastering this industry are just so damn amazing, I would be insane not to give it a go. Here’s a few of the pros:
- I would be location independent
- I could spend way more time with my wife
- I could live life on my own schedule
- I would not need a retirement plan, just semi-passive income streams
- I would be in control of my own situation and not have to rely on others to pay me
- I would spend my time working to make my own life better and of those around me, rather than making somebody else rich
And that’s just a few of the pros I can think of off the top of my head! I’m sure you could think of more of your own reasons as well. The point is … who wouldn’t want that? Of course that sounds sounds great to most of us, but what I’ve discovered is that most people don’t actually have what it takes to follow through, make it happen, and reap the benefits. It’s definitely not easy or quick.
My Internet Marketing History (Where I’m Coming From)
I think in order for me to fully understand where I’m headed with this whole “Internet Marketing” thing, it’s important that I clearly see where I’m coming from. I need to see the whole picture and I want to clearly see how far I’ve progressed. Maybe you can identify with me in whole or in part. If so, please let em know in the comments. Share your own story for all of us to see!
Discovering Internet Marketing in 2010 – The Beginning
This was the year that I discovered Internet Marketing for the first time. I was fresh out of 2 year community college for Website Development, and didn’t have a full time job yet. I spent my time doing a few small freelance jobs for people I know, and I also wanted to sell my artwork online.
While researching how to sell artwork online, one day I came across an ad for a site promising to teach me how to make money online. I don’t remember the exact site but it opened a doorway into an awesome world of online riches that were easy to obtain. I was skeptical, but I read the success stories from people that seemed just like me, who were now making lots of money, and I could do it too if I just bought their course.
Being a skeptic though, I didn’t buy any courses right away and tried to just copy some examples and try this “Internet Marketing” thing out. Basically I slapped up 2 or 3 spammy thin sites with horrible short content, put some Google Adsense on it (I guess it was easy to get approved back then), and sat back and waited for the search engines to index my sites, and the traffic and money start rolling in. These people in the success stories said it would!
Now of course I didn’t expect a large amount of money from each site – they were small sites so only $500 / month would be okay. (Hahahahaha …. )
Short story short … I received ZERO traffic, didn’t make a single penny (except for the 1 or 2 times I clicked my own ad to see if it really even worked, it did), decided “Internet Marketing” was either a crock of shit or way to hard for me to figure out, so I threw in the towel and kept looking for a regular job.
I had failed … (but little did I know …)
2010 – My REAL Web Development Education and my Huge Advancement in Skills
During this year I learned a TON of web development techniques, and I advanced my set of useful skills more in this single year than ever before. While my professional outlook was looking better than ever due to the skills I now had, I still didn’t find a “real” web development job. I did go on one job interview with 1&1 Internet in November, but they were not calling me back after the interview.
Oh well … sigh.
2010 came and went and before I knew it is was Christmas. Christmas 2010 I was BROKE. I had a small 1 bedroom apartment with my fiance, but money was really tight and I hadn’t found a job yet. The future was not looking very promising. I started having doubts that I would ever find a job and become a successful web developer. I had the skills but I didn’t have the experience.
It really wasn’t the happiest of holiday seasons for me. I was even starting to get depressed.
2011 – Rediscovering Internet Marketing
SUPRISE!! In January of 2011 1&1 Internet called me back, apologized for the delay and a week later I found myself working for them. You may have seen TV commercials for the “1&1 MyWebsite” – easy site builder. Well I worked as a subcontractor for 1and1, building high end customized versions of these sites for over 300 clients of 1&1. I worked with each client individually and balanced about 15 websites at one time.
Here I was able to hone my customer service skills as I worked with people all over the United States in every industry imaginable. This job lasted all of 2011 and 2012. Although I liked my job at 1&1, I wasn’t happy and it wasn’t challenging after a while. It actually got very boring and so many of the clients were so rude I couldn’t stand it anymore. I needed something new.
While I was looking for a new full time job, I decided to take another look at making money online, I needed to be in control of my own financial situation. I realized that that was the only way I would ever truly be happy in life. By being in control of my own situation.
October of 2011 is the month that I rediscovered Internet Marketing and decided to give it a fair chance. I searched on Google for internet marketing related topics and started putting together a picture in my mind of the many different elements that make up the work of an internet marketer.
Staying up late every night, I studied, learned the basics,and researched like crazy, then built my first 2 or 3 sites. Although I put a lot into them, I didn’t really understand the elements that make a successful site that well so my first few sites were failures. I did make a few cents off Adsense on them though, probably totaling $1.50 a month.
I’ll never forget that first $0.17 that I made when somebody clicked my ad on one of my sites. It was awesome! It was the best 17 cents that I have ever made.
I was hooked.
2012 – My First Taste of Internet Marketing Success
I kept working at building small sites, and about March of 2012 is when I discovered and started reading Smart Passive Income, Niche Pursuits, Think Traffic, Adsense Flippers, and other awesome successful internet marketers who were down to earth and honest. Quite different than the scammers I discovered back in 2010!
From March through September of 2012 is when I started applying what I was learning from these guys, and I started a few new sites that actually started to make a few dollars a month. Although still tiny, my online income was growing steadier and slightly larger from month to month.
In August of 2012 is when I tried out Adsense Flippers method and I built 40 new Adsense sites of my own in 1 month. Talk about hustling to get things done! This was the first method I tried where I actually started to see good results.
August 2012 – I earned about $30. September of 2012 I earned about $75 then BOOM!
The “Exact Match Domain Update” happened and my income dropped to pennies per week again. Man, just when I was starting to see some good results!
Although I was late to the game with this method, it showed me that I really did have what it takes to make this happen. These small successes mixed with my new and improved skillset gave me the mindset to keep going and make it happen.
October 2012 – Reassessing My Goals and Methods
After my Adsense sites tanked at the end of September 2012, I decided to really start putting out some quality content and step up my game. In October 2012 I started focusing on 3 sites that I had that were still earning a small Adsense income and 2 sites that I promoted Amazon products on. The main site I focused on was tentcampinghq.com. Go ahead and check it out. I make about $10 – $15 per month off of Adsense and Amazon Commissions on that site. It’s more of a small but growing authority niche site.
By December of 2012 I was seeing a steady $15 to $30 income stream flowing for my efforts and I KNEW that I could do this.
Now it’s just a matter of time, hard work, and laser focusing my efforts on the right things.
However, since my online income was growing so slowly, and I didn’t like my job at 1&1 at all anymore, I realized that I needed to find a new full time job or I would go crazy. In November of 2012 I started applying for web development jobs in my area, and in December I landed a job interview with a small but fast growing web development studio in Philadelphia PA.
They were super impressed with my customer experience and project management skills I obtained at 1&1 Internet, and also with how much I learned on my own right after school. I knew all of that extra learning would pay off!
I landed the job and started working for the Durkan Group in January 2013. This job was the job I wanted. High end web design, fast paced work in an ultra laid back working environment. You want a particular snack? Put it in the list and a week later it would be in the cupboard! Need to work from home a day or 2 for whatever reason? No problem! Paid vacation? Here’s almost 3 weeks of it starting on day 1 of my employment!
Things were finally starting to really look up for me. It felt great and I finally had my confidence back. This is when I knew that things were on the right path. Now if I could only get my Internet Marketing Income to grow … you see although I loved my new web job, I was still working for somebody else, and as we know I have a burning desire to work for myself and control my own destiny.
(Side Note: I also got married on September 29, 2012 to the awesomest girl in the world!)
2013 – Getting It All Figured Out, Finally!
In 2013 I started really focusing on my tent camping website, and added a friend of mine to the mix. He runs the Facebook page (check it out if you like camping, it’s very active!). Basically, He writes most of the content, and I run the technical stuff. We split the earnings after expenses 50/50. This was my first site that earns at least $10 a month every month, so I consider it my first success. I focused on growing this site from January through May.
My Most Successful Site To Date was Born!
In June of 2013 I was reading Spencer Haw’s Niche Site Project #1 and decided to give a shot at building a similar type of site. Although in theory my site would be similar to his Amazon Associate Niche Site, I was going to add a whole new dimension of custom web development and design to my site to really make me stand out from the competition.
This site is the one I discuss frequently in the Niche Site Duel forum, and on my blog here. I did my keyword research and built my site with my own custom programmed buyer’s guide (instead of using the sortable tables that everyone uses these days). My site looked great, professional, and best of all was unique and really stood out compared to all of my niche site competitors who were gunning for the same keywords. Those sites were almost all just carbon copies of each other (and Spencer Haw’s Survival Knife Guide site) but mine was way different.
That brings me to something really important. There are so many people out there trying to build sites that make money online, and a lot of those people don’t have any real web development skills. Utilizing my high end development skills is going to be one of my main focuses moving forward and I think it can really give me an edge against competition that does not have this ability.
My custom web development skills are going to be my unfair advantage. Sorry … 😉
So back to my current niche site. If you want, you can read the whole story of this niche site, but here’s the quick version in case you don’t have the time or care enough.
- I started the niche product review site in June and launched it on July 22.
- I only made a few dollars in August & September, but then in October all my SEO, backlinking, and content creation paid off and I went up to #3 in Google for my main keyphrase, which git about 5400 searches a month.
- In October my niche site made about $50 with an average of 80 visitors a day. The most one of my sites ever made in a single month.
- Then on October 31, 2013 something bad happened. My site was hit with a Google Penalty! All my traffic and earnings gone overnight. You can read the detailed story of my Google penalty and how I defeated it here.
- In November and the first half of December I only earned about $3. I had missed out on the holiday shopping it seemed.
- I made a few on site adjustments and cleaned up my backlink profile a bit, and on December 19, my Google penalty was lifted and my traffic and earnings came right back!
- From December 19 through December 27 2013, my site has earned about $28 in Amazon commissions.
My site is back baby!
So now that 2013 is coming to a close, I decided it was time to reflect on everything I have been through up until now and I hoped that by writing this detailed post, it would put it all into perspective for me (and others) and help me to clearly see the path forward that will lead me down the road to success.
2014 and Beyond!
Now that I’ve finished my Internet Marketing “Schooling / Boot Camp”, and I’m seeing a small regular income stream start to flow, it’s time for me to take MASSIVE ACTION. 2014 is my year to take it to the next level and set up the foundation to build my online empire off of. I’ve put in my dues, learned everything I can, built tons of failed websites, a few small earners, and 2 decently successful sites. Now I know what TO do and what NOT to do. It’s time for me to make it happen.
I’ll Be Documenting Things as I Go Here on DaveNicosia.com
I’ve never really blogged about my internet marketing experiences in the past, I figured that I didn’t really have that much to say and nobody would want to listen to me anyways. But now that I’ve been experiencing slow but steady growth and success, I want to make sure to share everything with the world, and especially with those of you who want to take this journey with me. I know how hard and frustrating it can be, and now I really want to help others who are just a little bit behind me or struggling to catch up as fast as possible.
WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER.
What Will I Be Spending my Internet Marketing Time on in 2014?
* A Note about Time
I realize the importance of time and how limited it really is, so I will be trying to laser focus my efforts and bring in some outsourced help to take care of the smaller and easier, yet time consuming tasks involved with growing my business. I’m going to start off every site myself so I can fine tune it exactly how I want it, then start outsourcing some tasks as my sites grow.
My goal is to make a full time living off my own websites as soon as I possibly can, so time will be a real challenge for me. This will be the year I start outsourcing to help accelerate the process.
Reducing “Learning” and Increasing “Doing” in 2014
This is the biggest way that I am going to optimize my time this year. There have been so many blogs and forums that I’ve followed over the past few years, and they are greatly responsible for the position I’m in today. During the early part of 2013 I started realizing that I wasn’t really learning many new things, and that I already knew most of what the blogs I followed were writing about. Overall I realized that I knew more than enough to make money online, and that I was spending way too much time reading and not enough time doing. I had to switch gears, get out of “school” ind into the “real world” of internet marketing.
Now don’t take that the wrong way, I’m not saying that I know everything and don’t need to learn any more … I’m saying that I know enough to take solid action and that the guys I followed weren’t really teaching me much any more. I was a lot closer to these guys level of knowledge, but lacking a lot in experience.
Throughout 2013 I reduced my reading substantially, and in July of 2013 I basically stopped reading all of the blogs I followed and just listened to podcasts in my car while driving back and forth to work. I still kept tabs on new blog posts from my favorite sites, but only read an occasional post if it really sounded unique or interesting.
In 2014 I plan on keeping tabs on my favorite blogs, but I am really going to take my time spent reading and listening close to nothing, and spend my time DOING.
Here is a list of what is important to me and the methods I will be using moving forward:
- I will be building unique custom designed niche sites that will start out small, and I will grow them into larger authority niche sites when they prove successful.
- I will be focusing on creating original USEFUL content that people naturally want to consume, engage with, and share.
- I will use my advanced web development skills as a competitive edge and to develop things that will engage the visitors of my sites.
- I will work harder and smarter than ever.
- I will focus on building fewer but better and bigger sites.
- I will reinvest most of my earnings to grow my business faster.
- I will share everything I learn and accomplish on my blog.
- I will stay active in the internet marketing community.
- I will start with building medium sized niche sites, and then expand and diversify from there.
- I will be finding ways to increase my production.
- I will start outsourcing some tasks of building my websites and online business.
Okay Now, Let’s Talk About Making Money Online
So now that I’ve covered my past experience, where I’m coming from, and what I’ll be doing in 2014 and beyond, I want to talk about making money online in 2014 and beyond. Specifically what I am going to be focusing on and my thoughts on the whole idea of “Internet Marketing”.
My main focus of 2014 will be building medium sized niche sites and writing about it here on my blog.
Are Niche Websites Dead in 2014?
If websites that are centered around a specific topic are dead then yes, niche websites are dead … along with the entire internet. It’s over guys. Time to get a job.
Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s because saying that niche websites is dead is LUDICROUS!
What IS dead are tiny low quality 3 page sites built on exact match domains, and that have a few easy backlinks built pointing to them whose goal is to get the visitor to click an ad or affiliate link as quick as possible. Those days are over as Google gets better and better at ranking high quality sites. I definitely think this is a great thing for those of us who want to make money online while helping the world. All of those little “niche sites” are spam. When you are researching something online, do you want to see sites like that dominating the front page? Definitely not.
Some people will argue that these mini niche sites can still make money, but they are not going to do well forever, so do you really want to waste your time building them when you could be focusing on long term and Google-proof success?
I believe that niche sites are NOT dead at all, on the contrary, they are going to more profitable than ever! It’s just going to take a bit more work and higher standards to build successful sites.
Some people call these types of niche sites “Expanded Niche Sites“, some people call them “Authority Niche Sites“, and some people call them a whole new breed of niche sites.
I just call them “Niche Sites“.
Remember my definition of a niche site – a website centered around a specific topic.
Size has nothing to do with a site being a “niche site” or not.
Here’s To a Great 2014!!
Well there you have it. My internet marketing past and where I’m heading this year and into the future. I gotta say, I’m really looking forward to this and I’m more motivated than ever to make it happen. It’s been quite the roller coaster up until now … and I know that it’s only just begun. These were the baby tracks.
Remember those benefits of being a successful internet marketer I listed in the beginning of this novel? Well I want them BAD and nothing can stop me. Sometimes I get so excited thinking about it, that I can’t even contain my excitement because I know that I will have that some day. I’ve had enough success to switch from positive thinking to KNOWING that I will succeed, and it’s just a matter of time.
Here’s to us, the new generation of successful Internet Marketers!
Look out Pat … look out Spencer … look out Justin & Joe … lookout Corbet and everyone else … here we come!
There’s a new generation of hard working dedicated people willing to do what it takes to be successful in this industry. Those of us who will keep at it, never give up. Those of us who will work harder and smarter. Those of us who will earn those benefits and build the lives we want to live, not the lives we’re told we should live.
Please Share Your Story with All of Us
I would really like to hear your story as well, so please leave it in the comments below, or email it to me if you prefer! Also please feel free to participate in the comments on my blog here, sign up for my email list (no sales, all useful information).
Take care and happy 2014! Please let me know if there is ever any way I can help you out.
I’ll be standing by …
e: dave (…at) davenicosia.com