“How to make $1000 a month online from scratch” has proven to be one of our most popular article series. It has recently been updated to support the latest online developments and innovations.
One of my friends is a consulting project manager here in Australia. I hadn’t seen him for a while so asked him what he'd been up to.
He told me how he was contracted as the head project manager for a large train building project. When I asked him how it was going he responded, “Well, it’s a little stressful.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Well, for every day the project runs late, it costs the company over $100,000. It’s a 12 month, multi-million dollar project and I’m the one responsible for making it come in on time,” he casually responded.
I was shocked. I was intrigued to find out how he managed to control a massive project like this to make it come in on time. It seemed overwhelming to me, but didn’t seem to faze him much.
I was especially interested in understanding how he managed to run a project like this without feeling out of control and risking running weeks or months over time costing the company millions of dollars. So I asked him.
He went on to explain two nuggets of truth that I’ve held close to me ever since. The first insight he shared with me was this.
“Every huge project will always contain sub-projects. All sub-projects will always contain tasks. So to tackle any huge project just keep breaking it down until you have actionable tasks. Figure out how long each task takes, organize them, then do them.”
In other words, for any project you face, no matter how big it is, just break it down into bite sized manageable tasks. Then do them!
This is powerful stuff that can cure any overwhelming feelings you have for anything you face. Keep that in mind as we move forward in this series. If you've never done anything like this before it can be a daunting position to be in. We'll be breaking everything down piece by piece, so you can relax.
The other gold nugget he shared was a simple proverb that he lives by, and I now try to as well.
It is “Measure twice, cut once.”
Part 4 in our series is all about the measuring twice. We’re going to be planning the sub-projects we need to work on to get our goal of $1000 a month off the ground.
This can be a tricky stage for some people. Some folks simply jump in boots and all and get overwhelmed and confused.
Others get stuck here. They keep looking and researching but never actually do anything to move forward.
Series of Action Steps
I’ve purposefully put together a set of action steps to take to propel you forward in this project. Hopefully, it will help you not get overwhelmed, or stuck in the research rut.
It’s worth noting that before writing this, I spent two days exploring all the options. I had researched them a few years ago, but wanted to make sure that there wasn’t anything new that I was missing out on. So you can trust that this is up to date advice.
True to my friend's insight, I’ve broken this down into 5 sub-projects. They are:
1) Finalize your site idea.
2) Choose a business name (and domain name).
3) Plan your basic site content.
4) Plan your digital product.
5) Set up your website.
I strongly suggest that you do each of these steps in that order. So don’t do step 3 without doing step 1 and 2 first.
There are two reasons for this.
First, it’s going to be easier to do these steps with a clear mind without technology getting in the way. When you throw a technology learning curve into the middle of this, it can easily become a muddle and more complex than it needs to be.
The second reason is that you should be ready to go when you sign up for your publishing platform. This saves you money because once you sign up, you’ve got a path to follow immediately.
It also helps make the learning curve easier. When you read through the publishing platform instructions you’ve got a working set of ideas in your head rather than simply hypotheticals. In other words, you’ve got a clear direction to follow once the rubber meets the road.
Let’s look at each of these sub-projects individually.
Finalize Your Site Idea
By now you should have already gone through the detailed instructions I outlined for choosing your niche. If you haven’t done that, you must complete this. You should be able to feel confident in your decision if you use the methodology I outlined.
Once you’ve decided, don’t look back.
Choose a Domain Name
Choosing a domain name is a really fun part of this planning process. No matter how many names get registered online, I’m still constantly surprised at how many good ones are still left.
Now I want to make it clear at this point, we’re just picking a domain name. We won’t be buying it yet. This comes bundled (free) with our publishing platform so we don’t have to pay for it separately.
There are a few guidelines I try to use when selecting a domain name. I think it’s important to try to strike a balance between professional, memorable and easy to share via word of mouth.
Keeping this in mind, here are a few rules I would recommend trying to keep when selecting your domain name. Remember that your domain name is usually the name of your site as well.
Domain Name Should NOT contain:
Hyphens – Domain names containing hyphens are difficult to share via word of mouth and don’t look as professional. They used to be popular for SEO reasons, but are no longer necessary.
Numbers – This rule can be broken for some domains but as a general rule it’s best not to have numbers in your domain name. They make the domain name difficult to share via word of mouth. People ask, “Is it numeric or alphabetic?”
Anything other than a .com – The dot com domain names are seen as the most professional and are often the default in people's minds. Unless you have a very good reason to have another domain name (like country specific information, or a bona fide organization) I would try to keep to a dot com.
More than 25 characters (before the dot com) – Anything longer than 25 characters becomes problematic for a number of reasons. One in particular is if you ever want to advertise via PPC search engines.
Clever misspellings – Again, they create problems if anyone wants to spread the word about your site to others. They can also detract from your ranking power in the search engines. They may look clever, but will negatively impact your traffic. If someone can’t be told the domain name and write it phonetically, then you have a problem.
Domain Name SHOULD contain:
You main keyword phrase – Having your main keyword phrase in your domain name will help with your search rankings. For me, it’s ideal if someone can read your domain name and at a glance “get” what your site is all about.
Positional statement – In the same way, a positional adjective can help people understand what they are getting before they visit your site. For example words like help, advice, tips, etc.
In line with this, imagine your site is ranking well in the search engines. How appealing is it going to be to the web surfer when he sees your listing in the results?
If one site is called WhiteBallGuy.com and another is called GolfPuttingGuru.com, which one do you think will be more attractive to the web surfer who’s looking for golf putting tips?
Here’s a free and useful site to expand your mind on possible domain alternatives.
In a matter of minutes I found several great, available (at the time of writing) domain names.
Also consider using Google's keyword research tool from last week to find out specific keywords that people are using to find the sorts of information you are providing.
Just remember to keep the domain name general enough so you can be flexible with the content you are providing. For example, GolfPuttingGuru.com is better than GolfPuttingAdvice.com because some day you may wish to sell physical golf putters from the site itself. At that point, the domain name would be less relevant to the theme of the site if you called it GolfPuttingAdvice.com.
Plan Your Site Content
It’s worth while at this point planning the framework of your site. If you plan your site structure now, you’ll be less likely to fall into the trap of creating a site around the articles you’ve already written, rather than writing articles that fit within the ideal site structure.
This is a pretty simple process. Just write down all the topics you wish to cover in your site and then move them around so they make the most sense. Sometimes, it might be a case of having some sub-categories within larger, more general topics.
For example you might have sections on putting tips, putter reviews, putting practice machine etc.
If you’re a visual person, it’s sometimes useful to draw a flowchart. You could even use a free flow charting service like the one at gliffy.com
Plan Your Digital Product
While you're in planning mode, you should consider starting to plan your digital product. It’s useful to start this planning now because it will also help shape the content for the articles on the site.
You can save yourself a lot of work by reusing some of the material that will be going into your digital product within your articles. Then the articles become a useful teaser for people to buy the full product itself. You give them a bit, but if they want it all then they need to buy your product.
This will be all explained in a later chapter, so don’t stress about it now.
For now, do some research on the kinds of questions that people are commonly asking on your particular subject. Begin to collate these and frame them into interview questions.
Again, revisit boardreader.com, Google Answers and Yahoo! Answers to see the kinds of questions that people are asking. Also, it doesn’t hurt to try to think back to the sorts of questions you have had in the past about your chosen subject matter.
At the end of this exercise, you should have lots of common questions that will provide the basis for both your digital product and your site content.
Set Up Your Site
Once you’ve completed the first four steps, it’s time for the more difficult task of setting up your website. As I said last week, up until now everything I’ve given you has been using free tools. Eventually, you have to get serious and put your money where your mouth is.
As I mentioned earlier, I researched again to see who the market leaders were. I even signed up to several different paid services to check them out for you as well.
The main criteria I was looking for was a unified solution that provided all the tools you needed in one place – one that would allow you to get your site up and running easily without technical distractions.
A solution that does a lot of hand holding, taking people through the step by step best processes that represent the best practice. But also one that has a strong supportive community of peers who know what you’re going through and can assist and motivate you towards success.
My two days of research ended up taking me back to my starting point in recommending Niche Profit Classroom (NPC) for your publishing platform.
In my opinion it’s the best and most comprehensive all in one solution available that includes hosting, site building tools, traffic building tools, SEO feedback tools and traffic tracking tools. Beyond this, they handle all the technical updates and site security issues as well. If you’ve ever had a site hacked, you’ll know how important this can be.
However, it could be said that the real value isn’t even in these “features.” What makes them my choice for anyone wanting to earn $1,000 a month online from scratch is the real value contained in their NPC Niche Marketing 2.0 system.
It's been designed to get you into “under the radar” markets, selling products you don't make, through sales letters you don't write, on web sites you don't create.
Bulging with accompanying training, community forums and support, once you’re part of the NPC clan, you have everything you need in one location.
The Niche Marketing 2.0 Training Center
It's a 13-part course stepping you through the Niche Marketing 2.0 system, using multiple videos, downloadable materials and an action plan. It's aimed at helping you get your niche web site launched swiftly and making a profit.
NPC Media Center
It's pretty impressive. It may well be the largest Internet marketing video library on the Internet.
Quality training on every conceivable subject is available in small step-by-step tutorials through a wide range of internet marketing methods and topics. Pick the topic you want to learn about and you'll be taken to the list of videos just on that topic.
MoneyWord Matrix Desktop Edition
The MoneyWord Matrix is a separate software tool developed by Niche Profit Classroom to help you get into the top 10 search engine listings for Google, Yahoo and MSN, without spending hours on boring analysis.
The MoneyWord Matrix SEO method looks at how competitive a given keyword is. So using the matrix, you'll have foreknowledge of which keywords are difficult to rank for and what will be the best bet. This helps you to fly “under the radar” and generate a high level of quality traffic with the right choice of keywords.
Niche Profit Classroom Software tools
In addition to the MoneyWord Matrix, there are additional software tools freely downloadable by all NPC members. As well as being excellent time-savers, you're also holding onto your cash.
These software shortcuts include:
- MoneyWords Keyword Tool – to find the most lucrative keywords in your market
- Market Scorecard – to find the markets that are worth pursuing
- Market Profiler – so you can profile the niches you are investigating
- Market Checklist – to keep track of your progress with each web site you launch
- Sales Letter Wizard – create compelling sales letters that convert, in minutes
I wouldn't be doing them justice without mentioning their ongoing Niche Profit Mastermind Webinars and Leaders Forums.
While there's so much more I could go on with, I trust that you get the basic picture.
You don't need to recreate the wheel. Their system can easily be worked in with a day job, family time or other commitments and it suitable whether you have your own product or not (there is training and systems for both ways).
Now I’m not saying that NPC is perfect, however, getting started with them doesn't require a large start up investment and their tailor-made free software tools are great resources.
If you’re already a NPC member, then fantastic. You’re already all set. You’ll be able to apply the principles in following weeks. If the niche you’ve chosen doesn’t stack up against our niche selection criteria from last week then you may wish to even start a new site that does!
If you’re not already an NPC member, I recommend that you become one. I believe it’s going to give you your best shot at success for a very reasonable price.
In saying that, it's one thing for me to recommend you to sign up for it (especially as we’re using an affiliate link), but it’s important that you feel confident in the system yourself. After all, this is the biggest investment you’ll make for the $1000 a month project.
I suggest that you look through the site and make up your own mind. If you’ve made the decision, you’re going have more faith and confidence in the system and will be more willing to work with it instead of wasting time looking around for greener grass.
I hope you’re as convinced as I am that this is the best platform to propel you towards your goal of earning $1000 a month online.
Once you're satisfied, sign up and spend some time going over the training materials. It's worth while just spending some time getting familiar with the system. You don't have to actually build any of the site yet, just get familiar with the system.
Next week we'll be covering “The Action” where we’ll be moving forward setting up the foundations for your site and your new digital product. Come along next week prepared for some major forward progress!