Yesterday I grabbed a copy of KaChing! and started reading. Upon finishing it a few hours later (yes, I'm a very fast reader), I'm happy to say that this new book is just as “un-put-downable” as the last one.
As the title says, the book is about how to run an online business that pays and pays and it certainly takes you through some of the main methods that you can use to produce a good ongoing income from a website.
Joel covers everything from AdSense through to membership sites but he does it in a way which I really enjoy, and that is through the use of stories and real-world examples. I can't stand dry, researched books.
As I read through the book, I bookmarked a lot of interesting points but I have chosen just a couple to talk about here. Although they are only a small part of the whole book, they'll give you examples of the useful insights he provides.
When considering what your website should be about he makes the point: “I do know the principle that should underlie the subject of every profitable website: it must be a topic its publisher enjoys and is interested in.” This little insight alone has been proven to me over and over when I have tried to produce websites about topics that I have no major interest in. I know this is not true of everybody, especially when you can hire someone to do it for you, but when you're starting out, this is such an important thing.
When you’re looking to find a niche to build a website around, one of the most frustrating things is to find that someone else has already taken your niche. But, “Everyone has a unique set of interests, a unique degree of interest in those topics, a unique collection of information about them, and a unique way of describing them. But the interests themselves aren't unique. If you're the only person in the world interested in your niche, then you're going to struggle to make money online.”
Joel is so right! He goes on to talk about how you can be unique yet work within a community of people so that you have traffic and can build an ongoing business.
KaChing! has a whole chapter devoted to earning from affiliate programs. He not only goes through a range of different affiliate merchants and the good and better differences between them but he digs into some stats. One of the most interesting things from my point of view was when he talks about Shawn Collins’ Affiliate Summit and a survey they did of the 450 people attending. They discovered that only 3% of the people chose a merchant to promote on their site based upon its relevance to their web content. In his words, “That might explain why almost half of those affiliate's were earning less than $500 a month.” Joel goes further to explain how to choose merchants and products more effectively.
Joel looks at the best way to choose products for your readers, and also how to insert those products effectively into your content. The examples given reinforce the points he makes. There are even example articles that demonstrate how to promote a product to your audience without using straight ad copy. I also enjoyed his section on ad placement and affiliate email marketing which, yes, does include example emails.
Later in the book Joel talks about creating your own product or ebook and the number of pages that you'd want to include. For example he says that fewer than 50 pages will have customers questioning whether your book actually contains enough information to have a meaningful effect on their life. He takes it further when he says that when faced with an ebook of more than 200 pages, people read in a different way. Rather than reading every page, they start to skim and pluck information. While this might not be groundbreaking news to anyone who has published a book before, for many people it will change the way they structure their ebook.
These are just a couple of minor examples that I picked when I was reading through the book. They hit me as the sort of things that you don't often think about and, in many cases, you don't often see written anywhere unless you happen to come across them by a fluke when surfing around online.
I really enjoyed the book, and I would highly recommend it to anyone whether you've been selling online for a long time or you’re a brand newbie. It's not that heavy a read and it certainly isn't “War and Peace” but I can guarantee that you won't go from one cover to the other without learning something new. Or being reminded of something that you had read previously, had thought was important and then promptly forgot about it.
If you're relatively new to online marketing, KaChing! will answer many of your questions and will definitely round out your marketing education. The examples, stories and history make it a relaxing yet educational read and will leave you with a pile of bookmarked pages or a list of things to remember when you next sit down at your computer to continue building your web business.
Do yourself a favor, click here order your copy now.