The internet is a marketplace filled with an array of possibilities to potentially make money. Although finding these possibilities and turning them into a successful career is easier said than done. Don’t worry though our most recent guest on the TM Web Radio Show, John Chow, has some helpful tips when it comes to making money online. In fact, he literally makes money online by telling other people how to make money online.
This gentleman has been making his income online since 1998. John Chow is an online internet entrepreneur turned mogul, best known for his blog at JohnChow.com. His blog was first designed for personal use, but it soon turned into a case study to prove you can make a full-time income off a part-time blog. The proof is in the pudding, considering Chow’s blog now generates upwards to $40,000 a month. Chow is a forefather when it comes to monetizing a blog making him very knowledgeable in many areas of internet marketing and advertising. We were lucky enough to sit down with this internet mogul to offer you, our listeners and readers, some very valuable and beneficial information straight from the expert.
“I started the blog because I thought blogging was starting to take traction and starting to take off. I figured, the best way to learn it is just simply, by doing it.”
Chow purchased the domain JohnChow.com in 1998 and prior to it becoming a blog it was mainly used as a starting page. As blogging began to become a popular trend for the internet he then decided to turn JohnChow.com into a personal blog. The main purpose was just to talk about his life. Using it to updates his friends and family members with what he was doing, like many personal blogs out there at this time.
This wasn’t Chow’s first experiment with the internet. He was actually monetizing his content sites, like The TechZone, back in 1998. “Back then, we were monetizing using affiliated marketing. We were promoting, an example would be promoting an Amazon affiliate program,” says Chow. According to Chow, Amazon had the first affiliated program out. Utilizing the affiliate program and advertising networks allowed his site to grow and obtain a monetary value.
“It’s so much easier to get into marketing today than it was when I started because back then, everything we had to do we had to code ourselves.”
Back then there was not any software or advertising plug-ins to help develop a site that could be monetized. An understanding of how to integrate all the components of a website to make them work well was a must back then. Present day, there is no better time than now to really get involved and monetize in different ways because it is so easy to publish. As easy as it is to publish that does not mean you are going to be successful. There are certain elements that you have to consider before you decide to make a career jump into the blogosphere. “My number one piece of advice would be to treat it like a business. Most people don’t take blogging seriously simply because it is so inexpensive to get in,” says Chow. Your attitude towards your blog is going to have an impact on the success of your blog. It becomes a cloudy area because it is so inexpensive to create a blog and get it on the internet. “The easy cost of entry is considered a major advantage for many people. It’s a major disadvantage in the fact that, because it’s so cheap to get in, you don’t take it seriously,” explained Chow. Just because there is not a lot of value or investment dollars into the project doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously.
When considering a blog it is imperative you pick a subject that you are passionate about. As Chow says, “If you’re doing it just because this is the hot topic of today or hot topic of the month, but you’re not really interested in it, you’re not going to be able to stick with it long enough to see any traction.” Being passionate and interested in the topic you write about will show through to your readers and increase your credibility. It takes most blogs a year or two before they really start to see some results. If don’t focus on a topic that you are passionate about chances have it you won’t stay around long enough to see any results.
Once you have your topic establish and you are start to build a following and the traffic is coming in your blog will become more established. Okay so it is time to turn this blog into a money generating machine, right? Well, truth be told, a lot of bloggers aren’t exactly sure how to monetize their blog. Chow believes, “The most common way when bloggers first start is just to use a third party network to handle and sell advertising for their blog.” A lot of bloggers use Google AdSense when they are first starting out. However as a beginning blogger it is important to focus on your content. Your content is what is driving the traffic and bringing people back for more. Focus on your content and let someone else handle the ad sales. Google AdSense is the most common, but there are hundreds of other ad networks out there that can be used to help you out. “They take a cut, they handle the ad sales for you, they pay you, and you just concentrate on writing. That’s how most bloggers start or get started,” stated Chow.
“The other thing that I do is affiliate marketing and that’s where I would find companies that offer a product that’s related to what I blog about.”
With affiliate marketing, as a blogger you recommend products to your readers and in return you get a percentage of each sale. There is where Chow really rakes in the cash and for him it works better than advertising. “When done correctly, affiliate marketing is probably your number one income source,” said Chow. As a relevant persona in your niche having your endorsement can be worth a lot. In fact affiliate marketing is Chow’s number one source of income from his blog. Still, none of this is possible unless you have the traffic and following behind your blog.
Sure, SEO plays a role in bringing traffic to your blog, but Chow doesn’t feel it is that important. “Generally for searching optimization, the only thing I actually pay a lot of attention to is my title tag, the title of the blog post itself,” explained Chow. He feels if the information and content is good enough the search engines will find you. A lot of your traffic can come from promotions, value campaigns, and social media. Chow credits a lot of his traffic to come from Facebook and Twitter. Now with Facebook being the most visited site on the web and with 400 million, you can’t ignore the market potential.
“When someone comes to visit my blog, my number one goal is get them to opt into my email list. Generally everything my blog does is geared toward building my email list.”
Most people who visit your blog are there because they found you on Google or you were linked from another blog. They come to your blog, read a few posts, and then the click away from your page most likely not remembering who you are. By forming an e-mail list you establish a customer base and way to stay in contact with them. “When you have a base or email list, you don’t really need a lot of other promotions,” said Chow.
Chow has and is making a career of his blog and utilizing the internet. He calls it the “dot com lifestyle”, which has allowed him to achieve and obtain some great things. “Number one thing is time freedom. I don’t have to punch a time clock,” said Chow referring to what his job as allowed him to do. This gives him the ability to work when he wants to. He is able to spend time with his daughter at the park, while everyone else is at work. Also, Chow says, “There’s also location freedom in addition to time freedom. I can do this from anywhere in the world.” There are no limitations on location with this type of job. As long as you have access to a computer and the internet you are all set to go.
Trademark Productions would like to thank John Chow for sharing an abundance of valuable information with us to share with you. Please check out the TM Web Radio Show, featuring John Chow in it’s entirety to hear more valuable information.