I have to take myself to task as much as anyone for the sad state of my internet marketing efforts. In fact, part of the reason I am writing this post is because I hope I can lead by example, just to encourage you to whip your internet marketing into shape. I recently started an audit of my PBN (Private Blog Network, in case you are new to the world of SEO/ internet marketing), and I was actually embarrassed at how many domains I had bought and never even set up, how many money sites I had great ideas for, got all the way through the keyword research process, then never followed through on (like with links and tracking), and how many affiliate networks I belong to, for which I can’t remember the passwords, never checked back to see if my links were converting or had expired, and so on. I went down sort of a shame spiral for a week or so when I actually started this effort in earnest, just thinking about how much money I had probably lost by being sort of lazy and disorganized, but then I picked myself up and vowed to GET IT ALL TOGETHER by the end of the year. I am happy to say that I am one week in, have been writing about 2,000 words a day, and have cleaned up a bunch of sites (including fixing dead links, updating WordPress installations/ plugins/ themes, and generally getting them to be more presentable).
I’m going to guess that you feel the same way about at least one part of your internet/ affiliate marketing strategy, so I am going to give you a couple of things that have helped me as I have entered my long, long slog through my network cleanup. It started out a straight-up mess, but now it is getting there, and I am no longer completely ashamed and afraid to even log in to some sites.
- You need to get tough with yourself. One of the main reasons most people do not succeed at the game of internet marketing/ SEO is that they are just not organized enough to follow through on the many, many steps that are needed to succeed. You might have a short attention span, have a general lack of faith in the process, or just lack follow-through in general. You might be busy with your day job, have kids, or just have a lot of stuff going on. I have all of the above, and I feel like I am always being pulled in a million directions, like I am never going to be able to get on a roll with anything, because I am going to have to stop in the middle and solve some other problem. Did you ever notice that most of your adult life is spent solving problems, many of which are not even yours? Now is the time to stop making that an excuse. If you want to succeed at SEO/ internet marketing, you are going to have to have this “come to Jesus” moment with me and realize that you are not following through the way you should be, and that you have no one to blame for this but yourself. I personally am guilty of mostly stopping work at 7pm, when dinner is done and everything settles down, and watching TV or movies. I kind of acknowledge that I should be working during this time, but I justify it in one of several ways, including “Internet marketing doesn’t really work,” or “I’m tired and worked enough today,” or “It can wait until tomorrow,” or “I am overwhelmed by the amount of work I know I have to do.” Do any of these sound familiar? I don’t think I’m alone in my laziness, or the second part of the problem, which is: being generally disappointed by lack of results, which really makes no sense when I consider the amount of effort I have not really put in.
So, will you join me in getting tough? The next time you feel like “Oh, I’m not getting results,” look in the mirror, because that is where your problem probably lies.
- You need to get focused. This is definitely one of my biggest problems—too many ideas, not enough focus on one thing. I know, we all have “fear of missing out” (otherwise known as “FOMO”), but we all have to realize that unless we focus in on one thing and see it all the way through to the end, NONE of our great ideas are going to actually get done, and we are going to spend our lives watching other people succeed and being jealous of them.
Now is the time to change that! Seriously! I am committed to not making any more excuses. Instead I am taking massive action every day. I have made a list of everything I can think of that I have to do and am just digging in and using the Pomodoro Method to help keep me focused. I’m sure I will have to course-correct along the way, but so far it is working well, and I have already fixed ten websites and written 14,000 words for my network. I have committed to “no new domains, no new ideas, no new courses” until I have everything under control and don’t have any more loose ends floating around. This is probably going to mean I don’t start any new projects for the rest of the year, but if it means that I can actually finish something, see the results, and be proud of myself for sticking with it, it’s going to totally be worth it, I can already tell. There is something really demoralizing about knowing you have a bunch of half-baked ideas out there! So, in addition to my “no new stuff” commitment, I have also started writing down “brilliant new ideas” on notecards and putting them in a sealed box. I will open this box when I have mastered one thing, and not before. This is sort of hurting me every time I do it, but it seems to be helping with keeping my focus on the thing I am doing at the moment, so….mission accomplished? One thing I have already realized by doing this exercise is that my brain seems to think every single idea I have is “THE MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED,” so I find myself having to pull my attention back to the task at hand multiple times per day. This just in: nothing earth-shattering is happening on Facebook, so if you don’t check it eleven million times a day, you’re going to be fine.
- The Prize Goes to the Person with the Best Follow Through
This is sort of a repeat of a point I made already, but I was just watching a webinar (part of a course I already bought but never finished watching—can you see the trend here?) being conducted by a guy who I am 100% sure never went to college, is not as smart as I am (sorry, just being honest), can’t spell, and doesn’t even have a great personality. I started wondering what made him so successful, and all of a sudden I realized—HE FOLLOWS THROUGH. That is pretty much it. While he was discussing his strategies for tracking and analyzing results, I realized—this guy has some ninja-level attention to detail for all of the different balls we (as internet marketing people) have in the air at all times. You don’t just need to follow through on building your PBNs, for example. You have to build them, maintain them, make sure they are indexed, link out from them, track the results of the sites you’re trying to rank, build more PBNs, write more articles, build more links, track more results, and basically repeat, repeat, repeat until you get the ranking results you want. THEN you have to start working on getting that site’s (or the video’s) conversion rate to be where you want it. Then you have to do the whole thing all over again with a different site (or video, or client site) in a different niche. How many parts of this long long list have YOU actually made it through? I’m going to guess that the list of people who are actual “Star Earners” are the only ones who have been able to follow through repeatedly. Maybe not being all that smart is an advantage, because you aren’t always overthinking and overcomplicating everything, so you just follow directions instead of ending up with analysis paralysis. Mind you, I’m not even bragging about my 145 IQ or calling that guy stupid. I’m saying I could stand to stop letting my mind drag me wherever it wants to go, focus up like this guy, and actually finish something for once. I bet if we all did this, the number of people who can “quit their day jobs” and manage our internet marketing empires.
- Seriously. Get More Organized.
You know what? It IS confusing to remember every little detail of every one of the affiliate networks you belong to, hosting accounts you have, domains you own, WordPress installations, keyword (and other) tools, analysis tools, and on and on. But, part of being successful is being organized enough to manage those things. If you know this is an issue for you, sit down and come up with a system you think might work (like an Excel spreadsheet, a notebook, a Word document, or whatever you have found works the best). Write everything down once and for all. Refer to it multiple times per day. Before long, this will become second nature and your life will be much easier and more streamlined. You will probably forget all about the time it took to gather up all that info and put it in one place because you will be saving SO MUCH TIME not having to look up usernames/ passwords multiple times per day.
One word of caution about this: do not keep this “Master List of Everything” saved anywhere in the cloud. That means no Dropbox, no Evernote, no OneDrive, NOTHING LIKE THAT. My reasoning is this: your cloud storage is just a website, and websites get hacked every day. SEO/ internet marketing people have to keep things kind of on the down low anyway, so it makes no sense for you to have absolutely all of the information for your entire online empire entrusted to someone else’s security. Personally, I have my “Master List of Everything” saved on a backup drive that never leaves my office. Too much work went into building all of those websites and setting up all of those accounts! I do not want to start from scratch and build everything up again if it got wiped out! So, get organized, but do not put all your eggs in one basket (unless that basket is a hand-written document or some other offline thing that never leaves your house).
- Accept, Once and For All, That There Are No Shortcuts in Life.
It has taken me a really long time to come around to this conclusion, but I have recently decided, once and for all, that the only people who benefit from shortcuts are the people who are SELLING you those shortcuts. Let’s be honest here—we all KNOW that you can’t really “start making $100 / day by tonight!” but copywriters are paid to make you believe you can. You will succeed to the extent that you keep your head down and keep building and really ignore people’s claims that they can get you there more quickly. The only thing that is going to really work is the thing you build yourself, and that is because when you build it yourself, you will know how it was built and can replicate that success again and again.
And with that, let’s all stop being lazy internet marketers and get back to work, shall we?