I love the freedom of working for myself! Freedom has always been something that is SO important to me, and the notion of a 9-5 and having to ask permission to take a vacation – well, it never sat well with me! - Alison Andrews, SBI! member since 2009

6 Super Useful Tips for Online Business Owners

Written By: SiteSell in CTPM, E-Business Tips, Real-Life Success Lessons! | March 13, 2015

6 Super Useful Tips for Online Business Owners

One of the best ways to achieve success in any area of life is to have a mentor, someone who is already where you’d like to be, and who shares his often hard-won experience with you. When you join SBI!, you’ll have access to a whole community of mentors via our private forums. Below is a small selection of the type of advice you can expect from your fellow webmasters and online business builders.

Drum Up Business For Local Merchants and Write About Beaches and Insurance (No Kidding)!

By Andrew from http://www.miomyitaly.com/

Tip #1

  1. Find a great product which is related to your niche and produced by small producers who have never marketed their products internationally.
  2. You can then sell them on your site directly to customers but what has proved FAR more successful for me is to write a page dedicated to retailers who might like to stock the product – here is an example page: http://www.venice-italy-veneto.com/mens-italian-shoes.html.
  3. The retailer in, say, Tokyo, New York, London, etc. then orders and keeps on ordering. Every time he orders I get 10%. Better still is they have to send the order to me to translate because the supplier speaks no English so I NEVER get cut out of things. Plus it means I have ongoing and good passive income even if my sites gets thrown out of Google and your traffic drops to nothing.

Tip #2

If you possibly can justify it, write a page about insurance. See mine about home insurance in Italy: http://www.miomyitaly.com/house-insurance-italy.html. The page makes makes up to $10 a click with Adsense and on some days has made more than the rest of the site put together.

Tip #3

Write pages about beaches if at all possible. On all my sites many of the most trafficked pages are about beaches. Even on the Venice site the page about Venice’s beaches is the top page and on the Piedmont site this page http://www.miomyitaly.com/best-beach-in-sardinia.html  is about four times more popular than any other on the site.

No Peeking At Numbers Until You’ve Accomplished A Goal That Moves Your Site Forward

by Will from www.best-putter.com/

The biggest challenge I’ve been having has been to keep focusing my available time on the essentials of the Action Plan. Before I introduced this tip to my working method, I was spending far too much of the time I had to work on my site checking the traffic stats and looking at Google income, rather than doing the things that really count (writing content, putting my monetization into action and building links).

Now I’ve found a tip that works like gold!

I ban myself from looking at the traffic stats until I’ve reached a milestone I set for myself. For example – no peeking at the numbers until I’ve written and uploaded another 5 pages. No looking at the Google income until I’ve put Google ads on another 10 pages.

Despite very little time since the beginning of the year, this has kept me working on the income-building essentials and revenue and traffic to the site has grown as a result.

I love looking at the increasing number of uniques and increased revenue, but when time is short, it’s wasted time.

Give my tip a try and you’ll find that when you do get to look at the numbers you feel like you’ve really achieved something (and they’ll almost certainly have gone up too!)

Good luck to all you SBI! tortoises out there!

A Clever Way to Organize Your Site With an Extra Tier

by Harvey from novel-writing-help.com

I have added an extra tier to my site.

No, not a Tier 4. You might call it a Tier 1.5. Though I like to think of it as a “Super Tier 2.”

Think of a website like a book…

– Tier 1 (the Home Page) is like the introduction. It welcomes you and whets your appetite for what lies ahead, but should not go heavy on the details.

– The Tier 2s (+ associated Tier 3 pages) are like the chapters in this book. Each one covers a sub-topic of your overall topic.

– A “Super Tier 2” is like a longer introductory chapter, one that basically summarizes the entire book. It gives readers the big picture before they get down to the nitty-gritty details in the chapters ahead. Or, for the lazy reader, it acts as a cheat’s guide to the entire subject.

Shouldn’t this sort of information go on the home page? No, it’s way too detailed for that.

Doesn’t the T2 duplicate the rest of the site? Sort of, yes — that’s the whole point of it. Needless to say, though, the language is fresh and original, meaning the search engines won’t see it as “duplicate content.”

Here are a few technical details…

The basic 3-tier structure of my site remains unaffected. The Super T2 is an addition to the architecture, not something that completely skews it.

The Super T2 page links out to all of the regular T2s (most of them, anyway).

In turn, the regular T2s link back to the home page AND to the Super T2.

Here is my Super Tier 2 page…

http://www.novel-writing-help.com/how-to-write-a-novel.html

And here is a regular T2 page (it links back to the Tier 1 in the breadcrumbs and to the Super T2 from within the text)…

http://www.novel-writing-help.com/writing-dialogue.html

What is the point of a Super Tier 2?

1) It allowed me to use a great keyword (a contender for site concept keyword) in an architecturally powerful position. (It brings in 300 unique visitors a day just by itself.)

But more important than that…

2) My visitors love it!

Run a Monthly Giveaway Program

by Susan from yourpolepal.com

I decided to try having monthly giveaways on my site, with several goals:

  • increase traffic and visitor interaction on my site
  • increase the number of Facebook fans and Twitter followers
  • increase the number of repeat visitors to my site
  • increase visitor-generated content

Here’s what I did:

* signed up with Rafflecopter (free) http://www.rafflecopter.com/

* signed up for a free MailChimp account http://www.mailchimp.com/ (I’d already used my SBI! mailing list for something else)

* asked some of the businesses I’m an affiliate for if they would like to contribute a prize for an upcoming giveaway (all who were asked were happy to)

* built a page for the monthly giveaways, placed Rafflecopter form and mailing list subscription form on it, along with a photo of the current giveaway item

* made some banners advertising the giveaways and placed throughout my site

* posted about the giveaways on a couple of pole dancing forums, and several times a week on Twitter and Facebook

Here are the results to date:

The first month was slowish, as I was on a learning curve. I discovered that I needed to keep my requests simple so people would actually complete them to earn their entries, and that I needed to limit the number of actions they had to choose from so as not to overwhelm them. I also had to design my email template and get to know Rafflecopter (it’s actually pretty simple).

The second month was better, and I saw a surge of entries in the days following my newsletter mailout (this is a very short “come and enter this month’s giveaway, here’s what you can win” email). Facebook likes started to pick up, I got a new subscriber to my email list every couple of days, and I was getting in the habit of sending out a quick tweet or making a Facebook post every couple of days.

This month, which is my third, has been fantastic! I’ve refined the types of activities I ask my visitors to do to earn their entries (this is what Rafflecopter is great for) so that I’m getting lots of engagement on my site and my Facebook Page. I’ve had almost 600 entries so far this month, which is over 3 times the number I got in the first month, and it’s only the 19th. My Facebook Page has nearly doubled the number of likes this month alone, and my contest tweets are now getting retweeted regularly. Signups to my mailing list have exploded, and I now get several every day. And that means that my subscribers will be back to enter again next month (to add more content, or click through to other pages, or visit my affiliate pages, or whatever else I ask them to do) because I’ll be able to let them know as soon as the new giveaway is live.

All of this takes very little time now, though of course I did have to build the entry page on my site, set up an email template, and get to know my way around Rafflecopter. But now that everything is in place, I spend about 10-15 minutes a week promoting my giveaway. Once a month I spend about an hour notifying the winner and updating my winners’ page, placing the new giveaway item on its page, and touching base with my sponsors to thank them, give them some quick stats, and solicit a new giveaway (I like to have 2 months worth of prizes planned ahead, so I have my May and June prizes set, and as soon as I give away my April prize I’ll approach someone about contributing something for July).

I wasn’t sure how this would work because I was a bit worried that people would just come for the freebie and then leave, but I’ve found that I can gently encourage them to look around and interact on my site by giving them actions to complete in order to earn their entries. So far it seems worthwhile for the time investment, so if your site lends itself to product giveaways, I encourage you to give it a try!

Editor’s Note: Susan first shared this tip in 2012. She asked us to add the following update…

 

I still do my giveaways monthly (most months) but now I limit the entry period to just one week. That way there’s more of a sense of urgency to enter right away instead of putting it off, and also people don’t get tired of seeing me continually promoting the same giveaway.

I started with relatively small prizes like a DVD or a piece of clothing, but once I’d developed a track record and could show the benefit to my sponsors, I started going after bigger prizes. I’ve given away 3 dance poles for example, several sets of DVDs from some of the biggest names in the sport, and vouchers for $100 towards shoes and clothing. Of course the bigger the prize, the more excitement the giveaway generates.

If you’re not sure what to give away, ask your Facebook fans and/or your email subscribers. Whenever I do this, I get a wild response with people tagging companies they want to sponsor. This only helps my efforts to secure prizes and pleases my fans to no end when I deliver what they were asking for.

For more success tips from fellow solopreneurs, please sign up for the SiteSell Newsletter.

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