Could you describe what you do and how you earn your living Aaron?
We have a diverse set of revenue streams, with many of our sites being search driven. We make money from affiliate offers, direct ad sales, contextual ad sales, business partnerships (like the Kick Ass Keyword Guide I did with Wordtracker), a bit of consulting, and running a membership site on SEO Book.com where we offer the #1 SEO community and the best SEO training guides available online.
What’s your number one income stream for SEO Book and why do you think its been so successful?
We recently started doing a bit of affiliate marketing, adding a couple affiliate links to our SEO Toolbar, but most of our income from this site comes from running the membership site. Why is the membership site so successful? Because it is simply the best spot online to learn SEO. Just yesterday one of our members mentioned in a thread that he thought I should increase our price 50%. And when I came out with our competitive research tool a paying member asked if they could donate more to the site because they appreciate all the value they were getting.
We live in a society that bitches about getting short-changed, where there is corruption everywhere. And yet, our customers are telling us they want to give us more money…that is a good sign for knowing that they are getting good value and will stay subscribed for a long time. Our SEO training program is just over a year old, and some of our members have been subscribers since day 1.
What advice would you offer a blogger trying to improve their search engine rankings? Any top SEO tips?
If you are blogging you need to own ideas. As Brian Clark said, think territorially rather than thinking about fitting in an existing hierarchy.
You are known as the authority website in the niche, SEO. What advice would you give a new blogger to dominating their niche?
Ironically, that was the filename of that Copy Blogger post I just linked to. So I would say read that post, and think of ways to give away great value…and keep giving away great value (using new formats, different strategies, new ideas, free tools, etc.) until you have built up so much demand that you can’t satiate it all.
What shouldn’t bloggers be doing when monetizing their blog? Which monetization technique do you dislike the most and why?
For a blog I hate monetizing via AdSense. Most blog readers know what AdSense ads are and do not click them…so using it really makes a blog harder to link at, while providing next to no revenues. Along this same line of thought is don’t worry about making money starting from day 1. Create a great site that people trust and want to return to. First impressions count for a lot, and it makes a bad one if a blog is whored out with ads starting at day 1.
What advice would you give to people just starting out with an online business?
It is hard to over-invest in learning so long as you are willing to take action. If you are in doubt of an idea, start a blog on the topic and try to network and build up social capital. If that works then it will be easier to launch a higher profit business strategy from there.
Don’t worry about trying to satisfy everyone. Really satisfy those who really care about you and what you offer.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what advice would you give yourself regarding making money online?
Hoard great domain names and work in high money niches. 🙂
Also, don’t surround yourself with people who try to prove that everything should be free and spend all their time in public forums chucked full of hype and spam. You are better off cuddling up with books (and blogs) from really successful people that you wish to emulate in time.
Thanks very much for the interview, Have you any plans (personal or business) that you can share with us about your future plans / goals / lifetime goals?
I am quite content with where we are at right now. I just hope to keep building out our footprint on the web, building more brands, and building more value into our sites…hoping that it helps us increase profits coming out the other end. 🙂