Category Archives: Start a Business

How to start a business on Internet. There are many opportunities on Internet, and the advantage is that, at least in theory, you have millions of potential customers. See if you find your niche, and benefit globalization.

Hubpages vs Squidoo – How to Make Money Blogging

Start Blogging, not Managing Websites

Quantcast - Squidoo vs Hubpages

When you start to learn how to make money blogging, one of the big challenges is the steep learning curve. There are many more issues, and we will touch them one by one, but the biggest problem for a beginner is the learning curve. You just don’t know what to do, how to manage your website, how to setup a website, and not even how to write. Don’t feel offended here, you are a good writer, otherwise you wouldn’t even think about this business, but writing online, especially writing to make money, is something you have to learn. Even the most talented writers need some training for writing online. More about this later. 

The most important thing for new bloggers is to focus on what matter most for them, writing. Too many bloggers start managing websites, and doing SEO, and learning things that they don't really need as writers, rather than focus on their main objective: write great content for their readers.

The Best Platform to Start a Blog

If your intention is just to start blogging, to get used to it, or because you just want to blog and a financial retribution is not your concern, then you have a few great options.

All the following options are great, but in my experience the best for getting visitors is blogger.com. Now read on to see how the other platforms fare, they are certainly not bad.

  • WordPress.com
    WordPress is the most popular blogging platform, and it is the choice of CMS, (content management system), for low budget websites. You can start blogging at WordPress.com for free, this will smooth out the learning curve. WordPress has a paid hosting option as well, you can stick with them when you go pro, however, there are many other option for paid hosting. 
  • Tumblr.com
    Tumblr is an extremely popular blog platform, where everybody can get a free account. Tumblr is the choice of many young people, and many bloggers are just doing it for fun. There is a lot of interaction between bloggers, they comment on each other's posts, and they reblog interesting posts, it is a very active community. There are many serious blogs as well, so this could be a great option for a start. Tumblr is a Yahoo company.
  • Blogger.com
    In my experience blogger.com, Google's blogging platform is the best to get traffic, if you have good content. Blogger.com has many tools to make your blog an authority, like integration with social media, and Google's authorship program. They even have an add-on to include adsense ads into your posts, so you can monetize. 
  • Livejournal.com
    Livejournal is a very popular blogging platform, and it is the choice of many bloggers. It is an intuitive platform, easy to use, and it has a lot of active communities. If you don't know what is good for a blogging community, it's great for interaction and for promoting your content. You posts will not get any attention without the support on an active community. That happens even if you are the most skilled writer... Livejournal also has advanced account as an option, in the case you get very serious with your blogging.

Overall, my personal favorite free blogging platform is blogger.com. The fact that I can monetize, and because it brings more traffic than other platforms makes it the most appealing for me.

Community Blogging Platforms – Great for Making Money Online

Squidoo Logo
Squidoo Logo by GreekGeek

I have my own opinion about what's the best way to start blogging for money, and that opinion is based on my experience. However, I was looking at what other people are saying on the subject, and I stumbled upon +Tipsandtricks-HQ's webpage about how to start a blog and make money online. The article is pure gold as a resource, no doubt about it. You just follow everything in that article, and the linked content, and you will make money, 100%. But let's face it, the amount of work looks overwhelming, even for experienced writers. 

Now back to my way of doing it; the best option for a beginner online writer is to write on a community blogging platform, such as Squidoo or Hubpages. And I resume my comparison to these two, because they are the two websites that can make you money. 

Hubpages LogoThere are many other community website platforms, and they have their advantages and disadvantages. We should probably mention at least Infobarrel, which is a decent platform. Some other popular platforms are also Bubblews, which I personally don't like, Helium, which doesn't compare to the first three, Triond, Xomba, and many others, that I won't bother to mention. I will mention though Yahoo Voices, which is a great option, especially if you create evergreen content, and if you write articles on their niche. They pay 1.50 per 1000 views, and if you have a great article, you can easily get 1000 views per day. Anyway, Yahoo Voices is not my choice of platform, and is not a community website platform, although is a great way to get some revenue from writing on WEB.

There are so many reasons these type of blogging platforms are better for non technical people, and for beginners, but I will try to list as many of these reasons as possible.

  • The platforms are old, the websites rank well on search engines, and good content is bound to get visitors.
  • The format of these websites is well thought, well tested, and it is optimized for reading, for SEO, and for monetization
  • The community is very active for both platforms, and if you ask for help you will find it.
  • The platforms have human editors, who will select the best pieces of content, and promote them. Once promoted content will get a lot of traffic.
  • They will stop you from doing bad things that will hurt the overall ranking of the website. 
  • Your article will rank very easy, compared to your own websites. This means traffic, traffic means money.

Now there are some downsides as well to using someone elses website, and you have to keep this in mind, and not hold all of your eggs in the same basket. As you expand your web writings portfolio, make sure you diversify the platforms you are writing on. Some of the things that I don't like about writing for a community blogging website are:

  • You do not control your content, although you are the owner of the content you publish, the website's owner can take down your content, if they wish to. If they decide they don't like your content, they won't publish it. 
  • Antispam control can be very tight at times, and prevent you from publishing great articles. 
  • Spammers target these type of sites, because promoting on Squidoo and Hubpages can improve their website rankings. Search engines penalized a few times social blogging platforms for allowing these type of content. Even though they implemented greater control over published content, that doesn't mean spammers will stop.
  • A penalty of your blogging platform can bring your revenue down consistently.
  • The worst thing about them is that you don't have control over the platform, so whatever the platform's owners decide, you have to accept. Now if you are a beginner to blogging, it is in fact an advantage, because they know better than you what needs to be done.
  • That includes subjects that are prone to spam. You might have a useful, great article, if the editorial team feels like it's bordering the spam area, they won't approve it for publishing.
  • These platforms are the target of spammers, and they will steal your articles and publish them as theirs.

Although these type platforms are not perfect, they are the best start point for someone who wants to make some money while learning and experimenting with blogging for money. Start with the two I mentioned, Squidoo or Hubpages, I think they are the best ones, and the community is great. As you gain experience, you can start your own blog. By then you will understand the niche concepts, you will have developed a solid understanding of writing on WEB, and promoting your content using social media.   

If your portfolio with the two blogging platforms is big enough, and you would like to put your eggs in more baskets, you can also look at Zujava, and Wizzley. Many people love these two platforms, and they have a lot of articles there. I had only bad experiences with them, I have never been able to publish an article. Zujava seems like a one man show, and this impacts the ability to effectively bring in new writers. Wizzley is overly cautious about web spam, which is not a bad thing, but they refuse publishing articles, and they don't offer any useful explanations about it. Just generic. Make sure you participate in their forums, and ask for help and feedback, before giving up, like I did. I suspect these sites will do well in the future, at least Wizzley, if not both.

Best Blogging Platforms to Monetize – HubPages vs Squidoo

Hubpages vs Squidoo - the Best Blogging Platform

Seth Godin
Seth Godin - Photo by Joi Ito

Both Squidoo and HubPages are user generated content website, with a revenue sharing format. There are many similarities, but many differences as well, between the two sites. Some of the facts I present here are measurable, some are a bit speculative, you are invited to discuss them in the comment section. 

Squidoo launched in 2005, and was founded by Seth Godin, Megan Casey, Gil Hildebrand, and Corey Brown. This makes Squidoo almost 9 years old at the time of writing this. 

HubPages launched in 2006, founded by Paul Edmonson, Paul Deeds, and Jay Reitz, former Microsoft employees. This makes the site only one year younger than Squidoo. 

Hubpages generates more traffic than Squidoo, according to Quantcast, so you have a slightly better chance for more visitors with them. The additional traffic is maybe a result of HP investing more time and human resources to review content. In turn, search engines rewarded them with better ranking. Although Squidoo was slower to implement the same measures, they recently focused on cleaning up spam, and rewarding great content. 

A Bit About The Content Structure

The major difference is that HubPages give every user a subdomain, and the user is responsible for that subdomain. This bears the greatest advantage, that at anytime the user is somewhat isolated into the subdomain, and if a search engine will penalize that subdomain, this will be easy to be contained. It is also a great way to stimulate self promotion, because it's easier to promote your own subdomain. Squidoo has also made some tests with subdomains, but in the end they decided to interrupt the migration of all the accounts to this model. 
A new initiative of Squidoo was to promote hand-picked content on thematic subdomains. This is actually one of the best changes in the latest years, with great results. Each of the approaches has its own advantages, but the theme subdomains seem more powerful because of the size of such a subdomain. 

HubPages name their content units hubs, Squidoo name theirs lenses. I am not particularly fond of this naming convention, but I got used to it eventually. The naming convention seems to have caught up in general, because other shared revenue websites copied the idea. Zujava, for instance, names their content units leaves.

The Monetization

MoneySince you are doing the blogging thing for money, it makes sense to have a good idea on how the two platforms compare. Both of the two use Adsense, eBay, Amazon, and other advertising networks for monetization. 

In my experience, HubPages works better with articles that don't necessarily promote goods. Affiliate type of content works better on Squidoo, because the conversion rates are better. There is something magical about Squidoo's layout that makes the visitor click on Amazon links. 
On the other hand, if you have articles that don't necessarily sell a product, but can generate traffic, HubPages is better. This doesn't mean you can't have successful content articles on Squidoo, and successful sales articles on HubPages. As a matter of fact, there are many examples that contradict me, it's almost unfair to make such a classification, but that's my perception, and it is subjective.

Amazon sales sharing model is now the same for both. Not long ago, HP used to share the displays of Amazon products, this was good for the site, but not as good for the writer. Now both Squidoo and HubPages use the same model. They display their own Amazon ID everytime, and split the revenue with you. This helps the writer to get better tier revenue. 

Advertising revenue looks a bit better on HubPages, and this is for two reasons:

  • HP splits the Adsense views with you, so whatever is generated during "your advertising time" is yours. On the other hand, Squidoo has a general advertising program, which favours the best ranking lenses, (articles), which are not necessarily the ones that perform best on Adsense. 
  • Both platforms have other advertising deals, besides Adsense, but Hubpages bring more revenue from these. And again, their revenue sharing method is based on number of views.

HubPages is more fair with all of its writers, whereas Squidoo favors the content that ranks better in all areas. I heard rumors that Squidoo plans to change this, and I think it would be beneficial overall, although I personally might lose a bit of revenue, if that happens.  
This approach has the disadvantage that encourages people to generate fake traffic, however, both platforms clean up accounts that are suspected to use fake traffic. So never attempt. 

Internet TrafficTraffic - Squidoo vs HubPages 

If you look at the graphic from Quantcast, you will see how they perform. HP seems the winner, at least at the moment, but this could change anytime. One remarkable thing about HP, in contrast with its competitor, is that they have built a mechanism to generate internal traffic. This is very helpful to generate buzz around new and updated articles, and many times this is critical to push that article in SERP. Just a bit of social media love, and search engines will pick up the users' vibe. On Squidoo you as an author, need to know how to promote your work, otherwise, you are relying solely on search engines. 

If you look at the graph from Quantcast, you will note that HubPages has a bit more traffic. This obviously, helps you get more traffic on your articles, and helps your articles make you money. However, a significant portion of the HubPages' traffic comes from internal links, compared to Squidoo which gets most of its traffic from search. This is an advantage for Squidoo, because the stats are not polluted with internal traffic, which brings in some money, but not too much. 

The objective is to build a passive income, so think wisely about your approach. While HP may seem a bit more attractive, because every time you update an article it directs users to your updated comment, you still have to work and update that piece of content to get those visitors. In other words you have to work. The initial traffic flury from updates and new published articles lasts for two or three days, so it's not going to bring you tons of traffic, but as I said before, it will give your content a kickstart. 

 For more insights about how the two platforms compare, check GreekGeek's article about Hubpages and Squidoo.

My personal preference is Squidoo, but if you have a great subject, and you are not selling, articles can easily get viral at Hubpages.

What  is your experience with shared revenue websites? Which one you prefer? I'd like to hear your opinions.

Google Plus for Business Setup

Google+ logoGoogle Plus, the new and upcoming social media platform, aims to be a bit more than that. Google disguises a complex social rating machinery, into its social media platform. Any serious business that is present on the WEB should setup a Google plus page, and be active on the platform. Google+ is still a young platform, but it is constantly growing, and the potential is huge.

Create or Update Your Google+ User Profile

To set up Google + for a business, you need to have a Google account.  If you use Gmail, that account can be used to set up your Google+ user profile. IMPORTANT: use real data for your Google account, it is very important to be trusted. If you have an Adwords account it means you have done business with Google before, and they know you are a real person. Either way go to plus.google.com and login, or create an account. Fill in all of the profile’s fields, trying to be as meaningful as possible, and to create a great image. This profile will help you later get more followers for both your personal profile, and your business’s page. SOme of the settings can be hidden, if you have any concerns, but I think that the more transparent you are, the better for your business. The more information you enter, the easier will be for Google to connect you with the right people. For more information on how to setup a profile check this page: How To Set Up a Google Plus Profile

Google Plus For Business Setup – Step By Step

Story Google+

Once you have your user profile properly set up, you can proceed to your page creation.  The page is your way to make your business known, stand out from the crowd, and to let people know what is your business about. Even if your business is well known, you have the opportunity to promote aspects of your business that do not fit on your web page.

Make sure you fill in all the fields possible on your page, you upload a nice, original image for the cover. This should be an image that represents your business, and the recommended size is 1080 x 608.

The tagline and the introduction are your opportunity to reinforce your business values, or to stand out.

On the links section enter your website’s address, this is particularly important for verifying your affiliation with the website. Also add any other pages, or websites that are pertinent, secondary business websites, Facebook, or Twitter profiles, Google communities, forums, etc… These pages and sites make up your business online portfolio, and listing them on your page increases their authority, and allows Google to better understand your business.

When you list your website, you will also be asked to verify your website, this means you have to add on your website, a link to your page. The link is specially crafted to include the rel=”publisher” tag. This tag should actually be present on all of your pages, this associates your business, with your web content, and your Google+ page.
On the contact field put your business’s contact information such as phone number, and a contact page. You might want to avoid listing an email address, because this could be spammed, but you can list one if you are willing to change that often.

Profile-Photo
change the profile picture

Lastly, you need to change your profile picture, if you haven’t already done so as part of the setup wizard. The picture could be your business logo, a picture of your product, an image showing the owner, or anything that is not generic, and can be easily identifiable with your business. Do not forget to add this image to your page as this is how Google+ users will see your profile when you post on behalf of the page.

Now that you have a page on Google+ you can start posting interesting things, and get new followers. A quick start is my page about How To Get Followers on Google+

 

 

Start an Internet Store

What is an Internet Business?

An Internet Business is a business that drives most of its transactions through Internet.
A company can use the Internet in many ways to conduct its business, it can use email to reach clients and potential clients, it can use its own website to either acquire leads for selling products or sell the products directly on the Website. This Internet Business model is called E-Commerce and its main way of conducting the business is through a Website.
The early days of the e-commerce were held back by security concerns. Nowadays the security fears have lessened as the technology improved and people are confident when buying online. In fact buying online has become, for some people, the main way of purchasing goods.
Nowadays, if you have a good business idea or a good product to sell, opening your online business is almost trivial. You need a domain name, a security certificate, and a hosting company.
Initially the all of the Internet Businesses were hosted on the .com TLD, hence the name given to Internet Businesses – dotcoms. This has now changed and commercial organizations own several domain names on different TLDs.

What is e-commerce?

E-commerce is an acronym for Electronic Commerce and consists of the selling products and services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other types of computer networks. E-commerce also includes the process of marketing, delivering, servicing and paying using the Internet.
An e-commerce company is named e-tailer. E-tailers can be "pure-players" which means that the majority of operations are done on the Internet or, they can be “brick and click” e-tailers, which means that they have a physical storefront but use Internet to market their products and sometimes to complement the store sells with online sells.

Why is e-commerce so popular?

Buying online is very convenient; you can browse a search through products a lot easier than you do in a regular shop. It saves time, because you don’t have to go to the store. And usually the products are cheaper than in a regular store because an Internet Business has less expense associated with physical storage, salaries and other costs associated with a traditional store. These savings are reflected in the final cost of the product.
In fact nowadays, e-commerce has become so popular that we almost depend on it, and our lives would be more complicated if it didn’t exist. Virtually everyone has a computer, hence is a possible e-commerce client.

How Can You Start an Internet Business?

What if you don’t have a product to sell? You would like to start an Internet Business but you don’t have a product. In most of the cases that is not a problem, there is a niche for anybody. Many Internet Businesses actually, do not sell merchandise on Internet. They sell, e-Books, services, digital music, (iTunes and mp3), pay per view shows and movies, Domain Names, Websites, knowledge, and the list can continue. There are websites that live off of advertising only, they write good content and sell add space on their website.
When you plan your business, focus on the things you know very well and you are an expert in. Find your great business idea do a market analysis and start immediately. It is a good idea to buy the domain as soon as possible and start creating content right-away, even if your business will start later. Search engines rank websites using secret algorithms, but we know that the age of a domain name and the associated keywords are important parts of this algorithm.

Focus on Business not on Tools

Many people start an Internet business and lose the focus on the most important thing – the business. They start spending a lot of time on side tasks and most of the times it’s because they have chosen the wrong partner for their enterprise. It is important to choose wisely your online partner so you don’t waste your time assembling pieces of the puzzle from different providers. You need to choose a reliable and reputable partner, an established company that can offer you the tools and the support your business need.

How do you pick a good hosting company?

A good hosting company will provide you with all of the tools to start and not only. They know the market and they find out what tools you need before you do, and make them available to you. Having all of the tools integrated into one account make your life easier. You need to focus on developing your business and not on managing and finding tools.