What is the best type of website for making money online? A review of 5 platforms…
One of the most essential elements of your Internet marketing plan / business / empire / career is the type of website you choose to employ.
Let me put that another way:
The type of website you choose to use for your internet marketing activities can determine your success… or failure.
It’s THAT big a deal (breaker).
Back when I started my online endeavor, I made the mistake of jumping in at the deep-end. And my word… it was is a deep end!
I threw my wallet and hopes heart and soul into a few websites, then marketed them like crazy whist trying to stay on the right side of Google. But no matter how hard I tried, the traffic dripped in like water droplets from an icicle, despite all my efforts.
Then I discovered a type of website that completely revolutionized my internet marketing.
OK… I made that sounds too easy. I did find the right platform in the end, but not without switching to other platforms and investing much time, money and energy before finally realizing that those platforms were actually putting a limit on my best efforts (especially when it came to SEO).
There’s nothing wrong per se with any of the types of website that I tried: they just weren’t the best platform for what I was doing, which was to promote my e-books.
The piece man, give me the piece!
When choosing a platform, the only 2 things to consider are:
- how well you can propagate your content with this platform
- how well you can get your content spidered and ranking with this platform
Anything else is secondary to the top 2 considerations. For instance, how easy the website is to use is important, but secondary. I’d sooner settle for a website platform that handles like a cow but gets my content ranking fast over a beautifully simple system to use that effectively hides my best content from everybody else in the planet.
Don’t misread the above: a website is not going to produce quality content: that’s our job as Interweb entrepreneurs. Nor is a website going to get your content to the top of the search engines just by sheer virtue of being a website. There’s other voodoo involved here…
… but the fact remains that some publishing platforms are damn good at getting your content spidered.
See what I did there? I gave you a hint!
On with the sshpeel…
OK, so far we have some babble about the type of website you use for your Internet Marketing being key, and how I had to crawl over broken glass wearing a dunce hat until I was finally able to discover a snazzy platform.
But don’t let that put you off. You only have to do this once.
In fact, you don’t have to do the glass-crawling at all. I’ve done it for you. That’s why I’m making so much noise about it. But stick with me, because when I finish bleating you’ll get the goods
So.. the platform…
The nice thing about this particular piece of the puzzle is that it seldom changes in comparison to other key elements in Internet marketing.
For instance, the type of baits you use in your sales letters – the front end offer – has seen a lot of changes in the past 12 months. With marketers constantly moving the free line, your bait now has to incorporate real value just to keep up with the competition.
Gone are the days when you could churn out a sales letter that said: “Hey, buy my product. It’s really cool. These people said so”.
Today, you have to give away free information relevant to your product, and more. Some marketers give away a method or more from whatever system they’re selling in the form of an information product. Others give away audio training, video seminars and reports, all for free, just to entice the prospect into their sales funnel.
Many marketers offer what’s known as a loss-leader, where they loose money on the front-offer in order to get that prospect into their sales funnel. It’s the WallMart tactic (I believe).
On the other hand, the type of website you use is a more stable variable: it takes time for somebody to develop a cool platform, and even more time to spread the news and slip into the main stream of consciousness in the Interweb.
So for now, we get the best platform available and we stick with it, focusing the rest of our energies on developing products and / or generating leads for our products and / or affiliate offers.
So the million dollar question is: what is the best platform for internet marketing?
Rather than spill the beans and be done with it, I want to review the 5 platforms I’ve tried so far, so that at least you have a reason for choosing one platform over another.
The platforms are as follows:
- content management system
1 Is a flash site good for internet marketing?
Flash websites are… flashy. There’s no doubt about this. I developed in Flash for a few years and sold a handful of nice websites, with moving thingies and cool sound effects.
But when it comes to SEO you may as well stick a noindex on every page on your site and block all robots from the entire lot via your .htaccess file… because flash produces a compiled application file with the extension .swf (small web file). Compiled means just that: it’s compiled into a unit, like an .exe file. It may as well be an image.
The short of it is of course that search engines can’t read Flash. There’s no text in there to read – it’s inside a compiled file (the flash movie).
So whilst beautiful sites can be produced with Flash – and it’s incredible fun to play with (gee, I do miss it…) – it’s a cow when it comes to SEO, SEM and ranking.
In fact, it’s less than a cow when it comes to SEO: you just can’t SEO flash.
So don’t be making nice Flash sites to market your stuff with. It ain’t going to happen.
2 Is a HTML site good for internet marketing?
Next on the list is HTML. Good old HTML.
I started out building my sales letters with HTML. It worked fine. My sites got indexed well, and with a little bit of link-love Google started to really warm up to my content.
But my HTML sites were slipping.
Damn it, I watched them slip and I scratched my head and I cursed as I saw article sites shoot past me on the front page of The Big G.
There’s nothing I could do. Other sites were overtaking me in my chosen niche faster than I could work to stop them.
(I noticed many paid links were being used to leverage some of those positions… where’s Google when your competitors are getting their juice from link-farms? But that’s a different discussion).
So the verdict on this one has to be a mixed one: HTML sites are OK, and can do very well in a niche where there’s room to manouver. However… HTML sites are not the easiest to work with. Apart from the time that it can take to build and tweak a page until it’s just perfect (and you know exactly what I mean by this…) when it comes to adding content, your options for working fast and efficiently are few.
I used to create a duplicate of the HTML page, then change the content to suit, then FTP up to the server.
That was the easy bit.
Then I had to add a link to the new page from every page on the site. This got messy. I ended up creating notepad files with blocks of code for the navigation on various pages (the navigation on the index page was different than on other pages, for Page-Rank sculpting (strikethrouh) purposes).
And many a time did I botch up the job.
So… HTML: good for certain niches, cow to update and keep on top of.
Good enough for landing pages if you’re going to drive PPC traffic to them, but definitely not the best platform to use if you’re going to be producing content on a regular basis.
3 Is a content management (CMS) good for internet marketing?
Then I came across an open source content management system called Joomla! I’m a big fan of open source. All joking aside, cheapness and all, open source is a powerful model that produces superb quality products. Look at Linux and WordPress.
(Did I let something slip there? Ah well, carry on please, carry on… )
I’m not an extremist open source type of person: I don’t think that all software should be free – in fact, I use plenty of paid software every day – but I do think it’s marvelous when a great piece of technology built by half the nerds on the planet comes free.
And I mean nerds in the nicest sense: without them, we wouldn’t have these platforms. We owe them BIG time.
So Joomla! entered my life.
I have to say at this point that the exclamation mark in Joomla! is their doing, not mine. That’s how they spell it (go figure)….
I fell in love with Joomla! I became a Joomla! nerd. I wanted the t-shirt (they have a t-shirt).
(Do WordPress have a t-shirt? I must look into that).
(I’ve stopped caring about dropping clues everywhere btw… but you should read the rest because there’s a big surprise and a biscuit for those who finish).
I worked with Joomla! and started creating websites with it, dozens of them. They have these cool components that you upload and activate.
Some of them are free, some are not; some break, some don’t.
It broke my heart when the ROI in terms of SEO was… poor to say the least.
I had high hopes for Joomla! But it wasn’t the best platform to work with for an Internet marketer. The default URLs Joomla! produced (I don’t know what the Joomla! guys are up to these days, so I can only comment on what it used to be like when I played with it…) are anything but se friendly. They’re damn ugly and long and php-like with lots of squiggles and more questions marks than a 3 year old.
OK the question marks thing was funny… sometimes you have to bend a fact to get a laugh
In the end, I stuck with Joomla! for as long as I could. But there was something in the horizon… something that would change not just my Interweb experience, but my life (yes my fellow friends… it really has had a huge impact).
4 Is a blog good for internet marketing?
I remember blogs. They came out back when my day job was fixing PCs and making excuses for WIndows not working properly.
Blogs were nerd toys. We couldn’t see an application for them.
But that soon changed.
The minute I saw all these websites kicking my website’s butt, trampling all over it and laughing all the way to the top of the front page, I noticed that these were all blog-thingies.
I couldn’t believe it.
Ironically, the WordPress installer kept catching my eye in my hosting panel each time I was installing Joomla!
I hated the name. Word… Press.
It sounded stoopid.
Little did I know that WordPress would very soon completely take over my thoughts, my mind, my websites… everything but my bank account, because this awesome platform is open source (thank you open source Goddess).
There are other blog platforms of course, but WordPress finally got the better out of my curiosity and I went ahead and installed a blog.
Now… it has to be said (by me) that the default installation of WordPress… is dire
It’s obviously (I’m assuming) some legacy homage thing to the first ever theme, and that’s fine.
In fact, having said this, I think one day I’ll set up a blog and let it build momentum in it’s own market, with nothing but the default theme.
That should redeem me for my blasphemy.
And it should get me the t-shirt too. (Seriously, do WordPress do a t-shirt? I want to by one).
Clothing needs aside, WordPress is the best platform by far that I’ve ever tried for developing websites that rank high.
The tin says: the world’s number 1 publishing platform.
They’re not kidding.
It’s simply stunning.
And it’s not just me saying this: I have yet to come across Internet marketers who don’t use WordPress in one form or another. There are HTML sales letters out there still, but they are far outnumbered by the sheer amount of WordPress blogs marketing info products on the net.
I can list hundreds of reasons why WordPress is the best Internet Marketing tool out there, but take it from the rest of the world. Amazon (the clever lot..) sell by telling you what other readers bought. I’m telling you that the rest of the Internet marketing community like WordPress.
And it’s free!
And, as an added bonus, WordPress is a CMS in it’s own right, which means that managing your content couldn’t be easier!
5 Is a forum good for internet marketing?
Lastly, but not least of all, we have forums…
Forums can and do have their place. Depending on what you’re selling, they can be the right platform.
If you like the idea of building a community, a forum is the way to go (not a blog). Remember that a blog is essentially a 1 way communication: you voice your opitions and other people can comment, but only if they’re around to hear your opinion in the first place.
A forum on the other hand gives everybody the chance to start and lead their own thread – to voice their opinion.
In terms of Internet marketing, if you have a forum which provides information, you can bill a subsription fee once you build up a community and upsell the right products (as long as they add value to your community).
As always, the thing to keep in mind with your audience is to be kind to them. Give them a lot and ask for little, or they’ll leave you.
I hope this article provides you with amusement, education or both. If you’re even inspired enough, please leave a comment and tell me all your secrets.
PS And if you know whether WordPress do t-shirts… do let me know!