Keyword Research for SEO – The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Keyword Research for SEO – The Ultimate Guide For Beginners

Keyword Research for SEO – The Ultimate Guide For Beginners (2020)

keyword research for seo

Use the proper keyword and you will get more search engine traffic…

Optimize your website keywords and you will reach your business goals…

How many times have you gotten such advices in your journey as a business owner or wannabe SEO?

Probably a lot.

That’s because keywords and keyword research are the first things you should learn about when you want to grow your online business using search engine optimization.

I have been in your situation a long back, and I know how fruitful keyword research could be for anyone like you or me.

And hence,

This guide is written for a beginner like you to understand the most fundamental concept of SEO – keyword research.

Keyword research

Even if you never understood what is the purpose of keyword research, and how do you actually do it, this guide will help you understand every aspect of it.

My goal today is to help you learn about:

  1. What is Keyword research?
  2. What is the importance of Keyword research?
  3. How Keyword research could benefit you?
  4. How to perform Keyword research?

Let’s start with the basics…

What is Keyword Research?

Keyword research is the process of finding keywords that would drive targeted traffic to your business. Mostly, this is done by identifying how your target users are finding a website like yours.

Let me simplify it,

when we are looking for a solution to any of our problems, we use a search engine like “Google” “Duckduckgo” to find an answer to that.

We expect the search engine to give us a solution within the first page of search, which is also known as SERP (Search engine results page).

Keyword research helps us to identify those “phrases”, “words”, “queries”, that the mass is asking using a search engine.

As a business or even a blog, when we know what kind of queries users (mass) are asking via search engines, we can optimize or create new pages, helping users to find the answer, and use that traffic to grow our business.

Alternatively, using the same keywords (queries) you can also run PPC ads on platform like Google ads or Facebook ads, to drive traffic to yours or your client websites.

In technical words;

The purpose of Keyword research is to find those “topic”, “ideas” and assign a business value to it, which is commonly used by your target audience. Another way to look at Keyword research is: It helps you to discover those questions and queries which your target customers are asking on the web, and gives you the advantage to speak the language your customer will understand.

Let us understand this with an example:

A simple example is, let’s say a recently became father wants to buy a stroller for his kid. He uses this query “Best baby stroller” in Google search, to find the best brand. Something like this…

Since Google search is smart, it auto-populates a lot of frequently used queries to help the father ask the right question.

Now, depending on the father location, and his understanding, he will stick with his query, or perhaps pick one that is suggested by Google.

Now, search engine keeps a log of how many times these queries are being asked by millions of users around the globe.

The process of keyword research shows the most popular query, along with geo-location, and the number of times these queries has been asked within a specific time (ex: 30 days).

Now, as a business owner, these stats would help you understand which of these queries, you should answer on your website, and in turn, it will help users to discover your website, and the solution.

The solution ultimately helps owners to drive more targeted traffic from search engines, which converts into direct sales, ad sales or even as an affiliate sales.

Well, this is how a keyword research helps.

With a little preparation, you could drive significant traffic to your blog or business and hence make most out of your hard work.

The process of optimizing your keyword for search engine is called “On Page SEO“.

That’s a topic for advanced users, but today we dwell deep into the keyword research.

Performing keyword research, help you experience the business in a record time. Since, you are using data with your emotions, it would help you maximize your work.

Let’s understand this with an example…

Earlier I talked about a father looking to buy a “Stroller” for his son. Now, lets assume you are a business who is into selling baby stroller. (You could be anyone, and replace baby stroller with your product).

By using keyword research tools, we could find data like which keyword “Also known as queries, question, search term” a parent is using on a search engine to find a solution.

The following result is from a tool called “SEMrush“, that shows similar queries with a lot of data as shown below:

Let’s try to understand what’s happening in this image. (Even if you don’t understand 100%, don’t worry as this is normal for a beginner.)

  1. Keyword: This is the query users are asking to find the best baby stroller. When doing SEO, this is the phrase that we “target”, so we often call this as “target keyword” or “Focus keyword”.
  2. Volume: This tells you roughly how many people are searching for that particular keyword in a given month. This is a very important metric as even if you assume a search term will be popular, search data will tell you otherwise. In the above example, you can see two similar keywords which have a considerable difference in monthly search volume:
    • Best rated baby stroller: 140 searches/month
    • Best rated baby stroller 201930 searches/month
  3. Trend: This one helps you to see if the keyword trend is going up (more people are searching) or going down (fewer people are searching). For example, iPhone 11 Pro could be a popular term in 2019-2020, but as a new iPhone is released, this term will lose value. You will understand this in-depth, as we move ahead in our keyword research guide.
  4. Keyword difficulty: This is an important metric that helps you understand, how difficult or easy it is going to be rank for a target keyword on the first page of Google. These tools, compare all the existing ranking pages for things like “On page SEO”, “Backlink profile”, “domain authority” and a few others, to rank such queries. The lower the rank is, easier it would be to rank for.

Like this, there are many matrices you will be getting when you start with Keyword research.

Im nutshell, Keyword research helps you to make data driven decision. In case if you not aware, data is the new oil.

Before we move ahead,

Do read my earlier guide on difference between SEO keywords and queries, it will help you create a better mindset for keyword research.

Moving ahead, lets look at the benefits of keyword resarch.

What are the Importance of Keyword research?

Not all keywords are equal, and lets try to quantify this. The process of Keyword research could help your business (Blog, ecommerce, service or any other) in the following ways:

  1. Keyword research helps you understand the language used by your target audience on a search engine. We typically use Google search as a base, since its the biggest search engine.
  2. It helps you discover untapped queries, that could directly help you get paid customers from organic searches such as Google search, Baidu and others.
  3. Engaged audience: The audience that you will be receiving is already hot (ready to buy), and you will get high engagement in the form of comments, sharing or even as a sale.
  4. Market and customer trend: Periodically, performing Keyword research will help you to understand in which direction the market and customers are heading.
  5. Competitive advantage: Incorporating keywords and SEO before your competitors, will give you a solid advantage. If done right, in a less crowded niche, it could help you earn a lot of backlinks as a first mover advantage.
  6. Reduce PPC Cost: Keywords SEO will help you drive those traffic for free, which a business, usually pay for in the form of PPC. Such organic ranking could significantly reduce your business digital marketing cost.
  7. More Ad revenue: Marketers and bloggers who rely on income from Google AdSense or Media.net, they could use the Keyword research to find high CPC keywords and thus increase their ad revenue significantly, with the same effort.

There are many more advantages of Keyword research, the above few are the prime one.

Here is a less known fact about Keyword research:

A lot of people mistake keyword research as the process of finding only high volume keywords, which is not the fact.

The task of you as an SEO is to remove those keywords which are not going to benefit your business in any way. Moreover, after finding profitable keywords, you will also learn how do you prioritize them for maximum benefits in shorter span.

The good thing about Keyword research skills is, once you put this into practice, it just keeps getting better.

Now, its time to get into the technicality of KW research.

Types of Keywords based on the users intent

Moving ahead with our previous example “Baby stroller”, a parent could ask this question with different intent. For example:

  • A parent could ask to understand how to pick a baby stroller.
  • A parent just wants to know which one is #1 baby stroller in today’s time.
  • A parent is ready to buy best baby stroller right away.
  • A doctor could be using this query for his research.

Do you see, how the same query meant different when used for different purpose. This is what is known as search intent.

This brings to the point, Keywords could be sub-divided into different types, based on the users’ intent.

These are the 4 most common type:

  1. Commercial keywords
  2. Transactional keywords
  3. Informational Keywords
  4. Navigational Keywords

These 4 types determine, which keyword is directly going to affect your revenue. This is also closely related to content funnel (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU), which is a learning for some other day.

Keyword could also be categorised in a few other ways, such as…

Number of words:

  • Short tail Keywords a.k.a Head Keywords: (Ex: Baby stroller)
  • Long-tail keywords. (Ex: Best baby stroller in Australia)

Also check out: Long tail keywords finder tools

What do you need for Keyword research?

Here at ShoutDreams, I follow a unique style of researching keywords.

You need the following things for performing Keyword research:

  1. A tool (free or paid) for researching keywords
  2. A list of Seed Words or a list of SEO competitive domains/businesses. (More on this further)
  3. Using seed words to create a list of SEO keywords or using competitive websites to find profitable keywords
  4. A document (excel or similar) to capture, and cleanup the keyword.
  5. A system to delegate the final keywords for production ( Creating blog articles, eBooks, video content, product page)
  6. Measuring the ranking using a keyword rank tracking tool.

Once you incorporate keyword research as your business marketing process, it helps you grow organically.

This the exact steps I follow to drive more than 15 million page-views every year and earn close to 1 million USD every year. This website “ShoutMeLoud” is bext example of outcome of Keyword research process.

After 10 years of implementation, I define the steps of Keyword research as:

  1. Research
  2. Cleanup
  3. Execute/Delegate
  4. Monitor
  5. Optimize

These 5 steps will cover all the aspect of keyword research.

Now, I believe you and me are on the same page, and its time to learn how to do the keyword research.

3 Different ways to do Keyword research:

There are various techniques you could follow for researching SEO Keywords. Let’s look at some of the most popular once, which could be executed by even a newbie.

1. Find a competitor or top site keyword:

This is perhaps the easiest way to find keywords that are already working for an existing website. In this, process, we identify 2-3 websites which are the top in the niche we are targeting. For example: “best Baby stroller”

 

 

A quick Google search has shown the results from these top 3 websites. You could repeat the process for your target keyword, and once you have identified the top 3-4 winning websites, head to SEMRush, which is a keyword research tool.

On the SEMRush dashboard, enter the domain name that you identified from Google search and use it to find keywords that the domain is ranking for.

SEMRush will show you all the vital details like:

 

 
  • Which keyword is driving maximum traffic to the particular website
  • The volume, traffic %, KD, Keyword position
  • Which page on the website is getting traffic for which keyword

SEMrush also gives you an option to filter keywords based on various factors. If you need a more detailed guide on this, let me know in the comment section below.

And like this, within minutes you have found the Pandora box of profitable keyword for your business.

2. Using Keyword Gap to find easy wins

This is one underutilized Keyword research technique that could help you find keywords that your competitors are ranking for, but you are not. This is idle for an existing website to find low hanging fruits.

3. Using Seed Words for researching Keywords

This is idle for any new and existing website alike. This is more time consuming than the above two methods, but this will help you discover unique keywords that no one is targeting.

You can use this method by using and Keyword research tools or even a long tail keyword tool.

We will again use SEMRush for a better understanding of this method.

  • Head over to SEMrush
  • Click on Keyword Magic Tool

 

 

Enter your seed keyword and select the primary country that you are targeting.

Now, click on Search and within a few seconds, SEMRush will generate a ton of keywords from your seed keyword.

 

 

You can filter the keywords based on various parameters such as:

  • Exact match will include the exact match of the phrase ‘baby stroller’ with the same words order. So you will get ‘buy baby stroller’, ‘where to buy baby stroller’, ‘buy baby stroller in San Francisco’, etc.
  • Broad match will include all forms of the words ‘buy’ and ‘new’ and will suggest variations of the word order. So you will get all keywords from exact match plus ‘‘buy the newest baby stroller’, ‘buy baby stroller new’, ‘buy super-new baby stroller in New York’, etc.
  • Phrase Match
  • Related Keywords

You can do the same thing using the Google Keyword Planner tool (GKP), which is free. The only downside is, Keyword planner tool by Google is created for PPC and is not super friendly for SEO keyword research. However, for anyone who is running on a shoestring budget, the Keyword planner tool by Google is idle.

Note: In this guide, I used SEMrush, as an example because this is my go to Keyword research tools. However, you could always use similar tools such as KWFinder to achieve the same.

The above steps, will help you to capture the primary keyword. Now, once you have the vital piece of data, you need to do a few things such as:

  1. Create the cluster of similar keyword
  2. Create a SEO plan like to create new content or product pages, website structure
  3. Measuring it, and optimizing it.

I will be talking about keyword clustering, and creating a SEO plan in the upcoming guides.

For now, I hope this guide helped you to understand what is keyword research, and how actually you could do keyword research.

I understand this is an extensive topic, and you might be having a few questions. Do utilize the comment section to ask your questions related to Keyword research.

Also, if you are an experienced SEO, feel free to share your way of performing keyword research by commenting below.

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How to Make Money Vlogging: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Started

How to Make Money Vlogging: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting Started

Blogging is still an incredible way to make money online but they’re not for everyone. Let’s face it: some people love putting together words on a post and slowly building up the page count. Some people remember high school English classes and get a deer in the headlights look. Vlogging is another popular option. This can be a great idea for someone with natural charisma. Or just anyone more comfortable speaking rather than writing.

Vlogging is short for “video blogging.” While this technically refers to any type of consistent video uploading for an audience, YouTube will be the most common platform. This is why many people use YouTuber as a synonym for vlogger. It’s worth keeping in mind that there are other video platforms like Vimeo that can pay – and even social media video platforms could technically count.

Vlog styles can vary greatly. Many involve an individual or small team that work the same niche together, talking to the camera like their audience are right there. However, there are also vloggers who use whiteboards, animation software, or even screenshots & Power Point presentations to consistently share information about their niche.

While there are many ways to make good money vlogging, it’s important to learn as much as you can early on to pick a smart video creation strategy. Read on to learn basic and detailed plans for how to make money vlogging.

Why Aimless Vlogging Doesn’t Work

One of the most important first steps is to make sure you have the right idea of vlogging in mind. When it comes to how to make money vloggging, it’s important to understand that some styles work and some don’t. At least when it comes to getting enough interest and attention to get paid. The old idea of vlogging where you just sit down and talk about whatever you want doesn’t work. To be blunt: unless you’re already a celebrity nobody cares.

Vlogging in a way that will make you money means finding a niche, creating great content, and preparing for long, steady, grinding work.

Picking a Niche & Creating a Brand

What topic are you going to be creating video blogs about? You need to approach this the same way you would be doing keyword research for a written blog. Think carefully about this step. While having a good following on a video channel can sometimes allow you to branch out later, even then it’s best to stay in a related niche.

You might be tempted to look at what niches pay the highest amounts in display ads or for affiliate products, but that should not be the main factor you look at! A major part of doing well as a vlogger is the ability to connect with the audience and come across as trustworthy & passionate.

This is why vloggers should look at subjects or topics that they love. What is something you could talk about for hours? What type of subjects or topics are you already an expert in? Or willing to put in the time and work to become an expert in?

This should be the biggest factor in picking a niche. This needs to be something you’re willing to put the long game into.

If you’ve never spent any time outdoors, you should do that before trying a fishing, hiking, or camping niche. If you have no experience with making money or side hustles, you should avoid trying to compete in that field. Many successful vloggers making good money started as relative beginners, but they already had some experience and passion before starting.

If there’s a niche where you can provide an interesting angle that’s even better.

While you begin with creating great content, think about your brand. Are you naturally funny? Have a gift for making complicated things seem simple? Going to go deep into the facts and comparisons? Use natural charisma?

You don’t need to know who you are going to be on camera right away when you start. Your vlogger style will develop over time. As you become more comfortable in front of the camera and see what your audience responds well to, you’ll naturally evolve.

This is still something you want to keep in mind early. Be flexible, but remember that even if a lot of your pull as a vlogger ends up being personality based, you still need to see yourself as a brand. Because as a video blogger that is exactly what you are.

Creating Quality Content

No one wants to waste their time with crappy content. Making really great content needs to be the absolute backbone of any plan if you want to make money on YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video platform.

Be Consistent and Be Patient

A dead channel is never going to take off, and very few channels see early success in the first few weeks or even months. Making money vlogging requires a lot of faith during the early part of the process. Faith that the work will pay off even when you’re not seeing early growth. Faith that all the work behind the scenes will pay off. Even more faith that all the stress will be worth it.

Remember that you need to be consistent. If you’re vlogging to become a paid YouTuber then you will find out that YouTube’s algorithm definitely rewards consistent (frequent) posting. Show that you’re serious about your channel by consistently putting out great video content and they will give your videos more chances to be discovered.

Being consistent is just important to succeed in any method of making money online. You can’t win after you give up. While there are some very rare examples of people who can post infrequently and still bring in some serious money those are outliers. Most of the time they built up with more consistent posting, as well. It’s also safe to say even those who can get away with doing that would be even more successful as vloggers if they put out more consistent content.

The second part is to be patient. Putting out videos on YouTube is a lot of work. Planning video topics, writing scripts, and editing video footage all takes a lot of work. In the beginning even this can seem exciting but it will become a grind.

Also keep in mind that as much as you may want to shoot out your videos everywhere you may find you just don’t have the time. Early on the grind means you may have to focus on one video platform. For most that means the best chance to make money vlogging is with YouTube. If you can only focus on one channel that is likely where you want to go.

This is a process. No one becomes a vlogging giant overnight. That means a long-term commitment to getting to your vlogging income goals. If you can be patient, be consistent, and stay with it while putting out great content you’ll be ahead of 90% of the competition out there.

Traditional Means of Vlogging Income

Professional Camera Setup

There are several options when it comes to making money as a vlogger. In fact, once you grow a large devoted audience, you might be amazed by just how many options you really have. This section dives into the more basic or traditional ways to start making money on YouTube.

YouTube Ads

YouTube ads are one of the most common ways of making money from YouTube. There are many vloggers who make serious five or six figures a month doing this, with many more making thousands a month on smaller channels. You only have to search “how much do you make on YouTube” to get pages upon pages of video results.

Many vloggers are very open about how much they make once they start getting some traction. It’s worth taking a look at a few of these if you are looking at different channels or niches.

There are several options for running YouTube ads, with some advanced strategies in the next section to get the most out of your YouTube vlogging income.

The main thing to know is that this isn’t available to everyone starting out. In order to qualify a vlogger must have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 total watch hours of time on their channel from the last 12 months.

This is why consistent video creation of high quality videos is so important. Before you can begin monetizing through their basic ads you need to prove you can get that initial following. Once you do that, you can make money with YouTube from Google AdSense ads they provide!

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is another popular option to make money as a vlogger. This can come from promoting products you trust in the videos themselves. There are many vloggers who make a killing focusing on individual product review videos.

There are also many vloggers who focus on their niche content and use videos to push traffic to an affiliate website they own. The other option is to just focus on the niche but include some appropriate affiliate links in the video descriptions.

Many travel vloggers on YouTube do this, including affiliate links to their camera gear, travel gear, or even video editing software.

There are many great ways to fit affiliate marketing into almost any niche – but make sure to do it intelligently. Don’t spam everything that comes along or anything unrelated. That’s how you lose any following you have managed to gain as a vlogger. Make the offers relevant and useful to your audience.

If you do that, you’ll make a lot more money as an affiliate vlogger. You will also be much more trustworthy in the eyes of your audience!

Take a look at Income School’s Project 24 for a great program on affiliate marketing that also has an impressive section devoted specifically to YouTube.

Sponsored Videos or Paid Content

There are many brands looking for trustworthy online spokespeople for their products. This could be a partnership that results from reviews you’ve already done as a vlogger. You may also find surprising success with outreach attempts, as well.

Early on many new, small, and medium sized brands are eager to work with niche bloggers and vloggers who have a dedicated audience. Many companies struggle with getting their advertising or message in front of the right potential customers who are interested. This is where a vlogger with a strong following can be a very appealing partner.

There can be some very good money from paid content or sponsored videos. That being said, it’s crucial to always be up front about any partnership or sponsored video.

Selling Merchandise

This won’t be a viable option for everyone, but for some people it can be a great source of vlogging income. Selling merchandise often means custom shirts, mugs, specialty items related to your niche. This Niche Pursuits post on the best way to sell t-shirts online shows how viable merchandise (or “merch” for short) can be.

While not likely to be your biggest money maker except for a couple specific niches, it’s worth keeping in mind.

Patreon

The idea of supporting content creators you enjoy has really caught on. Many content creators not only make money vlogging but also have a Patreon where they create original videos only for monthly Patrons. Some include extra photos, shout outs, credits, or a variety of other benefits depending on the niche.

This can be a great way to get a steady monthly income of support from your biggest fans and strongest supporters. Patreon has worked as a great source of side income for many different styles of video blogging.

This is free to setup as Patreon and it is an easy thing to promote, making it a great way to build a relatively steady and easy income stream.

How YouTube Ads Work

YouTube ads are basically video AdSense for videos. These only come available once a vlog channel has reached the two main traffic thresholds:

  • Have 1000 subscribers on YouTube
  • Have had 4,000 total cumulative hours of viewing time on all your videos over the past 12 months

Once a vlogger’s YouTube channel reaches these milestones then YouTube invites them to be part of the partner program. This allows for a wide array of video ads that can be added to every video, generally at the beginning.

Pre-roll ads can be twenty second “must play” ads or ads that allow the watcher to skip after five seconds. Longer watch times mean more payment, but it can turn many visitors off to be forced to watch the full ad before seeing a video so that’s a decision that individual vloggers will need to make. The balance for each niche or each channel between revenue from ads and keeping the audience happy can vary.

There are also in-stream ads, bumper ads, and in-display ads. Each creates a different type of ad and pays differently based on either views or actual interactions like clicks. YouTube goes into more detail on each of these although it’s worth noting for vloggers who can do longer quality content, there’s a reason why length of videos matter.

Longer videos (10 minutes or more) allow for YouTubers to put ads in the middle of a video. If a viewer has invested 10 minutes into your video, chances are they will watch the entire ad to get the finish of video. That makes these ads particularly valuable.

The Technical Side of Making Money with YouTube

While not much equipment is needed to get started, it is important to think about the technical tools that you will need as a professional vlogger over time. If you have nothing else, start with a decent smartphone camera, use some free video editing software like Open Shot, and get going with just getting started.

If you’re going to be the focus of your videos you may even be able to use your laptop’s built-in webcam if it is advanced enough.

While those are acceptable solutions for beginning vloggers who aren’t making a lot of money yet, better equipment is important.

The exact equipment needed will depend on the blog. A Gimble or GoPro matters much more for someone who is going to be moving or walking frequently. These aren’t important if you’re only filming in a home studio setting.

Lights work the other way. If you are shooting at a home office or studio you will want to check out stationary lighting options. That doesn’t make sense if you’re doing a livestream walking the Las Vegas Strip, for example.

However a short list of equipment worth looking at as your vlogging money grows:

  • Video Camera or multiple cameras (double check that it’s a good vlogging camera)
  • Lighting
  • Any portable camera or devices to help with portable filming
  • Video editing software
  • Microphone
  • Tripods
  • Computer dedicated specifically to video work

You shouldn’t let this list keep you from getting started. These are all very important tools. However, it’s better to start with sub-optimal equipment than not get started at all.

As you start vlogging and get used to making videos and handling the technical side of things, you’ll figure out naturally what you need. Whether a better camera or more versatile software. This is all part of the process of building your vlogging brand.

How to Avoid YouTube Penalties & Demonetization

This can be a major issue in YouTube. There are certain niches that are more prone to these issues than others. There are also some general guidelines that let video content creators know what they need to avoid to steer clear of these issues.

Keep in mind that checking YouTube’s Creator Academy every so often is a good idea since these guidelines can (and do) change. This was a big issue in 2017 in what was referred to as the first “Adpocalypse” as many channels were demonetized.

Many for legitimate reasons. Others, like outdoor survival pages, were informed hatchets and survival knives were weapons instead of tools and demonetized. Some of these managed to get videos back, others never recovered.

The most important step any vlogger can take is to start with reading the YouTube rules and understanding what the easy icebergs to dodge are. Avoid displaying weapons. Avoid massive amounts of swearing (even when bleeped out). If you have anything PG-13 or higher, let YouTube know your channel is not for kids. If you mark your channel as for kids, keep it that way. You want things squeaky clean.

Avoid copyrighted materials, don’t plagiarize (you should never do this for anything anyway), and avoid the obvious red flags that are going to get you penalized.

The far majority of vlogging content creators who follow these rules are going to be okay. If you find yourself drawn to a niche that requires a lot of “fair use,” then you’ll want to do you research to see if your idea is viable or if the headaches are worth the effort. Reach out to some smaller to mid-sized channels in the niche you want to get some feedback.

Many are very open to offering advice and/or help. Make a good impression and you might even get a future collaboration out of it!

Getting More Income from Vlogging

Basic ads, sponsored videos, affiliate marketing and merchandise are all great options for making cash from vlogging. If you limit yourself to that, you won’t be making the most of a growing loyal audience. A major part of getting the most out of your efforts involves the focus on being a brand.

Website Affiliate Marketing Connection

There are many online video content creators who only produce on YouTube, and that’s normally a huge mistake. Having a quality website that goes hand-in-hand with your YouTube channel does some really good things. This gives a place you can push affiliate programs harder for individuals who want more information on what you’re promoting.

This also builds authority. Not all marketers think of YouTubers as being on the same level as an accomplished affiliate marketer, or many internet marketers in general.

By having both a good looking website built for branding and affiliate marketing to go with a healthy following as a vlogger you get the best of both worlds. This solidifies you as a savvy online business authority instead of “just” a vlogger or YouTuber. This also creates more streams of income, as well as more places to send traffic.

The website can help with promoting the YouTube channel, while your videos in turn can also promote the blog once again in turn.

In other words, it makes sense to think long-term strategy. While you may have a basic website early on, make sure it’s a good looking website while you put that energy into your vlogging videos. Making sure to promote both will make you far more money in the long run.

This also opens up more doors and makes some of the following money-making ideas for vloggers more likely to succeed with a website to back them up.

More Ways Your Vlog Channel Can Make Money

Dropshipping is more often used by website owners, but it can work well for vlogging in the right circumstances. If you’re looking at dropshipping products that you know are profitable, why not make review videos that you know can rank for those product keywords?

The Instant Ecommerce course can help you get started with this, and opens up some serious revenue when done correctly. This can even open up creating your own product brand, using dropshipping to fulfill those orders. The website-vlogging video combination here can be incredibly powerful.

Creating Paid Courses

Creating a paid course is a fantastic way to further monetize. Whether this is showing others how to follow your footsteps in becoming a successful vlogger or focusing on what you do (travel, arts, woodworking, etc.), paid courses can be a powerful way to earn more from your vlogging.

This requires some proven success. If you’ve built your brand well and have a loyal following, you also have a group of followers who are going to be interested in whatever you have to offer.

Creating paid courses is often a “down the line” way of monetizing for beginning video bloggers but it isn’t one that you want to ignore.

Stock Photo & Video Sales

Depending on your niche, you can sell stock photos and stock video. This is only going to apply to certain niches. But if you’re looking at making nature videos or travel videos then this could be in high demand. Stock photos can be sold through Adobe Stock Photos, while you can look at selling bits of film that others can use in the same way at places like Story Blocks.

Promote Yourself Like Crazy

YouTube subscribe button

This is a step that comes naturally to some people, but is much more difficult for others. Sharing a video of someone who has a million followers is one thing but sharing your work when the views are in the low double digits can be difficult for many people.

Even if you’re an introvert, you need to promote yourself. If you have faith in the quality of the videos you’re creating then promote it. Push out of your shell and be a champion for your content. That not only gets you attention you need but also gives you motivation to make sure you keep making only the absolute best vlogging content.

Some people won’t like it or won’t care. That’s fine. You’re looking for the audience that is going to love your stuff. Even in the videos, ask for that subscription.

Those numbers matter and you will get more people to subscribe when you ask. Especially if your videos deliver the information that the viewers are looking for.

In Conclusion

There are many ways to make money as a YouTuber. While the words may change (vlogger vs YouTuber) that doesn’t change the fact you can still star a video blog with minimal gear and start getting paid for your videos.

Follow the information in this article, keep an eye on the long-term, and continue to consistently create new videos and you will build a vlogging career you can actually make a living off of. The journey of how to make money vlogging isn’t complicated, but it requires work and dedication.

By Shane Dayton

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Pinterest Affiliate Marketing: The Ultimate Guide To Making Money On Pinterest

Pinterest Affiliate Marketing: The Ultimate Guide To Making Money On Pinterest

What Is Pinterest Affiliate Marketing?

Pinterest affiliate marketing is when you recommend products on Pinterest for your followers to buy. When your followers purchase these products, you get a commission.

This doesn’t cost your reader anything extra and it won’t hurt them or you if they buy using your link. On the contrary; it’s a pretty win-win situation. Your viewer gets something that they wanted and you get paid. Buying from you doesn’t cost your viewer anything extra.

How To Add Affiliate Links On Pinterest

Adding affiliate links to Pinterest is pretty easy. First, you’ll create a pin like normal. You can do this from your profile page. Click the plus sign under the search bar, and then Create Pin.

pinterest create pin

And then you can fill in the title of your pin and a description. The only things left are to add your affiliate link and your picture.

I’m going to be using Amazon Associates for my example since it’s a pretty common affiliate program. Amazon has verified that their EU affiliates can use affiliate links on Pinterest. The US is a little bit more unclear. If you are nervous, I’d steer clear of putting Amazon on your social media accounts.

If we are using Amazon, we run into a problem:

We are not allowed to use Amazon’s pictures on Pinterest (or anywhere else).

So we’re creating a pin that looks like this:

incomplete pin

We need our affiliate link and our picture for the pin.

We’ll get the affiliate link off of Amazon using Sitestripe. You can search for the product you want and then near the top of the page, you’ll see the Sitestripe bar. Click Text and you’ll get your affiliate link:

link from amazon associates

So now we have to get our picture. Remember that we can not use any of the pictures on Amazon for this. We have to get our own.

There are a few places that are great for getting beautiful, free stock photos. I recommend Unsplash and Pexels. Both have a pretty wide variety and won’t charge you a dime.

If you need more stock photos, I recommend avoiding expensive options like Shutterstock or Adobe. I use Canva’s stock photo service. It costs $12.95 per month and is very much worth it. 

You’ll have to resize if you get a picture that’s wider than it is long. That’s a free feature in Canva and it won’t take more than a minute. Once we have our picture and link, we can put them in the pin:

finished pin

When anyone goes to your pin and clicks on the link, you get a commission if they purchase your product.

Easy as that.

Ideas & Best Practices For Pinterest Affiliate Marketing

So you know how to create pins with affiliate links. Now let’s talk about how to get the most out of your pins.

#1: Recommend Relevant Products

The first step here is to make sure that your pins are relevant to your audience. Here are some niches and items that would be relevant to one another:

  • Fitness: heart rate monitor, Crossfit equipment, workout at home gear
  • Outdoors: hiking equipment, tents, water bottles, backpacks
  • Home living: Stylish bar stools, kitchen knives, TV sets
  • Dogs: Food, bowls, collars
  • Crafts: DIY tools, craft supplies
  • Internet marketing: Software, marketing tools, courses

You want to offer your audience things that could help them. It will not help you to spam affiliate links to all sorts of products. Know what your audience wants and offer them good solutions to get it.

#2: Test Linking To Buying Guides Or Reviews

This will depend a bit on your niche. It might be a good idea to test for how you get the most sales. I would try linking straight to the affiliate product from Pinterest and linking to a review or buying guide on your website if you have one.

You will have to have good tracking for this method, but it’s not too difficult. The first thing you’ll need is to have separate links for your Pinterest post and for your buying guides. This isn’t a problem in Amazon Associates.

From the Associates dashboard, click on your email address. Then click on Manage Your Tracking IDs.

amazon associates manage tracking ids

Once you’re there, you want to click Add Tracking ID.

amazon add tracking id

Name it something so that you remember that it’s going on Pinterest.

Spend the next month or so comparing these tracking IDs. Send some of your pins straight to the affiliate product and other pins to your buying guides or reviews. Compare the results after about a month and see what’s bringing in the most conversions for you.

#3: Disclose Affiliate Relations & Avoid Link Cloaking

Almost all affiliate networks will require that you have some disclosure to an affiliate relation. This is due to FTC requirements for affiliate networks. You should always disclose these relationships in your pins. Amazon in particular has a specific line you have to say:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

That disclosure changes, so be sure to check up on Amazon Associate’s TOS.

You’ll also have to pass on link cloaking. Pinterest’s Acceptable Use Policy makes it clear that your viewers should know where they’re going. No Geni.us, no Bitly, no Pretty Links, nothing. I think that Amazon’s short links would be an exception to this, but I would stick with the full URL links just in case.

Growing Your Pinterest

Now that we’ve talked about some best practices, let’s look at expanding your income. It’s time to grow your little Pinterest account.

One of the most vital steps you can take early on is to make your profile look authentic. This means publishing pins, creating boards, and following others. If you already have a Pinterest account with 200+ followers, you can skip steps 1 and 2 below.

Step 1: Create 8-10 Boards & Start Pinning

The first thing you’ll want to do with a new or small profile is to create several distinct boards. The numbers here don’t have to be exact, but I think that 8-10 is a pretty good starting point. When people look at your profile, you want them to see that you’re authentic and have a range of interests.

These boards should be diverse, but contained within your niche. Here are some niches with potential board ideas:

  • Fitness: weight loss, body weight exercises, motivation
  • Outdoors: hiking views, camping, hiking locations
  • Home living: Home decor ideas, home fashion, living room
  • Dogs: Dog memes, cute puppies, humans and dogs
  • Crafts: homemade items, sewing, DIY project ideas

The goal here isn’t to make 8 or 10 random boards. You want these to make boards that your future audience will see and appreciate.

You can create a board by going to your profile on Pinterest and clicking the plus button. You’ll get an option to create a board:pinterest profile create board

After you click Create board, you’re given an option to name your board and mark it secret.

pinterest create board

You can mark your board secret if you like, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Some people like to mark their boards secret until the board has a significant number of pins. We’ll be pinning enough that your board will be filled up in just a few days, so I don’t think you have to mark it secret unless you want to.

Once your boards are set up, it’s time to start pinning.

Pinning on your own can be exhausting and time-consuming. I recommend a tool called Tailwind to do your pinning for you. Tailwind allows you to pin in mass. You can schedule pins, add them to your boards, and do a week’s worth of work in just a few hours.

For $10-$15 per month, it’s one of the best productivity boosters on the market for Pinterest or Instagram.

And you can use it free. 🙂

Click here to try Tailwind for free and boost your Pinterest affiliate marketing

Gain more followers and earn more money with Tailwind

Tailwind’s pin scheduler allows you to find all of the pictures on a page and schedule them for pinning. If you’re on Pinterest and activate the Tailwind Chrome extension, you’ll see something like this:

tailwind pin schedule

This screenshot has a lot going on, so allow me to explain.

Tailwind allows us to click images that we want to schedule. Any scheduled images get a blue highlight. You can see a list of scheduled posts on the bottom left of the screenshot.

When you have the images you want to schedule for Pinterest, Tailwind allows you to find and set your optimum times for publishing. These optimum times are based on the times your pins get the most views, repins, and engagement. This feature alone is worth the price of Tailwind.

Tailwind also allows you to choose what boards you’re pinning to and gives you the option to shuffle your pins so that you aren’t spamming your followers. I recommend pinning 30-50 images per day. You can back off as your account fills up with more content, but 30-50 per day is a good way to fill out a new account.

Once you’ve got your boards set up and pins publishing, it’s time to start gaining followers.

Step #2: Start Gaining Followers

There are a couple of primary ways that you’re going to gain followers:

  1. Following other people
  2. Repinning the most popular content

You should start following other profiles after you’ve got a few boards filled up and some published pins. These should be people in your niche, but they don’t have to be a carbon copy of your Pinterest profile. You might get a few followers this way, but the objective here is more to build an authentic profile.

You’ll gain the majority of your followers by pinning content that’s already popular.

I recommend that you pin already-popular content because you know that there’s an audience for it. This content has succeeded in the past so you know it will do well in the future. It will do well when you publish it.

This is pretty easy to do. Go to Pinterest and search for a topic. I’m going to search for “outdoor design ideas”. Activate Tailwind and find the pins that you love the most. 

selecting great pins

A general rule of thumb is that any of the top pins are pretty successful. And since you’re going to be pinning 30-50 images per day, you can select a lot of these images.

I recommend doing this for a few weeks. If you’re pinning at the rate that I recommend, filling out your boards, and repinning amazing content, your follower count should be on the rise. 

You can also begin pinning affiliate content or pins that redirect users to your website. Once you have a few hundred followers, it’s time to scale your Pinterest operation. 

Step 3: Scale Pinterest

You have some boards and you’re pinning a lot. You’ve built up a couple hundred followers and maybe your account is starting to get some traction. 

At this point, you have a filled out profile, look authentic, and have some followers of your own. To scale the operation, you’re going to start joining group boards.

Group boards look like this:

inside a group board

They are places where several people can join and post their pins. When someone joins a group board, all of their followers also join the board. This board has 67 pinners, but a whopping 271,903 followers.

When you join a group board, your followers will be able to see pins from other people than you. It’s a little bit of a dilution for your followers. But you get access to an enormous number of eyeballs in the span of a few seconds because all of those 271,903 followers can see your posts now.

It is 100% worth it.

To find a group board, I like to search “[topic] group board”. You can tell they’re group boards because the picture of the owner will have multiple people. You can see it in the red box below:

pinterest finding group boards

Click to enter in any of these group boards and see the content plus contributors. If a board is welcome to new people joining, they will almost always say so in the description of the group board:

group board description

This group board says “For an invite, please follow me first, and then message me for an invite.” But wait a second – who is this “me” person? Who do you message for an invite?

That’s not too hard to figure out either. When you click on the list of contributors at the top right, the founder is always the first person listed:

group board founder

You can also tell because this person is out of alphabetical order with the rest of the group 🙂

Follow the group founder and send him or her a message. Something simple will work fine: 

“Hi [name], are you still accepting contributors to [board]? If so, I would love to join. I specialize in [niche] and will follow all the rules you set.”

Once you are in a group board, it’s time to start directing users to your site. Your content has the ability to reach thousands of people now. Continue publishing popular pins, but start sprinkling in more pins to your own content. 

Joining group boards is the fastest and easiest way to scale your growing Pinterest account. Keep up your high number of pins or repins and you’ll be on your way to a significant account.

Why Should You Choose Pinterest Over Other Networks?

As you can tell, Pinterest isn’t the easiest win. It takes work and doesn’t bring overnight success. You can think of Pinterest as a marathon: the longer you pin and the more you pin, the bigger of a success you’ll be on Pinterest.

But I think it’s a lot more viable than other social media networks.

The game used to be played in Facebook and Twitter. What caused these two giants to move out of vogue?

Facebook lost popularity due to a variety of reasons. It started when Facebook changed algorithms so that posts from Facebook pages started showing up less and less. Pages could use ads to boost posts, but could otherwise expect that only a fraction of their users would see any given post.

Then ad costs began to rise. And they rose faster than your average portfolio: Facebook ad costs rose about 122% year over year.

Being pay-to-win is fine. To an extent, all of life is pay-to-win. But Facebook became pay-to-play-at-all.

Twitter has a different story. Users didn’t leave Twitter because it restricted their posts or because it boosted ad costs.

Users left Twitter because they realized it wasn’t working. An average click-through-rate (CTR) for Twitter links is about 2.8%.

But as your followers increase, your click through rate decreases. And considering that you can get a 20% open rate for your emails on a bad day, there are just better avenues of investment than Twitter.

Pinterest doesn’t share either of these weaknesses.

You can buy ads on Pinterest (though I’m not sure how effective they are). But you don’t need to buy ads on Pinterest. Instead, I recommend investing $50-$150 on a Pinterest VA each week who can repin existing posts and create new posts.

Pinterest is also built on the idea that your pins should reach a lot of people. It’s built on repins and groups, both of which work by increasing your reach. People want to have great pins on their page, so they will repin awesome content that you create. 

Group boards allow you to reach enormous numbers of people without having to spend years building a following or shelling out a fortune on ads.

Why Pinterest over Twitter and Facebook?

It requires less work and less money to reach a larger audience. It’s not an overnight success or a silver bullet. But Pinterest provides the greatest return on your investment per hour of time spent.

Affiliate marketing on Pinterest is easy to do but isn’t so crowded that everyone is getting spammed. Pinterest can drive traffic to your site and help you get sales. It just takes a little work.

Your Pinterest Affiliate Marketing Campaign

Pinterest affiliate marketing takes a little bit of practice, but it provides a higher ROI than other social media networks. I recommend using the inexpensive ($10-$15 per month) tool Tailwind to automate your pinning. A small investment of $10-$15 per month could save you hours of your (or a VA’s) time.

So you can invest more in other projects like improving your SEO or building authority sites

Click here to use Tailwind to automate your Pinterest account.

Pinterest affiliate marketing isn’t easy, but it is worth it.

By Brady Cargle

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