First off, my apologies to those readers who may be more advanced. You might already know everything there is to know about how to sell on internet sites. I’m starting with the assumption that a lot of people might be new to this whole thing, so please bear with me. I mentioned in the “about” page that I am not an internet guru. I’m a normal person trying to find ways to make money to supplement my “real world” job. If I am able to get good enough to make money on the internet full time, that would be just fine with me. I’m being patient though as I learn and I’ll share what I’ve found to be useful information right here on this blog.
Where I’m Coming From
I started this whole money making venture by selling on eBay. To be honest, although I really enjoy making relatively easy money selling other people’s cast off items, I do find the idea of not having to handle and ship products attractive sometimes. I don’t think I’d ever stop selling on eBay though. The profit potential is just too outrageous and I think I’ve become pretty good at it. I’ve sold several items for hundreds of dollars that I spent less than $5 on at flea markets, yard sales and estate sales. I’ll keep dealing with the shipping hassles for those profit percentages.
A couple of summers ago, after a long evening of packaging, taping, labeling and posting eBay items, I began digging around on the internet looking for ways to make money online beyond eBay. If you are reading this, you have probably experienced the same thing that I did. Every time I clicked on what looked like a promising link, s0meone wanted $197 to purchase their “ultimate plan”. I have to admit that I spent way more money than I’d like to admit on those products. What really ticked me off (and still does) is that before I even finished reading what I’d purchased, I’d receive an email from the seller asking me to upgrade to the “super duper ultimate plan” for just forty more dollars! I now know that this is just basic marketing. Getting people to upgrade on the back end of a deal makes the seller money. No one wants to be the person who owns last year’s model. It is the same reason people upgrade their phones when they can’t even use half the features on the model they have. Usually I coughed up the extra $40. Sometimes it was worth it, usually it wasn’t. I’m over it, but it still bothers me when people promise something and then change up the deal or present something they were holding back just to charge extra. Sorry, drifted off topic a bit, but that is where I am coming from.
Through a lot of trial and error and a ton of time spent researching things online, I did come away with some good information. If you’re willing to read my sometimes rambling blog (see above), you might find something useful too. Here is a very basic introduction to selling on the internet for beginners. I will go into more depth on each subject as this little blog develops.
Affiliate Marketing – Selling Other People’s Products
A very easy way to get started making money on the internet is through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is simply referring people to websites where they will buy merchandise or services. For example, let’s say that I sign up to be an affiliate of a wonderful little shop called the Widget Store Online. I set up a website all about “widgets” and you manage to find it. I might write some articles telling you how wonderful a particular type of widget is and then offer you a special link to go check it out at the Widget Store Online. If you follow that link and then purchase a widget, the Widget Store Online company would pay me a percentage of their profit for referring you to them. The amount the affiliate (me in this case) makes varies quite a bit depending on the product and company. If you still can’t get your mind around this idea, try this. You tell your friend about this great new restaurant in town and when he goes there to eat, he passes a coupon you gave him on to the owner. The owner
sees that the coupon came from you and gives you a percentage of his profit in appreciation for the referred customer. This is a very nice little business model because:
- The owner of the restaurant probably would have ended up paying at least as much for advertising somewhere else as he gave the affiliate, and he has a new customer who will come back again and again to spend money. (He’s happy)
- The affiliate makes a commission for the relatively easy job of giving the referral. (He’s happy.)
- The customer gets a great meal. (He’s happy.)
Of course there is always the potential of this process breaking down somewhere along the line. In my experience, the main area of concern is when the person providing the product or service (the Widget Store Online owner or the restaurant owner) provides garbage. In that case, the end customer is unhappy and wants a refund, which means all of the money has to be given back. This is why it is important, when you do this kind of selling, to refer people only to quality products or content.
Just an FYI
From time to time I may refer readers to sites or products that I feel are worth checking out. Sometimes I may provide an affiliate link. I will do my best to only refer you to quality products that I have used or researched. My hope is that I will have provided enough honest, quality information that readers will go in through my link and I might make a few dollars to support my little blog habit. Sometimes, I might refer you to a product and basically tell you to check it out for yourself. Usually I’ll do this if I feel I don’t need the product myself, but still see something good there. (Sometimes it might be the free tips you can sign up for.) As the author of this blog, if I want people to keep reading and visiting it only makes sense that I would do my best to provide good information and referrals to only good products.
At this point, some of the more experienced readers probably think that I’ve lost my mind. We will see if they are right. I actually just announced that I will provide affiliate links! People sometimes spend days trying to hide them on their websites! All I can say is that in my eBay business, I have managed to hold a 100% feedback through over 2000 transactions. I’ve done that by providing a good product and being totally honest in my descriptions even if it meant a lower selling price in the end. I believe that an honest blog on the subject of internet marketing and eBay selling is something that can survive. Indeed, there is so much garbage out there that I’m hoping that people will enjoy the breath of fresh air. If I’m crazy for that, so be it. I enjoy the writing anyway. I hope you learned something about selling on the internet and affiliate marketing.