If you think that you are a proud owner of your own online business, think again.
We are often ignorant of this harsh truth, yet it’s there – lurking behind like a thief at night.
This truth hit me on the head a few weeks back when Twitter shut down my empire of some 130K followers.
Then, as I was reading my readers’ comments, I realized that we truly don’t own our businesses – we are at the mercy of many online giants that have much more control and say over our successes and failures than we care to admit.
Who Is Really In Charge?
1. Your web hosting company
Yes, they are your worst nightmare. Whether you “own” one website or many, they can shut you down in a blink of an eye for any number of reasons and it happens every day.
Of course, some hosting companies might be considered more reliable than others, but in the end, no matter who you are with, your website is still at their mercy.
They host your blog for free and in return they expect you to follow their mile-long Terms of Service to the “T” and, if you as much as sneeze in the wrong direction, they’ll shut you down in a jiffy.
Many blogs drive a significant amount of traffic from Google organic rankings and we all want more of it.
And why not? Search engine traffic is the most hands-free, leveraged, and targeted traffic you can get.
However, it’s no secret that Google traffic comes at a price.
Constant algorithm changes on a daily basis, contradictory information as to how Google works and how we can take advantage of it, plus what seems to be a sheer draw of luck that can make or break our search engine traffic flow.
3. Social Media
Social media is yet another huge traffic source for most of us.
Unfortunately, we can think all we want that building a following on any social media platform is time well-invested that will result in a constant traffic flow back to our blogs.
However, in the end, just like with Google, we don’t own this traffic source and are completely at the mercy of the network with all their grayish terms of service that they can bend anyway they want to and we are left with having to accept whatever they decide to do with us.
I am sure I can come up with a few more reasons of how your business can go out of business in a blink of an eye simply because someone else snapped their fingers, but I am sure you get the point and are more interested on learning HOW TO diversify your business in a way that makes it more “slap-proof”.
5 Ways To Slap-Proof Your Business
1. TRAFFIC DIVERSIFICATION
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket; that simple.
Essentially, you have three major sources of traffic:
- Direct Traffic: the bulk of this traffic comes from people typing your URL in their address bar. These are your regular readers or people who are familiar with your brand enough to look you up by name.
- Search Engine Traffic: traffic that comes from rankings.
- Referral Traffic: any traffic you get when someone clicks on your site link located somewhere outside your site: social media, other blogs, etc.
Obviously, this is a very simple explanation of traffic sources, but it’s good enough for me to make this point:
You need to develop ALL THREE traffic sources to make sure that your site still gets visitors should any one of the sources suddenly dry up.
As a rule of thumb, you should work towards getting no more than 40% of your traffic from the search engines, about 40% from various (not one!) referral sources, and the rest as direct traffic.
2. BUILD AN EMAIL LIST
If your site gets shut down today, traffic diversification will become a mute point.
You need to find ways to keep your business going and income coming EVEN IF you all of a sudden don’t have your site any longer, and this is where building an email list comes in.
Your email list is one of those assets that will stay with you and even follow you should you decide to change your business direction.
They are the people who respect you enough to allow you access to their inboxes, who want to hear and learn from you, and who you’ve built relationships with.
Even if worse comes to worse and your business doesn’t have a home (i.e. website) any longer, your email list will prove to be the best way to continue generating income.
3. CREATE A PRODUCT
If you have your own product, the possibilities are endless.
- You can sell it completely independently of your main site, for instance on Amazon.com, Clickbank, Ebay, or any other selling platform out there.
- Your product can (and should) have its own site that functions independently of your main site.
- You can create a network of affiliates that will work for you around the clock to bring your products to many more potential buyers.
4. NICHE MARKETING
Niche marketing is a great way to generate some fairly passive income – once all the “leg work” of researching, building, and ranking is done, of course.
You can create an independent network of many sites, thus creating many possibilities of generating income, as well as ensuring that, if one or even a couple of these sites go down, your business will continue to function.
While I am no expert on niche marketing, I know just the right people to go to if you’d like to learn more.
Let’s start with Yaro himself.
His online career started with niche marketing: creating a very successful card game site and, later, a proof-reading/essay editing business.
To learn more about his journey, take a look at his post on:
One of E-J’s very own authors, Sunil from The Extra Money Blog, also happens to be a niche marketing maven. Take a look at his latest contribution on the topic:
Then there is also a fantastic webinar with Adam Short, who breaks down his niche marketing process in detail:
If you’d like to learn even more, I strongly recommend you check out Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com and his famous Niche Site Duel, where you can follow Pat on his journey to build a niche site step-by-step.
5. AFFILIATE MARKETING
There are two ways of going about it:
- Through your main site: that’s the way most marketers, including Yaro and me, do it. We use our existing readership plus existing domain authority to produce the best possible results. However, that’s not the only way to do it though.
- Through niche sites: the idea behind this is simple – you create a site solely based around a specific product, add some related content, get a keyword-rich domain name (including the product name), and then work on ranking it highly on Google. Very similar to the way niche marketing works.
Whether one method works better than the other, I can’t tell you – I’ve never personally built a niche affiliate marketing site. Enough people do it however, which makes me believe that it does work.
In the light of the post topic though – how to slap-proof your business – creating affiliate marketing niche sites definitely achieves the goal.
And there you have it.
The bigger net you create today by spreading your traffic and income sources, the more stable business you can rely on in the future.