In online business, one thing that means a lot is your image. What do I mean by image? How people think of you. What kind of online reputation you have. All of these sorts of things add up to present an image of who you are, how you do business, and generally how people think of you. About the best thing you can do to improve your chances of success in making money on the Internet is to build up a good (GREAT) image before venturing into online money making endeavors.
Probably the best thing you can do to build up your image is to start a blog or some sort of website where you regularly interact with your readers. The key word in the last thought is interaction. Write articles regularly on your site, and let your readers leave comments. That is interaction, but only at a minor level. To gain a reputation, you need more than that. How? Respond to the comments, join in the discussion! When you shoot back a comment response to a reader, it opens up a dialogue on the site. If you don’t respond, the reader is not even sure if you read what he had to say.
Yesterday, a friend of mine e-mailed me. He was excited and told me that he had finally started blogging. I went and checked out his site, and I liked it a lot. Very professional, and nicely done. He had one article on the site, which was pretty good. I was hoping to be the first to comment on his new site, but sadly, somebody else beat me to the #1 position. I left a nice comment, though, and was looking forward to seeing my friend’s response. I checked his site 3 or 4 more times yesterday, but he never responded to what I had to say (or the other comment there either).
Why is it important to respond to comments when you have such a site? Because it brings a touch of personality to the site. The reader feels like he has become a friend. The more you do this, for a longer time, and you build up a huge group of people who have a personal connection to you.
When the day comes that you have something to sell, this group of “friends” will be much more accepting of it than average. I mean, if a friend says that he has an eBook that will show you how to make money from blogging, you are a lot more likely to buy it than if some guy that you never heard of tells you about it. Being a friend means that some trust has been built up, that you care about the reader. You don’t try to “rip off” somebody who is a friend, and thus, you have credibility in your reader’s eyes.
So, to make money online, the first step is not to start selling something. The first thing you need to do is to introduce yourself to people, let them get to know you, converse with them for a while, and then after doing all of this, you can introduce a product to them. And remember, you need to bring them a quality product – they are friends after all. If you sell something to a friend that is nothing but an avenue toward putting money in your pocket – your friends might find out that you really weren’t a friend after all!
Isn’t it amazing how many people say they want to blog and yet don’t interact, Bob? It’s long amazed me. they say, “Oh I cna’t do this or that becuase I have no money” … email and respionding to comments are free. They say they want to find ways to make money or sell a product … well anyone asking you about your product is gold … I’ve answered mails at 2 am and been glad to do it … that’s free too.
Not only do people tend to buy from people they know, in my case I don’t even read people who don’t respond to me. If I make a comment or send an email and get no response in a reasonable time, they are off my list … to many other people out there who do have a feindly image. Great advice.
Hi Dave Starr – You know, I have been blogging for a long time, as I know you have too. I was blogging before the name “blog” was even invented, we just called it “having a website” back in those days. Over my time in this medium, I believe that interacting with your readers is the most important thing that I have learned. Before I started responding individually to every comment on my site, I never developed the relationships that I have with readers today, and that impacted my ability to make money through improving my image and profile online. I honestly believe that interacting with your readers is the most important part of blogging!
Speaking of not reading people who don’t interact with you, you and I have over the past few months been talking privately about certain A List bloggers that we have lost interest in and no longer read regularly. The big one that I have told you that I unsubscribed from, a big make-money online blogger responds to a few of his comments, but mostly he just ignores them. That is one of the biggest reasons I stopped reading his site regularly. I mean, if you leave a comment, who is it for? I doubt that he even reads most of the comments.
Yes, remember BB? Before Blogs? Actually I still hate the term ‘blog’. It’s a stupid ‘propeller head’ college kid term and I wish it hadn’t caught on.
In the past I was part of a large group called “Day Noters” who essentially ‘blogged’ their daily happenings, thoughts, rants, etc. I think comments attached to each post are what caught on with people and made blogs burst iout of the background and become the ‘big thing’. Everything else involved with blogging was there before but was only a tiny part of rthe Web …. it’s the comment handling that I see as the really big difference.
Comment handling may take so time, but what could be more important if you want to build (anbd if you don’t want to build, why are you reading thios blog? ;-))?
If you blog ‘socially’, getting comments and responding to them are how you take a ‘nothing’ blog from 3 visitors a day to 300 plus and still climbing.
And if you sell anything, wow, what value those comments (with email addresses) would be should you want to start a newsletter, send out a product release, etc. It takes a few minutes a day but I capture every commenter in my contacts list … who knows of what vaklue they may be to me in the future?
Hi Dave Starr – 😆 BB? I hadn’t heard that one before. I guess I kind of agree with you about the word “blog” it sounds a bit geeky!
Regarding responding to comments – you are 100% right. It only takes a few minutes a day to do it, and the rewards are huge!