Oftentimes what we would really like to do, will not bring the money we need to survive immediately.
What I really love is writing software and solving problems, yet I had to learn the boring part of business and marketing. I was very lucky that SEO required a great deal of technical understanding and was really fun to do in the early days.
In order to support myself and fund my software business, I started doing affiliate marketing in highly profitable markets such as on-line pharmacy, finance, travel, etc. These markets are extremely competitive, however with the right knowledge and tools you can thrive. Take for example one of my old affiliate sites http://www.tripscan.com which ranks organically in the top 20 (used to be top 5 when I was actively marketing it) in Yahoo for the highly competitive phrase “vacation package” which has more than 50 million competing sites.
The key is to start small and find keywords that nobody else — or a few smart ones — have thought about. Most people call this “the long tail” but let me tell you that it is longer than most marketers think.
Let me give you an example of how I find keywords with very little competition and a lot of searches.
When most marketers do keyword research they think of keywords in terms of their solutions not in terms of their customers’ problems. Now let me ask you this: When you go to your doctor because you feel something is wrong, but you don’t know what it is; do you ask your doctor: Can I take ABC medicine to feel better? Or you tell your doctor your symptoms and wait for the tests and diagnosis?
Similarly, customer go to search engines looking for answers to their specific problems. Most of them don’t know the solutions yet and most marketers miss this big opportunity.
For example one way I use to find out what my potential customers want is to read the support forums and Google groups they visit. They will post questions asking for help and they usually use the same words when searching for help.
It is smart to use those same words in our Google ads or in our titles, descriptions and page copy.
Hopefully this trick will not lose effect now that I made it public.