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The Ultimate Guide to Making Money Online

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In 2008 I had an idea for an internet-based business.

I did a little research, wrote up a business plan, and figured I’d hire someone to build a website. Surely this internet thing would be a piece of cake.

I shopped a few web firms but couldn’t find anyone to build it for less than $10K. As a college student, I couldn’t afford that, so I set out to build it myself.

Sound familiar?

The Beginnings

When I started, WordPress was fledgling blogging platform. I didn’t want a blog. I wanted a website. So I built it in Joomla. Big mistake.

It got hacked. I fixed it. It got hacked again. I fixed it again. I later realized that the hacker added hundreds of pages on my domain with one goal, to sell Viagra. Fed up after a year and with only a couple hundred visitors, I migrated to WordPress.

That’s when I realized how much I had to learn.

The Learning Stage

In 2009, I found sites like IncomeDiary, Blogussion, and Copyblogger. I subscribed to all of them, read their archives like a novel, and learned as much as I could from the people who I thought were doing it the best. I went from 409 visits in 2008 to 10,498 in 2009. It was a good start.

In 2010, I kept reading and learning, experimenting and testing, analyzing and strategizing. That year my blog had 52,611 visits. I was finally on to something. But I wasn’t making any money.

So, in 2011, I started a second blog. This one was going to be my money maker. I launched it in March and between the two blogs, I had 230,692 visits for the year. I learned a lot about getting traffic, but I still barely made enough to cover the costs of hosting, email marketing, CDN, etc.

Three Years is a Long Learning Stage, Huh?

I was doing something wrong. Even after three years, I still had a lot to learn.

Towards the end of last year, Michael asked me to create something for him … something that would teach me more in a few months than I had learned in the previous three years. I said yes.

What Did Michael Ask Me to Do?

Looking back, I originally met Michael when I interviewed him for a book we were creating in 2010. Through that project I learned a lot about the interview process and how to turn a conversation into something valuable. Michael knew that.

Here’s the email he sent me:

Michael Dunlop Email
Two hours later:

Michael Dunlop Skype
Michael’s idea was to create the ultimate resource for internet entrepreneurs by gathering the collective knowledge of the top 20 Internet marketers in the world.

It was a tall order. So I asked 6’4” Nick Scheidies if he’d like to be involved. (Frankly, we couldn’t do it without him.) He said yes and we were off.

The Greatest Learning Experience of My Life

What started as a 26-minute Skype call turned into the most mindset-reframing, learning experience of my life.

We researched, we planned, we scouted, we targeted, we asked, we listened, we produced, we delivered, and today we’re bringing it to you.

The Ultimate Guide to Making Money Online

Imagine going to a conference and seeing a real-life blogger who you’ve been following for years. You stand there, introduce yourself, giggle a little, have a 2-minute conversation, and walk away thinking, “That was sooo cool!”

Now imagine doing that a few times per week, except, those two-minute conversations are hour-long brain dumps resulting from questions that you spent hours crafting to make sure you squeezed every ounce of value from every second that you were speaking with them.

That’s what we did.

And here’s a tiny, step-by-step synopsis of what I learned.

Step 1: Make a Website

To make a substantial amount of money online, you need to have a website. There’s plenty of information out there about how to get hosting and set up WordPress, so we didn’t want to get into that.

But we had a few questions about the finer details of setting up a successful blog:

  • What does it mean to have a good web design and what’s the best way to get one?
    To answer those questions, we recruited award-winning designer, Jacob Cass.
  • What are the best practices for creating and running membership sites?
    To help us with this, we talked with Matt Wolfe who pulls in a steady 5-figures every month from his membership sites.
  • What if you don’t want to build your WordPress site?
    We recognized that lots of people don’t want to bother with making a website, so we asked outsourcing-master Tyrone Shum to tell us how he finds, motivates, and manages a staff of full-time, outsourced labor.

Step 2: Create Content

Once you have a site, you need traffic. The preferred traffic source for nearly every internet entrepreneur we interviewed was a blog. To have a successful blog, you need to know how to create content.

I was particularly interested in this step because, despite getting lots of traffic through my content, I wasn’t attracting the right audience and I wasn’t doing a good job of connecting with them to solve their problems.

  • How do you maximize the distribution of your blog content?
    One reason everyone knows our interviewee, Pat Flynn, is because, by design, his content shows up everywhere.
  • How do you create hard-hitting content that makes people take action?
    To understand the psychology of blogging, we asked Derek Halpern to share his closely-guarded secrets.
  • How do you capitalize on the one medium that connects with people better than any other, video?
    Gideon Shalwick, widely considered the top video blogger in the world, gave us a list of the tools that he uses and how he optimizes his videos for search.

Step 3: Get Traffic

So you have a blog and you’re creating good content, but you’re not getting the traffic that you expect. Knowing what I know about bloggers, this is probably where you’re stuck.

Almost all traffic comes from search or social. To answer every question we could think of, we recruited three brilliant traffic masters.

  • What are the best practices for building out a blog that search engines adore?
    For our SEO questions, we reached out to Michael’s SEO guy, David Sinick.
  • What are the ins-and-outs of every social media platform and the little-known tips for maximizing each?
    We could’ve asked any of the 1,000’s of people who claim to be social media experts, but we chose to talk with someone who gets the results that the experts dream of (i.e. 100,000 Facebook Fans and 1,000,000 YouTube views in the first 3 months).
  • How do you implement a Facebook Ad campaign that earns money with nearly every click?
    Few people understand the science behind Facebook pages and ads like our interviewee, Brian Moran from Get 10,000 Fans.

Step 4: Convert Traffic

Once you have more than a couple thousand visitors a month, it makes sense to focus on the details of converting that traffic.

This is where online marketing gets blurry for me, so Nick and I stockpiled an armory of questions that needed to be answered.

  • What is the fundamental methodology behind website conversion and how do you implement your strategies?
    To give you a detailed overview of website conversion, we asked co-founder Ben Jesson of the most sought-after conversion agency in the world, Conversion Rate Experts.
  • How do you write words that sell?
    With more than $15 million-worth of Internet sales, we asked the one and only Yanik Silver to spill all of his direct-response copywriting secrets.
  • How do you balance an email marketing strategy that your audience embraces?
    David Risley has been forming, testing, and re-strategizing his email marketing philosophy for nearly a decade based on feedback from an audience that loves to get his emails.
  • How do you use webinars to grow your list and business?
    To answer these questions, we recruited a gentleman who has conducted more successful webinars than just about anyone, Stephen Beck.

Step 5: Earn Money Online

Let’s recap. You have a website, you’re creating content, you’re getting traffic, and you’re converting that traffic into leads/subscribers. In other words, you have an engaged audience that has a common set of problems.

Lucky for you, there are plenty of ways to make money while helping your audience.

  • What are all of the different routes to making money with a website?
    Upon my request, Michael Dunlop agreed to answer the questions for this interview.
  • What is the full-circle strategy for selling digital products?
    To make sure that you know exactly how to sell digital products, we asked Lewis Howes to give you the step-by-step process that he used to amass a multimillion dollar internet business.
  • How do you create a software product that sells itself while orchestrating a successful product launch?
    Josh Bartlett, the brains behind the multimillion dollar Easy Video Player software, sat down with us to share how he created and launched his product without touching a line of code.

Step 6: Build a Successful Company Online

Making money online is exciting, but it becomes more meaningful if you can create a company from it.

This is what appeals to me most about the internet. I’ve had questions backlogged for years and I was excited to finally get them answered.

  • How do you design an online business with a loyal customer base that pays continuously?
    The king of continuity, Ryan Lee, shared his best tips for building and managing a multitude of programs that provide a steady stream of recurring income.
  • How do you build an eager subscriber base that purchases everything that you recommend?
    James Schramko shared with us the lessons he learned from running a $100 million car dealership to build an exclusive audience of buyers through affiliate marketing.
  • What are the ins-and-outs of roaming the world while running an internet business?
    Digital nomad, Cody McKibben, gave us a generous list of things that you need to consider as you take the plunge and move abroad to travel and work, simultaneously.
  • How do you create a lasting internet-based company that sells to and services the largest brands in the world?
    Perhaps no one else is better suited to answer these questions than 26-year-old founder of KISSmetrics, Crazy Egg, and QuickSprout, Neil Patel.

If You’re Struggling Online, You Have Two Options

One, you can continue stumbling through the internet reading random blog posts hoping to find a formula that works for you and your business (like I did).

Two, you can learn from the people who are the best in the world at what they do in a structured format that was designed from the outset to help you find success online (like I wish I could’ve).

I encourage you to do the latter.

If you have any questions about the 8-month-long project, the interviewees, or whether or not I think the ebook can help you, let me know in the comments. I’ll do my best to answer them.


  1. Hi Nick,
    You had many visits in both 2009 and 2010 Why didn’t you make money on advertising for example using Adsense or so something like that. What do you think about making money in that way ? Or may by it’s not good idea ?
    Best wishes,

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Hey Teresa… A few reasons. One, I didn’t want to clutter up my sites with ads. Two, very few people make a lot of money with AdSense. A couple hundred dollars, at best, per month isn’t worth it to me. I have bigger things in mind. Have you had success with AdSense?

      • I’m still working on my blog. I will be able to start in 2 weeks’ time.

  2. Thomas @ Mobile App Tycoon says:

    Looks really cool! You guys definitely went out of your way to get the BEST experts on making money online out there! Totally on my wish list 😉


    • Nicholas Tart says:

      I’m glad, Thomas. Definitely consider picking it up. If you follow their advice, you’ll recoup the costs quickly and you’ll avoid spinning your wheels for years like I did.

  3. Hi.. Nick..
    Good to hear from you.
    No doubt the ebook would be great.
    (However, Just one thing, you could ve asked ‘Gary Vaynerchuk’ about video blogging. I think no one does better than him.)
    I ll surely check the it out.

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Hey Sam, yeah, you’re right that Gary would’ve been a great interviewee for video blogging. One reason we went with Gideon is because he understands every detail of video blogging, from creating the videos to strategically launching each one. Gary has a one-of-a-kind personality that you can’t teach.

  4. The problem for most and myself (Noobs) included is that these so-called “Ultimate Guides” never reveal enough of the small details / cheats to succeed. And then you want more money after we’ve already purchased a .com and hosting so then we’re stuck.

    I’ve tried for over 2 years now and honestly It has been a complete failure as I keep chasing my tail while twirling around on only 3 legs. Most of us are here because our other careers have been shortened by corporate greed and or downsizing.

    I need a complete. step-by-step, leading the blind noob guide from zero to hero. Your claims may be that “you won’t do the work for us,” and they are invalid. Would I teach someone to fly without teaching them how to land? Stop bombarding us with “The Ultimate Guide” etc. Only to leave us wondering how and when to stop the bleeding.

    Enough Said

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Hey Peter, I didn’t mean to claim that this post was the end-all answer to every question that you have about making money online. This post is 2000 words. As you know, it’s impossible to squeeze in every detail of a step-by-step process. I wanted to give you an outline so there would be standalone value in reading it. Then if you want the “leading the blind noob guide,” you need to pick up a copy of Web Domination. It’s over 100,000 words (edited from about 150,000 words so it’s jam-packed). The real problem is that people expect to learn everything they need to know from free blogs. You probably can but it’ll take a long, long time. Thanks for the feedback.

  5. I’m sorry, my comment may have been a bit misleading. This was an excellent post! The eBooks I’ve purchased along the way have left a bit to be desired. Thanks Nicholas.

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      That’s ok, Peter. Michael and I have been frustrated with them too. That’s part of the reason that he wanted to create this ebook.

  6. Simply put, thanks a lot Nick for getting everyone to share with you on this project. I think I will get a copy.

  7. Thanks for the information, a great selection of individuals. I may just pick up a copy of this book.

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      You should, JC. If you want to run any sort of internet-related business, there are a number of sections (if not the whole thing) that you will benefit from reading. If you’re already inundated with other products that you’ve purchased, maybe now isn’t the time. But I’m convinced that it’s the best available resource for internet entrepreneurs.

  8. Emmanuel says:

    Another alternative for making money online is by writing for paid article writing sites like Triond. I like your article. Keep up the good work.

  9. I’m currently at step 3, about to start step 4.

    Looking forward to step 5, which I haven’t done yet!

  10. meshackhart kalada says:

    thanks for the information, i need something adaptable to my country, we are not yet fully in use of online payment platforms, so affiliate marketing may not work well here, what do i do in this case.

  11. Fernando says:

    That’s a pretty nice product, I’m totaly in love of it

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      That’s great to hear, Fernando! We put a lot of work into it. What’s your favorite part so far?

  12. hello sir i want to earn online.. but i has no idea that how to make the websit? is it possible that i may earn with out website?

  13. Alihan Yildirim says:

    Great Article! I just started my own online venture and it looks like I am doing a lot of things right (obviously because ive been reading this blog a lot :P). I just had one question. If you dont have the money to outsource, is it best to take the time to learn it yourself or try and find the money to get others to do the things for you? Things like building traffic, SEO, etc.. Thanks

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Thanks, Alihan. When I was starting, I didn’t have the money either. So I had to learn everything myself. I think it was good for me because now I have a well-rounded perspective on everything you need to do to have a successful website. I’d recommend it.

  14. Troy Vayanos says:

    Nice post Nicholas,

    Will ‘Web Domination’ help me if I already have a WordPress blog set up?

    Also will it help if my niche is a niche where there is lot’s of freely available information is out there on the internet?


    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Hey Troy, only the first two interviews are at all focused on building a website. And even those two will help you improve your design and conceptualize a membership area. I spent a few minutes on your site and noticed that you only have 26 subscribers, a handful of comments, and 12 other things that you’re doing wrong. (One is that you have your entire homepage title tag appended to all of your title tags.) Those are the results you can expect from free information. You might be able to figure out everything, but it’ll take a long time. This ebook is over 300 pages (cut down from about 450). I’ve heard from a few of the interviewees that even they’re learning things from reading the other interviews. Let me know if you decide to pick it up.

  15. I decided to pick up this product because I’ll be on a plane for 10 hours next week and I want something productive to do.

    So far I’ve only skimmed through the pdf and listened to a couple interviews, but this really seems like a good resource.

    Quality stuff.

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      That’s great to hear, Austin. What do you like about it so far?

      • Honestly it’s the interviews that convinced me to buy it. They’re really informative!

        Also the ebook’s really easy to navigate. If I have a question, I can just scan through the table of contents and see where I can get my answers.

  16. Troy Vayanos says:

    Thanks Nicholas, I will check out ‘Web Domination’.

    I know you have been probably asked this a thousand times, but because I am very persistent I am going to ask again. Do you do any private coaching at all in setting up a successful blog? Obviously this would cost a lot more but something I would possibly be interested in.

    Thanks again for your advice.


  17. Hi Nick, I have just bought the ebook, but still not read it so i will comment when i have.

    Just a quick question, how do i get my image to display on my comments?

    Many thanks.

  18. Thank you Nick

  19. I plan to Grab this. Great works Nick. It’s really a great place to meet great people and experts! Web domination is really really cool 🙂

    Best Regards to all.

  20. Troy Vayanos says:

    Hi Nicholas,

    Just referring to your original reply. Will ‘Web Domination’ give me the information I need to fix the 12 other things you mentioned I was doing wrong at my golf blog?


    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Hey Troy, sorry about taking awhile to get back to you. It’s tough to keep up with comments on older posts. The real value in Web Domination is that it’ll show you how to build an online business from the ground up. There’s quite a bit of technical and strategic advice. I’m not sure if it would cover the 12 things that I originally found, but I guarantee it’ll give you dozens of ideas for fixing things that you don’t realize are problems. If you’re still looking for one-on-one help, start by sending me an email:

  21. jojofoot says:

    Hi Nicolas. I am a French blogger. I am interesting by your course but my English level is not high enough to understand English poadcasts or interviews .

    However I am able to read and understand a PDF file which was written in english.

    Would you advise me to buy this course?

    • Nicholas Tart says:

      Hey Jojofoot. If you can read it and you’re willing to act on the 100+ actionable takeaways, I think you should get the course.

  22. Troy Vayanos says:

    Hi Nicholas,

    Just wondering if you are able to answer a couple of the questions I asked in a previous comment.



  23. jojofoot says:

    Ok Nicholas .I will do it ! Thanks

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