UK-based internet marketer Patricia Jones really has got an incredible range of niche websites!
In this session of the Gain Higher Ground audio podcast, I interview Patricia and talk about how she makes money online from Yorkshire pudding recipes, doll’s house furniture and electric toothbushes, amongst other things!
We talk about the inspiration behind her ideas, how she builds her websites, drives traffic and, of course, how the sites actually make money.
Right click here to download the MP3 file to your computer.
And here is the PDF transcript…
Rob: Hello this is Rob Cornish and I’m thrilled to be joined on the line by Patricia Jones. Now Patricia is an internet marketer from here in the UK and makes money online in a variety of different niches and markets. So apart from the fact that she has achieved a lot of success in internet marketing in general this was one of the main reasons I was so keen for her to actually get on the call today because I know that especially when we are starting out it can be a little bit tricky sometimes to know which markets to actually focus on and I even after we’ve decided on which niche to go into then what are the next steps in terms of building your website, attracting visitors and eventually monetising that niche as well. So without further ado I think it’s time that we welcome Patricia onto the call so hello Patricia.
Patricia: Hi there Rob
Rob: How are you today?
Patricia: I’m fine except for a little bit of toothache so you’ll have to forgive me if I scream every now and then
Rob: That’s alright. No problem. That’s particularly unpleasant toothache. I never enjoy that to be honest.
Patricia: I don’t think anybody does
Rob: OK, thanks very much for agreeing to come on the call today. It’s really great to speak to you. I’m an avid reader of your blog over at patriciajones.org but for those people on the call who aren’t familiar with your story could you perhaps start by telling us how you got started in internet marketing and a bit about your journey online?
Patricia: First time round was probably about 2000. I used to edit an offline business magazine. I produced it myself – unpublished. A guy from your neck of the woods, Peter Preston of Turning Point, sent me a copy of his new promotion. It was a CD showing you how to build websites with HTML and it was in two parts and if you did OK with the first part you went on to buy the second part. The first part was free. Obviously, because I was reviewing products I wanted to try it out so I went on to the internet and built myself a website for the magazine using this HTML that I’d learned from this product. Then some of subscribers wanted websites building which I did – basically they did OK but I took a lot on. I took too much on. I had a leaflet design service also and published my own publications and I sought of like blew up and decided to drop the business for a while and have a life.
Rob: Yeah, absolutely. So that was the first time and you said that was over ten years ago back in 2000 and I guess back then most websites it was quite technical almost to build websites with HTML like you say and so but now we’ve sort of moved on and so many people use WordPress platform so I presume that now that’s probably what you use – WordPress? Is that correct?
Patricia: I do. When I learned how to use it, HTML, I could build a website with Word but I found Frontpage on my computer. I didn’t know what it was for. I also had Publisher 2000 so I built websites with different things and when I came into internet marketing which was after five years I got Dreamweaver xSitePro, which I think is absolutely marvelous, and yes, I do build a lot of sites with blogs because it’s easy, because it’s free themes but a few months ago bought because I want to build my own themes.
Rob: OK, I see. So you haven’t completely given up on the HTML?
Patricia: I think that everybody needs to know a little bit of HTML when they are building websites with whatever so you can go into the background and change things.
Patricia: Sometimes you can’t without using HTML
Rob: That makes a lot of sense. The other thing I mentioned in the intro Patricia is that, as I understand it reading your blog and so on, you are in a variety of different niches so could you take us through some of the areas that you are actually currently involved with?
Patricia: Some of them are children’s toys. The very first one that I made money with was dolls house furniture. That was my first Amazon sales. I built the blog in September about two years ago and it did fantastically well and it did well for over a year but dolls houses, dolls house furniture has gone out of fashion now. It’s Peppa Pig Palace….
Rob: So that’s really interesting. Let’s pick that one for an example. That’s fascinating. So this is dolls house furniture so presumably children want furniture for their dolls houses and you’ve got a blog that you set up in September 2008 was it?
Patricia: 2009 I think
Rob: OK, not that long ago. So how did you go about…. Could you give us a brief overview how you sort of set that blog up and how you visitors to that blog?
Patricia: I researched it. I followed the challenge – Ed Dales challenge
Rob: Oh yes, absolutely. I know Ed very well. He’s actually given me a bit of mentoring this year believe it or not and when I first started online last year in 2010 that’s where I started actually with Ed Dales challenge. For anyone who doesn’t know, that’s a free web training programme that Ed runs and it happens once a year and it’s an excellent grounding in building websites and also getting traffic from the search engines to your sites. So that’s interesting, so our paths must have crossed there a little bit on Ed’s programme.
Patricia: Slightly I did the challenge in 2007 and actually the very first blog that I built that was successful and is still successful is Yorkshirepuddingrecipe.co.uk
Rob: OK, so another….
Patricia: I followed exactly what he said. I’m getting about 2000 visitors every Sunday and about 400 a day. It goes up a bit in the winter and down a bit in the summer and bank holidays you’re talking about 6,000 visitors on a Sunday.
Rob: Wow, that’s really interesting so obviously….
Patricia: And I do very, very little with it. I just basically wrote a few articles. I think two articles in article marketing but I optimised it well and I chose my key words well and it makes money for me – Amazon, Ad Sense. It’s just steady away.
Rob: OK, so to sort of summarise you started this blog, you wrote some articles about Yorkshire puddings and obviously on Sundays……..
Patricia: They have a history you know [laugh]
Rob: Yes, absolutely! And you are actually from Yorkshire is that right?
Rob: So, if anyone is entitled to do this it’s you being from Yorkshire I guess, home of the Yorkshire pudding
Patricia: Aunt Bessie frozen Yorkshire puddings [laugh]
Rob: So back to the process. You wrote about Yorkshire puddings. Previous to that you’d obviously looked on Google, probably the Google key word tool, and had a look at how many people are searching for different terms in Google related to Yorkshire puddings. So you could use those phrases, those keys words, in your articles and in your blogs. So Google recognises it as being relevant
Patricia: Yeah. Yorkshire pudding recipe gets an awful lot of searches in Google and most of the time that blog from within about 2 and 3 hours has been 2nd and 4th. Yorkshire pudding recipe is always behind Delia Smith. She always gets in the way. In Yorkshire pudding it’s usually about 4th. Yorkshire pudding batter mix, traditional Yorkshire pudding…. there’s lots of different variations…
Rob: That’s really interesting. So for people maybe haven’t found their niche yet that’s an excellent example to show that it really can be anything
Patricia: It’s not a massive money maker but some niches make more than others and Yorkshire…. people looking for Yorkshire pudding recipes… they’re wanting a free recipe and I might sell a microwave as a bonus but ….
Rob: So moving on. I think we’re clear on your website and how it’s set up and obviously you’re getting traffic through the search engines but in terms of monetisation you mentioned Amazon first of all so presumably after arriving what kind of products…. do you have an Amazon store on your blog? How do you promote the Amazon products?
Patricia: Several different ways. I’ve got some auto products one called auto e-star and that’s an Amazon product using keywords but I do a content to the blog so I don’t just have them auto blogging. There’ll be a WP robot that I can add YouTube videos also but the most successful way is to write overviews of products and use a simple link in.
Rob: So you are writing genuine reviews about products and then link with an affiliate link to Amazon
Patricia: Their not review but overviews. I do feel strongly about that because I genuinely review products that I own but you cannot review products that you don’t own. For instance, I’m giving a really good niche away but electric toothbrushes, selling quite a lot of those and obviously I only own one but I’ve done overviews of five of them on a relatively new blog and it’s doing really well.
Rob: Fantastic. So this is another example…..
Patricia: I haven’t got five electronic toothbrushes. I’m just reading up what it says as about them, writing it up in my own words and commenting on the feedback that customers give.
Patricia: It’s all very honest I’m not calling them reviews.
Rob: No, no, that’s fair enough. I see the difference there so you are making an honest assessment. Basically, people are very grateful for that because I know when I’m looking for information, you know I actually just purchased a recent Kodak handheld camera ZI8, and I was searching around for information, what kind of accessories do I need, and you know there’s blogs exactly like yours that are providing information on that and it’s a massive time saver for me or anyone else who is searching for that kind of information. So it’s a real valuable service and then you get paid for that by people clicking on those links and you get a commission if they go ahead and buy. So you mentioned, obviously that’s on the Amazon side, but also you talked about Adsense. If anyone doesn’t know the Google ads that appear on some websites and when people click on them you will get a certain amount of commission there. Is that kind of a thing on the side or is that a major income generator for you – Adsense?
Patricia: It’s on the side. I think there are very few people nowadays earning major income from Adsense. I’ve talked to people that used to earn thousands every week a few years back but… some of my sites haven’t even got Adsense on. I’ve got infolinks that does a little bit but it’s just an added bonus. Some sites have just got Amazon on. It all varies.
Rob: That’s really interesting. I think we can all agree that you’ve got some weird and wonderful niches out there and that’s fantastic. That’s one of the keys I think, in business online, is that ultimately you want to kind of diversify your income so if Yorkshire puddings isn’t doing so well this month or something then you’ve got your electric toothbrushes which is taking off elsewhere. So you haven’t got all your eggs in one basket.
Patricia: That’s right, yes.
Rob: The other thing is obviously you’re, I presume, completely relying on search engine traffic for this.
Patricia: Not completely. Social bookmarking. We have lots of visitors from Stumble Upon on some of the sites.
Rob: Oh OK, right. So you are also using Stumble Upon. Is that… how do you go about generating traffic from Stumble upon?
Patricia: I’ve got some icons in my browser you can click on and basically they bookmark whatever new content goes on the site. Most of them automatically go to Twitter. I’ve got lots of different bookmarking icons, I mean, every site has got bookmarking icons on it anyway. Everybody should do that. Have them at the bottom of the articles or at the side and then people will click on them and bookmark them.
Rob: And that’s pretty easy to do isn’t it? There’s plugins just to add those in and then so what happens is, I guess, somebody arrives at your site and reads the article. They like it and they click the Stumble Upon icon and that spreads it. It’s almost like viral marketing then. Other people get to know about it and come back to your blog. Is that the process?
Patricia: Yeah, I mean, sometimes nothing viral happens but every now and again something viral does happen.
Patricia: And you can see it in your statistics and usually there are some sales corresponding with that
Rob: That’s fantastic. That’s really good. So going back to the search engine side, purely on the search engine traffic, obviously one of the biggest things to do is actually build links from other websites to your website. So could you talk a little bit about that and how you would go about… if you were just setting up a new blog right now what are the key things you would actually look for to build links to your website?
Patricia: I have used article marketing quite a lot. Just a little bit of blog commenting but I’m a coward. I find some good blogs, maybe not a coward, but I might read them for an hour and think I can’t think of anything to put so I go onto the next one and I won’t leave a comment unless I can say something really positive that will add to value. Because I get so fed up with people leaving really bad comments on mine or spam comments.
Rob: Yeah, I know, I think we’ve all suffered from that. Sorry go ahead…
Patricia: We do but then again we can turn them around and take the links out and use them on ours if they are anything like….
Rob: Yeah, yeah. So on the article marketing side, I mean this is a very sort of almost timeless strategy that people have used for a long time and it seems that while other SEO strategies seem to have come and gone article marketing is kind of still there. So is this about submitting to Ezine articles and Go Articles these kind of directories? Or is it guest posting? How do you go about your article marketing?
Patricia: So far I’ve been using article directories what I do with the niches… some of the niches it works, music for instance. If you do a Google search for key words you will find the top directories which have got the best SEO for those keywords and those are the best ones to use. Necessarily Ezine articles.
Patricia: Do you understand what I mean?
Rob: Yes, so you’re… whatever the topic is you do a search for that and find out which article directories are ranking the best
Patricia: Yes. Often niche directories are
Rob: That’s really interesting
Patricia: There are some music ones. You must place the content on your site first and get them indexed and then use article directories. Even though I own two myself I still say that.
Rob: I think it definitely connects with… I mean my approach which is actually just trying to get your content on relative and authoritative sites. So one of the things I’ve been doing a lot of recently is guest posting.
Rob: You have to… you know, it’s interesting when you start comparing it so if you’ve got a written article about your niche, a quality article, it’s quite interesting to ask the question where in an ideal world would you like that article to be? Probably in an ideal world it would be on CNN.com or BBC.co.uk probably that’s not gonna happen but what’s the next best option and often I’ve found it’s actually on a highly authoritative site within your niche because Google will definitely recognise that. A lot of the time I think that’s more powerful than actually just perpetually posting your articles just to the same directory like Ezine or something.
Patricia: I do have quite a few guest bloggers myself for some of the niche blogs. Syndication. That’s probably the best… we’re not all great writers. A lot of my articles get syndicated but not always to the quality sites.
Patricia: I wrote one though, it was… I got a viral attack on Christmas day a couple of years ago and I wrote how I dealt with it and I published it on my article directory and a couple of others and all of a sudden it just went totally viral across the internet. It was even on geek sites.
Patricia: I never ever believed that I would get articles on geek sites and that was fantastic. I was getting loads and loads of click throughs but I hadn’t actually monetised the links.
Rob: Oh, that’s a shame
Patricia: I didn’t actually make any money but it still gave me a lot of…. it gave me a boost and it showed me how to go about things so I realised that I must write articles in response to somebody’s problems.
Rob: OK, that makes a lot of sense. So, I mean, that’s a really interesting overview Patricia. Just sort of moving towards the end of the call now but what…if you were, I don’t know if you do any mentoring to students or anything like that, but if you were talking to someone who was just starting out what is the general advice and process that you would advise them of?
Patricia: Probably go to Dale’s site and go through the challenge but not to pay for the things that are recommended except for Market Samurai.
Rob: I’ll put links to this in the post below this interview Patricia but basically that’s challenge.co I think is the challenge from Ed Dale. That’s the free programme we talked about and Market Samurai, this is the tool to actually analyse… do your key word research. So look at how many people are actually searching for certain terms and what the competition levels are for those terms as well.
Patricia: You can also use it to find content for your sites or blogs. You can also use it to find blogs to comment on in your niche
Rob: Yeah, so it’s multi-purpose. I’ve used it extensively myself and I still use it. It’s really is a great bit of kit actually
Rob: So yeah, that’s the initial sort of steps. What kind of time horizon do you generally look at for a new site? Does it take kind of three years before you see any traffic or does it happen next week? What’s the time horizon?
Patricia: I think I’m quite good at getting traffic. That seems to be my strong point. Monetising takes a little bit longer although I am learning…. I’m just going through my sites now and I’m re-monetising. I’m adding links in different ways and in different places because I what I’ve learned since I first built them. It depends on the niche. You can have hundreds of visitors but they’re not clicking on anything or you can have only ten visitors and eight of them might click and buy so it really depends how targeted your traffic is and just how many. Whether they are just looking for information or if they are qualified buyers.
Rob: Yeah. Back to you yourself in the business… what’s the big attraction for you? Is it the auto passive income side of it or is it the lifestyle benefits? What makes you keep going in internet marketing why do you like this business so much?
Patricia: The reason I went back into running a business after five years break was because I wasn’t challenged enough. It’s interesting, you are learning all the time. I love experimenting, trying different things, looking at statistics and seeing the results of them. It’s just interesting and that lifestyle… I can provide the lifestyle that I want. I’m quite comfortable so lifestyle I’m not too worried about. I think it’s just interest.
Rob: That’s fantastic. I think one of the biggest things, I can remember feeling apprehensive before I started last year and it is… you do have to accept that you are going on a learning curve but if you can actually welcome that instead of sort of thinking that I’ve got to learn some new things or I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do it… if you can enjoy that process, like you say, have fun when you’re trying out new things. Some of them won’t work inevitably and some of them will. It’s really exciting to go through that process and home in on that stuff that is working and do more of that and exploit it more. I think that’s so important because it’s just the mindset really. That is the necessary factor. It’s not sufficient for success but it’s definitely a necessary kind of thing. I don’t know if you’d agree with that?
Patricia: I think so. I think if something’s not quite working you should experiment and try something else. If something is working a bit try and figure out how you can make things work more. I think with Google’s recent slammer we’re all sort of looking at different ways of getting traffic and I’m finding that very interesting. I’m looking at different methods. This has got to be my retirement fund really I think [laugh]. Keep me interested when I retired because I’ll be totally boring if I’m not doing anything
Rob: Will you ever retire from internet market? It would be very difficult to leave it I would think.
Patricia: Well, when I had that magazine offline one of my subscribers was about eighty and he was wealthy business man and, I think he owned garages, he used to ring me up the day after my magazine published every month to tell me if I’d made a mistake in it. Spelling mistake or whatever but we used to chat and he started his online business… no sorry it wasn’t online it was information publishing at the time but he started that because he was bored when he retired and he had to do something to keep his mind going and that’s what I’m aiming for. Maybe I’ll retire early I’m not sure but I also want to do quite a lot of travelling and write reviews.
Rob: Wow, there’re a lot of website opportunities in that I guess Patricia. You might find it difficult to give up but anyway… listen, well thank you very much. It’s been really interesting going through and I think that the variation in different niches is really just mind blowing really. All the examples online, you know, in the internet marketing community, it’s either making money online or maybe stock trading, which is the niche I’m involved in, or weight loss, everyone keeps talking about weight loss all the time and the fact is there are millions of these different niches but I think that sometimes we get paralysed by too much choice and there is too much choice here almost so it’s really interesting to see how you’ve focussed in on them and just one final question. I mean, in terms of that what would you recommend to people to get niche ideas. Do you carry around a notebook or is it just talking to friends or is eureka moments in the bath. How do you do it?
Patricia: Some of them I’ve got through looking at Google shopping. When you go on the search page there’s a link to shopping and it brings up a link to things that people are searching for or are buying at that time.
Patricia: And if you keep going back to it every few days you will see that some of them come up more often than others. They’re the ones that are worth checking in Market Samurai or whatever. Also if you just go to Amazon and have a look through at different products and find the ones with lots of product reviews. They’re the ones that are selling obviously. I found one yesterday and there were several different products for this type of product and they all had over four hundred reviews.
Patricia: And the products were all around a hundred pounds each. So that would be quite something.
Rob: Yeah, and commission on Amazon starts at around 4 per cent is that right?
Patricia: Yeah, it’s not very much but…
Rob: But people are so… their volume is so big and people trust them so much I think the conversion is perhaps a little bit higher on Amazon. I’ve got Amazon for one of my sites actually but it is a trusted thing. I think the signing up as an affiliate to promote their products is very straightforward and easy as well. So that’s perhaps a good option for someone who is just starting out.
Patricia: I found that if I put the link there, this is to Amazon, before… people are clicking on them. But also because I’ve got so many niche sites, there are about thirty, some of them are getting an awful lot of click throughs before they get any sales and others they’re getting something like fifty to one hundred per cent sales. It really depends on what niche you get in, what time of the year and it’s surprising if you just look at the list of… like yesterday one of my sites had over three hundred click throughs or views or whatever and got no sales but another one had two hits and two sales.
Rob: Wow. So there’s a real variation in that which goes back to the point earlier I guess about not putting all the eggs in one basket and having some level of diversity there which is really interesting. Listen Patricia, it’s absolutely fascinating it really is, I mean, up to thirty different sites in all different niches which is amazing. Thank you so much for going through the process as well of how you get traffic and how you build these sites. Obviously this is a really ethical approach as well that you do because, like you say, you’re not even in some cases doing reviews you’re just doing overviews and doing the hard work for other people. Saving them time and you ultimately get rewarded for that when people either click on your ads or actually go through to Amazon and purchase so that’s fascinating. But just to wrap it up I know a lot of people will be really interested in finding out more about you so could you remind us where they can find you on the web?
Patricia: All over [laugh]
Rob: How about your blogs? Because that’s where I know you from
Rob: That’s patriciajones.org and I’ll put a link to that below the interview for people
Patricia: And bbarticles.com my general article subject directory
Patricia: and obviously my Yorkshire pudding one which I mentioned [laugh]
Rob: OK, what’s the address of that if people want to have a look?
Patricia: yorkshirepuddingrecipe.co.uk it has expanded. I’ve added a lot more international recipes but we’re talking about five minutes work every month
Rob: OK, so this is… so you’ve done all the hard work already so now it’s just a matter of updating it but you’re…. you know.. it sounds… I think that’s my favourite of all the ones you’ve talked about. I kind of like the toothbrush one but I think Yorkshire pudding is probably my favourite anyway
Patricia: I did it for fun and it consistently makes money. It never misses a day in Adsense. Even if it’s only a few pence – it can be a few pounds but it’s been a real surprise. A nice surprise thanks to Ed Dale
Rob: Well, go back to Ed Dale. That’s definitely something people should check out. I know from personal experience it’s a great course. So that will be something else I will link to. But listen Patricia, thank you very much for your time I really appreciate it it’s been very fascinating talking to you and maybe in the future we can get you back on or we can do something else together because it’s been a real pleasure
Patricia: Maybe we can interview you next time?
Rob: Right, OK. We can do it the other way around that’s fine. Great
Patricia: Role reversal
Rob: Yeah, we’ll do a role reversal. Alright Patricia, well thank you very much for your time today. I know everyone’s got a tone of value out of it so it’s been an absolute pleasure. Thanks very much. Bye bye
Patricia: Thank you. Bye[/spoiler]
Here is an overview of our discussion:
01:08 How Patricia got started with internet marketing
04:38 Patricia’s niches: Dolls house’s & Yorkshire puddings…
10:13 How the sites make money with product overviews & advertising
15:00 Traffic: Stumbleupon & Google search
16:49 Search Engine Optimization (SEO): building links
22:20 Advice for newbies
25:00 What Patricia likes about internet marketing and enjoying the learning curve
29:40 Using Google Shopping & Amazon to discover new niche opportunities
32:21 Wrapping up and where to find Patricia
Here are links to some of the sites discussed in the interview:
PatriciaJones.Org – Patricia’s personal blog
BB Article Directory – Article directory owned by Patricia
The Challenge – Ed Dale’s free niche site course
Market Samurai (affiliate link) – Excellent keyword research tool
How To Create Your First Website In Less Than 24 Hours – A recent post by me
Did you enjoy listening? Let me know what you think in the comments section below…