When it comes to this whole online thing, I like to think of myself as the voice of reason. The Jerry Maguire of the Internet if you will. Someone not afraid to stand up and point at all of the stupid things that you do (or are about to do) as you haphazardly stumble through cyberspace.
I guess you could say that it’s my purpose as a writer. Or blogger. Or whatever this is.
To point out that your actions are slowly destroying all of humanity and will likely be responsible for the Earth collapsing in on itself in a violent attempt to save us from our own stupidity.
It’s a lot, I get that. But I’m pretty sure I can handle it.
After all, it’s not as if this problem were something new. The Internet was built on Shenanigans. It’s the glue that holds this whole thing together. Remove the get rich quick’s and the I did it and so can you’s out there and the only thing left would be a bunch of fart jokes and inspirational quotes. And you know what that means don’t you? A future filled with inspirational fart jokes (that’s a great name for a band by the way…I call dibs on it).
(You know you are trying to figure out a way to Tweet that…how’s this?)
Now, don’t get all weird and defensive on me if you have fallen for any of these. It’s OK. We’ve all been there. Even me. In fact, you’re looking at a guy that has a half-a-dozen ShamWows in his garage. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t fix this problem once and for all.
We can. Together. And it all starts right here.
There is No Such Thing as “Passive Income”
The Internet Marketing Gods are likely to strike me down for this one, but here it goes. There is no such thing as passive income.
There. I said it. And look, I’m still here! Wait…OK…yup, I’m still here. Whew!
What is often seen as the holy grail of the Internet in reality is nothing more than peppermint dreams and candy cane wishes. A mythical creature with the likes of Sasquatch and the Loch Ness Monster. A proverbial carrot dangling in front of your nose making false promises of what’s possible if you were to just buy one more program or sign up for just one more webinar.
Millions of blogs, Tweets, posts and comments are written and read every single day in the name of doing nothing for something. But in reality, there is no such thing.
It doesn’t exist. The universe just doesn’t work that way.
Sitting back and doing nothing will not bring you untold riches. Period. Even winning the lottery requires that you take action. If you don’t buy a ticket, your chances of winning decrease to somewhere in the neighborhood of 0%.
Now, don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean you can’t make an absurd amount of money online. There are plenty of people that do. But those that are truly successful at it long-term are taking massive action. They are doing something. They are adding value. They aren’t just sitting on the couch watching reruns of CHiPs all day as money unknowingly pours into their AOL accounts.
There is No Such Thing as “Get Rich Quick”
I’m not saying that you can’t get rich. Nor am I suggesting that you couldn’t do it in a reasonably short amount of time.
I’m talking about these get rich quick programs that teach you how to make $1,000,000 in 5 minutes by teaching people how to make $1,000,000 in 5 minutes by teaching people how to make $1,000,000 in 5 minutes by teaching people how to make $1,000,000 in 5 minutes by teaching people how to…do you see where I’m going with this?
These programs are a tutorial on “how to find the next sucker” while hoping that you’re not the last sucker. A word of advice. Assume that you are that you’re the last sucker.
There is No Such Thing as a Free Website
Let me just say that these free drag and drop “you can be a website designer too” websites are worth every penny!
(Get it? It’s funny because they are free!)
Perhaps if you have some ridiculous hobby like collecting potato chips that resemble historical figures, one of these free sites with the oversized logo on the top left corner is likely a good choice. In that case, you have my permission to skip this part. As for the rest of you, keep reading.
Would you sign up for a free root canal? How about free Lasik eye surgery? Better yet, would you do your own triple bypass? Than what makes you think that free website you built yourself is a good idea?
One way or another your website is going to cost you. It’s your choice as to whether you want to pay a fee upfront or lose 100 times that in new business. Personally, I would pay the fee. Unless of course you are waiting it out to see if this whole Internet thing is going to stick around.
Since I’m pretty sure it’s here to stay, I would highly recommend that you get your priorities straight and borrow funds from your motivational poster budget and invest in a high quality website that doesn’t look like a clown threw up on your computer screen.
There is No Such Thing as $2.99 per Month SEO
I’m sure you’ve seen the offers. They tend to rear their ugly head when you are signing up for a cheapie web hosting plan with someone like Go Daddy. They all make the same outlandish suggestion:
“Want your website to be on page one of every search engine?”
This is actual text taken from one of the ads. Word for word. All for $2.99 per month. And do you know what you get for that? You get laughed at by the people that just sold it to you. That and access to some reporting tool that’s not nearly as good as Google Analytics, which is free. Oh yeah, and they also submit your already submitted site to Google. That alone is worth almost nothing!
And then comes the secret sauce. More nothing. Actually doing something to get your website ranking well on Google is so yesterday. Doing nothing is where it’s at. And for $2.99, it’s a steal. A steal for them that is, not you.
There is No Such Thing as Submitting Your Site to Thousands of Search Engines
While we’re on the subject of search engines, this is one of my favorites. Paying someone to submit your site to thousands of different search engines? Really? Thousands? Why not bazillions? That’s equally as useless but sounds even more impressive!
The only benefit of submitting your site to thousands of search engines is all of the multicultural spam you can expect to get starting later that day.
There are only three search engines that you need to concern yourself with: Google, Bing and Yahoo!
And that’s being nice. If it were up to me, I would focus solely on Google. Maybe give Bing a little TLC if you like how they say “Biiing” in that high-pitched voice on their commercials. But Yahoo? Put it this way. Yahoo! is the search engine equivalent of that creepy guy at the party. The one that you do everything you can to avoid bumping into. You know who I’m talking about, right? You don’t want to throw him out because you’ve known the guy for years but you also don’t want to actually hang out with him either!
There is No Such Thing as Free Traffic
I’m sure you’ve seen these ads. There is one in particular that shows up for me on Facebook almost daily. They promise various natural disasters of website traffic…avalanches of traffic, traffic hurricanes, tornadoes of traffic, traffic geysers, etc.
At the end of the day, all you can expect is “mild with a disappointing chance of flurries” traffic.
These programs are no good, and here’s why. You end up with one of two outcomes:
- It doesn’t work and your traffic does not increase much, if at all. And what little increase you do get is probably just you checking that your site is still live.
- Your traffic increases but it’s not quality traffic that converts into anything. The chart of new traffic looks great but your new skinnier wallet doesn’t.
If you want quality traffic, you are going to have to pay for it. Not with money, but with time. You are going to have to add so much value to your visitors through high quality content that you become a top resource within your industry. Only then will you get that traffic tsunami you were hoping for.
There is No Such Thing as…
Now it’s your turn to air your grievances. What are some of the shenanigans that took your money and that little piece of your soul? It’s your chance to shine a flashlight on them and watch those little bastards scurry under the refrigerator. Don’t worry, this is a safe place. We won’t laugh at you. Not unless you bought that ear wax vacuum. Then we might laugh at you. Other than that, you are safe. Share in the comments below. What shenanigans have you fallen for?
Featured image courtesy of Matt Erasmus licensed via Creative Commons.