I remember when I first started making money online many years ago when I was just a kid in high school. A few dollars quickly turned into hundreds of dollars, then thousands and so on. Along the way I had to experience first hand what it was like to do my own taxes, how to pay monthly and quarterly payments to myself (as an employee) and of course, taxes!
For the most part, I have all of this automated today, but back in the day I remember writing six figure checks at the end of the year because I wasn’t doing monthly or quarterly tax payment. Like I said… it’s a learning process, especially for any new bloggers, affiliate marketers and soon-to-be entrepreneurs who are just starting to find success working for themselves.
That was then and this is now. A lot has changed over the past 20 years and it’s now easier than ever to outsource and automate your salary, business taxes and filings through the different services out there. However, keeping tabs on your monthly earnings, costs and actual profits is still something you should always handle personally (or at least keep an eye on).
With more people discovering how to make money through the internet with their own web sites, blogs, ad campaigns and other self-employed businesses, these types of financial management solutions are now more sought after than ever before.
Intuit actually has their own solution, which is catered directly to freelancers, contractors, and home-based entrepreneurs. The software is loaded up with some amazing features and for many entrepreneurs, it’s the easiest way to track self-employment income & expenses year ‘round, and estimate your quarterly and year-end taxes.
Intuit QuickBooks for Self-Employed and Entrepreneurs
Intuit is a well known and trusted brand in the financial management space, so it’s no surprise that they’ve been able to pull their experience and resources together to come out with a solution for the booming self-employed and entrepreneur market.
In this article we are going to take a deeper look at what’s inside this powerful software solution and how it can help you run a better business and your finances in the process.
There are three main features and goals within Intuit QuickBooks Self-Employed, which are to help you;
Manage Simple Finances
– Untangle business from personal spending in just a few clicks and don’t be surprised at the end of the year when tax payments are owed.
Setup Quarterly Taxes with Ease
– The software does the math to help you set money aside & easily pay estimated quarterly taxes, which allows you to not be surprised at the end of the year when tax payments are owed.
Save Money on Tax Deductions
– Put expense-tracking on auto-pilot by using Quickbooks to categorize them into tax-saving Schedule C categories.
These three simple aspects can mean a world of a different for your business. Ever year millions of self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs find that they don’t have enough money to pay their taxes, simply because they don’t have a tracking and management solution in place. Intuit Quickbooks Self-Employed was created for this exact reason.
There are many other features built into the software as well, which include:
- Quarterly taxes estimated for you
- Connect accounts to see income & spending
- Track expenses in one click (or swipe on the go)
- Got an accountant? We’ve got tax-ready reports
- Maximize deductions like home office and mileage
- Count on security with bank-grade encryption
Intuit Quickbooks Fits into the Budget of All Entrepreneurs
While focusing our discussion on budgets and managing costs, it would be silly to not talk about the cost of using Intuit Quickbooks as a self-employed individual or small business.
The great news is that anyone can start using the software solution for just pennies per day. The only real work you need to put in, is looking at the chart below to see if your needs fall into the “Self Employed” or “Small Business” category. The main difference between the two is that the Self-Employed version is more catered to a one-person business, while Small Business is for multiple employees and deeper management of budget, spending and transactions.
No matter which solution you decide on, you are still looking at only $9.99 to $12.95 per month in costs.
Simplify Your Self-Employment Taxes and Finances
On top of everything else mentioned in the article, Intuit is currently offering a free 30-day trial for self-employed individuals and entrepreneurs to try out the software. This gives everyone an opportunity to start untangling their business and personal spending while also being able to estimate quarterly taxes with confidence. During your 30-day free trial, you’ll discover how beneficial it is to keep all of your finances and tax information within one location.
In addition to receiving a free 30-day trial, if you decide to purchase the product through the link below you are also eligible to receive $5 Cash Back from ShopatHome.com, which is an online coupon and Cash Back site that partners with thousands of online retailers and more than 60 million members to deliver savings.
To request your free trial version of Intuit QuickBooks Self Employed, click here.
This is a compensated post that contains affiliate links. I received compensation in exchange for writing this review. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.
How to Monetize Your Blog Using Finteza
Monetizing a blog has always been too overwhelming for an average person to figure out. Too many options, platforms and networks. Too many percentages, numbers and terms to qualify.
Whether you are a new or an experienced blogger, it is always that question “Am I doing enough”?
My dream has always been to set up own independent program without any middleman. After all, if we want to own our content, why wouldn’t we want to own its monetization? I would be willing to select who I advertise and how as well as how much I want to charge.
But how to report to advertisers? What kind of click-through to promise them? How to sell your own ads and own the reports and click fraud protection?
This question had been haunting me for ages until I came across a platform called Finteza and it looked like it was going to solve all my problems.
Finteza allows you to create advertising spaces on your site which will serve your created banners based on your created schedule.
How To Set Up a Campaign
1. Add Finteza Tracking Code
The first step would be adding Finteza analytics to your site which works exactly the same for any analytics suite you are installing: You just need to grab your unique tracking code and paste it to your site the way it appears on all pages.
Here’s an easy way to add code to header or footer of your blog in case you were lost.
Note: Finteza claims it won’t slow down your site as it is using a distributed network of servers. I haven’t had any issues with my page load time with Finteza running in the background.
2. Create Your Ad Zones
Ad zones are actual spots on your site where your ads will be served.
To add a new zones, go Websites – Settings -> Ad Zones and click “Create Ad Zone”.
Give your ad zone some recognizable name (e.g. footer, right sidebar, etc.) and select “Use banner width” and “Use banner height” for its dimensions.
You’ll be given a code to install exactly where you want the ad to appear. I simply used WordPress widgets to put the code and then dragged the widget to where I wanted the ad to be served.
Create as many ad zones as you want / can. You may want to test many ad placements on your site to create your price list and know what to promise to your advertisers.
3. Create Your Campaign
Now, proceed to “Campaigns” tab to set up your campaign:
- The campaign name (This could be your advertiser or project name you are promoting),
- Time period you want it to run. This is very helpful if your advertiser only paid for a certain period of time versus a recurring payment. You can even set up time of the day this ad will be activated (which frankly I am not sure when one may need to do but this option still seems impressive).
- User agents (I simply add all available, as a rule)
There are also some advanced settings which I find very nice to have (especially if you run your own project ads and want to serve to a certain type of audience):
Now you will need to select the ad zones to serve the ads in. Again, for testing purposes select as many zones as you have: You will be able to use Finteza’s analytics to compare how your zones perform.
Mind that if you add several websites to your Finteza account, you’ll be able to manage multiple campaigns across multiple sites of yours from one location which is very neat.
4. Create Your Banners
Next you will be able to create your “Advertising group”, i.e. specify your target link and add your banners.
Creating banners is a fun process: You upload your creative, add your promo message and select your CTA. The resulting banner will be generated and it will fit all kinds of dimensions and screens. This is done for responsiveness: These auto-generated banners will scale depending on the size of the screen and still look nice.
You can edit your banners later at any point if you choose so.
Again, there will be performance stats available for all your existing creatives, so the earlier you start the more data you will collect, in terms what seems to engage your audience better.
Once you follow all the steps, simply activate your campaign from “Campaigns” tab and you are done! If you scheduled your campaign to start immediately, it will run right away. Simply open your site and double check everything looks ok.
Collect the Performance Stats
Now, before you have willing advertisers to invest in your site, do run your own campaigns. This will allow you to collect all sorts of data on best ad placement, demographics of your audience, your click-through, etc. This will make your call for advertisers much more effective.
Once your advertising campaigns start running, you will be able to collect all sorts of data including:
- Your audience demographics
- Articles from where ads were clicked from to
- Your ad engagement based on the traffic source
- Your click-through depending on the ad location and CTA
All the reports are real-time, you can see current performance stats on any of your campaigns the moment you set them up.
Again the tool is free, so there’s nothing really preventing you from giving it a try.
How to Sell Your Content and Create a Separate Source of Income
Bloggers produce tons of content on a weekly or even daily basis.
Is there any way to monetize that effort and create an additional source of income?
There are many ways to sell your content online, and I am listing some options here.
Implementation can still be tricky even if you have a strong vision of your requirements.
Offering your audience an ability to buy a premium content download for a one-time fee is the most common way to monetize your site. It is easy to set up and requires no development budget. You can simply use PayPal buttons to collect payments and offer a download link.
You will have to expand your content for it to be indepth enough to justify the fee. Text Optimizer is a great way to do that. It uses semantic analysis to extract related concepts from Google to prompt you to cover them in your content to achieve a higher score:
Text Optimizer should be used for both private and public content development as it does a great job helping you optimize for searcher’s intent and driving your content research.
With this model, users have free access to content until they reach a certain limit. This could be the amount of time spent on the site, or the number of articles or videos viewed. Newspapers have been trying this model for a while and it seems to be working well for them.
This is actually a good strategy as users have free access to low volumes, allowing them to consume some of your content before having to decide whether they want to pay for more or not.
Do keep in mind that if you try this method, Google will only be able to access and index part of your content, so your SEO may be at stake here. Plus, you really want to produce high-quality content for this method to work.
Leaky Paywall is a nice freemium plugin that helps you monetize your content creation efforts with the metered paywall method.
Paywalls can be presented at a certain part of an article, after a free trial, or may be metered and only appear after a specific number of pages have been browsed. Most newspapers use a metered paywall, allowing them to generate more revenue from ads, rather than preventing visitors from consuming their content.
This model allows users to subscribe to a membership site for a fee, typically billed monthly or annually. This gives them access to all content for the subscription period.
Suppliers using this model generally don’t use advertising. When members have paid their subscription fee, they’ll have full access to all content that falls within the membership level.
This model also allows for upselling repeat customers by for example offering VIP membership levels. The payment of a big, one-time fee could provide lifetime access to all content, past and future.
Using the subscription model to sell content is getting more difficult for newspapers, and publishers have to counter disruption from news aggregator apps like Flipboard, Zite and Pulse. Curated news is getting more popular, but it threatens individual publications’ subscription appeal while potentially drawing in new customers at the same time.
Memberful is a nice platform that allows publishers to set up subscription-based membership plans. It also has an easy integration through WordPress plugin.
This model was actually used before the Internet was commonly used, with examples being arcade and sports games, and pay-per-view movies.
The micro transaction model is being used by iTunes. Besides, books by the chapter have been offered by O’Reilly publishing for years. A more recent example is the micro-payments option for Wallet users recently launched by Google.
This model may not work for magazine articles and news as these are typically single reads, while music and video tracks can be used repeatedly. Here’s an easy way to set up a pay-per-view site with WordPress.
Content creation is incredibly time-consuming, so finding a way to monetize that effort makes total sense. You don’t have to choose a single method to sell your content and stick to it. You can experiment with and combine multiple ways. Good luck!
Landing Page Basics: Everything You Need to Know
A brief introduction about landing page basics
A landing page helps in converting the website visitors into buying customers. Its primary goal is to persuade your target audience to buy your products or services.
These pages are also ideal for promoting new offers and discounts to help prepare potential customers to make the purchase when they reach the page.
To be clear, a homepage is not a landing page. The homepage of your website provides only brief information about your site whereas landing pages exist for a specific campaign.
Also, landing pages do not have any other internal links that can take the visitors to other pages. They are rather more focused on encouraging the visitors to call for action.
In general, these pages are free from obstructions that distract customers from making your desired decision.
By removing sitelinks are other elements that take the attention away from the CTA, you can bring visitors down your sales funnel more effectively.
While I advocate the use of landing pages on your site, this does not mean that your homepage is ineffective. It is in fact the best way to showcase your brand and mention all the services or products you sell.
However, those pages do not call for action, which is why the users will have to go to landing pages to take the actions like, making a purchase, or subscribing for newsletters.
Above is an example of a landing page. It’s a landing page template from Landingi that you can customize to match the theme and design of your site. The template is one of over 200+ you can choose from their site.
The landing page above features a signup form. The goal is to get visitors to register and become members of the website.
To help achieve this goal, there are elements such as text and images to help persuade users to sign up.
The page’s ability to convert users into members depends on how you set up the elements to convince visitors to your call to action.
Types of landing pages
Landing pages are of different types, and you can design each one for different situations. If you know the details of each type, it becomes easier to know which one suits your needs.
Below are the most popular and effective pages you can use or your site:
- Lead capture – One of the most well-known and used landing pages across different sites, lead capture forms help you generate more leads and subscribers to your business. By filling out the form, they get access to your exclusive content and drip emails
- Viral pages – If you’re running a content or giveaway, viral pages are your ticket to increased online visibility. Since the goal is to get more people to join your sweepstakes, viral pages encourage people to share the page with others to increase their entries
- Infomercials – This type of landing pages are comprehensive, conversion-focused copy about a product or services. These pages span thousands of words complete with a walkthrough of the product/service, testimonials, features, and more
- Product pages – If you’re into the e-commerce game, then you should be aware of product pages. They not only describe the product, but also share everything users need to know about it to help them make an informed decision
- Coming soon – If you are planning to launch your business, then it’s best to create intrigue and interest about it before it even starts. A coming soon or a pre-launch page allows you to attract early adopters and generate buzz about your service or product
Landing page tips
Creating landing pages are easy in principle but difficult in practice. It’s not enough to build beautiful pages – you should know how to turn fairweather visitors into rabid followers of your brand.
Below are tips that will aid your journey of creating high-converting landing pages.
Write easy-to-read copy
As mentioned, beautiful landing pages are not enough to increase your revenue.
You need words to not only communicate how great your product is but to also show why they need it in their lives.
This means you need to have a firm grasp of who your buyer persona is and know how to appeal to their sensibilities.
At the same time, you need to spruce up your landing pages with dynamic content. Text is a great way to make your audience care about your business.
But to get there, you need to attract their attention first.
That’s where videos come into play.
If you are featured in the video, this content type helps put a face to your business. If not, explainer videos allow you to explain your business is a visual and striking way.
Display social proof
If you’re selling a product by yourself on your landing page, then you have your work cut out for you. It will be extremely difficult to convince people that your product is great because you are technically biased to it.
Therefore, you need words of an unbiased and objective third person to share their thoughts about your brand.
Social proof comes in different forms like testimonials, customer reviews, endorsements from influencers, Facebook/Instagram likes, and more.
So, if you have these lying around, make sure to integrate them into the page to help increase your conversions.
Monitor results and keep testing
Once you finished your landing page, the real fun’s just started!
At this point, you need to know how well your page is converting according to your goal. The first few weeks of your landing page set the benchmark of your entire campaign.
From here, you need to determine why the page is converting the way it does and how you can improve it.
Therefore, you need to tweak the elements – edit some, remove others, and add more. The goal is to keep improving your conversion rates to maximize your results!
Have you mastered the landing page basics?
This is a rhetorical question because you can’t really tame the process of landing pages.
It’s an ongoing struggle for achieving the highest conversions and continuously improving its performance.
Therefore, if you want to generate sales using landing pages, understand that they require commitment on your end. From there, growth is possible!
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