Stay Safe – Mix It Up

Internet Marketing – Try to Stay Diverse

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banned from facebookIn Internet marketing, the advice you usually get from people is to find a niche and stick with it.  That’s generally good advice; by working in a single niche, you’ll become an expert at it, and people tend to look for experts.  Eventually, you’ll find your audience.

How you go about that, however, is vitally important, and it’s critical that everything you do be diversified.  That specifically means how you go about promoting your site and how you monetize it.  It’s OK to stick with one thing in terms of what you’re doing, but you definitely want to be as diverse as possible when it comes to how you go about doing it.

Why do I bring this up?  Because I went to log in to my Facebook account yesterday and couldn’t log in.  I got a message that said that my account had been disable due to an unspecified violation of the site’s terms of service.  They wouldn’t even tell me why my account had been disabled, or what, if anything, I had done to bring this ban about.  In order to get anywhere, I was going to have to prove my identity to Facebook by sending them scans of multiple forms of identification.

Their first reply was to tell me that the scan of my driver license that I had sent them was not sufficient proof of my identity.

Not good.

The Facebook Ban Hammer

My Facebook account consists of a personal page that I never use, and business pages for three different Websites – this one, a site I have to promote a specific product on Amazon, and a retail site that I own where I sell physical products.

All of those pages had been online for three years or more.  All had at least 100 posts.  All had hundreds (or even thousands) of followers.

And just like that, it was all gone.  I wasn’t even told why my account had been disabled.  For all I know, it had been hacked, but they wouldn’t tell me.

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Fortunately, I have other ways of making people aware of my sites.  I have a Pinterest account for my retail site and that adds a lot of visibility.  I also have a pretty substantial presence in the search engines, as all of my sites are several years old and they each have hundreds of pages of solid content.  I get a lot of traffic from Google.

The lesson here is that you shouldn’t ever rely on any one thing to bring traffic to your site or to generate revenue.  About ten years ago, I had a number of sites that were built exclusively to generate revenue through Google’s Adsense program.  I was making a lot of money that way, but I wasn’t doing anything else to monetize those sites – everything came through Google.

banned from GoogleFor five years, I got a nice monthly check from Google.  One month, the check didn’t come.  That was odd.  I went to log into my Adsense account and got a message – “This account has been disabled.”

Why?  I contacted Google and their only response was that they had disabled my account due to a terms of service violation that they wouldn’t identify.  And that was that.  When Google decides that they’re done with you, they’re done. You’re not going to get an explanation and it’s not negotiable.

I don’t know what happened or why they’d canceled my account after five years of generating revenue for them, but I was suddenly the proud owner of ten sites that were no longer generating any revenue.

That’s why it pays to diversify everything you do.  On this site, I do recommend Wealthy Affiliate, and I do make some money from that.  But I also make money recommending other products that are offered for sale through other vendors, such as Clickbank or JVZoo.  If Wealthy Affiliate goes away tomorrow, I’ll be able to quickly change the site to promote something else that I think will be worthwhile for my site visitors who want to learn to make money online.

Be sure to diversify

Even my retail site, where I offer things for sale that I physically ship to customers, has a page where I offer a few products for sale through Amazon.  All told, I get monthly revenue through a half a dozen sources and I no longer rely on any single source to pay my bills.

Similarly, I use multiple methods of promoting my site, so that if I encounter a problem with any one of them, such as the issue that I had with Facebook this week, I won’t find myself unable to generate any traffic for my site.

The first thing I always do is optimize my sites for the search engines.  That means Google, but it also means Bing, or Duck Duck Go, or anyone else that might want to list my site in their engine and send traffic my way.  You never know when any one search engine may take a dislike to your site (and I’ve had hundreds of Websites removed from Google’s listings over the years, though none lately) and simply remove any mention of it from their listings.

Similarly, any social media site may decide to disable your account for any reason.  Remember – it’s their site, whether it’s Linkedin, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  You’re there with their permission and they can revoke that permission at any time for any reason.  Usually, that’s not negotiable, even if they’ve just made a mistake.  Your accounts at those sites and whatever traffic you may get from those accounts, often exist at the whim of some employee who may simply be having a bad day and may decide that they don’t like what you’re doing.

Funny thing about the Facebook ban – I was pretty bummed about it, as I’ve spent a lot of time working on those pages over the years.  Then I checked my recent traffic stats for all three sites that were affected by this.  These days, I get almost zero traffic from Facebook.  That wasn’t true in the past, but these days, almost all of it is coming from elsewhere.

That’s good.  As it happens, Facebook has reinstated my account.  Just as they offered no explanation for why they disabled it, they also offered no explanation for why it was reinstated.  That’s fine; I’ll keep posting there.  But Facebook is just one of the ways that I get traffic to my sites, and as I’ve learned through this lesson, it’s best to remain diverse.

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