CMS Platforms You Should Know Inside Out

Posted by Methylated on August 31, 2012

These are 3 of the most popular Content Management System (CMS) platforms everyone trying to make money online should become familiar with. WordPress, Magento, and Drupal. This is not a competition between these CMS platforms, but common places where each CMS would be ideal.

In the text is an activity to get you up to speed with each CMS. Each activity will be to install the CMS, build an example site, add content, install and setup a theme, and install plugins for some customization. The activities here are essential to learning the CMS because they handle common client requests and get you up to speed right away. They are not in-depth technical tutorials because enough of those exist online already. Some resources will be included.

While the activities do require you to search Google to figure out the next step, the knowledge and experience acquired is beneficial, especially to developers who can customize each CMS, sell plugins, and so forth. Designers benefit from learning each templating system and selling themes or widgets for each CMS.¬†Even if you’re neither, just installing, administering and upgrading a CMS for clients can be a decent fulltime job if you’re willing to push yourself to make the example sites listed for each platform.

To learn, attempt the following exercise before going with each hypothetical user-case below.

  • Install CMS on your server
  • Login to admin panel
  • Install a recent theme without sample content.
  • Add in real content so your site matches the “live demo” of the theme you installed
  • Setup or install plugins to do the following:
      Have a working contact form.
    Make sure RSS feed, sitemap, and SEO URLs are up and working for each theme
    (use plugins for some of these.)
    Customize the logo.
    Make sure slider works (if available in your theme.)

WordPress: WordPress is a robust, intuitive and mature CMS initially built as a blogging platform. Ideal for blogs, small to large static business sites and online portfolios, lightweight e-commerce (handful of items, low traffic), for those looking to build a site around a specific subject (an information site), or for a light CMS to be used as a backend to your landing pages (though specialized CMS’ for this do exist.)
Magento: This open source app is a beast for handling high traffic heavyweight e-commerce sites. While WordPress or Drupal may perform well as eCommerce solutions for sites selling a handful of projects, Magento is fit to handle thousands of products and hundreds of categories, with features like tiered pricing, upselling/cross-selling and everything you would expect in an ecommerce CMS.

This PHP platform features superb inventory management, support for numerous payment gateways (>50), full customization of your store and the ability to build unlimited stores over a single inventory system. One of the best solutions for tackling a big e-commerce project.

Magento uses an XML based templating system that is difficult to adapt to at first, but in the market right now offers an exciting source of revenue for teams willing to theme this CMS.
Drupal: This is a PHP based open source CMS ideal for sites that offer a bit more interactivity than WordPress. While plugins exist to do practically anything in WordPress and Drupal, the latter is built with security in mind, support for user management, to be continued…


Marketing Your Custom Layout/Template Online

Posted by Methylated on August 27, 2012

Post your template on any or all marketplaces and forums that contain marketplaces. Be sure to read the item submission rules of each location to make sure you aren’t violating their rules by posting your layout in multiple places (unless you are posting it there exclusively.)

This includes the Envanto marketplace (i.e., ThemeForest), Digital Point, Warrior Forum, WickedFire, and SitePoint. There are new ones constantly popping up. Use your online marketing knowledge (aka your ability to use Google creatively) to find one new places to post your site or buy media space on a regular basis.

Create a small site rich in content about your layout/template in general. List it in different formats that apply to your layout to reach a wider audience. For a resume template, we may use HTML, PDF, ODT, INX (and other InDesign formats), DOC, and so on.

Once you have 4-5 templates on your site with a reliable support/payment system in place, begin finding places to buy media on to send traffic to your site. You may advertise it on Adwords, Bing/Yahoo, forums, Facebook and so forth. Who you’re going to advertise to will have to depend on who bought your layout’s existing templates. There’s a good chance that’s a good place to start, but this is very dependent on your product and many other factors. The key here is split testing as much as you can until you’re profitable, and then scale vertically or horizontally (or both.)

Making Money Writing College Papers

Posted by Methylated on August 23, 2012

(in draft)

Selling Scraped Content to Make Money Online

Posted by Methylated on August 21, 2012

One (of many) popular technique for developers to make money online is to scrape archived content, slap a decent layout on it or make it a WordPress plugin (do both,) then sell it. There are more buyers than developers who do this, and one can get almost all the work outsourced. Most people will not hit it big and will earn (in my experience) anywhere from $20-$50k/year. What’s sweet with this is each site is cut and paste. The developer isn’t so much programming in the sense that they are an engineer, but piecing together cookie cut copies of a specific plugin or template that they believe will be either the Next Big Thing or can be done in enough time to ride this wave of trends out.

Sales happen on Envanto’s marketplace, social networks, on “making money online” forums like SitePoint and WickedFire, and on a dedicated website promoting and selling the software by affiliates and the developer. The higher tiered technique is to build a marketplace for this cookie cutter content. While the sources I mentioned sometimes offer quality products and at very cheap prices, the trends are late in the game if you expect to earn a living doing this. The key to starting and maintaining this business is to create and release superb products. Developers must realize that design matters and that they can’t lay their eggs into one basket like plugins and themes for only one or two CMS markets. The wordpress, joomla, drupal, magento, and zencart markets are saturated. Can you make good money? Sure, especially Drupal and Magento right now.

This business model improves your focus on upcoming trends in software. You begin to see everything as being able to make money if you “just” turn it into a plugin for WordPress or design a new template. You begin to see trends in the area between people who sell other people’s software for a living, and people who’s business is primarily to host a gathering of buyers and sellers, digitally or otherwise.

Making Money Selling E-Books

Posted by Methylated on August 04, 2012

Can you make money just selling what you know? Maybe.

When most people hear the word “ebook”, they imagine having to write a table of contents, an entire 250-500 page book, along with designing a back and front cover. Perhaps the book would require illustrations too. In reality, it’s more accurate to imply that “ebook” just means a words you’ve written that somebody can read on a screen or print out. The closer you aim for writing a real book in terms of content, the closer you are to building a lasting quality product. This means the book becomes 80% research and 20% writing or illustrating.

Authoring an ebook is no more work than writing text, putting the title in big letters on the “cover page” along with your name or alias and diving your content into logically defined parts. Start with talking about the topic, make some points and then dive into each point in a separate “chapter.” Don’t flake on the content and you might make a few sales.

Actually know you what you’re talking about. Sell your knowledge.

Don’t write get-rich-quick scheme such that the point of the book distills to “do exactly what I did.”

You can make your book interactive using Adobe Indesign, or you can use anything from Microsoft Word to Adobe Acrobat to export to PDF. I don’t recommend anything other than PDF because of its strong portability. I’ve seen “ebooks” come in .txt or .doc files.