I’ve heard all sorts of tales regarding what went on in the “old days” of internet marketing.
In fact, some of the stories, such as how easy it was to rank in Google by artificially stuffing articles full of keywords make it sound like the Wild West!
But these kinds of things, to me, are really just anecdotes.
I can’t comment on them directly because I didn’t get started online until 2010.
Before that I was tucked up in the corporate world, completely unaware of what internet marketing was. I was commuting and working to pay the bills as the vast majority of the population in the developed world still are.
This said, I do think it is worthwhile comparing how things were in 2010 to now, 2014. Not least because it is all too easy to lose perspective on the current state of play we find ourselves in.
Doing full justice to this comparison would probably take a 20,000+ word essay so instead here are some thoughts that you might be able to relate to.
In 2010 virtually every beginner’s course I came across told you to get traffic by either:
a) Ranking in Google (SEO)
b) Using Pay Per Click (PPC), probably in Google or Yahoo
Now, as is the case with most newcomers I didn’t like the sound of (b), so I went for (a).
Problem was in 2010, the tide was beginning to turn away from SEO in a big way.
First article directories (such as Ezine articles) stopped driving so much traffic, then “blog networks” were banished by Google followed by, later on, the infamous Panda, Penguin etc algorithm updates.
Today, in 2014, it still amazes me the sheer thirst for training on SEO from newcomers.
They buy endless amounts of courses on “getting to page 1″ even though 99% of people selling them never use SEO themselves.
Seems like “SEO is Dead. Long Live SEO!”
That, in my opinion, is the bad news.
However, the good news is that a whole host of newer traffic strategies have made traffic more accessible (and more certain) than ever before:
a) Instead of article directories, broader Content Syndication methods like very targeted guest posting, features, interviews and integrating your content in high traffic areas of the internet work extremely well. Ok, maybe some of these are not so new but they are relatively more important anyway.
b) The rise of the Groupon-style Deals websites like Udemy, MightyDeals and AppSumo are becoming ever more powerful and diverse in niches. They give us direct access to hundreds of thousands of hungry buyers (i.e., not just people who have a lukewarm interest).
c) Facebook Ads have become a brilliant way of building an audience, an email list and making sales very quickly. Of course, Facebook came on the scene well before 2010 but the traffic opportunities that it offers have only really taken off much more recently.
2) Designing Websites & Webpages
In 2010 I built websites with:
a) WordPress (for blog, full websites)
I still use this today and it’s getting better and better.
The plugins and themes that are available are really moving to the next generation and we are starting to see things that were never possible before (including the new breed of “zero-abstraction” page design where what you type in the editor is exactly what you see on the published page).
b) Kompozer (for sales, squeeze pages)
If you are a more recent arrival on the internet marketing scene than me then the chances are that you won’t have heard of Kompozer at all!
If so, how lucky you are.
It’s a free HTML page creator. You design a webpage (which never seemed to come out as I quite hoped by the way), save the files to your computer, FTP it up to your server and cross your fingers.
Oh, and if you need any changes, just repeat that process 😉
Joking aside, I shouldn’t be too harsh, it’s really fine in itself and serves the purpose.
But today, we have countless plugins and systems available like LeadPages. Not only are systems like LeadPages unbelievable quick and point-and-click in nature but my web design skill set has never even been close to creating high converting pages like this.
This is a more tricky one but I’d say with internet marketing and online business booming and massively outstripping the broader economy (even during the post 2008 recession), it’s no wonder that the quantity of information has exploded.
It’s so much easier and cheaper to learn and get started now than it was 2010.
Back then, virtually every video I saw seemed to try and sell me a $37 product (via Clickbank, before they cleaned up their platform) using fast cars, mansions and fake actors!
Since then we’ve seen a lot of actually useful information be delivered at better price points, even down to the Warrior Special Offers which can cost $7+.
In terms of the quality end of the internet marketing educational market I for one see a real significant improvement.
This said, with the extra quantity there is also a huge amount of junk and, dare I say it, useless rip-off hype that is still around.
That’s always a risk of course but at the end of the day it pays to do your homework remember the buyer-beware mantra. By following this I personally very rarely refund anything I buy but I do know I can if I have to.
Finally, on this point, the quantity does mean a bigger risk of information overload.
With experience cutting through this becomes easier and easier but it’s still very challenging in 2014 for people starting out.
All the more reason to do the homework and be careful who you trust and follow when it comes to web-business education.
Although there are pluses and minuses, to me things are much better, easier and cheaper than they were in 2010 when it comes to starting a successful online business.
Not only that but when I began the economy was pretty much in meltdown with the worst recession since the Great Depression. Of course, I still did it but that’s another reason it’s better to do it today.
Or course I wouldn’t change a thing… BUT if I were forced to start again with a choice I’d definitely opt for starting today rather than back in 2010.
Would LOVE to hear your thoughts on this! Past experiences, ideas, points of agreement/disagreement – they are all welcome. Click SHARE/TWEET if you enjoyed this and drop a comment below… Rob