Thursday, January 10, 2008

Online Marketing

Many folks ask me HOW I make a living online? Most believe it cannot be done or I must be doing something illegal - or possibly a porn site - to be able to make my income off of the web. This post is an overview on what it took to get me where I am at today.... 11 & a half years ONLINE. Survived the dot com bust in the early 90's, the 9/11 travel slow down & yes, still here in the recession of today.

First, keep it simple & build what you know. Following my passion, I have created a popular independent travel site, just for my niche market.... California escapes.

I have multiple sources of revenue with Total Escape, which means when one thing slows down another one is sure to pick up. Seasonal strategies you might call it. Total Escape Adventures is the guided trips that I lead (camping, adventure tours) & they are great fun for new folks to get exposed to our style of travel. But it is by no means the big money maker. I also do freelance web site designs for a side job, but that is not as steady as you would think either. Ya know, everyone wants a bitchin' custom built web site, with all the bells & whistles - for under $1000 & it's not possible in my world. You'll just need to hire someone else for that task.

The Total Escape web site itself is the main bread & butter for income. Total Escape has been online almost a dozen years now & the real content is what keeps people coming back. Thousands of pages of weekend ideas, unique lodges, camp spots, outdoor recreation & reviews. The latest creation for our organization is here at OUTSIDE

We serve everything from Google Ads to Amazon books, independent lodging reservations, campground reservations, RV rental reservations, plus we offer great web exposure to the mom & pop style businesses in California with 10,000 visitors per day checking the site out, shopping around for their next weekend getaway.

We sell all kinds of California Maps - hiking maps, backpacker topos, biking trails & off road routes.

Total Escape sells banner advertising, lodge listings & recreation vendors listed & linked for a small annual fee.

Travel sites: People may be saving cash by not flying or not traveling far from home, but local travel will hold it's own. It's cheap to travel in state, you're very own back yard. It doesn't require months of planning or preparation, or cost hundreds of dollars. Now that the new SUV is scratched, you can finally take it off road without worrying too much. Back road travel is what I specialize in; showing you how to travel cheap in California.

Exposure: Total Escape on rare occasion advertises in print - in weekly rags such as San Francisco Weekly , San Diego Reader & OC Weekly. I believe heavily in organic search results, which means I do not pay much for online advertising. I create content & pages that people are actually searching for - the cool stuff & search terms that people seek, that search engines follow & constantly re-index. My web sites exposure online includes weekly site maps that are automatically submitted to the search engines, plus the oh-so-popular social networks & blogs that I maintain monthly.

Total Escape

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Yes, yes, I know. I tend to work 50 hours a week, at home on the computer. I have no pets, no kids, no husband & no TV. This is the price I pay for being able to travel often & create my dream biz Total Escape. To me it is all worth it to have this flexibility & adventurous life. Seriously, who has time for social media?