By Lloyd Brown
Lately, I’ve fielded many telephone calls from
people who have said, “I recently lost my job
and I want to try my hand at the Internet.” I can
hardly fault them, as I basically started out the
same way in 1996. As I write this, I wonder if it
was not a mixed blessing there were so few
resources available. Today there are magazines,
webmaster forums, blogs, e-books and even
television infomercials offering to assist any
person who wants to put their computer to
work for them. However, just because you read
it on the Internet, does not make it fact.
There are, however, a few hard facts out there.
• You can make money on the Internet.
• It takes work to make money on the Internet.
• What works for one person may not work for you.
After sorting through the 1.5 billion Google results for “making
money on the Internet,” you discover a webmaster forum. You then
decide the quickest way to get that mansion on the hill is to create your
own network of websites and begin promoting
online trading and a few herbal products. Of
course, the only thing you know about online
trading and herbal products is what
you read on the aforementioned forum.
This brings us to the first problem: You
must know your niche.
If you try to discuss the benefits
of the acai berry when your
only knowledge is what you
read on another blog, the
broader community is going to realize that you have nothing unique to
offer. All they have done is burned a little of your bandwidth. Even
worse is the abundance of blogs that simply import RSS feeds from
other blogs to provide content. If you want visitors to stay longer than
a few seconds and return at a later time, you must give them a reason.
This means providing original content. The only way you can do this
is if you know your subject.
Another problem I see far too often is people getting in over their
heads. They have yet to build their first website, but read an e-book
somewhere that told them they needed a network of 40 sites. It should
be obvious that the success rate of a venture like this is dismal. As the
old adage states, you must crawl before you walk. Learn your control
panel. Learn how to install a blog. Learn how to FTP files to a server
before you go out and purchase multiple domains. After you become
comfortable with your initial site, you can begin expanding.
Finally, consider market saturation. If we suppose the flavor of the
month (acai berry, Forex, debt consolidation) happens to be something
you can discuss intelligently, you must take into consideration the number
of people already promoting the latest buzz word. And, since you
are entry level, you might start looking for the cheapest hosting you
can find. Unfortunately, this is the same route thousands of others take.
The least expensive hosting is going to be on a shared IP. I can assure
you if you buy shared IP hosting, and have a domain promoting acai,
there are going to be dozens of others doing the exact same thing. If you
share an IP with other sites promoting the same products, and get your
content from the same RSS feeds, what is going to set your site apart
from the others to human visitors or the search engines?
Again, it comes down to original content—knowing your niche.
About the Author: Lloyd Brown is director of business development for GotWebHost.com,
a premier provider of multiple Class C hosting and the leader in SEO
hosting services. Brown’s portfolio includes more than 12 years of Internet
Finding your Market
There are a few simple ways to discover if your
topic holds great potential or inevitable frustration.
First, try a simple search on any of the
major search engines for your topic and pay
attention to the number of results returned, the
quality of the websites near the top of the
search page and the following two pages of
results. This will give you a good idea of the
market saturation for that topic, or lack thereof.
Second, conduct a search for your topic on
social content sites like MyBlogLog and Technorati.
This will provide a good view into the online
experts of your topic — how many exist
and the type of content that is included.
Finally, if you’re truly knowledgeable about
a topic, just do it. Even a saturated market has
room for the best and brightest. ~ WM Staff