Rising gas prices have everyone reconsidering their lifestyle. Perhaps rather than shopping at a mall, they order online. Those who work at a 9- to -5 job may consider working at home instead of commuting.
If your income is not matching your outgo and part of the drain is the rising cost of your commute, your options are limited: you could change jobs, move closer to the one you’ve got, or consider starting an online business. But is this for you?
Contrary to some of the ads you may have seen online, there is no quick road to riches. An online endeavor, like any other business, requires hard work, planning and persistence. And until the business takes off, some cost-consciousness and budget-cutting may be necessary.
When you’re first starting out in Internet marketing, your temptation may be to invest in anything that seems to offer a shortcut to wealth, including get-rich-quick systems. Unfortunately, even if these systems have validity, they may not be right for you, and sometimes they benefit no one but the original seller. You may also be well to wonder if the person selling the system has made his income using his own methods or simply by selling his get rich course?
This is not to say that there are no tools that you need to invest in in order to get your website going. Although some tools are worth purchasing, you might want to look to see if free alternatives are available. Some tools even have a free version with limited features and an upgrade path you can follow as your business grows.
In starting your own business, an important first step is to consider how your interests and expertise mesh with what people are buying online. This should be done in the planning phase, or what is called market research. To have the greatest chance of success (as well as to enjoy what you’re doing), your business should coincide with something you’re interested in.
This means investigating what people are buying and where they buy it. Visit sites similar to the one you are considering starting. Make a note of how they present their products — and themselves. If there seems to be too much competition in your niche, consider how you might differentiate yourself.
Also consider that even the most attractive website will not accomplish much without traffic. Only a small percentage of those who visit a site will buy, so you need to have as many visitors as possible.
There are many ways of generating traffic, and while it is good to have more than one traffic stream, you can dissipate your efforts by trying to engage in too many methods simultaneously; after all, we all have only a limited number of hours in the day. So focus on those methods that are best suited to your personality and have the most promise.
One effective method of traffic generation is to set up your own blog. Once you do so, you can use a pinging service such as Ping-O-Matic to alert the search engines each time you add a new post. Blogging will help you connect with your readers on a regular basis and develop loyalty. By the time you launch a product, your regulars will be receptive.
Another good traffic-generation technique is to write articles. These should be focused on the niche of the site you are trying to promote. The more articles you write, the more opportunities you will have to guide people to your website or blog. You can submit your articles to the top article directories. Just be sure to follow their guidelines.
If you dislike typing, you may be able to generate content more quickly by using a voice dictation program like DragonDictate for Mac or Dragon NaturallySpeaking for PC. This is great for slow typists or those who just want to give their fingers a rest from time to time. Some people feel self-conscious talking to their Mac or PC, but they quickly get over it when they see how much it increases their efficiency!
Is Internet marketing for you? If you’re expecting an easy path to success, the answer is probably no. If you’re willing to put in the daily effort necessary and to work harder for yourself than you ever worked for anyone else, the answer could well be yes. It’s not a bad idea to keep your day job, however, until your online business starts generating a steady profit.
You might get the impression that the Mac is the forgotten stepchild of the Internet marketing industry. But did you know that some of the top names in Internet Marketing use Macs? Visit and get a FREE 75-page ebook that covers everything you need to know about running your Internet business using a Mac, iPhone and iPad.