| Iíve written before about amount of email I receive in the form of link exchange requests. Thereís no need to go into it all again but suffice to say, with seven websites with varying subject matter and content, I get my fair share of these requests by both email and through Linkmarket.net, the link exchange scheme in which I am a member. I mention this not because this is about the link requests, but about the opportunity that all these requests present to view hundreds of other websites each week, mostly newern ones and mostly home business or affiliate oriented.|
In order to make a decision whether to link or not, I will look at each website, not only the PR and traffic ranking, but the basic appearance and layout will give me a reasonable insight into how serious they are, how much they have researched and planned their website and consequently their whole approach to their home business. I find this method is a reasonable means to predict if the website will still be around in six months and whether the owner will still be online at all.
I am sorry to say, while spending at least 4 - 5 hours a week at this activity, I'm disappointed at the amount of people who are literally 'throwing' a website together without any apparent planning (or basic knowledge about how to actually go about it). The number of websites I see, which have clearly no chance of of serving a home business purpose at all, is staggering. What's more staggering is what some people seem to view as 'viable'.
Lack of content (and I mean none at all) and no organised effort to concentrate on any keywords or phrases at all, let alone a subject, are the most obvious and numerous. There are many sites which are simply one page, that's it. The page will contain two paragraphs on how "you've come to the right place to get..." whatever it is, then a few totally unrelated banners and 'obvious' affiliate links and perhaps a Google Adwords box.
Don't get me wrong, my purpose here is not to bemoan the quality of these hastily prepared and ill-equipped websites, nor is it to lament the failing abilities of those that have attempted them. My purpose is to impress on these people and others planning the same route that home based business, in any shape or form online has to be treated like any other business endeavour. Would these people put the same lack of effort and planning into the signage for their 'bricks and mortar' business?
No matter how many times you read that home business is easy and there's millions to be made so quickly with so little effort or knowledge, I'm afraid it's not true! I so often see the words, "no knowledge or effort necessary" and then the figure per month or year that you can (or WILL) earn. It's possible, but only WITH the right knowledge and effort.
Ask anyone who has spent more than six months online, trying to earn a dollar (not necessarily an income) and they'll tell you that you can't expect to be successful without at least some basic knowledge and a fair bit of effort. Of course, there are those who have been lucky enough to strike something at the right time, in the right place and manage to be hugely successful in a short period, but these are few.
Like any business endeavour, you need to plan, you need to research and you need to go about your chosen business systematically, with the right tools and the right information. The main tool, the one most people will have as their first an only impression of you and your product or service, is your website. How can it simply be an 'afterthought' or a hastily thrown together page with no thought as to how it appears to those who may visit.
A reasonable imaging option usually comes with most operating programs. They have their limitations, of course, but until you can invest in something more elaborate, these programs can be used to put together a reasonable header or logo. Goodness, website templates, some of which are not too bad, are free! There's no reason why anyone shouldn't be able to come up with, at least, a presentable website (mine are certainly not works of art, but I believe they are 'presentable'). Of course, in order for someone who has no experience online, they will need to include a little html or php knowledge in their 'research' phase.
Content and and concentration on specific keywords and phrases is critical if anyone wishes to have a chance in the Search Engines. How to right decent copy and the simple knowledge about what methods to use to attract or to not 'put-off' your audience is as important however, so many tend to go into an online business without, it would seem, much of a grasp of any of this.
There are numerous forums that new webmasters can go to for friendly advice from those who have been at it for years and a home business with a website has to have a 'webmaster', like it or not. I've had people say to me that they want to get into an Internet home business but they don't want to bother with learning about html etc. My advice to them in this case, is to forget it, unless you have hundreds to pay for someone to build your site and then to maintain it. It's not as if you need to be able to write html 'freehand'. The programs, which are again, available with most operating systems Make the task quite simple, with a small understanding. But you have to have that, at least.
My advice to those who want to do it properly is to look at the websites that are involved in the same type of home business. Do the research, read about Internet home business and/or affiliate marketing until your eyes water. God knows there's enough material online to last anyone for a million years. Disseminating the worthwhile can be a chore, but remember, this is your BUSINESS you're talking about, not a part-time dalliance, or at least it shouldn't be.
Like any other endeavour, be it business, hoby, sport or otherwise, you will only get out of it what you put into it. You'll find that those who have been successful in an online home business, are those who have learnt the value of knowledge, information, know-how, call it whatever you like. Many successful home businesspeople have had slow and inauspicious beginnings, just like most of those who are hard at it now, but they made it with this knowledge and by applying it to their home business.
About the Author
Stephen Brennan is the author of "The Affiliate Guide Book" - The definitive guide to becoming a successful Internet Affiliate (at little or no cost). Available at http://www.ebooks.online-plus.biz. He is also webmaster and
content advisor for OnlinePlus.biz - Your Home Base Business and Affiliate Center - http://www.online-plus.biz.
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