If you’re selling something, make sure you’re selling the right thing. The internet is a great tool for selling things, but there’s a big gotcha. If you’re trying to sell something that lots of other people are also trying to sell, you’re facing competition two ways; first, it’s going to be a lot harder to get noticed on the search engines, and second, the competition is going to eat away at the profits.
The real secret to making money on the net is to sell something that nobody else is selling. Even if the market is tiny and obscure, if you’re the only maker, the net will bring you and your customers together. If you sell cowboy boots, you might have problems getting noticed, but if you specialize in cowboy boots for people with six toes, you’ll make money. My favorite joke example of a niche is â€œhand tools for left-handed lesbiansâ€. If you google for that, many of the pages are blog articles referring to my article that used this as an example (the rest are spam; even spammers think it’s a funny phrase).
Furthermore, if you’re trying to make money with an affiliate program, in particular those that automatically generate a “virtual” website for you, you should know that in almost all cases, they are a waste of time and money. I’ve written an article, Virtual Vexation, that explains why. I get emails all the time from people who have wasted hundreds, even thousands of dollars on the schemes. Please do not be one of them. Google considers most of these pages to be spam, but I think in a lot of cases, that’s a spelling error; the correct spelling is scam.
Get your site working properly. It doesn’t matter how many people you attract to your website if, once they get there, they immediately get turned off by an unattractive presentation or a half-built website. I assume you’re already happy with how your site looks, but you may want to read my article on how to (not) win awards, which contains a list of website mistakes you should try to avoid. At the same time, you don’t have to get too fancy; simple, straightforward sites work fine, you don’t need to pay a web-designer to develop a site that’s incredibly fancy (and whose main value is that it’s a monument to his skills).