By guest author (my husband ♥) Brian GoersLast year Forbes magazine released an interesting article regarding a study which showed that only 19% of the US population was happy with their jobs. The other 81% of US workers either somewhat like their jobs (16%) or completely hated their jobs (65%). Based on these statistics it means that almost two-thirds of the US workforce spends between 40 to 60 hours a week doing something they completely despise. This also brings up a big point of how someone can actually find balance in their life if they spend around a third of their week being absolutely miserable. The truth is that it is almost impossible.
What I am going to tell you next you may believe or you may not but it is something that my wife and I have been doing for the last 7 years. We have been working from home while making a comfortable salary online, thank God. Now you are probably thinking I am going to try to sell you some get rich quick method to solve all your problems while you sit on your couch doing nothing……..WRONG! What I am going to do is simply share with you what we do and how we do it without asking for anything in return. Sounds good?
Starting your own business online hands down is the easiest and cheapest way to break free of your current occupation. There is no other business around that allows you to work from home, keep your “store” open 24 hours a day and never have to hire one single employee in the process. There is also no other business that can be up and running for less than $95 dollars a year (YES, I did say a year, and NO, I do NOT want your $95 dollars.)
What I do want to do now is give you a step by step breakdown of everything that you need to do and know if you truly want to get rid of that miserable job and step out on your own. In order to make this step there are some very important things you need to know.
5 Rules of Successful Online Business
- On average it is going to take you somewhere between 3 to 6 months to see any financial returns on anything you do online.
- You should NOT have to put over 15 hours of total work time into your online business per week.
- You really must take a simple HTML tutorial to understand the basics of websites and how they work. Nobody expects you to become a pro web designer but knowing basic HTML and CSS will pay off big time if you want to start your own online business.
- Patients and consistency is what wins in the end. Jumping from one online fad to another will end in disaster.
- Keep it simple and stay with what works. For every one miracle Facebook type story there are a thousand stories of new online business ideas that go nowhere. Certain items sell all the time no matter what. Stick with them and the money will follow.
These five rules above are the basic fundamentals that we have learned over the years to create websites that make money. I will show you which websites we have built that have been profitable and what we have learned from them. We have also made our fair share of mistakes over the years and have learned from them as well. I will be sharing those mistakes with you later on and give you examples of what NOT to do with your online business.
The next thing I want to provide for you are the tools that you will need to open your own successful online business. Some of these things are free of charge and others will cost you a little money but nothing expensive, I promise.
Step 1. Spark a Business Idea
That is something that can take a great amount of time if you are not sure which way to turn. Thankfully, I can help you save a ton of time by letting you know what people want and what they don’t. The most popular sites that get the most amount of traffic are websites that help people. Top 10 Sites, Review Sites and Best “Whatever” sites do very well because they give people valuable information about which products to choose while allowing you to direct them to the sale of the product through your personal affiliate links (more on affiliate links in just a little bit).
An example of a site like this is www.vpswebhostings.com
The site is an honest and straightforward review source for people who want to buy this particular type of VPS hosting. The information is a result of personal experience as well as about 15 hours of research that I did in order to find out truly which VPS hosting companies were the best in regards to reliability and customer service.
There is no reason why you can’t do the same thing with any product that you are familiar with. If you know a lot about dogs or cats then why not create a dog food review site or best cat litter site? It may sound crazy but people do it all the time and make a good living without ever leaving their house.
Of course the best idea in the world is worthless if nobody else cares about it. That is why it is extremely important to do your keyword research first to find out what people are looking for and what they are not.
A great site to find out what is hot and what is not is the Free Keyword Tool provided by SEO Book. You have to register for a FREE account before you can access the keyword tool but once this is done then you simply access the tool and enter any set of keywords you are interested in to find out how many searches per day the keywords get.
Once you have found the products or topics that get a good amount of searches per day (usually 50 or more) then you will have the basic foundation for the beginning of your online business. Remember to not bite off more than you can chew. Picking topics like cell phones or computers have way too much competition and can be pretty difficult to monetize.
Step 2. Find a hosting provider for your website
A hosting provider in simple terms is company that rents space on their web servers to give your website a place to “live”. Without a hosting provider you will not have a website. There are two different providers that we have found to be exceptionally user friendly and can be purchased for a reasonable price.
- Bluehost Hosting – These guys have been around since the 90s and offer a great hosting package and excellent support. Their hosting cost $4.95 a month and is worth every penny. Bluehost is a preferred hosting provider for many website owners who choose to run a WordPress-based website.
- We also love Green Geeks Hosting. This company is one of the few hosting companies around that is completely run on energy generated from 100% Wind Power which is an awesome way to reduce our carbon footprints and keep our planet clean and beautiful. It is a truly balanced choice because our personal balance is highly dependable on the balance of the environment that we live in. Their hosting servers are also $4.95 a month but you can save $30 dollars off if you use the coupon code TODAYOFFER.
(If you click on either one of the affiliate links above and sign up for their hosting then I will get a small commission at no charge to you whatsoever. )
Step 3. Give your website a name (a domain name, that is)
After you have purchased your hosting then you need to pick a domain name or several domain names for your online business. Picking the right domain name can be the most difficult part of your venture. It is usually wise to pick a domain with the same keyword of the product or service that you are trying to promote. So if you want to create a site about the best cake recipes then you definitely should have at least the keywords “cake” and “recipes” in your domain. Having these words in your domain will help your site rank much better on Google, Bing and Yahoo so that people who are looking for cake recipes can find your site.
Another approach to domain name search is finding an easy-to-remember and short name. While this domain won’t help you rank well on search engines, it will make it easier for the visitors of your website to remember it. This website, BalanceInMe, was named using this second strategy. A website named bestlifebalancestrategies.com (or something along those lines) would have been a better choice for ranking but an absolute nightmare for you to remember it.
Also remember that domains usually cost around $15.00 a year to register so if your first domain idea is not the greatest then you can always try to think of something better down the road. Most hosting companies also let you register one domain name for free when you sign up for their services.
Okay at this point you are almost ready to get your online business up and running. You should have your domain now and a general idea of what you want to promote. Now the fun part begins, Affiliate Programs.
Step 4. It’s time to monetize
An affiliate program is the core of making money online and there are thousands of them to choose from. For those of you not familiar with an affiliate program I will explain briefly what it is.
Companies everywhere want to make more money. The companies look for website owners who are willing to promote the company’s products in exchange for a cut of the commission of the sale which goes back to the site owner (that’s you). The companies of course handle any returns, complaints, etc. and you get to enjoy the money. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Probably the next question you have is how you are ever going to be able to sort through thousands of affiliate programs to decide which one is best for you. The answer is simple. Two companies have taken the difficulties out of searching for the right affiliate program by bringing the best affiliate programs/e-book sales programs together under one roof. These companies are Commission Junction and Clickbank. It is free to sign up for either company with no strings attached. Take a moment to check them out and explore what they have to offer and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Commision Junction is for people who want to promote products and services on their sites and Clickbank is more popular with e-book crowd. Both however are very popular with average sales commissions that will go into your pocket running anywhere from $30 to $100 dollars a sale. If you get two sales a day based on an average of a $65.00 dollar commission then that is a $910.00 paycheck per week that goes to you.
Once you start learning about affiliate programs more and how they work you will see quickly that there is a ton of ways to make money online. Remember again, to not give up and stick to your plan.
Step 5. Build a website
The next thing we are going to discuss is how to build a website. Ten years ago website designers were considered to be somewhat like brain surgeons because the idea of creating a website was so intimidating to people. Those days are long gone and there are a lot of ways to build a quality site for little or no cost to you. Both of the recommended hosting companies that I discussed earlier, BlueHost and GreenGeeks have free website builders that also come with professional looking templates that can give you a great looking site in under an hour.
As you can see from the demo, building a website is actually pretty simple and once you are done you can simply upload it to your new hosting platform and your site will be live.
Bluehost offers two different types of free website builders through WordPress and Weebly. They essentially work a lot like the RV SiteBuilder above but with some enhanced drag and drop type technology.
If you want even more options then you can buy a website template on ThemeForest. We’ve used them for many projects and had only positive experience. There are thousands of professional website templates to choose from. The only downfall is that if you are new to the whole website thing then you can easily get overwhelmed by the choices.
Either option you choose will allow you to create a great looking website that can make you some good money.
Last but not least, I want to show you some of the websites that we have built over the years and which ones have been profitable and which ones have been complete failures. I keep the failure sites around to show people what not do and to remind myself of what traps to avoid. I will list each site on a rotating good and bad scale and explain why the good sites make money and why the bad ones do not.
Good Site : www.enginefacts.com – This site is a hub of car engine information that I have collected over the years. It helps people by allowing them to look up the engine they have and find out the history of it as well as technical information such as horsepower, firing order and so forth. Sites like this with free information get a good amount of traffic. You can make money on a site like this by placing advertising links on them. I use Media.net mostly but Google AdSense is quite popular as well. Both are free to use and generate instant money.
Bad Site : www.10worstcars.com – This was an interesting but useless venture that I thought would generate good traffic and gain a lot of interest. I was wrong. I discovered that people who look for the 10 worst of anything are simply surfing the web and in no way are interested in clicking on advertising links or buying any products. Remember to build a site that provides something that can help people.
Good Site : www.vpswebhostings.com – I already mentioned this site before in the beginning of the article but it is a great example of what people are looking for. It is a review site for VPS web hosting which is more of an elite type of hosting for larger businesses and people with multiple websites. I spent several days finding out which VPS hosting companies were the best according to customer feedback on the Internet and made a list of ratings and reviews from there. Most of the hosting companies (all except for 1) offered affiliate programs so I was sure to sign up for them so that I could get a commission if anyone clicked on the link and decided to sign up for the hosting. Praise God it worked and I have seen some good money from it.
Bad Site : www.successodyssey.com – The idea behind this site was good but it turned out to be a total disaster. The idea was to interview lots of famous bloggers and ask them what their keys to success were. We were hoping to generate traffic by people trying to follow their ideas and in turn promote blogging tools and software to help people start their own blogs. The only problem was that famous bloggers don’t really share a lot of their good secrets and tend to say a lot without saying anything if you know what I mean. After 6 months of hoping that the site would get some traction and take off it sunk into the mud of forgotten websites and there it still sits.
So there you have it, everything we have learned over 7 years of working on the web I just gave to you for free. You are probably still waiting on me to try to sell you something, right? Nope, sorry to disappoint but this information is meant to help others succeed in their own online business. The only payment I want from each and every one of you is for you to at least give what I said a try. It changed our lives and I want it do the same for you.
If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to ask them in the comment section below and I’ll be happy to answer them.
Brian Goers is an avid scuba diver and Internet marketing counselor. He is the author of Passive Income Launcher and loves to spend his free time with this wife and 4 beautiful little girls.