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Making Money Online - reality check

If you're interested in making money online, you need to go into an Internet business with realistic expectations. Otherwise, the lure of an online enterprise can lead you to disappointment. Let's look at some of the keys to making money to see if you have the focus and patience necessary to be successful.

When you listen to others talk about being an online success, they'll often give you a lot of talk about success stories, but the truth of the matter is that there are far more failures than successes.

More than 95% of Internet-based businesses fail. To be clear, I'm referring to those businesses that make their money exclusively online instead of simply having an Internet presence to supplement their traditional "brick and mortar" facilities.

Let me overview the keys to success so you don't quickly run towards this bright and shiny object only to find that you don't have what it takes to be successful at making money online. The keys to success are:

  • Focus on a real business, not a "hit and run" approach.
  • Appealing to a segment of the marketplace with your theme.
  • Keyword focused content.
  • Promotion to attract traffic.
  • Flexibility - a willingness to do something different.
  • Patience - as it takes time for search engines and people to notice and "stick" to your site.
Making money online means whatever it is you have to offer must be appealing to a segment of the marketplace. Whether you're selling goods, advice, entertainment, instructions, or service, you need to offer something that people want. Sure, you can offer something that people need, but it's much easier to sell what people want - even if they absolutely don't need it.

Another aspect of being appealing is good content, quality writing, a pleasant visitor experience, and a web presence that is sufficiently robust to be worthwhile visiting and coming back again and again. The key point to remember is that another website or blog is only a click away, so you need to offer something that compels your visitors to stay a while, tell others about what you've created, bookmark your site, and come back repeatedly.

It's okay if you're offering something that many other sites offer. Multiple competitors often means that there is a lot of interest and the marketplace is sufficiently large to support you being in it. In such a situation, your success at making money online hinges on being among the best in the marketplace.

If what you offer is somewhat of a niche topic or market segment, you might find very little competition. This is good as long as what you offer is high quality and otherwise appealing to your visitors. This puts you in a position to be "the first with the most." Your challenge will be to maintain a market leadership position when others catch onto your great idea and start to imitate it.

In order to attract people to your site, you'll need a cohesive theme and keyword focus that visitors and search engines recognize. You can be a site about "stuff I do," but don't be surprised if you're the only one who likes the site.

The key to success is traffic. Like a traditional store, if no one finds you, they won't spend time in your "store" and you won't make any sales. So, the first thing to do is create something that is appealing and designed to attract visitors to your site.

Then, you can monetize as you see fit. Consider the following as viable ways of making money with your online business:

  • Advertising
  • Affiliate sales
  • Donations
  • Product sales
  • Referral fees

Just remember that individuals who sell "get rich quick" ideas on the Internet are usually among the few who are making money. It's true simply because there are so many looking to make a fast buck that these "get rich quick" sites have plenty of appeal and they're able to turn their traffic into revenue.

Making money online will generally be a slow process - it's not like getting a job one day and getting a paycheck at the end of the work week. Expect nickels and dimes at first, but not a tidal wave of income. It may even take years before you make appreciable income. This is why an online business is well suited for a part-time endeavor. Once you get a foothold in the marketplace and visitors interested in what you offer, the revenue will build gradually.

Also, you'll probably want to have a diversified source of income. Multiple revenue streams help you sort out what works and how well it works, and they give you an opportunity to make better use of your content and offer your visitors additional ways to help you earn income.

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