If you check the internet today you will see literally millions of different websites and hundreds of thousands of different types of business. They vary from the more complicated right down to the most basic of sites, but which ones are more successful? Which ones should you be looking at?

While a lot will actual depend upon the type of business you are looking to set-up, the simpler you can make your site, the more chance you have of being successful. Even though we all like to see the flashing graphics and the bells and whistles connected to some sites, do they really impress us after we have seen the first 20 such sites?. Selecting a cheap web hosting deal will also help move your business forward. Or do we just want to get down to business and see what they have to offer?

Over time your view of these sites with great graphics will change, and before too long you will be looking for sites which do what you want, and as quickly as possible. It is common knowledge that the more options which you give a potential customer the more chance of them getting bored and leaving your site without spending. You need to ensure that there is navigation to any page on your site in no more than 3 key presses. You need to ensure that the menu down the left hand side is informative and to the point. That is the way forward…….

If you ask a customer to look for an option, or you don’t let them know what it will do, then there is every chance that you will lose them. Any more than 3 key presses to get to where they want to be will probably result in you losing them. Keep it simple, keep it clean and above all keep it bang on subject – don’t wander off into another area of business because there is no better way to lose a customer, boring them senseless!

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Even though it can be hard work running one business on the internet, the majority of wealthy and successful online business people will have more than one site in their portfolios. Why?

The reason is simple, spreading the risk!

If you only have one business online and you are depending upon that for your monthly income, what would you do if it was hacked, if it was down for a day, or if someone bigger and better hit the market, taking all of you customers with them? In reality you would be dead in the water……so what can you do.

While it cannot happen overnight, it would probably be a good idea to try to build up a portfolio of smaller online sites to compliment your main business. When we say compliment, that does not mean they need to be about the same subject, in fact it would probably be better to have them about something totally different so that you can again spread the risk.

It may be useful to be an expert in a particular field, but you cannot beat the support of having a spread of business activities. What would happen if one market were to collapse, as we have seen in the US with the sub-prime credit market, or a large competitor decided to pour big bucks into the market to take the top spot. Could you fight back? Would it be worth it? Do you have the time?

Never depend upon one website (or one client for that matter) for all of your income – spread your exposure and your will feel the benefit in due course.

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The internet seems to be full of people who think that the best way to attract customers is to chase the latest fashions, and take advantage of short term movements in some areas of online business. Is this really the easy way to make money, or do you lose your identity chopping and changing your site too often?

While there is no doubt that many customers would like sites to take on board fashionable changes where applicable, the need to constantly chase the next trend is a little flawed. The chances are that the people who are following these trends, your potential customers, will have moved on to something else in a few weeks time and left you high and dry.

In reality, if you are looking at a long term business, you are not chasing the next passing customer, you are actually setting up a business which will attract customers TO you. You want to give them what they want, when they want it and in a fashion which makes it very easy to access and understand. Many internet users get used to the look of a site, they know what to expect and more importantly they know their way around. A customer that does not know their way around a site, or cannot easily see where to go, will not spend money. Make it as easy as you can, and you have more chance of bringing in some income.

In the online world of the internet, we are seeing new trends emerging in different areas of business every week, whether it is the use of web 2.0, information sites, switching to the latest affiliate product or direct sales. It is vital that you stay in your comfort zone as much as possible and ensure that you understand what you are offering. If you don’t understand what you are doing, or what you are offering then you have NO chance of any decent income as you will soon be found out.

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While there are many ways to make money on the internet, the main ones seem to be pay per click, affiliate and direct sales. Affiliate income and direct sales are probably the two more popular, but which route should you choose? What are the pros and cons?

While there is much to consider, you may like to think about the following before making any decision :-

Affiliate Sales

Pros

- There is no packaging and posting for you to carry out.

- You will not be called upon to sort out any after sales problems.

- There are literally thousands of different programs available.

- A big brand affiliate program can sometimes “sell itself”.

Cons

- You only receive a commission, rather than the full profit per item.

- You will likely only receive commission for a set period per customer. There is a great possibility of missing out on any repeat sales commission.

- Sometimes difficult to track the sales you have referred to the affiliate program. The major affiliate sites are very reliable, although others are some what less reliable.

Direct Sales

Pros

- You will receive the full profit per item, rather than paying a commission to a third party.

- You have full control of what is sold, new product launches, price, etc.

- Repeat orders are very much a part of this income stream.

Cons

- It can be hard work, and potentially expensive packaging and posting items.

- There are lots of costs including storage, insurance, etc.

- It can be expensive to advertise and promote your business / products.

All in all it really does depend what you are looking for, what kind of business you have and how much control you want to keep on sales. There are pros and cons to each of affiliate sales and direct sales, and you will need to balance all of these against what you want and what you have time to do.

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While there are many ways to promote your site, banners, pay per click or link exchanges to name but a few, how much money should you put towards promotion? Should you set aside a percentage of your income each month or should you use a set figure?

While there are many different things to consider such as, the effectiveness of promoting in certain areas, actual profit per sale and the age of your business, many people like to retain a certain percentage of their profit each month (if in profit) to reinvest into the business. However, you should only reinvest into the business when you can see a tangible return on investment. There is no point promoting your site purely so that you can have you name in the public eye – you need to see an increase in sales and a return on your investment.

There are no set rules as to how much you should retain to promote your site, or whether you should actually retain a specific amount of cash for promotion – it is up to you as you are the one who should know where to promote and what kind of return you can expect.

In the early days you may actually need to reinvest all of your profits back into the business, where you can, in order to build for the future. There is no point in bleeding your business dry while it is still young and stunting the potential growth for the future. A company needs to breath, to grow and above all to be fed – the food in this instance is your promotional budget.

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As more and more new webmasters pour onto the internet in search of that one big site, that one massive payday, are many actually missing the point of BULDING a business? The steps which you need to take to do this?

When building a house would you just drop one massive building onto a plot of land and that’s it…..no. You need building blocks and for a good online presence your building blocks should consist of either smaller niche areas within a large website, or even better, a number of niche websites all connected by a common theme. This may be football, finance, credit cards or some other sector which is popular but also has a number of other smaller sub-sectors. By building up a presence in a number of these smaller sub-sectors that is how you will BUILD a business,

The super quick speed of the internet has forced many webmasters and would be business people to think exactly the same, at super quick speed. While the business cycle from start to finish may have been shortened dramatically, the theory is still the same, and it still takes time and effort to actually get something moving.

The chances of you hitting on one major sector and doing enough to earn a living are fairly slim, and even if you do make it big initially, the investment and time required to stay there will be enormous. Smaller niche markets are not as expensive to maintain and very often competition can be only a fraction of the larger sites. Remember you are still building a business; you are not creating one over night!

If you remember this theory you should not go too far wrong!

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