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How Not to Fail With a Home Based Internet Business

Updated on October 11, 2012

Why the Internet?

The concept of using your computer, mobile laptop or Internet connected smart phone to run a business at any time, from any place at your own speed within the largest and fastest growing market place in the world attracts many people. However, most who enter this field are disappointed.

Is this because there is something wrong with the business? Well the answer to this question is "no".

Consider the often criticized concept of network marketing - selling products to people and building a team of sales agents to support your business. A few people make $millions - but the average income of the massive number of people underpinning the industry is a few $100 every year! It is the same with Internet Marketing - the opportunities are massive but the income is very hard to realize.

Take a typical office worker - sick to death of working 40 hours a week in a grey place for just enough to live on. They are easily attracted to the hype of Internet Marketing to replace their day job - but are they prepared to swap their 40 hours in front of a computer at work for 40 hours at home. Plus we are talking about a new business and therefore there will be investment needed, time and money that may provide little returns but is spent simply researching and setting up the business. There are no short cuts - any business needs commitment.

Therefore the first lesson how not to fail with a home based Internet business is to enter the business with your eyes open - expect to have to work just as hard and realize that your profits might flow months after this work has been put in. You will never see results straight away!

Wall Street - are you setting your sights too high?

Learn About Keyword Targeting

If you are going to succeed, you are going to have to treat your Internet Marketing as a proper business venture. This means that you must research your markets, build a business plan and ensure that you allow enough investment in both time and money.

Knowing your market place means that you must understand how the Internet works. People buy from the Internet by selecting search parameters that they enter into a search engine such as Google. For example, if you are looking for an exercise machine to keep fit, you might use search words such as "elliptical trainer" or "cross trainer" or "ski exercise machine" or such like. As you surf through the results, you might spot a good machine that you fancy, and decide that you want to compare prices of that specific model. In this case you might start entering "ACME 2000 Ellipse" to see where you could purchase the machine at the best price.

The words that you are entering will bring up different search results. The results at the top of the list on page one are the ones that most people will look at. If you set up a web site that specialises in reviews of elliptical trainers, you will want to optimise your marketing efforts for the popular words or phrases that people wishing to buy are likely to enter. Choosing a good niche (such as elliptical trainers) and appropriate key words to target (such as "cross trainer" or "ACME 2000 Ellipse") is crucial to setting up a successful Internet Marketing business.

If you get these choices wrong, you business will struggle. For example, your research might show that 1,000,000 people enter the keyword "laptop" every month and that Google will pay you $10 every time a person clicks on one of Google's Adsense advertisements that you could put on your webs site. Sounds great - set up a web site reviewing laptops, add Google adverts to each page - then wait for the money to roll in. The trouble is that the laptop market is highly competitive. Thousands of businesses (and Internet Marketers) will be competing for keywords such as "laptop" and your web site will never be found - at least not by people looking to buy laptops.

Researching your niches and associated keywords is not easy. You can easily research data such as how many people use different keywords for various different subjects, but how do you find valuable niches to target?

There are many programs advertised on the Internet that will tell you how to do this and charge you plenty of money for the privilege. However, it can be done using common sense and - yes - learning how the Internet works.

Choosing a Niche

Actually the best way to choose niches is to choose several - some will work better than others and those that do can be developed and others discarded. But how to start?

It helps to have an interest in the subject area - so start with hobbies, work related subjects and any other areas that you think you know a bit more than the average person about. Make a list.

Then start browsing through eBay and Amazon (or other selling sites) and try to get a feel for what is selling well (from your list of subjects). Try to make a list of items that look like popular buys but not so obvious (such as "laptop" or "mobile phone" etc). An example list could look like:

  1. Wooden bedroom furniture
  2. Pink digital cameras
  3. Aviator sunglasses
  4. Porcelain Tiles
  5. Wooden floor cleaners

Now you need to find what keywords would work with these subjects and find out how to assess their value. Not only the value - but how hard it will be to target the keywords if you set up your own web site in this niche.

Take porcelain tiles for example - you will use the free Google Keyword Tool to help you find a list of keywords in this subject area. Take an example "how to clean porcelain tiles". If your research shows you that this key phrase is used by 10,000 people every month with a pay per click price of $1, theoretically there is $10,000 being paid by Google every month for people whose web sites are found using the key phrase "how to clean porcelain tiles".

If you could get a portion of this money - say 1% or even 0.5%, this is $50 - $100 every month just for the one key phrase. If your web site targets several key phrases, the potential increases.

How to Rank for Keywords?

You have set up a web site in a niche - Pink Digital Cameras. Your main keyword is probably "pink digital cameras" and your domain name will be something along the lines of "". Your site will be called Pink Digital Cameras and your home page will talk about pink digital cameras.

You will have ensured that your search engine optimisation for on page results includes "pink digital cameras" as metatags and titles etc (more research - but programs such as Wordpress and appropriate plugins will help you out here).

Now you need to build backlinks to your site from other sites using anchor text that varies around "pink digital cameras" - this gives relevancy to your inbound links and Google lifts your ranking accordingly.

The more back links you build - the better your site will do and the more traffic you will get. The more traffic you get, the more sales or Adsense clicks you will achieve.

How to Build Back Links?

Building back links is critical to promoting your web site. One of the best ways of doing this is to submit articles to reputable directories such as Ezine Articles. There are 1000s of article directories to submit to, though it does no harm to submit several to one.

Each article that you submit will have one or two clickable links to your own web site in a resource box at the end of the article. As you research, have a look at a few articles in some of these directories and you will see what I mean.

So can you write two or three articles every day to post on web sites - it is hard work! Many people try to take short cuts - such as article spinning software that takes one article and "creates" several (sometimes 100s) of versions that can be posted all around the web. Google does not like spun content and neither do most readers!

You can pay to have your link posted on a "link farm" - again Google does not like these and may penalise your site.

No, there are no short cuts, apart from paying a company to post on your behalf - this is expensive. You can purchase articles and this is one way of building a business - managing the quality of articles at reasonable prices can be hard.

Get the Picture Now?

I have skated over some pretty involved areas in this article. However, all the ideas I have talked about can be found explained around the Internet - many programs provide teaser courses for free that allow you to build up your knowledge and realise that there is not a lot complicated about developing an Internet Marketing business - it just takes hard work.

2012 update

As a footnote to this article written a couple of years ago - the principles discussed are valid. However, the viability of Internet Marketing in such a way is less sound than it was say a year or so ago. The Internet is becoming full of worthless sites attempting to attract some of the massive and expanding marketing spend, and the search engines would rather the web sites were interesting, informative or had something actually to sell.

Understanding the Internet Marketing principles to promote a web site that provides something useful still works. I use them for my business web site on a daily basis to sell my professional services. Just be aware that niche Internet Marketing is only worth while if you are also presenting a web site with useful, informative and authoritative content that is regularly updated - better to earn some income from a hobby site than a worthless subject you are not interested in!


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    • Mark Jenner profile imageAUTHOR

      Mark Jenner 

      6 years ago

      Thanks Dorothee! I appreciate your words and they have inspired me to come out of retirement and write a few more hubs!!

    • Dorothee-Gy profile image


      6 years ago from near Frankfurt/M., Germany

      Godd article, well written and explains some of the SEO mumbo-jumbo in a way that is understandable even if you aren't a internet marketing wizzard! Thanks!


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