Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How Much Will it Cost to Start an Internet Business ?

Unlike building a new brick and mortar business in Downtown Anywhere, the things you’ll need to start a internet home business are CHEAP.

Here’s a list of the basic tools you’ll need to become an affiliate marketer.

• Desk
• Chair
• Computer
• Internet Connection
• Email
• Text Editor

You probably already have all those things, right?

Even if you don’t have the desk and chair, you can always throw the laptop on your
bed and work from there.

Here are some basic expenses…

Register Domain - $ 8.95/year
Hosting - $ 8.95/year
Web Site Template - $10.00 - $50.00 (once)

With start-up costs this low, I don’t know why anyone would consider starting a
business anywhere other than on the Internet!!

Friday, November 21, 2008

15 Reasons to Become an Affiliate Marketer

There are HUGE benefits to promoting affiliate programs with your own home-based Internet business...

1. No Production Costs - The cost to develop and produce a new product is prohibitive for almost anyone who wants to start a home-based business. With affiliate programs, production costs aren't an issue. The product has been developed and proven - all on the merchant's nickel.

2. Low Cost Set-Up - Compared with building a brick and mortar store, starting a home-based Internet business is relatively cheap. You probably already have a desk, Internet-connected computer and word-processing software, which is all the equipment you may need.

3. No Fees for Joining or Licenses to Buy - I often compare doing business as an affiliate, with distributing a line of products in the real world. The biggest difference is that the distributor must often pay for a license to distribute products within a limited geographic region. Affiliate programs, on the other hand, are usually free to join, and geographic market reach is limited only by the affiliate's ability to promote his web site.

4. Choose From Thousands of Products and Services - What isn't sold online? That list must be shorter than the one describing all that IS sold online. There are thousands and thousands of affiliate programs selling every product under the sun. That makes it easy to find products related to your current or planned web site.

5. No Sales Experience Needed - When I started my affiliate business, I had absolutely no sales experience. That wasn’t a problem, however. The companies I affiliated with provided excellent marketing material. Using their sales copy, I was able to get my first affiliate site up in less than a day.

6. No Employees - The largest expense of most businesses is employee salaries. Although there might be times when you need or want someone to work for you as an affiliate, it's doubtful you'll ever have to worry about hiring full or part-time employees. When you have a project you want to hire out, it is easy to find specialists in every computer-related field who can work for you from
the comfort of THEIR own homes. You pay only for the project, and never have to worry about ongoing employee-related benefits and deductions.

7. No Expensive Merchant Accounts Needed - Setting up a merchant account for any business is a time-consuming and costly business. It's even more tedious for Internet businesses. However, merchant accounts aren’t a concern when you're an affiliate. The merchant bears that cost and handles all processing of payments. You never have to lose sleep over potential chargebacks, fraud or losing your merchant account when you’re an affiliate.

8. No Inventory to Carry - Even if you live in a small one-bedroom apartment, as an affiliate you can sell large items without storage concerns.

9. No Order-Processing - Forget the problems associated with collecting and storing names, addresses, credit card numbers, etc. The merchant does all that!

10. No Product Shipping - The cost and hassle to prepare and ship products to customers worldwide could be staggering. Affiliates never have to worry about packaging supplies or postal rates.

11. No Customer Service Concerns - Do you hate the prospect of dealing with nasty people or customer complaints? Don't worry about it! The merchant handles the snivelers.

12. Make Money While You Sleep - What other business allows you as a sole proprietor to keep your doors open and keep making money even when you take breaks or after you go home for the night?

13. The World at Your Doorstep - The Internet is the world's largest marketplace. You can drive more visitors to your online store in a day, than many small-town merchants see in in a year.

14. Minimal Risk - The product you chose isn't making money? Dump it. Take down your links and promote another! It's that easy. There are no long-term contracts binding you to products that don't sell.

15. High Income Potential - If you have a job, your salary or hourly wage is probably pre-determined. Maybe there's not much, other than working overtime, that you can do to increase your income. With your own affiliate business on the Internet your income potential is limited only by your desire, effort and imagination.

Monday, November 17, 2008

SEO – What Is It And Why You Need It

Search Engine Optimization, SEO is not something new nowadays. Basically, if you want your online business to be successful, it's a good idea to optimize your site on a regular basis to make sure it's got a good position in the Web's top search engines.

Now, what in the world is this SEO?

Thankfully, most of us here, know what it is, but for those who came in late… SEO stands for search Engine Optimization.

So in other words SEO means if you trying to optimize your site for the search engines, you are basically optimizing your page for those keywords for which you want a high page ranking. Basically, in order to maintain your page-rank, you have to keep on top of what's happening in the rapidly changing search engine industry. The rules that affected your page rank yesterday may be meaningless tomorrow!

Search engines analyze title tags, image tags, link structure, directory structure, keyword density, prominence, and proximity, total words, total words in specific areas, alt tags, input tags, word repetitions, comment lines, domain name, directory name, filename, etc. The list is endless…..Moreover, to complicate things further, each engine has it's own unique way of ranking pages, so you need to create different pages to exactly match the criteria of each one.

So, do you have to use SEO?

The answer to why you have to use it is an easy one. You need Search Engine Optimization to be number one, or maybe at least make your site income generating.

For the past few years, search engines would be the most widely used internet tool to find the sites that they need to go to, or the product or information they need. Most people that use search engines use only the ten top search results in the first page. So you basically need to get it done right. In other words, you need an expert...

Now once again why do we need to pay for SEO, when we can do it ourselves?
When you get online, you would want people to visit your blog and for this you will need traffic and for that you need Search Engine Optimization. Now, although SEO is the hottest way to drive targeted traffic to your site, it costs aplenty, unless you are skilled in it. Likewise, maximizing the benefits of an optimized website will also yield lots of earnings for the marketer.

It is not that people cannot make money from the net; it is because people can’t get traffic to their site. This is mainly because one of the common mistakes in generating traffic which we all tend to make is the method of how we generate traffic. The biggest mistake here is that you are not focusing on generating traffic, but instead, you’ve tried almost every method out there that can supposedly increase the traffic to your site.

If we adopt a pattern, that is to say, the first day, you try and find more links for better SEO, then the next day, you try and generate traffic with article marketing and the following day you try obtaining with CPC advertising – then the chances of getting traffic are much better.

Basically, if you want your online business to be successful, it's a good idea to optimize your site on a regular basis to make sure it's got a good position in the web's top search engines. However, in order to maintain your page rank, you have to keep on top of what's happening in the rapidly changing search engine industry. The rules that affected your page rank yesterday may be useless tomorrow!

With the rapid growth of the Internet, it is no doubt why Search Engine Optimization has become one of the hottest topics within Internet marketing. The amount of daily search engine traffic is staggering, and for an individual who is thinking of marketing their products or services online, the Internet can be a virtually limitless gold mine of potential customers.

However, to reach these customers you will need to position yourself on those same search engines that so many people are using daily looking for your services or products. When queried, a search engine will reveal all of the sites that it has in its database about a particular subject or product. If your site happens to fall into the requested search category, this is called your site or page ranking [PR].

However, and as mentioned earlier, usually only the first few (top 10) ranked websites get to reap the sweet fruit of victory over their competition.

To make matters worse, SEO or Search Engine Optimization is not something new nowadays. In other words, the search engine industry is continually evolving. You need to know which of the major "players" is powering the smaller search engines if you want to know where you should focus your optimization efforts.

In order to achieve this, you need to create multiple streams of traffic for your site. Settling for one source of traffic is simply not enough for most small to mid-size sites, or home-based business sites. Considering the competition most people experience with search engines, not to mention the ever-increasing trend towards ‘pay for inclusion’ with the major search engines, it can be a real challenge to get decent traffic from search engines.

Google is still extremely powerful with Yahoo! a close runner-up and MSN still a distant but threatening third. It must be also noted that many of the smaller search engines plus some paid listings are still powered by Yahoo and Google

Before you can actually begin to start optimizing a site, you must understand how search engines and their robots work. This information will give you a head start on the process of building an optimized web site.

Almost daily, we meet web designers who do not truly understand the function of search engines. This usually results in poorly developed sites in regards to search engine placement that usually disappear. Sure, anyone can build a site with a little practice. However, knowing how search engines work and building a site that meets its ever changing ranking criteria and also achieves top ranking results for key search terms, is quite different.

There presently exist two types of major search engines, robot-indexed and human-indexed. It is important to understand the differences between the two because the way they index pages will dramatically affect your sites position within them. The main idea of web site optimization is about getting ranked on search engines. So, it has nothing to do with how fancy your web site looks or getting ranked in the last few pages. This is where the page rank plays an important part for which SEO is an important criterion.

Obviously it is important to have a practical and easy navigation system and favorable looks, so that you can maintain the visitors you receive form the search engines, but those all come to play after the page rank.

About 95% of the search engines on the Internet are self-indexing or spider / robot indexed. The other 5% are human indexed and are usually referred to as directories. At this point, the important point to learn is that human indexed search engines cannot be manipulated and optimized for, as freely as a spider index search engine can. The good news is that with the advancements in the robot indexed search engines and their algorithms, they are getting closer and closer to human indexed search engines.

Search engines will simply keep on producing traffic forever once your site has been indexed. The problem is getting a good placement (first page) on good keywords and gets lots of searches. This is not always easy, especially if you are in a competitive field. Even if you have a poor search engine placement, you will still get some traffic. Search engines frequently change the algorithms they use for page ranks and for ranking sites. They don't want unscrupulous site owners manipulating their indexing methods in order to get high rankings. By doing so, they damage the integrity of free search!

Regardless of how poorly the site has been optimized, the domain name (URL) will be indexed in most search engines and in almost every case; search engines will be able to return a web site address when asked. This means that if you were to go to a major search engine and type in your site name, you will probably see it right on top of that search engines results. Don’t be deceived by this type of search engine response as search engines categorize sites based on keywords, and visitors search for sites using keywords not the site URL.

Bottom line, most search engines will be able to return the correct URL address for any site if asked to, provided the site was indexed by them. This does not mean that the site is ranking well.

Once again, if someone searches for your domain name, it should pop right up on most search engines.

In fact, if this does not happen, that means your Internet presence has some fundamental deficiencies. To be successfully ranked on a search engine means your web site must achieve a favorable position over others based on a scale such as the keyword used for the search.

As mentioned earlier, the search engine industry is continually evolving and it is difficult to put the entire process into one article. It would take a couple of pages to go about each phase and for those interested in hard-core SEO, it is better to get hold of a book or a much more detailed article source.

Basically, just use the above to get a brief idea on how and where you should focus your efforts on Search Engine Optimization.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Affiliate Marketing - Learning The Lingo

Affiliate marketing is like an on going assignment where you have to try different things out like different advertising techniques, different ways of adding affiliate banners and text links to your site, etc. You may even have to join a number of affiliate programs just to see which ones performs the best with your site content

Learning the Lingo
Here are a few definitions that may help you better understand Affiliate Marketing
and the information you'll be learning throughout this guide:

Merchant
A merchant is a person or a company that markets their products and services on the web. Your merchant is the person/company whose program you joined.

Affiliate
An Affiliate is a person or a company that assists the merchant in marketing products and services in return for a commission. This is you!

Merchant-Affiliate Relationship
In the Merchant-Affiliate relationship, the Affiliate acts as an independent "salesperson" who promotes the merchants products and services. The merchant tracks the incoming visitors to determine which Affiliate sent them the sale - if any.

Tracking and Management Solution
In order to track the incoming Affiliate-referred traffic to their sites, merchants need to purchase or create software to Track and Manage their Affiliates
and their activities.

Click-through
A click-through is the action that takes place when a visitor clicks on a banner or a link on your site to go to your merchant's site.

Impression
An impression occurs when a page containing your Affiliate code is loaded on your site or in your HTML email messages. Impressions are also called page views.

Two-Tier
A two-tier commission structure pays you commission on each sale (or lead or click-through)you refer and a commission on each sale referred by any Affiliates you have referred to the program.

For example: If X comes to your site, clicks on your link, goes to your merchant's site and purchases, you earn a first tier commission.

However, let's say Y comes to your site, clicks on your link, goes to your merchant's site and signs up for the Affiliate Program. When B goes to Y's site, clicks on the merchant's link, goes to the merchant's site and purchases, Y earns a first tier commission (because Y referred the sale) and you earn a second tier commission (because you referred Y).

You'll need to check with your merchant directly to see if they offer a two-tier program. You can do so by checking your administration screen and looking for a "Second Tier Commissions" stat or by contacting your merchant.

Link
A link is a hyperlink (http://www.yourdomain.com) or an image or text that contains a hyperlink. A link is placed on one site and when clicked on leads the visitor to another. In the Affiliate Marketing industry, you, the Affiliate, place links on your site that points to the merchant's site.


Adding Banners and Links to your Website
If you have a website and you'd like to add banners and links to it, you'll need to do some editing. You have two options in editing: Hire a Pro or Do it Yourself.

Hire a Pro
You can hire a web design company to edit your webpages for you. If you're currently working with a web designer, this may be a viable option for you. However, if you're trying to go-it on your own, hiring a web designer to make a few small changes can be very costly.

Do-It Yourself

Doing it yourself is a great way to learn and to save money. If you already have a website, all you have to do is access it, edit it and upload the changes. The best thing to do is for you to add those affiliate links or banners to your site that is on the same topic as the other information on your web page. By doing this, you will not want to add too many affiliated banners or text links as it will just look like a page of links and will only turn your visitors away, about three affiliated links should be enough depending on how large the web page is.

Post Several Links to your Merchant
Don't stop at banner advertising! Look to see if your merchant offers additional linking methods like articles, email ads, signature files, rotating images, product images, guest books and so on! The more links you post - the better your chances are of making a sale.

If you simply place a banner on one of your web pages and expect the commission checks to come rolling in - you're going to be disappointed! In order to earn commissions - you have to become an active Affiliate. Place a few banners on your site, an article and a guest book in your resource section, another article and an ad in your newsletter and a testimonial wherever you can fit one!

Entry Page
An entry page is the web page that you direct traffic to. Visitors coming from your
site will "enter" merchant's site at this page. In most cases this is the "home" or "index" page. However, you may want to link to a specific page on a merchant's site - you can check with them for information on linking directly to a specific page.

Wishing you the best and hope that you make money through affiliate marketing

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Fastest Way to Build Your WebSite

There are 3 steps to quickly build your website. They are:

1. Register a Domain
2. Domain Hosting
3. Buy Template

Domain registration is painless, and CHEAP. Go to Godaddy.com where it will
cost you 8.95/year for each domain. You can get them even cheaper when you
register for more than one year.

Here are two good, yet inexpensive, hosting services that I recommend.

GoDaddy.com - $8.95/mo.
HostRocket - $9.95/mo.

The quickest way to build a website is to buy a template. Here is a list of some of
the best template sites I’ve found to date:

o 4Templates.com
o Templatekingdom.com
o BigWebmaster.com
o BoxedArt.com


Once you’ve placed your content in your template and sent it to your web host, it’s
time to join affiliate programs.