I’m Gonna make a Million on the Internet!!

I’ll start this off my letting all know that I am NOT a financial success on the Internet. I’m just a guy that plays with websites as a hobby. What I have managed though is to create a web site that has generated a bit of spending money on the side.
I started my website, New Orleans Saints History back in the mid-90s. It was started primarily as a project to teach myself HTML. Well it caught on and became a somewhat popular Saints fan site. After several years of playing around, I decided get serious and try to make some money with it. I got a domain name, learned some SEO and tried out “various revenue generating programs” (ie-Ads). My success story is a rather humble one: since 2005, my total revenue, from all sources, has been maybe $3000. My first payment was $50 to run an ad for Super Bowl XL in early 2006. I earned almost $900 total that year, mostly from running ads for ticket companies. I was very optimistic. Surely it was only going to get better…… right?

Well, I haven’t enjoyed a year like my first. Since 2006, I’ve only gained about $500-$800 a year. Sure I’m not going to be able to quit my full-time job, but it is a little extra cash that has come in handy.
The inspiration for this little post comes after reading a request for help……well, a cry of frustration really.

I’m experimenting with another site right now and adding some ads from a very large affiliate program. While browsing the discussion board of the above program, I came across a post with the subject of HELP ME I NEED TO MAKE MONEY! The little post basically said, “I spent almost $1000 on this deal back in November of 2010 and haven’t made a dime. I was made to believe this was a proven way to financial prosperity. What can I do?”

I can’t help but wonder how many people have fallen into this trap. Given this shaky economy of ours, everyone is looking to make some bucks. And there are organizations aplenty out there that will give you false hopes with outlandish claims that just following their proven system (along with a fee of course) you too, can make hundreds of dollars a day. I even had a friend that bought into one that claimed you could earn money on the Internet…… WITHOUT EVEN OWNING A COMPUTER!!!

Come on, get real dude.
Needless to say, it didn’t quite pan out for him.

In my life experiences, when it comes to careers and making income, when anyone starts off by telling me how much I’m going to make, without knowing a thing about me or my work ethics, that throws up a big red flag for me. I’m sorry. But the harsh reality is that some people are just not going to be financial successes, no matter what kind of system you put them in.
Ok, enough about the success/scams.
My purpose now, is to just share what I know. Like I said, I’m not making hundreds a day or even a month. I don’t have millions of visitors viewing what I have to say. What I do have, is a little input. A tip or two for the totally ignorant. Hopefully, I can keep someone else from becoming like Mr. Desperate I mentioned earlier. Yes, it is possible to make money on the internet. But there are some necessary steps that should be taken. Above all, you should keep your hopes tempered. Sure, people come along everyday that become a success in a matter of days with some unique and out-of-this-world idea. But the key words here are unique and out-of-this-world idea.
If you don’t give people a reason to spend their valuable time at your site, they won’t.

With that statement, I think it’s now time to begin imparting my words of wisdom. Ok, and here’s my waiver:
Everything I state from here on out should be taken as my very humble and limited opinion. It’s all advice that has worked for me to some degree. It may or may not work for you. All I ask is that you consider it.


Give ’em a reason to come

I’ll start this series with something that I don’t think can over-emphasized.
Unless You have something people want to see on you’re site, they won’t come.
I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but judging from the frequency of failed sites, apparently it’s an issue.
Before you ever start with a web site, you’ve got to figure out what it’s going to be about. What do you plan to do with it? Who do you plan to attract?
Ok, so you come up with a topic for your site. (That’s referred to as a “Niche” is web site jargon.)

Now, at this time, it’s best to take reality pill and ask yourself a few questions. Not the least of which is, “Why would people come to my site? Is the aggreed upon topic enough to draw visitors? If your topic is an incredibily popular one, how much exposure is already on the web? Funny Videos is an incredibily popular internet topic. Likewise, the competion for visitors is fierce. What’s going to make people choose your site over the other thousands of video sites they already know and love. Maybe you could streamline your topic. Narrow it and make it more specific. Maybe make it “Funny Camping Videos” or “Funny Kids Videos”. The premise is true for any popular-but-broad topic.
Once you are up and running (which steps I plan to cover later) it’s just as important to update your content with new stuff regularly. In other words, once you give them a reason to come, give them a reason to come back. That’s how you build a base of loyal fans. Belive it not, as your fan base grows, they will actually begin to look at your site as a sort of “authority” on the subject. This could be extremly powerful, especially if you begin to offer products for sale. And while I’m on the subject of loyal fans, I feel you should make an attempt to answer as many personal emails as possible. I know such tasks can be tedious, but look at it as sort of a “Public Relations” job to make contact with you’re visitors.
I’ve found my own site suffers the most when I haven’t updated content over a long period of time. It’s a known fact that search engines like Google and Yahoo rank frequently updated sites higher than sites that haven’t been updated.
Ok, enough about content. I’ll sum it up with this:
Give them a reason to come to your site and give them a reason to keep coming back.

I hope I’ve been able to convey my point that I’ve been trying to make. The vast majority of those “Make Money on the Internet” are scams that belong right up there with Amway and pyramid schemes. Yes, you could make money with it, but you probably won’t.
In the next article in this series, I hope to give some tips on getting started once you have that idea.
Just keep in mind, to make money while you sleep, you’re going to have to do some work while you’re awake.

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