How to make money with a Web site 101
People use the Web to save time or kill time...to get stuff done or to screw around. They will pay for both.
The Web is like a city with 110 million people. Any tiny little specialty boutique can do well as long as people can find you. It's not like a small town where you have to sell something essential or very popular in order to get enough customers. You can't buy Thai take out in Columbia Falls, but we've got lots o' cheeseburgers available(as well as both kinds of music...)
You can sell advertising.
You can sell content(writing, pictures, movies, music, information, data).
You can sell a product or
you can sell a service.
To sell advertising you have to have massive amounts of traffic or subscribers. You base your fees on your traffic and your demographic. It is difficult now to sell enough advertising to even pay for your hosting costs, though it was once a money maker and may be again someday.
To sell content you need to have something exclusive, something highly desirable or offer special content to about 10% of your regular readership. You are a crazy experimenter and you charge whatever the heck you think you can get. If you can get 100,000 readers then develop some exclusive content for subscribers you can charge $30 a year(Salon)
To sell a product you need to have a niche, an e-commerce web site that shows that you are trustworthy, have a useful product and make the site easy enough to use so that a purchase can be as easy as is absolutely possible. You also need to provide as much information about your product as possible. You base your fees on your operating expenses. If 3-10% of your visitors are making a purchase then you're doing average.
To sell a service you have to know the needs of a target market very intimately. You need offer something unique in some way. You need to show that you understand the problems of your target market and can provide a reliable solution. You base your fees on the value of the solution and not the hours you spent providing it. You are either using your Web site to deliver the service(online certification testing, or banking, for instance) or you are using it to back up your other marketing efforts.
The single most important thing you can do is to get related web sites to link to yours, This is because Google loves links. And because people love links. The two ways people are most likely to find out about your web site(apart from Superbowl ads) are search engines and links from other web sites. Google is one of the most important search engines and it considers links to your web site to be a vote for your web site. The more links, the higher you rise in the rankings. And since Google powers some of the search results for Yahoo!, this is a great place to rank high.
The other thing is that links from other, related web sites are great for pumping customers into your site. People are just as likely to find out about your site by following a link as they are by searching...that is if you have links out there to follow.
Put your Web address on everything that goes out your door.
Another large chunk of your traffic report will be the result of submitting your web site to the other search engines. Yahoo costs $300 to get into and will provide a big boost in traffic. Most of the other important search engines require some skill to get listed with a good ranking.
Email newsletters are currently also a good way to get folks to come to your site. They also tend to spread and grow on their own and if you give them some attention, they can really take off. Another good thing about them is that you can get people to return again and again to your Web site if they subscribe to your newsletter/ezine/weekly tip sheet.
And, my favorite, Sponsored Keywords. You show up at the top of search listings for a bunch of high traffic search engines, you get to decide on the wording of the description of your web site(some severe length restrictions sometimes apply) and you pay by the click and not the impression(paying for actual visitors rather than just how many times your ad was seen) AND last but not least, you get to decide what page they land on when they click through. Oh, yeah, and with a little Web programming you can track clicks to conversions to see which link text or keyword phrase brings the most actual sales.
And, that's about it.
Ha! Ha! Not really.
You need to have some business infrastructure too. You know, be able to handle the orders and the questions and the new problems that come from being in a new market. But since doing business with a Web site can lower your transaction costs by 90%, and it answers questions for you when your not there, it tends to be worth it.
Part 2: Selling Professional Services
Free offer! For one hour's free
Copyright 2002 North Fork Media Group. Permission to use is granted as long as text is not edited and credit is given to the author, North Fork Media.
©North Fork Media 2002
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Columbia Falls MT 59912