Thanks for the additional input RhinoFish (and everyone else). Much appreciated.
I don't know if I should say this here, given that there are probably so many SEO professionals here, but it seems to me that success on the Internet has been overly complicated by an emphasis on SEO and other "techniques" that are seen as absolutely vital.
All it boils down, in my opinion, is to find a demand that is not being serviced by a supply of existing web sites such that one can build a web site to satisfy that demand.
Just as the law of supply and demand applies in the real world.
If there is any "key" to internet success it comes down to learning how to determine where there is overabundance of demand for something that is not being met.
Everything else (i.e. SEO techniques, how to build a web site, and everything else) is secondary.
An important secondary just as it is an important secondary in the real world with respect to establishing a real world business but...still of secondary importance.
If there is a great need for tacos in a given locality...one can build a nice restaurant and bring to bear one's accounting, legal, and other knowledge to make that restaurant the best it can be.
Or one can go buy some tacos at the local grocery store, some salsa, and go stand on a street corner somewhere and offer tacos and salsa for sale.
Both will succeed. Though of course the restaurant will succeed to a greater degree in the long run.
It seems to me that it's no different on the Internet. I don't have money to afford fancy this or that. I am just that guy standing on the street corner wanting to sell tacos.
But if the need is there...I should be able to tap into it and make some money. Maybe not a lot. But some. And eventually I might be able to afford that nice restaurant :).
Thank God the government has not yet been able to over-regulate and control business activities over the Internet! And that any taco wanna-be still has the chance to go buy some tacos and salsa and stand on any street corner they care to stand on without a licence :).
So many internet marketing sites hold themselves out as having the key. Or some secret technique. There is no such thing. It's simply the old law of supply and demand that determines ultimate success or not. On the internet as in real life.
One must uncover where there is an unnevenness between demand and supply using various market research techniques that are uniquely applicable to the the Internet but, it's just the law of supply and demand at the core.
Nothing fancy. Nothing secret about it. No need to pay lots and lots of money to get some edge over the competition.
Just find a need that is not being adequately filled and go fill it (through a web site of course).
Regarding the duplication of what someone is already doing to make money...for sure I can do that and that is my aim. But it takes quite a bit of digging around to figure out the particular techniques that a person used to uncover market need and how they used existing technology to meet that need. They usually don't give out that kind of information for free so in a sense, I have to reverse engineer what they did. Or come on forums like this one and ask questions :).
Sorry for the long post but I wanted to share something of what I have come to realize in my search to make money online for what it's worth.