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Newbie Startup Questions

 6:13 am on Mar 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

a) If I wanted to have a site built that is similar to another site (that is successful, but not mine), could I hire a web developer to make me a site that is structured the same way?
b) Is this common practice, or would this be considered poor web etiquette?
c) Would it be cheaper/quicker/easier and/or is this the preferred method?
d) Would it be possible to calculate a budget for this, or do web developers typically charge per/hour?

Obviously, I don't want my site to be identical, but I'd like it to follow the same structure. I also have my own original content that I can go live with (i.e. I am not looking to copy anyone's work, nor am I looking to clone someone's site).

a) I'd like to have a partner. Is it possible to have the revenue that the page generates to automatically deposit 50% of all earnings in to two separate accounts?
b) What service(s) would be recommended for this?
c) Is this even recommended, or should I consider an alternative solution?

a) Is it possible to hire a professional to get my web page started up properly and/or provide consultation to me so that my site has the best chance(s) to increase/optimize traffic? -Someone that can provide me with all of the tips that the pros use and educate me on how to properly run/manage my site? -Someone that can teach me how to start-up, maintain and improve my site (while holding my hand) in the same way(s) that a successful, professional webmaster would?
b) If this is possible, what are the costs that are typically associated with said service(s)?
c) Where can I look to hire someone that provides this service?
d) Would it be possible to see financial proof of their success(es) prior to hiring them; or a website that provides reputable webmasters that have a good track record/history that can be reviewed - possibly with a client/portfolio history with a reputation/rating system with service related comments that have been posted by previous clients etc. etc.?

a)If my niche is very competitive, should I just forget about it and look for something else? There are people in this particular niche that are very successful, but the competition is fierce. However, I've heard that, if you want to make money on the web, just find something that is already successful - something that you know is making people money - and do it. If it is making money, you can make money doing it. However, I don't know how true this is - if, at all.

a) Am I on the right track, or should I consider a different route/approach?

Any comments/suggestions/advice are welcome.

Thank you for reading my post.



 6:48 am on Mar 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Read it, chuckled a bit, heading back to the kitchen for a bologna sandwich. Considering all the questions asked I bet the answers (not desired) were already known.


 11:47 am on Mar 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I have no idea what you mean by that. The Internet is not a new concept for me. I've even had some experience with building websites as a hobby (among other things). However, I know nothing about the rest of this stuff - other than what I've learned by reading these past couple of days. That's the problem; all of the time that I've spent online my whole life has been geared towards one hobby or another - not monetizing a website and/or making a living online.

Do I have too many questions? Should I have broken them up in to separate threads?

I don't expect all of my questions to get answered, but I felt that I should start somewhere.

I am sincere about my concerns/questions.


 9:25 pm on Mar 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'll hit a couple of these. Welcome aboard LoPan.

a) If I wanted to have a site built that is similar to another site (that is successful, but not mine), could I hire a web developer to make me a site that is structured the same way?

Sure, you could do that, and yes, it's definately common practice, and better yet, there's thousands of providers who will help you do it. Will it thrive? Doubtful, the site you're cloning has a head start on you and knows their stuff, they are "leading edge" and you're a "copycat." It's not likely you would have the innovative edge to do better what they are already doing, I've seen this played out many times.

nor am I looking to clone someone's site

Whether it's the idea, structure, or what, it's still a clone in some aspect. Copycat sites only serve to dilute the productivity of the web, IMO.

d) Would it be possible to calculate a budget for this, or do web developers typically charge per/hour?

Both, whatever the market will bear, but remember, you get what you pay for.

For anything you might want there's always someone willing to relieve you of your money to do it for you. I see RFP's all the time for "I want to do what this site is doing but I want to add this and that and the other thing, with a new design . . . " budget . . . $500. And you'll get bidders for $50.

Will it succeed? Who knows . . . this is the reason for the chuckles, I'm guessing.


 10:08 pm on Mar 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Lopan! Welcome! Sorry for confusion... the chuckle was seeing the most common questions frequently asked all in one post!

Some thoughts in reply (now that I've had that sandwich and some sleep)...

Avoid copying. As rocknbil notes it is difficult to achieve lasting rank that way.

As for niche... you really should find something you are passionate about as your site will ring more true.

If you have the skills to set up a web site do as much as you can before seeking outside expertise... this saves money and gives you a chance to set up and organize your site the way it makes sense to you AND your visitors.

If you do not have those skills then interview and research any web developer you hire. Depending on your niche and site goals you may see a wide range of fees charged.


 11:44 pm on Mar 11, 2010 (gmt 0)

Thank you, both, for welcoming me. I really appreciate you responding to my thread, and, of course, I appreciate the honesty.

Yes, the website(s) have a head start...but most of them do. Nearly everything that you can think of these days is already being done. It can be discouraging, to say the least. But where do you start? Surely, thinking of something new and innovative doesn't have to be a precursor for making money online...?

Copycat sites only serve to dilute the productivity of the web, IMO.
-Normally, I would completely agree with you. However, this particular niche is art-based, and completely fueled by original content. Sure, it's a service that is already being provided, but the product that comes with the service is always unique. Am I just being naive?

Sorry, guys. I realize that some (if not all of my questions) have already been answered somewhere else. I approach this all with a business mindset, so any time I can expedite things, I will (including hiring consultation and development professionals etc.).

However, I know my place. I realize that I am a newbie...so, I will avoid being stubborn and set in my ways, and listen to experienced people (like yourselves) with an attentive and open ear/mindset. In other words, any idea(s) or strategies that I have right now hold little water, and I realize that. So, please, correct me when I am wrong.

Here's the deal; eventually, I'd like to have several online businesses that can generate a nice security cushion of residual income - while running my primary business which is engineering related (which is hard to establish any sort of leverage without expanding - meaning, more work, more headaches etc., and the risks involved are much, much greater). I realize that 'risk' is a key ingredient for success, however, anytime I can minimize the associated risks while generating, maintaining and maximizing profits, I will.

I have decided to start one site with a partner (my sister). She is an artist and this particular niche is her hobby - she loves doing it. I just want to help her monetize it. While she handles accumulating content and micromanaging the website, I will focus on pulling in traffic, marketing and monetizing the website etc.
I figured, if I can hire someone to build the core of the website and incorporate all of the important, required stuff that we really do not possess the know-how for, my sister could, then, take over the site once it's complete - to manage the site and graphically make it her own.

I have money that comes in from my primary business, so I have money to invest on getting things started - the RIGHT way! I feel, that, if we can get the ball rolling with professional help, we have a better chance of succeeding. Not only would our website be properly setup (which would eliminate a LOT of start-up time, trial and error and mistakes etc.), but we would feel confident in knowing that our site is going live and starting up correctly - while maximizing our chances for success. It seems that the lack of know-how can hurt your site if you are a beginner/starting out; that certain steps should be taken a certain way, at a certain time, for best results. Also, if we had professionals that could guide us through the process, not only would we save time by scouring forums for bread crumbs of information that we desperately need, but we could expedite everything tenfold - for the most part. Besides, we can (and will) learn things as we go...there's no since in learning EVERYTHING at first if you don't have to. Not only would that take much, much longer, but you increase your chance(s) for error, misunderstanding and overall failure due to impatience and a lack of confidence etc.

Thank you for your comments. Any additional comments are welcome.


 1:55 am on Mar 12, 2010 (gmt 0)

Your core components will be content, ecommerce (presume she wants to sell her art), and advertising. It is the third part which is the most difficult as there are so many ways of doing it.

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