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I don't quite know why, since I really understand the technology and I consider myself as a person having "good taste" in general. I suspect some things:
* Simply too much competition. Everything has been done, and people don't care about quality but quantity. If you're first, you're set.
* Lack of funds. I have no contacts/friends or money to shell out on advertising.
* All good domain names are registered. Finding a good .com domain is like trying to find and buy a green hill in cental Manhattan, NY for $1... damn near impossible.
This day, I killed my last project. I am now very cynical and sad. I don't feel like trying all over again, as I know my site will go ignored. It seems like I have tried every kind of site out there... but they already existed. I just "perfected" the concept (and they went ignored).
Maybe, just maybe I could come up with something unique. But what would that be? And why would you tell me if you knew?
In either case, I'm gonna try now. Please tell me anything. Any ideas that haven't been done. Preferarly primarily non-content, service-based ideas. Preferarly global in nature, or at least not too niched.
What do you miss from the WWW which could actually stand a chance when the author is broke? I only have my skills to work with.
I don't expect anyone to hand me the solution to my problems, but I suspect there are some good pointers out there I haven't considered.
Please help a desperate soul.
Who knows what the next big thing will be but perhaps there are opportunities hiding in one of many big emerging general trends:
Probably lots of other big changest happening out there that present new things to accomplish by a creative Web dude with a sense of purpose and crafty problem-solving.
Don't be surprised when people judge you as arrogant. Maybe you are someone who never needs help but there are others whose very motivation to participate in WebmasterWorld is exactly that: find support.
This is one of the better threads as it reflects on the human side of this group of people who have (to the most part) never met but still group around an issue that is obviously a tad too heavy for one individual who doesn't want to find posts like yours around here to begin with (neither do I as they don't provide an inch of value).
Ten months ago I knew nothing about web devolopment, domaining, hosting, and so on. I had very little cash to start out (less than $100, and even that would cut into my monthly budget). I knew HTML and that was it.
My wife wanted a website for her club and a friend of mine suggested an inexpensive hosting company. I registered 5 domains (3 came with the hosting package) and bought a couple of Peachy visual books (hint hint) which in total cost me about $75. I studied the books and learned about the basics of PHP and CSS.
I threw together the site quickly to get something up so the searche engines would pick up on it as I was working on it. I devoloped and expanded the site. I invested a few bucks a month, bought domains here and there, found many "good" ones for just a registration fee.
Later, the person my wife works for suggested this site for me, I joined and subscribed. Really, the cost of a one year subscrpion is far less than what I could pay a consultant for and since I can consider that I see several consultants here, it's quite a bargain.
I got involved with expiring / drop domain services and picked up several domains. I've paid, at most, $60 for a domain, including several KEYWORD.com, KEYWORD.org, KEYWORD.info, several went on the auction block and I was able to nab for rock-bottom prices. Keep your eyes open for what you're looking for, there are bargains out there.
Then I found sites with free scripts, there are many out there from basic web site templates to extensive PHP coding. Free won't give you the best that is out there but it will give you a taste of the site and subject. You also get to look at the coding and play with it to keep up your skills.
Now here I am. I have 6 active sites and ideas (and domains) for at least 4 others. One of my sites comes up in the first few pages on a Google search for a specific, yet common, keyword combination (including location). Sure, it's not #1, but the first few pages are full of sites chock full of pay-per-click ads, this site actually has content. I think it's a small success for me.
No, I am not raking in the dough making millions a year (but it would be nice). I still work 40+ (yeah, let's concentrate on that +) hours a week in a grunt job, but it is steady work and allows me the time to dabble in web devolopment (I'm studying Flash right now).
Right now I own about 140 domains, very small beans compared to a lot of the people here (some of them go though 140 a day probabaly) but its a start. I'm devoloping communities one by one (well, with my ADD more like one, wait, no, two, no wait, three, FIVE, TEN at a time) and when the basics is up, I start another and just update the ones that are up.
Money is not an issue here, domains can be cheap and with some creativity you can easily find good domains for a registration fee, some even though drop services. Free scripts is a great way to quickly get a site up and running.
IMO- the hardest part is content, which requires tons of research (but that is still all free).
Look into something that you know and know well. It doesn't have to be something you love, content is king (said so many times on this site). Also, find a small niche and go with it. I was suprised at the lack of reliable information out there on one of the world's most recognizeable products (in fact, I'm willing to bet the majorty of the users here either own one of these or knows someone who owns one, but everyone here knows that the product is). I'm taking this and running with it (plus keeping this product line VERY quiet).
Take a step back and look at what you've done (as stated in this thread). You can't give it 3 months to a year to really take off. Anything under six months will not take off without tons of advertising revenue, but slow and steady (and reliable) will come out in the end. Build something up to a good site then forget about it for at least 5-6 months. Work on another project, maybe only updating the first project when needed. After the time is up, wait another 6 months.
You aren't going to get rich overnight. IMO - web devolo;ment should be something that is fun. If you're not having fun, then try something different (a different subject) or take a break altogether. If you're getting stressed, then take a break, go fishing for the weekend and come back with a fresh mind.
Good luck with your future projects.
(Oh, and don't let small things like typos discourage you from this site, it is still full of excellent knowledge, and at a great price, even for a subscriber).
After trying to make money online for the past six years, I think one of my biggest mistakes was getting fed up and taking down sites.
I have two sites that went up in 2002. After their heyday in 2003 (and what a great year that was), the online world changed and traffic dropped. But they are my birds in the hand. With only a very few hours of updating each month, they still net me around $500-600 each and every month, year in and year out. If I had the other sites I've let go doing the same, it would be enough. Six months or a year is not long enough to judge the future worth of a project.
I agree with you about the need for money for advertising. No slur on Brett, but the 12-step google successful site plan just isn't enough any more. As has been stated previously, the internet has grown and continues to grow at a tremendous rate. I concur with the advice that every penny you make should go back into marketing/advertising the business.
I understand your frustration and despair. I can't you tell how many months I wasted shaking my fists at the google god.
Work hard, take the day job, put up your site and promote it - online and offline, in every way you can afford (we just got bumper stickers for our cars, yes really we did).
I had a personal site that I started in 1997. I joined a few affiliate programs, which sometimes covered hosting expenses. In 2000, I quit my full-time job and my wife and I tried to develop the site as a business. We struggled for many years losing money. Many times she wanted to quit and many arguments dangerously neared the "choose me or the business" line of no return.
At the end of 2004 we decided we would give things 6 more months before calling it quits. We looked long and hard at what we were doing and how we were doing things. We were vicious about dropping things that weren't monetizing well and brutal about cutting expenses. Things turned around for us in 2005 and we stayed in business, being profitable every quarter since then and being able to pay ourselves salaries near what were getting in the "outside" world before.
As to the OP comments:
Simply too much competition. Everything has been done, and people don't care about quality but quantity. If you're first, you're set.
Lack of funds. I have no contacts/friends or money to shell out on advertising.
All good domain names are registered.
Again, take a hard look at your business. (And just as critical, make sure that you are treating your business as a business, not just a hobby!) Get some outside help. We have given you a lot of general advice here, but it sounds like you seriously need someone to go over the specifics of your business and your situation with you.
If you're in the States, check ot SCORE- they give free business advice. Someone else mentioned a business mentor- another excellent piece of advice.
Also, continue to do research. Your local library has hundreds of books (all FREE!) to help you with all aspects of business, from business development to marketing to controlling cash flow.
And one last bit of advice: it sounds like you are in need of a big attitude adjustment. Saying "I've tried everythign and nothing works out" is a defeatist attitude and will msot likely perpetuate failure. Changing it to "Everythign I tried didn't work yet, so what have I done wrong and how can I do things differently?" builds up a challenge within you, and that attitude is part of how you turn things around.
anyway best of luck,
I would like to say donít give up, but only YOU can determine if you should or not and if so, when.
p.s.> Read the book: The Secret
I have decided to completely abandon "user-generated content" and write my own original articles and submit them to Digg and hope that they are high quality enough to get readers and natural links.
I will use my time 100% on the content and not on the technical side and I will not even style my articles. This is radical and as crazy it might just work. I read of some guy here at WW who wrote a few pages once without updating them 10 years ago and who now earns tons of money from just those old pages, and he hosts them for free on the same ISP account...
I am encouraged, but I really hope it works out this time. Feels "a little" sad that it took me this many years to realize content is king, though...
Red flag #1: plunging forward without a solid plan.
OK, if you're going to spend 100% of your time developing content, that leaves:
0% for marketing,
0% for SEO work,
0% for link development,
0% for figuring how to monetize it,
0% for analyzing things to see if you're going in the right direction,
0% for testing different ways of doing things to see if the changes affect revenue,
0% for looking at new ways to monetize your site(s),
Red flag #2: using the word "hope" and apparently making that the focus of your new plan of action.
This sounds like a recipe for being in the same position 6 months from now as you are now.
Preparing your business means you work like a pro. Not preparing means preparation for failure (some say it's arrogance).
Work dot com is a great place to find business plan templates and tons other great advice as well.
You won't regret it! All the best.
AND: have FUN!
If you look through the AdSense forum here, you will see dozens and dozens of message from people that had the same plan as you- write content and put up advertising and wait for the money to roll in. And they wait. And write. And wait some more. And write some more. And wait even more. Then complain because suddenly Google doesn't like them any more and their revenue stream dries up. Or something goes wrong and their AdSense account gets cancelled. Or Google makes a tweak to their search algorithm and their traffic (and thus revenue) goes to zero overnight.
Yes, content is king, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Content is only the What you're going to do. There's the What type of content, the How it's going to be presented, the How/Where it's going to be marketed, the Why your content is different from anyone else's, the How Long is it going to take to get to the level where it is going to monetize well, the How are people going to find your content, the How Many people are actually going to be interested in the content and come to your site(s), etc., etc., etc.
OK, maybe we jumped to conclusions and you actually do have a very well thought out plan, but just didn't mention the details. Do you? Because if you don't, it's *very* unlikely that this is going to be the "next big thing" for you.
Look, we're trying to help you out, because we really want to see you succeed. So make sure you take our advice in full, not just rush off with a few pickings here and there.
[edited by: LifeinAsia at 7:46 pm (utc) on Oct. 23, 2007]
Avoid self-pity ... embrace self-awareness
Avoid self-defeat ... embrace self-empowerment
Making a success on the WWW is not necessarily for the faint of heart. If you don't have the stomach for it, that is not a sin -- there's a LOT of life beyond the internet, most of it equally rewarding. Folks here have tried to give you their best advice, but at the end of the day, it's up to you and you alone.
#1 - spot a trend and exploit it until you are its authority.
#2 - set a trend and inherently become its authority.
#3 - build a tried and proven approach and attempt to become authority in symbiosis with other already established entities.
#3 is the hardest and will require the most effort considering the topic is saturated and leaders established. Most quality sites fall into #3 although many had roots in #1 and #2.
It all takes time and considerable effort. If you've been trying to accomplish all three at once you didn't plan properly because its not possible.
As long as you learn something from every failure! and never be afraid to fail...
Nobody said making it was ever going to be easy, absorb all the information you can keep reading the more you educate your mind the more you can see opportunity...some get lucky straight off some have to do there time in the trenches...
"The sum of my failures is my success".....
Winners never quit & quiters never win!
emmm.... 1001 motivational lines.....Volume 15 paragrapgh 4 better finish writting it lol.......constant evolution...
After trying to make money online for the past six years.
After 6 years, and little profit made, it's time to give up as the idea clearly isn't working - and it sounds like you just understood this yourself. Some things never work out, no matter how much effort is expended, and it's insane to continue to follow the mantra.
I concur with the advice that every penny you make should go back into marketing/advertising the business.
Just not all of it. Many overspend on advertisng and quickly run out of operating capital - and those pesky commission driven sales bods don't help either. You want to aim to retain as much budget as possible for company development, and reduce advertising as much as possible - even cut some out altogether. A lot of advertising is unnecessary, and for the extra cash extracted for colour ads, you are better sticking to cheaper alternatives, that will bring you roughly the same results. Why inflate some saleman's pay packet, just because they say so - it's your money!
Some ads do work very well, and like anything else, you must test as much as possible to find this out. But like any advertising, it's still a risk and it's vital one so keep ad fees down. Ad fees on sites CAN be negotiated down, as I've done this and do it at every opportunity (unless I'm desperate for the ad space), and if the sales rep says NO, then I refuse to buy.
Sometimes they ring back with a better price. Yes, it does work. Also ad companies soon reduce their fees, when noone buys anything, it depends on how badly the ad seller needs the cash.
The more untargeted the ad space, the better the chance of reducing the fee. Just keep this is mind for next time.
1. Never pause when they quote a price
2. Assess the ROI, and challenge it several times. (If what they offer is a bad deal, then tell them - you are doing them a favour!)
3. Tell them what their competitors are offering, and mildly threaten to go elsewhere.
4. Only pay what you are comfortable about paying. Don't be bullied into upgrading or paying for colour ads - always check them out.
5. Large adverts cost more! Mainly as the print costs are higher, and it's an opportunity for the ad seller to bump up the price.
Watch this carefully, sales people always go for the "Colour is better" ploy. The extra costs can be 25%, and that extra 25% can nearly buy a smaller ad block elsewhere.
I've lot's more tips and I'll post them at some point.
1) Success requires failure. You have to fail to learn, and you will probably have to fail anywhere from a few times to a dozen before you know what you're doing and can replicate what works.
2) Success takes time. It isn't instant, even on the Internet. It can take three or four months (minimum) to see results from the work you do today. You will have to sit around for six months before knowing whether what you do right now works or not. If it doesn't, you'll have to change course again.
If you can't mentally accept both of these things, you can't be a success, especially in business, and it sucks to say, but you need to stay in your day job and give it up.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
I had a $1000.00. I needed a website, a cell phone to take orders and to pay for some advertising and small inventory.
When I typed in my keyword of what I was looking to sell my self there was this one site that was in top of google consistently, I checked out there site and noticed they had no one on the top featured ad.
I bought 3 products right before March 15 2003, My website went online on March 15. I used tripod to make the site, I had no website skills. It was free and continued to use that free site for over a year while making a killing.
I sold all three products and made about $1500.00 that week. Took that money, and went out to dinner first....:)
The I bought 3 more products then 4 ect
The first year I grossed only about 30,000.00 but most of that was mine not many expenses, the next year 100,000.00 then the next year 70,000 then the next year only about 40,000.00
My product cooled a little as well the election year ect...
But the lesson learned is never give up. And if you do hit something good be sure and save some of the money to invest in something else.
Now I have found something else totally unrelated to the internet and I am making money....
Please see a therapist for your "stinking thinking" Get your head back looking up.
Maybe you need to take a conventional job right now, how about college, you can take loans out there for extra stuff.
Links are king. Social bookmarking is king. Trust is king. Authority is king. Stickiness is king.
These five qualities are all by-products of publishing excellent content.
On-page optimisation is king. Domain name is king.
These two are subcategories of excellent content.
Domain age is king.
Only this one stands out from all the others. And the relative importance of this at present is related to the algorithm-of-the-day.
What annoys me about the trite slogan "Content is King" is that nobody would think to use it in reference to books, magazines or newspapers.
Can you imagine someone saying: "Have you seen National Geographic this week - it's got some really great articles and photos!" or "Have you read 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte? It's 300 pages of really good content!"
The web may be accessed by computers but it is not primarily a computational medium (unlike Microsoft Excel for instance or Sage Accounting Software). Primarily it is an informational medium.
The next big thing in 2008 will be what the next big thing was in 1994: easily digestible, high-quality information which makes people laugh, tells them something about their friends or other people they want to know about (such as celebrities), helps them learn new things, or saves them time or money.
The hard thing is to make a site sticky so they either buy your services or one of your client's services. Stickiness requires ideas - so if you run out of ideas to pull people in, then the stickiness thing is hard to do, and lack of it can mean an end to any website.
Ofcourse there is the 'motivation' to keep going, but if the idea or interest sucks, then it's just over anyway. And that has to be accepted or you'll just end up wasting time, energy and money, which is a business NO NO. I worked for a multi-million pound turnover company in the travel sector, and it went down so fast, it was scary - everyone lost their jobs and many didn't even get paid the final months salary - it was over for them - AND they had an amazingly simply niche idea too!
Crazy, unforgiving world we live in eh.
So it will have to be: "Content is the popularly elected public servant with the greatest responsibility. Of either sex."
But I think we all know what we're getting at here.
BTW, serpmaster, if you haven't read it yet, Brett Tabke's
Successful Site in 12 Months with Google Alone: 26 steps to 15k a day [webmasterworld.com]
is an excellent primer.
Yeah, and it's sexist. For now on let's say "Content is Queen", just to be fair...
If you REALLY want to be non-gender about this, it's best to say "content is Queeny." (grin)
Anyhow, the advice about the business plan is best - define your goals, message, targets, then judge your work based on that model - of your own creation. Every website satisfies different needs, and you are the provider.
In my own case, I truly hated the subject that became my most successful site, and that has led to successful off-shoots. I hated it, but I knew it, thoroughly, because i had to live through it. And I knew it was bothering millions of other people.
Why not team up with other people if you find it hard or impossible to create and sustain a business by yourself?