Internet Marketing Exposed: 10 Steps To Creating A Successful Business Online by:Michael Loveridge
Everyone knows that to make money online, the first thing you have to have is a website. But the internet is no "field of dreams," having a website does not guarantee that customers will come. People have spent thousands and thousands of dollars on websites that get absolutely no traffic, and generate nothing but collection calls for their owners. So, does that mean the opportunities for starting your own business online are non-existent? I would have to answer that emphatically "no." But, it does mean, however, that one must begin with a clear idea of what they want and how they are going to get it.
You see, most internet marketers get involved with this industry because of the allure of making money with little or no upfront costs. Believe me, I know how "sexy" this sounds because it is exactly what brought me into the industry, too. If you think about it, there isn't a product in the world that costs less to develop and that sells for such high margins than those found on the Internet. But it was this exact mentality that made the dotcom industry grow so rapidly earlier this decade, which ultimately ended up in the dotcom bubble bursting.
The truth is that creating a single digital product, like an eBook or a Homestudy Course won't bring you the riches promised by other gurus. In fact, when those gurus are sitting around talking to each other, they will freely admit that they often break even or even lose money on these products. I know, you're probably asking yourself, "so why do they continue to bombard me with offer after offer for this product or that product?" This is a very good and valid question. And the answer is simpler than it seems.
The successful Internet Marketers make their money off big-ticket items and "continuity." Most big-ticket items include group coaching, individual consultation, weekend seminars, or done-for-you products. These are really difficult to both sell and fulfill because of the price tag. Some of these same successful Internet Marketers have full-on call centers with trained salesmen to make these sales a reality and to drive the rest of their businesses. It has taken them years of hard work to get to the point where their credibility in the industry allows them the opportunity to sell these programs with relative ease. Unfortunately, the newbie (such as me or you) doesn't have this luxury.
But that doesn't mean there isn't a profitable option for us. The one program that doesn't require years of establishing a name and a reputation is the "continuity." The term continuity is just a fancy name for a membership program with repetitive monthly charges (a membership website is the perfect example of this). If you are just getting started, this is where I recommend putting your focus: the creation of your own (paid) membership website. You see, even though the one-time product offerings are often good for a quick influx of cash, they are just as often "losers" that don't make a dime. Either way, they are rarely good for more long-term success.
Now, it's one thing to tell someone where to focus their business and then go on your merry way. It is another thing entirely to give that focus and then lay out a plan for that business that will take it from being a mere idea to becoming a reality. My goal with this report is to give you practical advice that you can take and immediately implement to begin building your online business and start making money. Let me first say that there is no golden road to riches. The phrase "building your online business" is used intentionally to infer that, like the construction of a new building, there is significant work involved. However, if you are willing to sweat a little and push through the obstacles that will come up, this plan will help you create something of true value to your customers. Once you figure out how to do this, the money will follow. That said, I believe that the system I am about to lay out is simple enough that even the newest of internet newbies would be able to benefit. So, are you ready? Let's jump in and get started.
10 Steps to Creating a Membership Site
Step 1: The very first step in creating a membership site is coming up with a good idea. This is probably one of the most challenging steps in the entire process but it is also the most important. I have to say that there are people out there who believe that every idea they have is a good idea. Unfortunately, just because you have an idea, that doesn't mean it is a good one. One of the best ways to tell if your idea is a good one is to do a little online research. If you can find something on the web that is similar or identical, and that is being sold, you can assume that it is a decent idea that could be profitable. If nobody else is doing it, then there is probably a reason (and no, "nobody else has thought of it" doesn't count). The reality is that most of the good ideas are already out there. The really successful Internet Marketers are the ones who can take those ideas and put a unique twist on them to make the appealing to the right market. I am a firm believer that there are enough opportunities out there that competition is very healthy for everyone involved. If you are afraid of competition, go ahead and stop reading now because fear will prevent you from achieving any success. And when you find success, you also find competition as they go hand in hand. As long as you believe in your idea and your unique marketing angle, you will be fine.
Step 2: The next step in the process will get you going on the internet. The very first thing one must do to begin creating a presence on the internet is to get a website address, also known as a Domain Name. To get a domain name, you have to "register" it through a licensed domain name registrar. There are many registrars available, including GoDaddy.com, DomainAbbey.com, and NameCheap.com. Of all the registrars, my personal favorite and thus, my recommendation to you is NameCheap.com.
Generally, acquiring the domain name is one of the easiest and cheapest pieces of the Internet Marketing puzzle to put in place. For less than $10/ year, you can have your domain reserved and ready for your website. The process is relatively simple and can be accomplished in less than 10 minutes.
Step 3: The third step of the process is acquiring a host for your domain. Hosting companies serve a vital role in making your website available on the internet. First, they store your website files on a public computer that is connected to the internet, making it available to anyone in the world. Second, they control all the technical aspects of website requests to ensure that your website is delivered to all of the other computers that request it. In order to make this happen, you have to get your elbows a little greasy in the technical details of hosting your site. The most important piece of information that your hosting company will provide you is their DNS Server addresses. You should take these DNS numbers to your Domain Registrar (NameCheap) and replace the default DNS servers associated with your domain. Once you have accomplished this, you shouldn't need to change anything with your registrar ever again (unless you decide to change hosting companies). Generally, this change can take as long as a day to fully process, so be patient.
There are tons of different hosts out there, GoDaddy.com, Dotster.com, Hostgator.com, JustHost.com & BlueHost.com to name a few. Personally, I am using JustHost.com and have never had a complaint. To top it off, they offer a free domain name with every new hosting account and have some of the lowest prices in the industry.
Step 4: With your DNS servers set up, you can go about getting your site set up. One of the cool things about JustHost (and one of the reasons why I recommend them) is that they offer CPanel to all of the websites they host. This is great because it is a very user-friendly application that will help you manage all of the technical aspects of your website, such as email addresses, databases, subdomains, etc CPanel also has a feature called Fantastico that allows quick and easy setup of WordPress. Installing WordPress is the next step to getting your membership site up and running.
Step 5: Install a WordPress Blog on your Website using the Fantastico feature of your web domain. If your web host doesn't offer Fantastico, follow the "Famous 5 Minute Installation" Guide found at WordPress' site, www.wordpress.org. You can customize WordPress with your own graphics or with a free template from wordpress.org. If your Web Host doesn't have cPanel or Fantastico, you should seriously consider switching to one that does (see Step 3 again).
Step 6: Go to WPWishList.com and purchase the WishList Member plug-in for Wordpress. This is the single software that will turn your simple blog into a powerful membership site. It requires a little customization, but the great part is you can get it running just how you want it. Well worth the small $97 price tag.
Step 7: Get The Hyper Blogger from http://www.thehyperblogger.com/.
Step 8: Get a payment processor and an affiliate management platform. My recommendation is Clickbank for both. With a one-time $49 set-up fee and minimal per-transaction fees, they really have one of the smoothest processes out there.
Step 9: Get PLR documents in your chosen niche (one good source is Naked PLR) and upload them to your membership with The Hyper Blogger.
Step 10: Start Promoting your membership site! Of course, this is the challenge facing every internet marketer. There are tons of different strategies out there that will help your business noticed. Of course, it doesn't do any good to start promoting if you don't have a business in place, which is why this is the last step in the process. Because it is so expansive in nature, there is no way I could even begin to touch this subject. Instead, let me recommend a great resource where you can learn all you need to know: Marketing On The Fringe.
Like I said previously, this is not a fool-proof business plan, but it is one of the fastest ways to get your internet business up and running. I am excited to hear of your success!
About the author
Michael Loveridge has been consulting in the Internet Marketing industry for over a year and has met with some of the biggest names. He works daily with various Internet Marketers improving their online presence and he spends his nights working on his own business, The Hyper Blogger.