To me, the Internet is the biggest revolution in terms of liberating the individual and allowing him or her to pursue what they want. An individual can make money off the Internet without being chained to any one company or organization. For those who have not discovered this wonderful opportunity, this post is meant to give you a taste of how this whole thing works. If you already know the basics, you can skip this article.
Online profitable businesses are built with a simple formula:
- Step 1: Discover niche markets that are undeserved and are desperate for solutions
- Step 2: Build a website and get traffic so that you can reach the people in these niche markets
- Step 3: Find or build a product or service that can use the website to sell to the market
Once you internalised the above, you will know what kind of skills you need to get an income from the Internet.
Skill 1: The ability to uncovered hidden niche markets.
It is best to start any business as niches to avoid competition. The great thing about the Internet is its ability to aggregate demand across borders, thus turning any previously unprofitable niches into something sizable. You will never run out of niches in the online world. The trick is to find them.
There are many ways to go about this. The following is not an exhaustive list but is something to get you started:
Tip #1: Look for supporting or auxiliary products or services of hot trends.
For every trend, there is a huge supporting industry. iPhone created the supporting industry of iPhone covers. Facebook created the supporting industry of facebook marketing agencies. WordPress created the supporting industry of template makers. The main trend is too often very competitive (try creating a facebook competitor) but the supporting industries are wide open.
Here is a personal example. In 2011, most people were creating cupcakes recipe blogs due to their rise in popularity. What I was doing was looking at cupcake holders since I knew people need a way to transport cupcakes. As a result, my site became one of the few sites that compare and review cupcake holders and Google has given me a first page listing.
Tip #2: Use Online tools to gauge what is up and coming
When something is hot, it is already too late to enter into the market. To be ahead of everyone, we must learn how to look at early signs of something gaining momentum. This can be done via a number of online tools such as Google news. Search for something like “hot”, “trend”, “new” etc in Google news and you will see all sorts of articles talking about what is up and coming. Put on your thinking cap and separate out what you think are good business niches to get into.
Tip #3: Subscribe to websites that cover trends
There are currently many websites that give you a daily trend summary. My favourite is cassandradaily.com, business-opportunities.biz and springwise.com. Between the three website, there are literally thousands of ideas for you to steal or modify.
Skill 2: Build website and get traffic
Once you have your niche market in mind, it is time to learn how to build websites and get traffic to it. Building a website is easy these days thanks to platforms such as wordpress or blogger. The hard part is getting the traffic. To do, you need to learn proper search engine optimisation (SEO) skills so that you can draw free traffic to the site.
Beware though, that there are lots of bad seo advice out there. As a beginner, here is all you need to know to optimise your site for search engine traffic.
- Find some keywords that described the niche market you have identified. Try to expand your vocabulary of this market as much as you can by reading in forums or blogs. Pay special notice to any new “terms” that people are using. Back to the cupcake example. People are now starting to use the term “mini cupcakes” as they want to bake smaller versions of the normal cupcakes.
- Start writing useful and interesting articles around your market. At this point in time, put your new found vocabulary to use. What we are doing here is to include all the relevant terms in the articles so that the site gets “long tail” traffic. This refers to long keywords that people used to search. These long tail keywords occur rarely but in aggregate, they provide a powerful source of persistent traffic. The more relevant terms you used, the more variations of long tail traffic you are going to get. In terms of articles, you might need to write more during the starting phase of the site and then gradually step off the gas as the traffic comes in.
- Finally, promote your site by trying to get a few links on other people’s sites. For example, if you have a friend who has blog, ask for a link from your friend. Or if you are part of a forum group, you can placed a link in your signature. These links might not get you much traffic but it will help the search engines to find your site. Once they do, you will start to receive the long tail traffic after a couple of weeks.
Skill 3: Find the right way to monetise
Once you found the niche and has traffic coming to the site, this becomes the easy part. The most obvious way to monetise a site is through ads or affiliates. If you want to know more about how websites make money, click the link to read about it.
If you want to retire early, learning these skills are an important step to liberating yourself from the corporate chains. Once you gained mastery, you will never wonderful how to make money from the Internet.