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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Doing Business Online: Part I

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Recently, I was interviewed by an author writing a book on Internet businesses. I found the questions asked about my website,, to be very perceptive and helpful for those considering starting their own website or online business. Here are the questions and my responses in part 1 of a 2-part post.

Q: What was your first web business?

A: My first web business was selling affiliate based products online, earning commissions with each sale. This was really the way that I leveraged my first website, which was really just developed to provide free information and resources to marketers. The site still exists today and continues to generate a constant stream of visitors and revenue.

Q: When did you start this?

A: The site launched in February of 2004, but I was planning and working on the site for about ten months prior to launch.

Q: How much time did you devote to setting this up and running it?

A: Most of my time was spent on developing the site, adding content on a regular basis, and marketing the site. For me, traffic was everything and I spent the majority of my time on SEO and site usability - probably between 2 and 3 hours/day. The site also took a lot of work to initially set up and I was spending the same, about 2 - 3 hours on it each day, adding content and programming HTML. In addition to spending on average about three hours a day on SEO, I did spend a couple of hours each day reviewing affiliate products, speaking with potential partners, and responding to prospect inquiries.

Q: How much did it cost to set up and run?

A: The first site took some time to develop. And because I was starting out, I didn't have a lot of money to spend. I think when all was said and done, it cost about $15K - $18K to get the site developed, marketed, and maintained.

Q: What were the biggest challenges in setting up and running this web business?

A: The biggest challenge was the realization that I "didn't having a clue" when it came to starting my own business. When I started out, no one gave me a clear roadmap to follow (i.e. do this, don't do this). As a result, I got many things wrong and had to redo them. This cost me time and money and could have been avoided if a roadmap was provided.

Q: What happened to the web business?

A: I still own the web business, and it continues to grow. Because the site is so well established, most of the content comes from loyal users who submit valuable resources.

In addition, I'm not longer looking for great affiliate products, they come to me. By having a strong performing site that requires only a small bit of maintenance, I can focus on other endeavors while providing value to loyalists who still value all of the free marketing resources and information the site provides.

Q: What is your background?

A: My background is in Marketing. I attended Rutgers College for Undergrad and received my Graduate degree from Northwestern University in Integrated Marketing Communications. My formal education taught me that you always need to keep the big picture in mind while learning how to manage the specific objectives needed to be successful. I've also had about 3 very powerful mentors in my life and I think this has really shaped my success.

Q: Did your background help with this web business in anyway

A: These experiences definitely shaped my online businesses and continue to serve me today. One of the most important lessons I learned is that nothing is impossible. What's capable online is a true testament to that statement. If you have an idea, the web can help you make it a reality. I also learned that to succeed online you need to put yourself in the browsers shoes and segment your market. This is so important today and something that many of the clients for whom I consult, just plain miss.

Stay tuned for part II coming soon...


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