I've written before about amount of email I receive in the form of link exchange requests. There's no need to go into it all again but suffice to say, with seven websites with varying subject matter and content, I get my fair share of these requests by both email and through Linkmarket.net, the link exchange scheme in which I am a Member. I mention this not because this is about the link requests, but about the opportunity that all these requests present to view hundreds of other websites each week, mostly new ones and mostly home business or affiliate oriented.
In order to make a decision whether to link or not, I will look at each website, not only the PR and traffic ranking, but the basic appearance and layout will give me a reasonable insight into how serious they are, how much they have researched And planned their website and consequently their whole approach to their home business. I find this method is a reasonable means to predict if the website will still be around in six months and whether the owner will still be online at all.
I am sorry to say, while spending at least 4 – 5 hours a week at this activity, I'm disappointed at the amount of people who are literally 'throwing' a website together without any conspiring planning (or basic knowledge about how to actually Go about it. The number of websites I see, which have clearly no chance of serving a home business purpose at all, is staggering. What's more staggering is what some people seem to view as 'viable'.
Lack of content (and I mean none at all) and no organized effort to concentrate on any keywords or phrases at all, let alone a subject, are the most obvious and numerous. There are many sites which are simply one page, that's it. The page will contain two paragraphs on how "you've come to the right place to get …" whatever it is, then a few totally unrelated banners and 'obvious' affiliate links and sometimes a Google AdSense box. From purely the point of view of AdSense revenue, the lack of content and interest makes them useless, even for this.
Do not get me wrong, my purpose here is not to bemoan the quality of these hastily prepared and ill-equipped websites, nor is it to lament the abilities of those who have tried them. My purpose is to impress on these people and others planning the same route that home based business, in any shape or form online has to be treated like any other business endeavor. Would you put the same lack of effort and planning into the sign for your 'bricks and mortar' business? Your website IS your shopfront!
No matter how many times you read that home business is easy and there's millions to be made so quickly with so little effort or knowledge, I'm afraid it's not true! I so often see the words, "no knowledge or effort necessary" and then the figure per month or year that you can (or WILL) earn. The one I get the most entertainment from is "let me build you a website and you sit back and watch the money roll in" … Oh dear!
Ask anyone who has spent more than six months online, trying to earn a dollar (not necessarily an income) and they'll tell you that you can not expect to be the least bit successful without at least some basic knowledge and a fair bit Of effort. Of course, there are those who have been lucky enough to strike something at the right time, in the right place and manage to be hugely successful in a short period, but these are few (if indeed they exist at all in more than single digits ).
Like any business endeavor, you need to plan, you need to research and you need to go about your chosen business systematically, with the right tools and the right information. Your main asset, the one most people will see as their first and only impression of you and your product or service, is your website. How can it simply be an 'afterthought' or a hastily thrown together page with no thought as to how it appears to those who may visit.
A reasonable imaging option usually comes with most operating programs. They have their limitations, of course, but until you can invest in something more elaborate, these programs can be used to put together a reasonable header or logo. Goodness, website templates, some of which are not too bad, are free! There's no reason why anyone should not be able to come up with, at least, a presentable website (mine are certainly not works of art, but I believe they are 'presentable').
Of course, someone who has no experience online at all, will need to include a little html or php knowledge in their 'research' phase. But it really is not that hard to get a handle on the basic concepts and go from there, especially with all the free help available online at forums and related websites.
Content and concentration on specific keywords and phrases is critical if anyone desires to have a chance in the Search Engines. How to right decent copy and the simple knowledge about what methods to use to attract or to not 'put-off' your visitors is as important though, many tend to go into an online business without, it would seem, much of a grasp of Any of this.
There are numerous webmaster oriented forums that new webmasters can go to for friendly advice from those who have been at it for years and a home business with a website has to have a 'webmaster', like it or not. I've had people say to me that they want to get into an internet home business but they do not want to bother with learning about html etc. My advice to them in this case, is to forget it, unless they have hundreds or even thousands to pay for someone to build a site, let alone the ongoing maintenance it will need, often daily!
It's not as if you need to be able to write html 'freehand'. The programs, which are again, available with most operating systems or 'office extensions', make the task quite simple, with a small understanding. I started years ago with MS Frontpage® (part of the MS Office® package) and I still use it today because it's so simple to use (the same 2000 version I started on). I can write 'freehand' html code if I have to, but why when I do not need to? But like everything, you have to get off your butt and have a look, in order to discover that it's not really that difficult.
My advice to those who want to do it properly is to look at the websites that are involved in the same type of home business. Do the research, read about Internet home business and / or affiliate marketing until your eyes water. God knows there's enough material online to last anyone for a million years. Disseminating the worthwhile can be a chore, but that's where much of the learning occurs and remember, this is your business you're talking about, not a part-time dalliance, or at least it should not be.
Like any other endeavor, be it business, hobby, sport or otherwise, you will only get out of it what you put into it. You'll find that those who have been successful in an online home business, are those who have learned the value of knowledge, information, know-how, call it whatever you like. Many successful home businesspeople have had slow and inauspicious beginnings, just like most of those who are hard at it now, but they made it with this knowledge and by applying it to their home business.