What Is Your Online Business? Is It in Trouble?

Introduction:business man 2

If your business is in trouble, don’t feel like you are the Lone Ranger. Most Internet markets are tough to get into, and for that reason, many businesses fail. Here are some suggestions for new Internet marketers and others who are already in business:

1. Have an exact idea of where you will end up in your business.

You must decide that you will be a success and what that success will be. Do you see yourself sitting in a different home than the one you are now in? Do you see yourself having a larger bank account? Do you see yourself having more time with your family?

If you’re seeking to go into business on the Internet, or have already tried to succeed there, you must have had some dissatisfaction with your present life. Maybe you are or have been having trouble to make ends meet.

Maybe you lost your job and you are now working two or more poor-paying part-time jobs. Because of financial problems, it may be difficult for you and your spouse. Maybe you feel that your children are not getting the attention they need because you are so preoccupied with just making ends meet.

work at homeMr. Pearson

I was in junior high school during World War II. We had a gruff old shop teacher (that we all loved) named Mr. Pearson. Mr. Pearson said that someday he was going to be rich and that he was going to buy a big red convertible, a half-block long, and a fine cigar, and that when he passed us on the street, he was going to spit in our eye.

That is the vision that Mr. Pearson had, but I don’t remember that he worked to achieve it. His success was being a really good shop teacher.

Such a vision, is a dream, and dreams can come true. Every great accomplishment starts with a dream.

2. Have a distinct set of goals that you will work forward to achieving.

Here is a goal: My goal is to start an Internet business.

What’s wrong with this goal?

General goals are not specific enough to give direction. If you had said that my goal is to make fishing flies and sell them on the Internet, that would be a specific goal. It would be far more worthwhile because you would be using your own skills and you would control your own products, both of which can be important in Internet marketing.

Let’s say that your goal is to become an affiliate marketer where you promote other people’s products.

That too is not good enough.

It too is too broad.

You need to promote a specific line of products which you will introduce to people in a certain segment of a larger market. (Such a market segment is called a niche market.)

The GurusGURU 04

The gurus, those who are trying to take your money out of your pockets, often ask you what your financial goals are. They interpret these goals as a measure of your greed. They feed on greed and will sell you one product after another until they have hang you by your heels and shake all the money out of your pockets. (Some of you probably have been through this process. They promised to make you rich and famous and healthy and living well, but you end up with nothing debt.)

But you do need some financial goals.

You need to be able to supply your wants and needs as your business moves along. Realistic goals are more valuable than extraordinary goals. If you need to triple your income, to be able to live a normal life, then maybe that should be your goal.

Remember that goals can be changed and that you can always raise your objectives later.


Once you have set your goals, you need to set timelines to achieve them. If you don’t track your progress, then you will not know where you are headed, to success or failure. Too many spend their lives on the Internet with no distinct goals and they have no distinct success.

But unsuccessful people can change their future if they can focus on their objectives and the means to obtain those objectives.

3. Spend a great deal of time choosing your niche market.

Too many people jump into a market that is too broad and in which there is too much competition and in which they have no knowledge. An example is those who jump in the moneymaking market. They have not yet learned to make money themselves, so are they going to tell others how to do it?They find themselves overwhelmed by the competition and unable to succeed. (Gurus often push this market.)

You must be selective in choosing your market, and to start, you should think about health and beauty, expensive hobbies and relationships. If you have an area of knowledge and expertise outside of these categories, then it might be a good idea to pursue that.

You Must Be Specific

Even in these areas, you must be specific. For example, if you have chosen golf, that is a very broad subject. Maybe you will want to specialize in children’s golf equipment or women’s golf equipment or golf for left-handed golfers, etc. maybe you just sell club bags or gloves. Do you just sell golf accessories like sunglasses and hats?Maybe you only sell golf clothing.

No matter what niche market that you choose, you must be part of that market. One objective of marketing on the Internet is to become an expert that people can trust. Who is going to accept the advice or suggestions of someone who obviously does not know what he or she is talking about?

RICH WOMAN 01Be Part of the Community

That means that you must get into the communities where people are discussing your niche. You need to get on forums and chat with these people. You mustn’t try to sell anything on such a forum. That will just get you booted off. But you need to watch for the wants and needs of your niche community. There is no reason to promote something that they do not need or want.

Specialty Magazine

If you’re a member of a community, you should be reading specialty magazines in that niche, you should be subscribed to specialty magazines in that niche. By studying the advertising in these publications, you will be able to determine what is being sold to your market.

Is Your Internet Community in Your Community?

You need to determine where your community hangs out so that you can join them. If you can join the local community, all the better. You must be involved.

4. Targeted marketing is needed to succeed.

Now that you know what your market is, you need to focus your efforts, your information and your advertising, on that market.

Hanging Out My Laundry

Over the years I have been in direct mail and mail order. Once I saw special rate on advertising in a large publication which had over 8 million subscribers. My test ad cost about $800 as I remember. I used statistics! I thought to myself, if one in 1000 answers my ad, I will do very well. Even if I get one in 100 readers to order my product, I was still make a small profit.

I may as well have thrown my money into the ocean.

I got not one order.

After that I got more specific but my advertising.

If you splash indiscrimatnat ads on your website , probably nothing will happen. However if you place an ad in a newsletter that has 50,000 lady left-handed golfers in Arizona that you are offering your related product, you might get some orders. (You’ll have to run the ad three times until they trust you. But some ads do quite well.)

Sometimes our advertising just fails even though we don’t expect it. We have to keep learning. I ran a TV spot one time in Iowa for a security product. Nobody in my part of Iowa seemed to have a security problem. Everyone left their doors open. The same spot in Atlantic City would probably have succeeded. I didn’t know my market. (I put the product in local hardware stores and it didn’t sell there either. That should have been a clue.)

Locality Specific Ads

Sometimes you can get specific to a particular area of the country by using newspaper ads. I used to place a man in speciallty publication that simply had my website URL. The keywords in the URL, let everyone know what I was pushing.

Internet Adscropped-secretcash.jpg

If you put ads on Twitter or Facebook, make sure you’re hitting the target. If not, you’re just wasting your money.

Sometimes we get emails on offering to send our offer to 1 million email subscribers for say, $1000. If you think statistics, forget it. This is untargeted email, probably not even desired and blocked by most receivers, will not bring you any money. The fact of the matter is, it is a scam, as are many other attractive advertising offers.

5. You need a niche-market specific website.

You can start out with an information site if you want to. I have found that that is not a good way to go. You can make some money but it takes time. You need to get much more specific.

That means that you need a niche site that focuses on one group of people with wants and needs who have money in their pockets. There are plenty of tire kickers in this world, folks who never buy, so you must be very focused.

I suggest that you build your website with WordPress and that you buy a theme that is very suitable to your niche market. You can use a free theme if you want to, many marketers I know do this and are successful, but because the cost of these themes  are so low that it may be silly to use a free one for your niche market.

The first thing that you need to create a website is a domain name. A good place to purchase your domain name is NameCheap.com. Excellent low-cost domain hosting, where the data for your website will be stored, is HostGator.com.

If possible, use a domain name that is the same as your site name. It should be a keyword domain so that searchers on the Internet will find it. I use JAAXY.com to find domain names and site names. This keyword search program is geared toward affiliate marketers. (You will be able to make 30 free keyword searches.) You can also use the Google keyword tool or other keyword tools on the Internet.

Do not use a free website. They are worthless except for practice.

Wealthy Affiliate

You can learn how to build a website at Wealthy Affiliate using their free start up membership. This is a good way to practice building websites. They will give you two free websites on their server. You will not pay for a domain name nor for hosting. These sites are on SiteRubrics and although free, they actually work. I use them when I am trying out new ideas.

Wealthy Affiliate is the premier training site on the Internet for Internet marketers and they will show you how to build a website right there. I’ve been a member of Wealthy Affiliate for over eight years and I have about a dozen sites hosted there because I am a premium member and hosting is free.

Your Site Must Be Attractive and Professional Looking

Your website needs to be attractive and professional looking. I can’t over emphasize that. No one is going to stay on your site for more than a few seconds if it is not.

You also must have relevant information directly related to what web searchers are looking for.

If the searchers cannot find your site, you have no business. You have buried your site in the sands of the Internet’s fickleness.

King Content

You not only need good content, but you need some good images that relate to the content. This will attract attention. You can link these images to wherever you want your reader to go but remember that outgoing links remove the reader from your site. It is a problem, If you don’t link from your site to other sites that have good related information, that will hurt your site performance.

You should have some videos. Some of these videos will takes readers away from your site but it probably will not hurt you. Your readers will come back if you give them good information.

To keep your site attractive to searchers, it must be constantly updated. How frequently you update depends on your site. I try to update weekly or at least monthly, but for a new site you may want to update more than once a week. You need to build up content on your site.

Don’t put unrelated links and advertising on your site. If you are writing an article and you would like your reader to link to a site where they can make a purchase, don’t have more than two links in the article to that site.

Your job is to describe opportunities and products at times, but unless it’s your own product, don’t try to sell it. Your vendors use professional copywriters to do the selling. Unless you are a professional copywriter and you have your own product, leave it to the venders. (Affiliate marketers receive commissions from vendors.)

About and Privacy Pages

You should make folks feel at home on your website. You will need a page that is called About Me or About Us. You will also want to have a Privacy page so that your readers know that their information is protected.

WP Plugins

There are many plug-ins for WordPress that will make your life easier. Some of them will give you information on your visitors. They make contacting the social websites easier. They can help you make tables for product comparison. They can protect you from spammers.

Seeking and Replying to Comments

The website should be a two-way communications affair. You need to ask for comments and you need to reply to comments. If you don’t like a comment because it is from a spammer, simply delete it.

If you have an information site, you can allow Google or Microsoft/Yahoo to place ads on your site. You will be able to earn some money doing this and it can be significant.

You can trade links with other sites of people that you trust to increase traffic on your site.

Social Networks

When you post articles and pages on your site, always send them to the social sites were a title and short abstract will be shown and probably an illustration from your article.

You can also pin your videos and images to Pinterest.

To do all of this, use a social WordPress plug-in. (On your webpage editing program, click on plug-ins, and add new and type in the subject of the plug-in. Then look at the list of available plug-ins and choose one that you like. I use sociable on most of my sites. I’m not trying to give all of the details of site building here but I thought I would mention that. If you have questions, just go to WA and plug in your question at the top of the page and a list of articles will come up.)

6. You need a mailing list.

Your web experience will be much more viable if you began a mailing list at the very beginning. Having said that, I have one caveat, you need some traffic to generate a list so there is no reason to pay for a mailing list manager such as AWeber or GetResponse when you have too few contacts. Your mailing list must pay for itself.

You can start a free list, even keep your own list, until you get a enough members on your list to generate income. Whatever list you build can be transferred later to AWeber or GetResponse.

You can set up a newsletter that your mail manager will distribute for you. You can also send out messages to or three times a week as long as you don’t overdo it. You always want to give out useful information or no one is going to want to read your email or your newsletter.

Small Business Administration

Small Business Administration

7. Use the Small Business Administration Website.

I suggest that you go to the SBA site and use their module to create a business plan for your Internet business. I would also follow the site because they continually give out good information for small businesses.

Good Luck!

Internet Business Tool Center

John T. Jones, Ph.D.

John T. Jones, Ph.D.

P.S. This article is not describing how to run a business for the Internet. It is to show what is important to succeed.

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20 thoughts on “What Is Your Online Business? Is It in Trouble?”

  1. You have some good information here. My only comment, as a journalist, is that it drives me nuts when words are misspelled or incorrect grammar is used. It is too easy to write your article in Word then run it through the grammar and spelling tool. I also subscribe to Grammarly (Free) and use it as well.

    Just food for thought.

  2. This is a very good post. I have one question regarding the linking to an affiliate partner. You mention limiting your links to two on an article. I believe to that means to a partner. Just to confirm that, I am covering Australia and North America at the moment so have two different partners at times. My question is, if I have two links to each partner is that ok with ‘Google’?

  3. Hi John

    Thank you for such a resourceful blog post, I simply love it. :)

    The more I read yr blog post, the more I feel that there is still many areas of the internet marketing stuff that I do not know of, especially the social media marketing promotion which I need to take note of. :)

    You have wrote well and I can see that you are pretty experienced in the internet marketing world. :)

    Once again, thank you very much for an insightful blog post on “What is your business? Is it in trouble?”.

    Jewel Carol

    1. I’m 83 and phasing out. I can’t last more than a year or two because the docs have done all they can do for me. I had about 30 sites but am down to about a dozen. Some sites are not really to make money, just to express my views, so these are not much for making money. Thanks, JW. John

      1. You keep on keeping on TJ. You are an inspiration to us all and a real pillar for everyone at Wealthy Affiliate. Thank you for sharing your insights and drive – you are a great man.

  4. Hi John, thanks for this article, about how to become a success and how to set my goals, I think I am having it all to broad. I have to narrow down my niche. And I am getting quite a few ideas from this article to do so. It’s a good advice and a good read for anyone who wants to get to that success they have in mind for themselves, I wish you a lot of success on your own road through the www, greetings Loes

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