Where to Look for the Right Product Online

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When you are just starting your online business finding the right products to sell online is the number one problem. Knowing where to look can help.

1. Drop Shipper Directories Drop shippers are wholesalers that will ship direct to your customers so that you don’t have to invest in or store inventory. Directories of drop shippers are for sale online, but make sure you’re buying a reputable one.

2. Local Businesses: You may find businesses in your backyard that offer just the right products, but are not yet into e-commerce. Offer to sell their product online in exchange for a percentage of any profits you make.

3. Crafters: Local crafters are a good source of unique products, and may be willing to reduce their prices for you if you purchase in quantity. Either buy the item outright, or set up a consignment arrangement with them.

4. Garage sales and flea markets: G garage sales are a good place to look for items to sell online. Do some research into categories that interest you, and then start scouring sales for good prices.

5. eBay: eBay itself can be a source for products. Look for wholesale lots that can be broken down for individual sale.

6. Wholesaler Directories: Your local library will probably have directories of manufacturers, wholesalers, and/or distributors. Most directories are organized by SIC code so that you can zero in on the product categories that interested you.

7. Trade Shows: Trade shows are a great way to source products. Lots of merchants gather in one place to look for resellers. To find trade shows in a particular industry, contact trade associations and industry publications.

8. Importers/Exporters: You might want to consider contacting companies that import goods from overseas. It’s possible to source directly from overseas. This requires a lot of expertise, but many companies do it successfully.

To Your Success
Cody Moya

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Spruce Up a Stagnant Website – Create a Blog!

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Without a blog, your website might simply be an online brochure for your product or services. The Internet is dynamic and interactive, a well planned website should be too. This includes interactions with the webmaster or an administrator. Weblogs or blogs are becoming more popular than ever and now are actually a popular marketing tool. Spruce up a stagnant website- create a blog!

A blog offers your visitors the opportunity to get to know the people behind the website. Depending on how you choose to you use your blog, your visitors can benefit from resources and information to question and answers about your website‘s content. If you enjoy writing, you may choose simple commentary or opinion about your industry to be the focus of your blog. Decide what the main idea of your blog is and stick to it. This will make it easier for you to develop regular content.

Now that you know what your blog content will be decide if you will host your own blog or use a free hosting service. The advantages of the free hosting services are their user-friendly environment. You can have your blog up and running in minutes. Customization features are available, but not nearly as extensive as an experienced webmaster. Keep in mind that if your blog name is registered with a hosting service you may not be able to keep it should you ever decide to leave the service.

After you have set up your blog place a link to it somewhere on the front page of your website. Be sure that it is eye catching and give the reader a reason to go there. You may want to include the blogs heading of the day under the link, or possibly the past few topic headings. On your blog, do not forget to have link back to your website. This should be a creative description of your site, and not just the name.

The advantage of now having both a website and a blog is search engine optimization. Every time you post an entry on your blog this adds to the content. Search engines will crawl your blog the more your post resulting in better search rankings. A blog can be optimized just as well as a website. Do not forget to include Google Adsense on your blog just as you would your website. Adsense can be placed on side bars and within text. Use caution with blog marketing. Many blog readers do not like to see too much advertising on blogs. They are strictly surfing for content. Content and consistency are what make a successful blog.

It is absolutely necessary that you add content to your blog on a regular basis. This can range from two to three times a week or even better every day. The more you blog the more exposure you will gain if you are using a ping service like iPing or Ping-o-matic.

When you add content and visitors make comment be sure to respond to them. Even if your response is a simple acknowledgement, this is important. Visitors will come back to see if you are reading their comments, and come back again if you do. Other visitors will enjoy the dialog as well. If you do not have the time or you do not have the writing skills to provide content for your site you should think about hiring a writer or administrator. There is also the option of article directories, but use caution as many of these hold duplicate content.

Quality, original and consistent content is what you want in a blog. Adding dialog from webmasters or administers to aid in resources or provide information will give the customer a personalized touch behind the website. A blog brings the standard website alive, offering a more interactive experience for the visitor. The webmaster providing commentary is something that can attract visitors than would not normally see in the website. The new craze of blogging provides a whole new marketing tool for webmasters and business owners. The residual effects of a successful blog will spruce up a stagnant website.

To Your Success
Cody Moya

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What is Google adsense?

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If you look at the Internet a few years back, you’ll see that advertising was done in a way that was very similar to other types of media like television, or actually, more like what you see in a newspaper.

You’d enter a site, and in some location you’d get to see a banner (often these were quite numerous and very large), which would present and ad for whatever company was paying for adds on your space.

But there was one problem with this kind of advertising. It really wasn’t exploiting the fact that the adds weren’t in some newspaper, but were instead presented over the Internet.

You’ve probably noticed a lot of things like this over the pages you’ve browsed. You’re looking at an on-line shop, looking for a watch but you get a banner that advertises a car.

While you might, at some later point want to buy a car, right now you’re looking for a watch and it would have surely been nice if the banner were advertising a watch, because then you would have probably clicked it.

Well that’s also what the folks at Google thought of, so they came up with a killer idea. This is knows as Google AdSense, and it’s known as a targeted advertising program

What you do (as a web designer / website owner) is, instead of jumping through hoops to get some banner on your site that your visitors won’t even care about, is you just allocate some region of the screen.

You then sign up for the Google AdSense program, you insert a small snippet of code in your webpage and Google ensures that in the location you specify, a banner will appear, presenting adds relevant to the contents of your site.

It’s very easy for Google to do this because Google is a search engine company. It looks for the key words in your page, searches a database of websites to find the ones related to whatever is on your page and presto: a targeted ad.

You (the webmaster) get a fee for each visitor that clicks on an adsense banner on your site. Now that’s bound to happen more often then with a traditional banner because people are actually interested in what’s in that banner (otherwise, they wouldn’t be on your page would they?).

But, this also does wonders for the people who want to advertise. And it’s because of the same reason. The greatest thing about Google AdSense is that all the content in a banner is relevant.

This relevancy is the key to the programs success, and also the reason why everyone remains happy. The advertiser has a relevantly placed advert, the publisher earns money from their content and Google take their cut.

Of course, as always, Google has set some high standards for its AdSense program, in terms of looks and functionality. You can’t have more than two such banners on your website and Google only inserts text in these banners.

So an extra benefit is that AdSense advertising is a lot less obtrusive then regular advertising. But this also means you should position the banner better because it’s possible that visitors might miss it altogether.

So in the end, Google AdSense is an advertising program that is unique because the ads are relevant to the content on the site. Anyone that wants to advertise pays Google for it. Anyone who wants to place ads on their site does this through AdSense, getting paid by Google in the process.

All transactions are run through Google, and the advertisers and publishers get access to statistics which help them to understand and moderate the effectiveness of their campaign.

The whole process is elegant, simple and effective from anyone in the chain, from site visitors to advertisers, and it’s one of the reasons Google are known for their innovation and new thinking.

To Your Success
Cody Moya

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The Dangers of Link Farms.

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So you want to get ahead of the competition on the search engines, and you decide to use a link farm. Stop! There’s danger in link farms as with all SEO methods that seem to good to be true.

Your website shouldn’t link to, or be linked from, websites with any of the characteristics of link farms. Link farms are web sites that have been set up for no reason other than to contain masses of links, exploiting search engines’ link popularity algorithms. They serve no real purpose, other than getting everyone who joins to link to and from them and boosting the rankings of everyone involved. This is a big problem, as most people consider it to be nothing more than search engine ‘spam’.

Do not get link farms confused with directories which are excellent places to get your site listed. The difference here is that a directory attempts to provide its users with a nice organized way to get to the information that they want while a link farm simply posts a ton of links (generally at cost to the linkee) and serves no purpose to anybody on the web.

Avoid all link farms and similar sites! If you try to use one then the end result could be a ranking penalty, or your website might even be banned from the search engine altogether. Being banned from a search engine is a terrible loss for your site and will generally lead you to creating a brand new site out of sheer necessity.

Remember: the number of links to your site isn’t as important as the quality of those links. You’re trying to get people with real, quality sites to link to you. There are even rumors (which are being validated daily) that Google is implementing a quality control algorithm for links which includes the amount of time that a link has existed between two sites as well as the reputations of the two sites based on how many links they send out. For example, if you have a link from a site that only links to three sites all together and this link has stood strong for months, Google will consider it a valuable link. On the other hand, if you get linked to by a site with a massive number of links, Google could care less. Remember, Google is the Santa Claus of the internet, it’s always watching.

Free for All (FFA).

An FFA is a links page where anyone can add a link – quite similar to a link farm. Don’t be fooled into listing your site on these or linking to them. Many programs will submit your link automatically, to hundreds of FFAs all over the web. Don’t use these programs! The search engines will steer clear of your site for a long time if you do.

Who Should I Link To, and How?

Be very selective about your outbound links and your requests for inbound links, and avoid any site that’s anything like a link farm. Look for websites that have similar subjects to yours, good rankings and good traffic. Depending on the topic, they might be hard to find – but then you should find it easier to rank highly in these topics.

Once you’ve found a few good sites, the next step is to email them and request a link. You should, of course, offer one in return. You will run into some opposition with this method and you will sometimes be ignored completely, but you should have a reasonable amount of success. We can’t stress enough, though, that you should be careful about which sites you link to, and check your links regularly.

The Bottom Line.

Link farms are dangerous to your website and a complete waste of time. They can bring your business crashing down by getting you banned from the search engines. You should be concentrating on real marketing methods – even though they’re not a ‘quick fix’, they can work if you give them some time.

There are many real ways to get traffic to your website, and using professional methods can give you a big increase in traffic. Using link farms and FFAs is a good way to get yourself nowhere fast.

To Your Success
Cody Moya

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Before You Do Anything: Try It Out.

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So you know, roughly, what you want your home business to be. Before you go any further and start investing, though, you need to try it out. Here’s how.

Build a Prototype.

If you plan to sell physical things, or you’re going to do something like starting a website or making software, then you should build a prototype to see how your idea will work out. A prototype is a version of your product that is built quickly by you alone, and serves to show that your idea is feasible in the real world. If it would be too expensive to build the whole thing, then just building the new part that differentiates you from your competitors is good enough.

Show your prototype to a few people, to see what they think. Are they excited? Would they use it?

Get a Few Customers.

If your product is relatively low-value, or you’re providing a service, then it shouldn’t be too much trouble to get a few customers and do a few dry runs. Do them a generous discount (you could even do it for free), to make sure that everything runs smoothly and the customers are satisfied at the end of it.

For example, let’s say you plan to be a landscape gardener from home. You could borrow the tools, and volunteer to do a garden for some kind of charity project – this is good, since it means that you’re doing something nice for charity, but they’re not paying for perfection, so it’s not that bad if small things go wrong. You should then go through all the motions as you would once your business is established, and see what comes out at the other end.

Here’s another one. Let’s say you’re an Italian living outside Italy, and you plan to start a home business cooking pasta in your kitchen and delivering it to customers (you’d be surprised how many home businesses there are in the catering industry). You could make a rough draft of a leaflet (with discounted prices) and deliver it to a small number of homes in the area, until you get a little response. You could then see if it really is feasible to make and deliver these things, and whether there would be any profit in it.

The best dry-runs, though, are the ones where you can get one client at full price. This generally happens in the kind of industry where most transactions are business-to-business, and go through a bidding process. If you’re doing something like freelance writing or artwork, this can let you take on one ‘job’ without being committed to any more afterwards. If you find it’s not for you, at least you haven’t lost too much – and if you love it, then you’re getting valuable experience before you try to take it full-time.

When you try your business out, make sure to do some kind of survey – you could hand it to the customer, include it with your delivery, or even phone up and say that you’re just calling to make sure everything is alright. Following up this way isn’t just good for you, it’s also good customer service.

Don’t Rely on Scale.

One of the most common things I hear when I tell people to try out their home business ideas is that a small-scale trial wouldn’t do the idea justice, since they ‘plan to make money on scale’.

Never, ever rely solely on scale. You think that supplies will get magically cheaper if you’re doing ten orders a day instead of one? Guess again. You think you’re going to save time by doing lots of orders at once? You might save some, but not as much as you might think. When you’re trying to see whether your business is viable, you should always err on the conservative side – the thinner your margins are, the easier it is for something unexpected to happen and destroy them altogether.

You’re cheating yourself if you don’t try out your business before you start it – you’ll be throwing yourself in at the deep end, and there won’t be a lifeguard. Trying it out gives you the opportunity to make your beginner mistakes (there will be a few, I guarantee it), and to build confidence in yourself and your business without taking pointlessly large amounts of risk.

To Your Success
Cody Moya

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