E-commerce: Is It Right for You?
The birth of the Internet and the mass availability of personal Computers in the late 80's changed peoples life forever, Everyone now has had the potential to be their own boss whether you are mother at home looking after your children or a manual laborer there are opportunities in abundance . Just a search on Google for business opportunities will bring up more offers than your parents would have had in their whole life. So it must be easy to make a living from the internet right? No it's not, you need a firm business plan and you need to work hard at it.
Setting up and running an online business does have several advantages over setting up a "normal" business. You can usually run it in conjunction with your current job, your potential market is bigger your initial overheads are usually smaller and you can operate it from the comfort of your own home. Once you decided that you want to enter into the world of E-commerce you then need to take a lesson from main stream business and create a business plan.
The very first thing you need to decide is what type of business is right for you and then research the market. Possible businesses open to you are.
An Affiliate Program
With an Affiliate Program you are paid a commission for selling a companies products. You have no contact with the customer, all you do is provide sales leads to the company of whom you are an affiliate. An Adsense program is where you take an existing website of yours about a particular subject and add contextual Adverts from Google's Adsense program. When a person clicks on an advert you then receive a few cents. There are 2 approaches to Adsense programs, build a well respected Niche site with lots of traffic the more traffic you get the higher the Click Through Rate (CTR) and thus the higher the income. The second method is sometimes referred to as the shotgun method, build lots of sites with less traffic but earning a smaller amount from each site. A $1 a day income from each of 50 sites is better than $40 from 1 site. It is worth pointing out here that it against Google's TOS to build site specifically to target Adsense revenue.
The final E-commerce method we will look at is the most similar to mainstream business, selling a product. You build a web site with a shopping cart and give as many details about the products as possible. The products can be something you make yourself, or a product you buy in bulk or a product from a drop shipper. With drop shipping you sell products which are then dispatched from a location elsewhere by a 3rd party.
If all this sounds too easy it's not. Setting up the business is just the start of it, the hard work needs to start now. You need to get traffic, the more traffic you get the higher your sales will be. In addition you need to look at the performance of your site and tweak the layout so you make more sales. You need to get your site onto the first page of Google and other search engines. You may need to write adverts and operate an pay Per Click program. In short you need to become an expert in many new subjects. If you have the drive and dedication then it is possible to make a good income from E-commerce but don't expect to spend an hour a day at the computer and the rest of your time on your Yacht.
Mark Thompson ran an IT consultancy in London for many years . He now live in Spain and runs an number of websites including BleX Tech
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