Making money online with blogs and niche sites has become the latest craze. As the owner of zzzprofits, a make money online resource, I have seen the popularity and interest grow every month. Everyone loves the idea of online passive income. The benefits are endless; but how realistic is it to actually accomplish?
I can say from experience that making money online is one of the most rewarding things i have ever done, however if knew then what i know now, I probably would not have jumped into it so blindly.
Here is a good guest post by Kirsten describing commonly overlooked variables that can turn a fantastic idea into a failed online venture.
What Makes Starting an Online Business Hard?
Online businesses have countless advantages over traditional brick and mortar establishments. They don’t require large inventories, staff, or high rent. They don’t involve utility bills, landlords, or parking problems. So it must be easy to run an online business, right? Wrong. Even despite these advantages, online businesses face countless obstacles––many of which traditional shop fronts don’t.
The Need for Dedicated Design
On the web, user experience is everything. Sites need to be easy and intuitive to navigate, effortless to search, and most importantly they must load quickly. Finding the right balance between content, aesthetics, and usability is a difficult task. It means either investing an enormous amount of time, hiring a skilled designer, or (most often) both. You will also need to find a reliable developer who can build your chosen design and be at hand to make changes on your site over time.
Once you have launched your website, it is most likely that it will require some page re-designs and tweaks to improve it. These changes and tweaks will be required continually to make your website the best it can and get to the top. This can require a large amount of your time, and an ongoing expense to have your developer carry out these changes. While it is likely these alterations will pay for themselves in increased business, you must have the cash flow up front to inject funds into your website to get it where it needs to be for success.
An effective Search Engine Optimization campaign is the most important marketing tool for online businesses. But showing up on the first page of Google is a serious challenge. It requires loads of quality content, serious link building, creative social media networking, careful analysis, and industry know-how. To make matters worse, the landscape of SEO is always changing. What worked yesterday might not tomorrow.
It is possible to hire a professional SEO agency who can take care of this side of the business for you, however it will be expensive, and it will require you to over-see the project. There are aspects of SEO you can tackle yourself which can help increase website traffic, but it can be quite involved and if you have little knowledge of SEO, it can be best to leave it to the professionals.
Learning the Language
Operating a successful website means knowing the esoteric ins-and-outs of the Internet. While keeping pace with the latest online developments, website operators need a working knowledge of CSS and HTML, an understanding of their host’s admin platform, and familiarity with the myriad blogging forums, social media sites, and file types they must utilize. This means either hiring a professional or investing in years of costly trial-and-error education.
Websites get hacked. It happens more than you think, and even the smallest sites are targeted. So site security is tremendously important. It is essential for business owners to dedicate a great deal of time and money to keeping their clients’ information and their own content secure.
Invest in Users
Because user-experience is so important for online conversions, serious web entrepreneurs must invest in user testing if they want to streamline and optimize their site to its maximum potential (a potential which is always in flux, by the way). Compiling and evaluating Analytics, devising strategies for building traffic, and finding ways to keep users on the site are essential (and costly) tasks for online business.
Of course, it isn’t all bad news. It is true that online businesses still offer entrepreneurs many unique opportunities and benefits, most of which were never possible before the Internet came around. But the fact of the matter is that starting a business––any business––is an incredible challenge. It takes resources, dedication, and massive amounts of hard work. It may not be easy, but it can certainly be profitable.
About the author: Kirsten works alongside new and old businesses looking to set up their business online in her role at whoishostingthis.com.