27 November 2006
I am sure that you have heard something to the extent, "You too can make a million dollars per month working only ten minutes per week online!" Sure the claims are exaggerated, but can you really make money online with a website? The short answer is "Yes". Will you become the next "Yahoo!" by next week? Probably not. I can’t teach you how to choose the next big thing. I can, on the other hand, show you how to create a lucrative website if you follow my guide. This document is by no means all-inclusive. Instead, think of this commentary as the proverbial shoes needed to get you through the first steps of a very long journey. Depending on the size of your venture, the following instructions may need to be expanded or reduced. For all intents and purposes though, the guidelines will be the same.
The first step to building your new empire is to figure out what you want as an end result. This may sound oversimplified, but it’s not. You have to plan absolutely everything. Here are some of the questions that you will need to ask yourself. I suggest writing your solutions down so you don’t lose track. Will your site be product (catalog) based, or service (member) based? Will your pages be static (never changing) or dynamic (changes per visitor)?
What programming language(s) will be used; C, C++, JAVA, HTML, PHP, among many others? What kind of content will you have? What revenue streams will you implement (selling, banner ads, auctions)? How will you drive visitors to your site (email, search engines, black-hat schemes)? These questions, among many others, must have sufficient answers before you can build your "Why I Love Tickle-Me Gizmo" empire.
Even though you may feel overwhelmed, I assure you that as you become more comfortable with the terminology, you will see that everything will start blending together to make more sense. That brings us to the next step, learning. Once you get the vocabulary down, you will better understand the other materials you will need to learn. For simplification, I recommend the "Dummies" volumes by Wiley Publishing. For those that would rather not pay out any money to make money, there is a wealth of information online to guide you through every process. Keep in mind that some material will not make much sense until you start to apply the methods. Even though you may get frustrated at times, stick with it. If it was easy, everyone would do it.
The last step of your fortune-making fantasy is to put your thoughts into action. The order that you will follow in this section will not be by function but by priority. You can’t run before you walk. The same holds true with your new site. Even though your overall concept should be kept in mind, you must first pour your foundation before you start construction on your new house. Think about this for a moment. The main page of a site is commonly referred to as the "homepage." So think of it as building a virtual house in cyberspace. After picking out your land (webspace), your foundation is poured (site language/infrastructure.) Then you choose to build your dream from the ground up (from scratch), or modular (ready-made scripts). After construction, you will need to decorate (add your content) to make it livable. Of course you will need to keep up with the Jones’ (update regularly). The only thing left to do now is throw a party and invite all of your friends (advertising and search engines)!
Now, how’s that for a home based business? The important thing to keep in mind here is that you will undoubtedly make mistakes. Don’t get discouraged. Even if you don’t get it the first time around, start smaller the next time around. As you get more comfortable, then you can get even larger and more complex. You are now a webmaster. Welcome to the club. Just remember who got you started if you do become the next Yahoo! Good luck, and happy coding!