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Creating a Free Service

Business Ideas

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Which comes first...the product or the web site?

A lot of people have the cart before the horse. They have a product they want to sell and they are looking for people to buy it. Do you know how easy it is if you start with the people who want to buy something first...and then offer them a product they WANT?

Just because you don't have a product doesn't mean you shouldn't start a web site. Pick a targeted niche market first...build a site...build Traffic...and then you can either find a product they already want or you can sell advertising space.  I would pick a web site with traffic any day over a person with a hot product.  "Hot" products are everywhere.  Web sites which already have traffic in a specific market are GUARANTEED winners when the right product is introduced to them.

As a matter of fact, I know a lot of success web site models who are earning thousands or tens of thousands of dollars monthly and they don't even have a product to sell.  They sell advertising space or banners. They do endorsements of other people's products.  Once you have the market, there are dozens of people ready and willing to let you sell their products to your customers.

You could also design a web site giving everything away absolutely FREE with one purpose in mind...build a large community of people who continually visit over and over again.  Many people have found this to be true and are creating sites which give away free information, link to all kinds of resources in a certain area, have free downloads, or have software you can use on their site for free.

Build a tool that helps everyone in your market and they will come.   Think about some ideas you could come up with in this area.  It could be as simple as creating a page that links to major resources in a certain area.  Find the best resources in an area and then ask to trade links with them (many of them will gladly trade links with your site).  Build up a database of these links to hundreds of different useful sites online and watch your traffic soar.

Look at what Freedback.com did.  (You can look at their site at http://www.freedback.com ).  This site gave away free forms for people to use on their site.  Many web hosts don't allow CGI to run on their site, and freedback filled a need for all of these people being hosted.  Through their service, people could have forms for free on their site to collect information from their visitors.  Over time, Freedback has given away over 50,000 of these types of forms and is receiving over 300,000 hits a day on their response page.  

They can sell advertising all day long to this traffic.  All they have is a FREE service and it has built them a long term residual income of monthly advertising.  The same type of thing was done by CGI Resource Index, except they did it by offering links to other sites and free downloads.  Take a look at them at http://www.cgi-resources.com/ as they are considered the number one authority on CGI programming on the web.  The majority of their income comes from advertising.

All you have to do is target a niche market with a specific subject. We often try to make things so complicated and I want to cut through all of the junk and give you the simple truth of just how simple it is to make money on the web.   Here it is in one short sentence:

"Build a Site Which Gives People What They Want!"

You cannot just put up a sales letter and expect to profit.  You Have to:

1.  Find a market.  Look at your local magazine rack to help you choose one if you are having trouble.  I guarantee that wherever your hobbies or interests are, there are going to be others with similar interests.

2.  Find out what they want.  You do this by asking them.  Look for message boards or newsgroups which already cover your subject or similar subjects.   Do a search for your subject at http://www.forumone.com which lists most of the forums around the world.  Then, simply go and read the posts and ask what people want or what they think is lacking in your market online.

3.  Give it to them.  Once you figure out what people want, give it to them.  Design a site which is exactly what they are looking for.  Send out press releases, mention it in the newsgroups, trade links with other sites, and start growing.

I don't want to completely oversimplify the process, but in many cases, it is almost that simple.  The hard part is in giving them "what they want" part.  You may need to find a programmer to create it or someone to write it, but if it is exactly what people want and gives you traffic forever, then it is worth it.

To get you started on this road...here are 10 businesses you could start in this area:

1. Host a Free CGI Program on your site

Be like freedback.com.  Find a CGI program everyone needs or wants and start giving it to them.  I know of sites now which are giving away Free Classified Sites or Free-For-All Links sites so that they can keep their advertising banner on them.  Freedback came up with an original idea.  Can you?  Go to http://www.cgi-resources.com/ and look at all the programs there and see what you can come up with.

2. Banner Exchange

I know what you may be thinking on this one...there are hundreds of banner exchanges out there.  And you know what, you would be right.  The internet does not need just another banner exchange, but it does need target banner exchanges for specific areas.  You could target all internet marketing sites or all kids sites.   Then you give them a 2:1 ratio or higher on banner advertising.  Then your banner exchange has the other 50% of the ads to use for yourself or to sell for advertising (banner exchanges are based on this principle).

3. Download Site

You could create a download site for some type of targeted market.  It could be for CGI programs, business software, game demos, etc.  The major key in this area like many of the others is that you have to develop a unique selling point for your site.  Why should they visit your site over the others? It could be that you review each program or that you have a better organization...or that you only include the best.  It could also be that you include the most of something.   Become unique in this area and watch the traffic soar (another caution though...watch to make sure your web host doesn't charge extra for too much transfer daily or monthly - A download site eats up MB).

4. Games Site

You could do an entire site devoted to codes, tips, and tricks with games.   Most of the work would be done for you once you let everyone know you were collecting together all of the codes and tricks for different games.  Send out press releases and get listed in magazines and your traffic would fly off the roof.  The income for this site would come from game companies advertising on your site.  The message board would also become extremely popular and would need separate sections for all of the different games.

5. Business Software Site

Create a Site that lists all of the business software...downloads of demos could be offered along with reviews and a New Product of the month newsletter.   Businesses are always seeking that new program to take them to the next level or to do something
easier.  Plus, you could also do a message board that specifically helps with certain programs such as FrontPage, etc. 

6.  Resource Site for ANYTHING

You could create a list of resources for ANYTHING.  Find a listing of all of the top sites in certain areas full of useful information.  The plan for this type of site is to become the starting point for people searching for Collies, Internet Marketing, Copywriting, Dolls, etc.  You could also turn it into a specific targeted search engine for your niche market.  You only list __________.  This is an idea that would also combine well with any of the other ideas in this course as an additional profit stream.

7.  Award Site

Decide on an award in a targeted niche market:  Maybe "5 star fitness" site given to top fitness sites or "Elite Internet Sites" for internet marketing, or whatever is your specific interest.  Design a really well done graphic for your logo.  Set up a submission database for people to send in submissions.  Then, go off searching for sites who deserve your award.  Once you have given away your award and have enough sites linking to you...you can also begin to send out press releases and start getting known in that area.  The key to this program is to pick a very interesting title for your award and correctly move in the right market.

8.  Consumer Reports

Become a watchdog of the industry...any industry.  Do reports on automobiles or money making programs.  Review personal care items or exercise equipment.  Become a consumer expert in any area protecting and enlightening the consumers in your expertise.  The key is to get enough good quality information and reviews to make your site interesting.  Then, your revenues will come through advertising or other incomes you may add as you go along.

9.  News

You would think that this area would be impossible to get into with all of the news giants out there.  Well, it would be...if you were trying to cover everything.  You, as a small business, would want to cover one area of interest and collect all of the news that has to do with that area.  Think about it.  The Drudge report went after gossip online and build message boards and chat rooms around it...becoming one of the top sites on the internet and producing a TV show for the owner.

10.  Travel

Exotic destinations...cruises for the millionaires...etc. This is a fun one. You could stay reviewing travel destinations, hotels, restaurants, etc. Find one of the packages where you can become a travel agent and sell tickets (with the actual travel agency handling the actual bookings and money) for different destinations. Actually take the tours and review them. Combine this one with the Watchdog idea above and warn people about deceptive travel agencies and places.  Have fun doing your business.



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