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What Is the Simplest Web Business You Can Create?

By Charles Hopkins Published 07/6/2006 | Marketing
If you really want to start a Web-based business, but really don't know where to start, then listen up. If you have no product of your own, the best thing that you can do is investigate affiliate programs.

What is an affiliate program? It's basically a commission-only sales arrangement. Someone with a product or service will offer to let you sell it for them in exchange for a cut of the selling price. Typically with a hard product you'll be lucky to get 10% commission on sales. The good news is that downloadable products such as ebooks and software will often pay you 50% of the sales price as an affiliate - you can even find deals where you get 75%.

If you're just starting out you are certainly advised to begin your affiliate selling career by selling downloadable products because they are the ideal in our 'instant gratification' society. Your customers don't have to wait around after paying their money they can immediately download their purchase over the Internet. If you go to www.clickbank.com, you'll find they have several thousand different downloadable products you can sell as an affiliate, and the majority offer you at least 50% commission. Signing up is a simple one-time process and you'll then be able to use your Clickbank ID to sell any of the products in their online catalogue.

You can browse the Clickbank catalogue by subject area to find something that interests you. In any given subject area you will usually find that there are several related products that you could sell from a tightly-focused Website where you could set up pages to pre-sell the products you have selected and then place a link that your customers can click on which will take them to the affiliate site to place their order - and if they do that, you get your commission.

One of the best types of site you can build using the above ideas is a review site. Set up some simple pages on your Website comparing and contrasting the features of several related products that you've picked out to sell. All you really need to do is go along to the vendors Website which will basically be a sales page for their product. Here they'll list the features and benefits of their product. You can adapt this information to highlight the similarities and differences between two or more of the products to help your customers to choose which product would be the most suitable for their own particular circumstances.

What is the easiest type of Website you can set up to achieve the above? You've probably heard the buzz by now surrounding blogs and blogging. One of the main reasons blogs are recommended for setting up tightly-focused niche topic Websites is that they are usually easier to get traffic to from a standing start than conventional Websites.

Another good reason for choosing a blog as your site-builder of choice is that they are comparatively easy to set up if you're a Website building novice. Once you've carried out some pretty basic setting up, the software behind the blog handles most of the major house-keeping chores, like making sure all of your pages are properly linked together. All you have to do is to keep adding on-topic content regularly.

Two good choices if you want to experiment with blogs for your niche affiliate review sites following the above model are WordPress and Blogger. WordPress is free open source software that resides on your own Web server - so you'll need some hosting of your own if you want to go this route. This is certainly the preferred way to go because if you've got your own domain name and hosting you'll present a more professional image to your customers. You will also have more control over the look and feel of your site.

If you are a complete novice and you just want to test the waters to see if this niche marketing with affiliate sites thing is for you, then the cheapest (free) way to get involved is to go to www.blogger.com, sign up for a free account and make use of the free Blogspot hosting.

Whichever blogging route you choose, once you have your blog set up, just put your review articles on it comparing and contrasting the affiliate products you've chosen, as detailed above. To bulk out the content on your blog, just look around the Net for news items and information on the subject area you've chosen and write some articles based around these.

Once you have one blog set up with a decent amount of content on it, just rinse and repeat. Find some more subject areas that interest you and put more blogs together on these subjects, based around more good affiliate products that you can promote.

There are people out there right now who are making very good money using nothing more than these, and similar, ideas. How will you know whether you could join them if you don't give it a try? function SubmitRating(btn) { ratingchecked = false; if (btn.form.aRating0.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating1.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating2.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating3.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (btn.form.aRating4.checked) ratingchecked = true; if (ratingchecked) { btn.form.btnRating.value=btn.value; btn.form.submit(); } else { alert("Be sure a rating value has been selected to continue."); } }