Saturday, April 30, 2005

How To Make A Cool Xanga

Do you know how to make a cool Xanga? -- Do you even know what a Xanga is? And why on Earth am I talking about "how to make a cool Xanga" in this blog on creating passive income streams?

You see, the true and tested way of creating a web site that sells -- is to find a niche -- a market -- and only when you've found the niche, you create a product that that niche is searching for.

But how do you know where to start?

The general -- and very good -- advice, is to start with something you're passionate about -- research it -- and find a niche within your passion.

But sometimes -- you're just stuck. You just need some fresh ideas, something new.

I've talked about Wordtracker before, and how it's a great tool for researching the niche your going into. Well -- it's a great tool for finding niches too -- you just have to turn you're thinking on its head...

Usually with Wordtracker, you have a niche idea... like you want to do something that has to do with migraine, or dogs, or arthritis... So you go to Wordtracker and type in that word, and out comes what people are searching for that includes your word... so you can learn what they are thinking about.

But how about we take it from another angle. Let's type in something really general... and something that also tells us that people are looking for a solution to a problem...

What I do, is, I type in, for example "how to" into Wordtracker. So now, instead of only giving me dog or migraine or arthritis-releated hits, Wordtracker is telling me about the hottes "how-to" searches on the net.

Which is how I stumbled onto "How To Make A Cool Xanga". So many people are using this phrase when they search -- yet no site answers that question in a good way. If you could create a site that answered that question in a good way -- I am sure you could make some really nice money from it. ... Being the top site for that phrase would drive tons of targeted traffic to your site.

So what's a Xanga? Basically, it's a blog-service like Blogger (the blog you're reading now is created in Blogger)... Xanga is very popular; there is a large potential user base to your niche xanga site...

Xanga is not the point here, though. The point is how you find new, profitable niches. I learned the neat little "how to" trick from Wordtracker Magic, a nifty little book that will pay you back what you paid for it again and again, if you use the information contained in it.


Tuesday, April 26, 2005

What To Sell

There are so many tiny details to tend to when you want to make money on the Internet, that it is easy to get lost. You know, I started worrying about keyword optimizing before I even knew what to sell.

So let's take a step back, and take a look at the whole money-making business from a birds-eye view. Maybe we are complicating things too much down here on Earth.

So what do you need to make money? Not only on the net, but at all? Well, you need something to sell, of course.

What do you sell? Broadly speaking, there's only two categories.

1. Sell a product
2. Sell a service

If you are, let's say, well, a programmer, then you could sell a service. You could do programming for people. Solve their computer problems or create their websites.

If you want to do this, then your website will probably not sell directly. Rather, it would be a sort-of lead-genereating machine. Your website should build intereste and desire and credibility and your potential customer (your lead) should be drawn to contacting you for further information... and you make the sale yourself, either by phone or email.

This can be a beautiful business model, and you might like it, enjoy setting up your life and business like that, and be happy. And if you're truly happy with it, then that's fine.

The problem with this model is that the income is not passive. You have to work every time you secure a new customer.

So it doesn't scale well. That is, you can't handle too many customers. Your time is limited. So if you want to grow, you'll have to hire people, and they have to be as skilled as you are.

To me, that's just messy.

If you sell a product, you can easily become as large as the universe permits by either:

1) Selling an electronic product; software or an eBook


2) Selling physical products and having an efficient storage and shipping system in place

Now I'm lazy, and a little bit shy, so my current projects are in the number 1 category. But that is completely up to you, and I know a lot of marketers who where preaching the easy gold of e-products are now actually moving back to physical products, because they prove to be easier to sell, even online.

So let's follow that line of thought. You're selling an electronic product, yup, you're a programmer, so you create some software to sell. Now, what sort of software would you sell?

Would you try to sell that great piece of software you created last winter...?

Uhm... maybe.

Or would you try to sell that even greater piece of software you already made, that every computer user on planet Earth would need and love.

No. No no no.

You see, we're starting at the wrong end here. You cannot know what people are thinking, and what problems they need solved. Only the people with the problems know that. So you find your market first, a hungry, willing-to-buy market with a problem they need solved.

These people probably have several unanswered problems. Find the most pressing one, the one most people have. A great source for finding these kinds of unsolved problems are message boards. Now, I don't mean that you should engage in a conversation on these boards -- you probably shouldn't, at least not for business-building purposes, but you can use them to get some great ideas. Find a message board in your niche-of-choice, and go looking for gold.

Only when you know what the problem is, you create a solution. Wait until you know there is a problem, which is known to your target group, and to which they are screaming for a solution. Only then do you create your product.

Your product should be the solution to that problem, and you should sell it as that. I'll talk about how to sell the your product later, in another post -- how to write your sales letter (or "copy") so that your target market will actually buy it.

But that's for later. If you do this part of the process correctly -- you don't how to worry about the next step yet. Just do this.

Do it now! Find your niche, and the problem they're talking about the most. For example, you could use Wordtracker to do some keyword research. What are people searching for in your niche?

If you haven't used Wordtracker before, I'll push you in the right direction. First, click the link, of course.

Now sign up for the free trial. Read the instructions and follow them. Wordtracker is great at explaining the whole process, and what the results mean. It'll help you find the most profitable parts of your niche.

Do you love cats? Then type "cat" into Wordtracker and see what people are searching for regarding cats. And so on, and so on. Don't be afraid to play around and see what happens. You can't break anything!

That how you'll find out what to sell.

Have fun!