More Millionaires on the Way – Get Your Piece of the Pie

The number of millionaire households in the United States and abroad will grow rapidly over the next decade. So how does the average.com entrepreneur get their piece of the pie?

It takes a lot of homework, but you can develop a solid plan to make money at home and live the.com lifestyle. Making a million dollars is one of the American dreams, but making a million dollars on the Internet, while working out your home is the ultimate aspiration.

While there is a ton of information online that spells out how to make money on the web, sifting through the good and not-so-good information can be a head-twisting experience – especially if you’re taking the plunge and building a web site or blog for the first time.

Tips for developing your ‘make a million dollars’ strategy:

1. Cater to high-growth, highly-profitable sectors.

Develop a quality list of the most profitable industries, then strategize on ways to develop a competitive edge and fill a need within these industries. While it may not be easy to get a job in the most profitable industries, it may be possible to sell your products or services to these industries. In this economy, you may be asking yourself if there is such as thing as a profitable, high-growth sector…well, there is.

Forbes magazine listed the top ten most profitable industries. Here they are: Investment and portfolio advisors, accounting and tax preparation, dental field, chiropractors and optometrists, legal services, technical and trade schools, physicians offices, outpatient care centers, educational support services, photographers and translators.

No, choosing to sell online isn’t rocket science but deciding WHAT to sell is. These industries are good candidates for growth in an otherwise nervous market. And with strong growth lies the need for products and services to meet their operational needs. Define the possible needs of each sector. What product and service can you develop to fill a need within these industries? There lies your answer for what type of online business to develop. Stop focusing on making money, and start focusing on providing value to industries that already have a lot of money. Offer something that people with money find valuable.

Looking at the ideas in your list, which one seems to have the best chance of resonating? Which ones are easier to execute? Which ones do you think have the highest chance of succeeding?

2. Develop business models that fit the same needs as highly-popular web sites.

Research the most popular web sites on the Internet. Understand what it is that people care about on the web, then develop a business model that fits the same needs. How do you find out what sites are popular on the web? The easiest way to do this is to use Alexa. With Alexa, you can learn which sites are popular on the web. So, for example, let’s say that you like the XYZ web site and you would like to create something similar to it. How do you know, ahead of time, if the XYZ site is popular or not? You use Alexa. Download the Alexa toolbar, which makes it fast and easy to check the rank of a web site. With Alexa analytics for competitive analysis, benchmarking, market research, or business development is more thorough and effective.

Fortunately, with the Internet, anyone of any class can achieve financial success with little investment. The information is readily available. All it takes is patience and determination. There will never be a more level playing field for people to change their financial situation. But buying an eBook or an info product will not magically do it for you. You must research and develop a plan of action that fits the need of successful businesses in today’s economy.

3. Identify trends and concentrate on those trends.

A growing number of Americans are achieving millionaire status by identifying trends and then waiting for the right time. When the time is right, these people make an investment, develop a web site, or write articles that focus on the trend. Google Trends is a valuable moneymaking tool. If you strive to make money via the Google AdSense affiliate program, then Google Trends should definitely be on your list of bookmarks. This application provides detailed information about search terms and web sites that allow you to determine which will be the most profitable keywords to use in the articles you write. Google Trends offers constantly updated data in real-time. This service provided by Google seeks to track user interest in common search terms.

4. Use social media to your advantage.

Getting great social media advice can be tricky – everyone seems to have an opinion on the do’s and dont’s of properly navigating the choppy waters of social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. The key to social is “actually listening and not waiting to talk”. Many people use Twitter as a megaphone and instead, we recommend using Twitter to answer questions. Fish where the fish are-instead of only creating a site and then expecting people go to your site, go to social networks and create a page or profile, then funnel visitors through these networks to your web site.

5. Become an affiliate of eBay partner network.

By utilizing trusted partner networks, you can monetize the traffic on your web site and make it work for you. You can earn a lot of money in the eBay Partner Network (also referred to as EPN) by driving high quality traffic to eBay. Many bloggers have reported that by utilizing eBay’s partner network, the income generated from their blog was twenty-two times more than by using Google AdSense!

Other affiliate programs can make you a lot of money, but you need to face a few truths about internet marketing: there are two big players and eBay is one of them. By associating yourself with eBay’s EPN you are improving your earning potential and increasing your visibility. Remember, making money from your web sites is the goal!

The eBay Partner Network is the most profitable affiliate program available, but also the hardest to qualify for. eBay is very secretive about the qualifications that they are looking for in affiliates, but by offering a quality, highly-targeted niche site, you have a higher chance of getting your application accepted. It may take 2-4 times to get into the program, so if your application is denied, try again.

After you get into EPN you can either add PHPBAY Software to your site, and in just a few minutes you will have eBay auctions ready to make you money. Or you can just start building EPN niche sites and use your sites to send traffic directly to eBay, which will in-turn, generate you money.

Build a web site or blog to get started.

There’s all kinds of stuff for sale on the world wide web – everything from services to information to products like shoes, books, jewelry – you name it. So, if you have a dream of making money online and living the.com lifestyle, you better get your web site online and start generating traffic. The most tried and true method of doing this is by writing high-quality, original content in the form of articles. After posting those articles on your web site or blog, we recommend that you post your articles on EzineArticles.com or Articlebase.com and be sure to include a link to your web site or blog within your articles. In time, you will generate quality, one-way links to your site and because your site offers value to your visitors, your visitors will return again and again.

It’s NOT as easy as it looks…but it is possible. Choose a quality web hosting provider. With each web site you setup, you are building a valuable piece of Internet real estate that can generate income. All the work and energy that you put into your web site or blog adds up to value – goodwill value for your new web site visitors. And when you stop to think about why you are busting your butt to build this web site or blog.

…well, it’s because you are a.com entrepreneur.

Oh, and don’t forget-go green with green hosting.

Website Due Diligence Checklist of 13 Items for Website Buyers

Many website buyers complete their due diligence and wonder if they have checked everything. This causes many buyers, especially inexperienced buyers, to freeze up, and hold off on moving forward to close the website purchase. Indecision can kill great investment opportunities. There’s a time for due diligence and there’s a time to close a deal.

Every website is different but they all have similar items that a buyer must verify during the due diligence process. The list below is not an exhaustive list because a website may have additional items that need verifying. But, at the very minimum, it is mandatory that a buyer verify these items below.

I have outlined a checklist of 13 items that every novice website buyer or experienced website buyer must verify before acquiring a website. The research tools included tell the buyer where to go to research and verify these items.

1. Whois

Check the ownership information publicly available on the domain name. It’s important to start by establishing that the seller legally owns the domain name and website that he’s selling.

This may sound obvious but, as a buyer, this is where you must begin your due diligence. Don’t just assume that the seller is the legal owner of the website. Verify it. If the Whois data is private, then have the seller send you emails from the specific domain name to prove that he owns it.

You can use DomainTools.com for this research.

Whois will also provide you with extra details such as when the domain name was registered or acquired by the website seller. This should match the seller’s claims regarding how long he has owned and operated the website business. You can also verify the website’s history using Archive.org which we’ll discuss below.

2. Archive.org

It’s important to understand how long the website has been online and what it looked like in the past. Enter the website URL in Archive.org’s search engine to pull up its historical records.

Archive.org crawls and stores snapshots of web pages. This will tell you when the website was actually launched, which is often different from the registration date of the domain name. And you will be able to see what the website looked like in the past.

This will give you a good sense of the history and growth of the website. The information you glean here should match any claims made by the website seller regarding the history of the website.

3. Traffic

Check traffic numbers for the website by requesting read-only user access to the website’s traffic account. The seller will add your email address to its traffic account such as Google Analytics. You may view data but you will not have the Administrator’s ability to edit any settings.

In this way, you can log in, click around, and dig through the data to verify that it matches the traffic claims made by the seller.

4. Financials

Just as with Traffic, you must verify the financials of the website. The method of verification will depend on how the website earns and receives its money as well as how comfortable the seller is in giving you direct access to his financial data.

If the website makes money by Google AdSense, as with Analytics, the seller can give you limited user access to the data. You can log in and verify it. If the website receives PayPal payments, a similar user access method can be used. Most online payment systems have comparable user access features that a buyer can use to verify financial data.

In other cases, you may need to verify credit card statements, bank accounts, tax statements, or audited financials. In some cases, a seller can send you records directly from his financial institution.

Some sellers prefer to use video conferencing or shared computer screens (via Skype or GoToMeeting) to log in to their accounts themselves and show buyers all the data that the buyer wishes to see. In this way, the seller doesn’t give the buyer direct access to his financial accounts but the buyer can still see and verify the data.

5. SpyOnWeb.com

It’s also important to find out what other website assets are owned by a website seller. A buyer should find out if the seller owns other similar websites that could compete with the website being sold to the buyer.

SpyOnWeb.com’s research tool provides data on other online assets that belong to the same owner. A user simply has to enter the URL of the website he wants to research.

More often than not, sellers will own other websites. It’s important that the buyer uncovers whether all these websites share costs such as website hosting. Or whether all the websites’ revenues are combined and reported in the same financial account such as having one AdSense account for multiple websites.

In this way, the buyer can clearly separate these revenues and costs from the website that he’s interested in and get a clear picture of its independent financials.

6. Backlinks

Backlinks tell a buyer how popular the website is online. The higher the number of backlinks, the higher the website ranks with search engines, and generally, the higher the traffic.

Unfortunately, there are numerous backlink verification tools and they all deliver different results. So it’s best to use all of them to understand the entire portfolio of backlinks that are pointing to the website.

A buyer can use Majestic SEO, Open Site Explorer (Moz), Alexa, and Google Webmaster Tools to verify backlinks. The results from each resource will be very different. The buyer can click on backlinks to find out which websites linked to the website for sale. Backlinks from high authority websites are very valuable.

7. UDRP

The last thing any website buyer wants is to acquire a website and its domain name and discover that the domain is involved in some uncomfortable legal situation.

The reason why buyers acquire website assets and not registered businesses (such as partnerships or corporations) is in order to avoid inheriting any business liabilities. Similarly, a website asset buyer doesn’t want to acquire legal problems that a domain name may be involved in.

A quick UDRP search will tell a buyer if there are any past or current legal issues pending related to the domain name.

8. Patents & Trademarks

A website sale may involve the purchase of registered patents or trademarks owned by the seller. If the buyer will be acquiring this intellectual property in the website package, he should verify the status of these registrations.

Where these patents and trademarks were registered will determine where the buyer performs his research. The largest public databases are United States Patent and Trademark Office (United States), Canadian Intellectual Property Office (Canada), and Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (European Union). Other countries have their own intellectual property databases.

A buyer should verify that the website seller is the legal registrant of the patents or trademarks by searching these databases.

9. Copyscape

When acquiring websites that are article-driven, due to the high level of content theft online, it’s always a good idea to perform Copyscape research.

This will establish whether the website has unique content or whether the content was plagiarized from another website.

10. Domain Name Appraisal

If the website for sale was built on a premium domain name, it’s important to establish what the domain name alone is worth. A domain name appraisal may be necessary.

Both buyer and seller may opt for a formal in-depth appraisal report as provided by Sedo or Moniker. Or they could perform a quick automated appraisal using online services such as Estibot and DomainIndex.com. Automated appraisals tend to be less accurate than formal appraisals but they can sometimes provide a reasonable price range for the domain name.

If the domain name had changed hands in a previous sale, knowing the past sale price is ideal to perform a domain appraisal. This price could be uncovered from historical records available at NameBio, Estibot, Sedo, or DNJournal.

11. Google Penalty

Due to the huge importance of Google’s search engine traffic to most websites, it’s a good idea to verify that the website has not been penalized or deindexed by Google’s search engine.

There are numerous free online research tools that can verify this including Pixel Groove’s Sandbox and Penalty Checker.

12. Registered Users and Subscribers

Most websites have a list of email subscribers or registered members. It’s important to check these email marketing accounts to verify the number of members claimed by the seller.

Most email marketing services such as MailChimp and Constant Contact have features that allow an Administrator to add users with limited access. A buyer can be added as a user to log in and verify the data. Or a seller can use video conferencing to show and prove these numbers to the buyer.

13. Check Forums

Most website owners and website users are registered members of forums related to the website’s niche. Visiting forums is a great way to understand what people “on the street” think about the website and its products or services.

A simple Google search of the website URL will normally bring up any forum pages where the website has been discussed in the past. What’s great about forums is that a buyer also gets to see the dates when the forum comments were posted. It tells a buyer what the world out there thinks about the website, good or bad, over time.

These are 13 items that every website buyer must verify during due diligence and these are the tools to use to perform these due diligence tasks. Combine these with a little commonsense and any buyer can, and will, perform proper due diligence quickly on any website.

Web Traffic Secrets – How to Legally See Exactly Where Your Competitors Are Getting Their Traffic

One way to really shortcut your Internet marketing success is to see what your competitors are doing, and then just do what they do better. What an idea! They have done the hard work and put in the investment, you just have to do a little ‘spying’ to see how they are getting traffic and see how you can implement some of their strategies into your business. Note: I’m not asking you to plagiarize anyone, but you have to know how your competitors are doing their marketing and how they are creating success.

Here are some ways you can ‘spy’ on the competition to get the competitive intelligence you need:

1. Alexa

Alexa is kind of like a search engine cum traffic analysis website. Amazon owns it, so there is a lot credibility in this site. The tool you’d want to use for research purposes here is ‘Traffic Rankings’ search tool. Basically, this tool allows you to gauge how much traffic your competitors are getting. It’s not 100% perfect, but it works well as an estimate. You can type in your competitor’s URL here and see how they rank amongst all the other websites in the world, so you can decide whether their marketing strategy is working.

2. Google

Google is not only a great search engine, it’s also a great research tool. If you want to see what is making your competition’s website tick in SEO and how they are getting such high rankings, all you have to do is type in link:your competitor’s url in Google and you’ll see where they are putting up backlinks to their site to increase their SEO power. You can also observe the meta tags and structure of sites for the keywords you want to target.

3. SpyFu

SpyFu is a wonderful spying tool if you are thinking of using Google AdWords to drive traffic to your site. AdWords is one of the most targeted traffic generators online, and you can easily scale it up for humongous traffic numbers, so I highly recommend it. SpyFu allows you to see which keywords your competitors are advertising on and also how much on average they are spending daily on Adwords, among other really useful statistics.