At the End of the Internet Gold Rush
How To Survive A Turbulent Business Startup
by Mark Askew
You've probably noticed a significant change in hits since the Internet Gold rush ended in 2000.
You may have gotten on the band wagon right when it seemed the wheel fell off. And you may be a bit bruised in the backside from kicking yourself for having waited too late. Here is some soothing salve. The Internet is alive and well and it's not likely to go anywhere. Why? For one it has proved to be more than a practical tool for information access. Second, most users who were online during the gold rush are still with us in some shape or form.
In addition, although we are finally beginning to strip off the "Hey I got a computer so I must be intelligent enough to start my own home business" mentality, many have become addicted to the internet very much like those who are addicted to television not to mention those humanoids you've seen walking around with what appears to be a Borg implant connection device in the ear ideal for wireless phone insertion. These have become a permanent part of life. The wireless phone that is. And in many cases life savers. The Internet, like the phone, has evolved into a tool for crucial data access, vital personal and business communications, as well an excellent entertainment medium.
So why is it that your ads are not being clicked on as they once were? Why, after months of paying submission services, not to mention scores of pay per lead and click services, your hits are decreasing exponentially?
I asked myself that very question some time ago. As the owner/webmaster of the Mortgage Loan Search Network ( at http://www.mortgageloansearch.net and LowRatesFinancing.com ) I've tried the best of the best in site promotion. Oddly, when I first reached over 400 hits a day and was heading for the big five, all of a sudden hits began to decline. This continued for a time. Then with out warning they picked up almost doubling and sure enough began to decline rapidly again. "What's going on?" I screamed. To make matters worse the site that had the most hits was a free .com framed site with page forwarding. Search engines supposedly avoid these like the plague. Yet here came the hits. The problem with these sites is that the index file does not take a traffic tracker code and so it was often a mystery as to where the folks were coming from.
As the stock market began to fall and dot coms became dot gone I began to feel the whistle of air blowing out the big bucks balloon, the mournful moo of the thinning cash cow and soon started to lose all hope of making $10,000+ a month. No more dreams of quitting the day job, traveling with laptop under arm and dipping my toes into the clear cool waters of a far away resort island ....sigh. Then one night as I contemplated that I had gotten this far (over $3400 in revenue that month with little overhead) I realized I had to be a dip stick to think about giving this all up. Besides, someone is spending money out there and others know it. Otherwise there would not be so many affiliate partnership opportunities available.
So what's really going on here?, I asked. I pulled out our detailed traffic reports from months earlier and read the leads and click-thru data to find an answer. Then I decided to look at the promotions report detailing each time I submitted URLs to free submit, pay-per-click search engines, sent out a newsletter to opt-in e-mail groups and posted listings in lender directories.
I soon began to see trends here and there. The trends were not based on any single act performed by me or any muddled marketing venture. It had to do with the whole online business and promoting process. The things that went right and the things that went wrong. The search engines that finally indexed my submissions. The message boards that were taken down. Affiliate programs that were born and their servers that crashed. Virus scares. Internet shoppers taking their annual summer vacations and long holiday weekends. Market rates fluctuating. Yes the whole of it and not the part of it determined how things would turn out weeks, even months down the road. I also noticed that some of my campaigns worked better than others did due to these hidden characteristics of that particular promotion season.
And here lies an important lesson. Just as you would prepare for sudden altitude changes, weather conditions and bumpiness on a flight to Tahoolaville, so one must prepare for sudden changes when engaging a marketing campaign. You must start taking a broader look at where you're trying to go and obvious obstacles that could upset anticipated results and prepare yourself and your business for some turbulence.
In so doing remember this. DON'T put all your eggs ... Wait! Before we go there, exactly how many eggs do you have in the first place? How many coms do you have running the show? ONE!? Then you're in for some major turbulence. May as well open a door or bust out a window and jump out the plane. To play out turbulence don't rely on one marketing campaign aimed at one website or online business service. Divide the various services of your business into 2 to three parts. Promote these services as if they were different entities. Put similar pages (not duplicate pages) on other websites with different hosts and servers. Promote each sites services as if it were its own company. If you work with affiliate partnerships don't settle for one good one. Take the time to find three good ones. Then if one site or program bites the dust you have the other sites to keep the traffic and income stream flowing.
So prepare for turbulent situations by getting the big picture, keeping a good traffic reports log, closely watch lead, hits and submission trends. Establish more than one business entity and enter other affiliate partnerships. Above all strap yourself in for the trip. It can be a wild and crazy ride. But if you hang on you're more likely to reach the beautiful island villas all in good time.
|Mark Askew is editor for Mortgage Loan Search at www.MortgageLoanSearch.net, an extensive business grant and lending marketplace directory for financing or refinancing business, home, auto and student loans. Mark writes interest rate news and low rate financing tips and guides for shopping low interest rate loans online.|
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