Information & Instructions

How To Make A Fortune On the Internet by Izzy Goodman

Part 1 - Finding Your Niche

Part 2: Build A Web Site

Many sellers have made eBay their full-time occupation and many more are joining its ranks, particularly in this economy. eBay is the biggest auction site on the Internet. Writing an article about selling on the Internet which doesn't mention eBay is like discussing the American Revolution without mentioning the Declaration of Independence. Some sellers count on eBay for 100% of their sales. But is this a smart way to do business?

By the time I was selling on the Net for two years, my eBay rating was 81 (that's 84 positives, no negatives, no neutrals). But I still sold at least ten items directly off my site for every item I sold on eBay. eBay auctions should be a means to an end, not an end in itself. Your goal is to get a lot of customers, not just ratings.

The risks of relying on eBay sales exclusively are many: eBay outages that take down auctions; vacation periods where bidding slows down; poor economic conditions causing final bids to be lower; and questionable rules which cause auctions to be cancelled. Deduct the listing fees for the items that didn't sell and the ever-increasing final value fees for the items which did. Now throw in a deadbeat or two. Even worse, a customer who returns the item later or does a charge back a few months later.

eBay is a good way to start out, a good way to dispose of excess inventory and a good way to get your name out there and keep fishing for new customers. But it should NOT be used exclusively to build a business.

I strongly suggest you get yourself a web site before you start selling on eBay. It does not have to be elaborate nor does it need instant buy buttons with credit card acceptance. It should have photos of your goods, pricing and an email link. Though you may be on a tight budget, do not skimp by using one of those free web sites that puts pop-up ads on top of your page and doesn't give you a direct name. By this I mean that if your business name is JohnsVideo, the site should be called JohnsVideo.com not somecheapISP.com/johnsvideo. This is a mistake I made years ago and one I still regret.

When you own a brick-and-mortar store (called B&M on the boards), customers can form an opinion of you by the size of the store, location, inventory, etc. The same is true of a virtual store. A free web site indicates a seller who has not made the commitment to stick around. It implies that he will do anything to cut his costs, no matter how unprofessional it makes him appear. On top of that, the savings are minimal. A real domain name like johnsvideo.com along with a web site and your own email ID such as sales@johnsvideo.com will only cost about $10 a month. Since getting my own web site, I easily recover this expense every single day in increased sales. In fact, with the exception of some unusual items I occasionally come across, I very rarely sell on eBay. Why do I need a "partner" who does very little for me but keeps his hand in my pocket, often keeping a greater share of the profit that I did?

I frequently get calls from prospective customers asking me how long I've been in business. How many prospective customers are you losing because they see a website like somecheapISP.com/johnsvideo and decide you haven't even been around long enough to get a real website?

There are three steps to setting up your website. First, you need to register your domain name. Next, you have to find a server to host your domain. Last, you have to actually build the site. This once-complicated process has become much easier. Now many services will both register your domain and host your site. Some will even build it for you.

Microsoft Word and Corel Wordperfect both let you create a file and save it as an HTML web page. This is fine for simple pages. If you want to do something more elaborate, there are many Web sites that offer free lessons on HTML. If you want to create a database of the items you sell, you may have to learn some programming. If you use a database and some programming, your web pages describing your items and prices are built dynamically right off your database. Add a new item to the database and the web pages are built automatically.

Step one: Where should you go to get your website? There are many services out there, some good and some bad. It is important for you to decide what services you will need of your host. Some hosts offer the site at a low cost but provide no real support. Others charge more but provide shopping carts and credit card processing.

I chose a web host run by a consulting firm that offered some assistance with setting up ASP pages with database and email lists. It was a bargain for $10 a month. I highly recommend the service I use - Alsonetworks.com. Contact sruli@alsonetworks.com for more information.

Once I had my own website and saw how much business it brought in, I regreted not having done it sooner. I regret not having had a good one when an article of mine was published in an Internet newsletter. My free website got thousands of page views from the article. A number of people e-mailed me. Many wrote to say that they found the article very professional, then visited my website and were disappointed by its amateurish appearance and annoying pop-up ads. I had achieved the goal of a Webmaster - an active site with thousands of impressions - only to lose it all in order to save a few dollars a month.

Your website speaks for you. Do it right before the visitors arrive.

part 3 - Getting exposure for your site


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