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        a home based business onlinehome business ideas

        Another AHBBO Article
        Diversify to Survive

        © 2000-2017 Elena Fawkner

        Over the past few days the news headlines have been focused
        on Wall Street and the downward spiral of all of the major stock
        indexes.  As usual when one of these shake-outs occurs, the
        popular media tries to reduce the issues to easy to understand,
        bite-size morsels.  A favorite strategy is to profile a 搕ypical?
        small investor who had all his eggs in one basket when the market
        crashed and now his entire life savings are nothing more than red
        ink on his personal balance sheet.

        Had our typical small investor diversified his portfolio, investing
        some of his capital in blue chip stocks, some in tech stocks,
        some in property, some in bonds, chances are he would still be
        in the black.  The same can be said for anyone running an online
        business.  The online environment is so dynamic and volatile, and
        so many so-called 揾ot?opportunities come and go (and don抰 do
        much in between), that devoting your entire enterprise to just one
        product or service offering is nothing short of dangerous, if not
        outright foolish.

        The answer, then, is to place a few eggs in several baskets, so if
        the bottom falls out of one, you can still make an omelet with
        what抯 left.  In other words, diversify your product and service
        offerings to generate multiple streams of income. 


        Here抯 five ideas to get you started:

        1.  Affiliate programs.
        2.  Own products and services.
        3.  Website advertising.
        4.  Ezine advertising.
        5.  Content access via subscription.

        We抣l look at each of these individually in a moment, but first, one
        important caveat.  The concept of multiple streams of income does
        NOT mean you should rush out and add new products and services
        to your repertoire willy-nilly.

        Whatever you choose to offer must be closely related to the subject
        matter of your site.  If your site is about pet care, don抰 try and sell
        saucepans.  To do so is not only a waste of valuable time and other
        resources but you compromise the integrity of your site抯 purpose,
        not to mention your credibility as an expert in your field. 

        But even more importantly than that, all traffic is not created equal. 
        Sure, if you create a separate page on your pet care website just for
        your new saucepan line you may attract one or two site visitors you
        may not have attracted otherwise.  But those visitors were interested
        in saucepans, not pet care.  Once they reach your site they抣l
        assume you抳e lost the plot and click away faster than you can say
        搘here抎 he go?? 

        Far, far better to have fewer site visitors who are all highly interested
        and motivated by the subject matter of your site (highly targeted
        traffic) than relatively more visitors who are only somewhat interested
        and motivated (untargeted traffic). 

        The return on your investment will always be MUCH higher from
        targeted traffic in the form of repeat visits, referrals, recommendations
        and, of course, all-important sales.

        OK, let抯 turn now to the five sources of income.


        The first and most obvious source of income is affiliate programs. 
        I抦 sure most of you are already well-familiar with the concept but,
        if not, you can get a quick primer by reading the article at 
        http://www.shelteredturtle.com/affiliate.html .

        To be effective as an income-generator, the affiliate programs you
        choose should be closely related to the subject matter of your site
        in the sense that a visitor interested in your website content will
        also be interested in the subject matter of the affiliate program you
        are promoting.

        To start your search for appropriate affiliate programs, visit 
        http://www.associatesearch.com and/or  http://www.refer-it.com .


        While affiliate programs are a good place to start, you are working
        on commission.  For significant, long-term, sustainable income
        you need to develop your own line of products and services.  This
        does not necessarily mean you must personally create the product
        or service; it just means you get to keep the profits on any sale.

        You could, for example, sell products you purchase from a
        wholesaler.  Under this type of arrangement, you buy the product
        for a certain price and sell it for a higher price.  The difference is
        your profit.  The profit under this type of arrangement will, 99% of
        the time, be significantly higher than the commission income you
        generate with affiliate programs.  If you don抰 want to bother with
        the hassle of storing inventory and shipping orders, make
        arrangements for the wholesaler to drop-ship orders to your
        customers instead. 

        Of course, you can always create your own products as well.  A
        good option for an online business is a digital product such as an
        e-book since production and distribution costs are extremely low. 
        Your customer simply downloads the product from your server to
        her hard disk.  But you don抰 have to restrict yourself to digital
        products.  You might choose to write a book and have it
        professionally bound and printed.  Or you may choose to make
        your book available in both digital and traditional format with
        different price points to reflect the different production and shipping


        Once you have generated consistently high, targeted traffic to your
        website, you can begin to think about charging for third party
        advertising on some of your website real estate.  The price you
        can charge for banner advertising depends on your traffic whether
        your advertiser pays you to simply host his banner or whether she
        pays you per click-through.  Particularly if your revenue depends on
        click-through it is very important (both for you and your advertiser in
        terms of repeat business) that your advertiser抯 product or service
        is relevant to the overall subject matter of your website.

        Your pricing would generally be set at a CPM rate, for example $20
        per thousand page views.  So, if your site receives 5,000 page
        views a week, that抯 $100 a week in advertising revenue.  The more
        targeted your traffic, the more you can charge as your CPM.


        You have, I抦 sure, heard it said many times that a great way to
        generate traffic to your website is to publish an ezine (electronic
        magazine or newsletter).  That抯 certainly true.  Ezines are a terrific
        traffic generator.  But they can also be a source of revenue in their
        own right. 

        Once you hit 1,000 subscribers (as a general rule) you can start
        charging for advertising in your ezine.  Again, CPM is a good
        pricing model to start with.  I price my advertising at $5 CPM.  This
        means if I have 8,000 subscribers, a classified ad costs $40; if I
        have 9,000 subscribers, a classified ad costs $45, and so on. 

        Again, the more targeted your subscriber database, the higher your
        CPM.  Some very highly targeted, specialized ezines can charge
        as much as $40 CPM or more.  Others that are very general and
        untargeted may only be able to generate $2 CPM.  Again, the time
        and effort you expend in targeting your market audience, the higher
        your potential revenue.


        The number one commodity people are looking for online is
        information.  Consider making your website content available on a
        members-only basis, charging a membership fee for access.  Your
        content has to be of genuine value to your website visitors, however. 
        Don抰 try this if all you抮e offering is a collection of other people抯

        The type of content that lends itself well to this type of arrangement
        includes things like apartments for rent listings (eg 
        http://www.westsiderentals.com ), home-based job openings, that
        sort of thing. 

        Members-only sites that consist of a collection of freely available
        products and tools can also work well if, by joining, the member
        saves him or herself many hours of independent searching and
        collating the  relevant materials. 

        Apart from information, entertainment-type content also lends itself
        well to a pay-for-access type of arrangement.  The obvious
        example is the highly lucrative internet pornography industry.  Say
        what you will about it, it is a business model that most online
        entrepreneurs would love to be able to replicate in their own industry,
        if only they could generate the same level of interest.  It抯 that
        targeted traffic principle yet again!

        As I said, these are just a few ideas to get you started.  Once you
        start implementing these, others will suggest themselves to you. 
        It really doesn抰 matter what you do so long as it works for you.  By
        all means, if something works well, don抰 stop what you抮e doing. 
        But don抰 rest on your laurels either.  Make sure you always have
        other wells to drill if today抯 runs dry.


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