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  1. #1
    SitePoint Member ron.jones's Avatar
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    What sells? where to start?

    For those who have "been there and done that"

    I'd like to build a revenue generating site to supplement my business income, and would like some tips, suggestions or references that may help in furtherance of my research.

    I believe that you should find out what people want to buy and then give it to them, providing greater value than they expect.

    My research so far indicates that downloadable information or binary products are easiest to sell, and that clickbank and 2checkout are good "starter systems" for billing.

    I don't expect to make "$100,000 monthly with no work at all!" A couple of thousand net would be a tidy sum and a terrific success.

    Basically, I'd like to find out what sells best, and what sources are there for me to resell?

    Is there a resource somewhere on the net that will reveal what people buy more than anything else? Are there software companies that will "drop ship" their products which you sell on your site?

    I apologize if these questions seem sophomoric and clueless, but I have found in my offline business that it's cheaper to learn from the mistakes that others have already made than to make them again.
    Ron Jones
    The Fulcrum Technology Group, Inc
    technology services for small business
    www.tftgi.com

  2. #2
    logologologooooo kosta's Avatar
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    Go to "Business & legal issues", "E-commerce", "Promotion" and "Advertising sales" forums here on sitepoint, sort the threads by number of views, and read the whole first 3 pages. It shouldn't take more than a week, and it will help a lot

    Then you can ask specific questions. I don't think anyone here is willing to reveal great business models.

    Sorry if I sound a bit rude, I'm just trying to help

    Regards,
    Kosta

  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy
    beley's Avatar
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    Even a "couple thousand a month" is a very substantial income to make anywhere (even online). It's just as hard, even harder to make a website successful as an offline business. If you get into selling something you don't know anything about, it's even more difficult. Just think - you'll be up against competitors with years of experience selling the same thing you don't know anything about.

    I would suggest finding something you're good at, or know a lot about, and think real hard to come up with a way to make money online doing that (or something relating to that). An example might be an avid fly fisher - he could create an online community about fly-fishing; write articles, sell flies and equipment, have an online forum where people could discuss the "big ones" that got away... etc.

    You get the idea... but don't get into something you don't know anything about... it just makes it harder than it already is to make a decent living. You'd be surprised but I think almost anyone here will tell you that making a decent living online is much harder than offline. The difference is that it can reward you in different ways. I, for example, set my own schedule and can do what I want - when I want. I own both an online e-commerce business and a web development consulting business.

    I have been doing this for 5 years and was in a related industry before that (software/graphics) so I have some experience to build on. So, find something you're good at (or know a lot about) and come up with a new and better business and take it online. Then you'll have something.

  4. #4
    Not now, I'm kinda busy. pdxi's Avatar
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    I see these questions all the time in this forum. People expecting silver bullets and such.

    My standard answer: You find the answer - the answer doesn't find you.
    Jeffrey Hunt, freelance PHP & MySQL developer
    Resume: http://www.jeffreyhunt.org/resume/

  5. #5
    Steve Benjamins tnrstudios's Avatar
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    couldn't have said it any better, the internet is full of good ideas, but most success' are based on hard work and knowledge.

  6. #6
    SitePoint Addict orion_joel's Avatar
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    You ask what sells, But that isnt so much the question you want to be using. Becasue the fact is anything that sells well online is done to death till you cannot really make any money online from it unless you do it way better. So sit there and ask yourself what you want to buy online but carnt, then do that. Find a supplier with those goods, just start out trying the phone book to find them.

    If you cannot think of a product to sell on the web then no one else is going to either a. give away there secret or b. tell you want should be sold on the internet. Especially in a forum where so many people are working towards the same goal you are. Which is "Making a passive income from the internet".

    The other problem i see for you is that you would be happy with a couple of thousand a month, well the comparision you have is you dont want 100k a month just a couple of thousand. Maybe you should be starting off with you would be happy with $100 a month and work up from there you would probably have a better chance of acheiveing this in a short period of time then a couple of thousand.

    Finally go and have a look at this thread http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=240314 there are maybe some ideas of how to make a bit of money online. they are by no means telling you how to do it but no one will come to you say " Ron Mate this is what you have to do to make money online" and give you a list of things to do.

    Anyway hope the other thread helps a little and best of luck
    Joel Brown - Orion Networks
    Techie-Central New Updated Style and Forums
    Stores - Books | PHP | Point of Sale | Pocket Drives

  7. #7
    SitePoint Wizard
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    Hiya Ron,

    I think you're correct that digital products are both in demand and easy to deliver online, and I certainly think it's possible to make a good living selling them too. I'm working on an eBook of my own at the moment and think I'll be using Clickbank to sell it and handle affiliate sales too.

    To research what hot and what's not, try the keyword suggestion tools at http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/ or tryout www.wordtracker.com too. I occasionally like to search for terms like "How to" or "Learn" or "Help" to get a handle on what info people are looking for and what info they might be willing to buy.

    Beley's advice is right on the money too. Get involved in something you're passionate about and develop a community website or an information product (eBook, DVD or audio) that you can sell from a website. The more automated you can make the process in my book the better - that way you'll have more free time to develop other great products to sell!

    Cheers,

    Steve
    Web Designer or Small Business Owner?
    Need More Leads and More Clients?
    Get Free Marketing Tips, Tricks and Ideas Here!

  8. #8
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    Selling a downloadable product exposes you to piracy problems (and indeed copyright issues if you just buy resell rights on a product -- not being the author you do not know if the person who sold you the rights had the right to sell them to you).

    You also of course have to deal with competition from places providing the same or equivalent software/information for free.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Member ron.jones's Avatar
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    Lightbulb BAM! there's my 1%

    Quote Originally Posted by Ravedesigns
    To research what hot and what's not, try the keyword suggestion tools at http://www.digitalpoint.com/tools/suggestion/ or tryout www.wordtracker.com too. I occasionally like to search for terms like "How to" or "Learn" or "Help" to get a handle on what info people are looking for and what info they might be willing to buy.
    Steve,

    I have recently finished a book called "Million Dollar Consulting: The Professional's Guide to Growing a Practice" by Alan Weiss.

    Even though he's targeting management consulting crowd, I'd recommend it to anyone in the business of providing value services to business customers.

    In the book, he refers to improvements of 1% that are gained by learning just ONE applicable thing from any situation.

    Thank you so very much! I've done lots of Googling over the years, and I've used the overture tool and Good Keywords (softnik). But it never occurred to me to try putting "how to" into the keyword search tool .

    I'm a small business IT consultant. In the small business market it is generalization rather than specialization that customers want. Every day, I get a "how to" question. At least once a day I have no earthly idea what the answer is and have to go find out. Good thing research is a hobby of mine.

    Perhaps there's a market for such things. We shall see.

    Thanks again Steve, and thanks everyone for being willing to share your experience.

    Ron
    Ron Jones
    The Fulcrum Technology Group, Inc
    technology services for small business
    www.tftgi.com

  10. #10
    SitePoint Guru Marubozo's Avatar
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    One thing to remember also, is as your revenues grow, whether it be from advertising or selling a product or service, your costs will also grow. So at first you might be able to rake in a few hundred a month with low traffic, as you begin to receive a few million hits a month, you might be bringing in a thousand or two a month, but your hosting/server costs to sustain that kind of traffic will increase as well.

    So just remember, the costs of running a site go up as traffic goes up. A lot of people get caught up into thinking that revenue can go up exponentially while costs remain relatively static.

    Just like any other business, come up with a plan. Run some numbers and calculations and project growth over time to see how profitable an idea can really be before deciding on what to do.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Addict
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    Bandwidth is pretty darn cheap these days!
    I'm actually selling a few digital products on someone elses secure server for $5 a month. So my traffic could multiply rapidly with no cost increase for a long time yet.
    Digital product really are wonderful to sell!

  12. #12
    SitePoint Guru Marubozo's Avatar
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    Bandwidth is cheap, but the hardware required to run script/database driven sites is not as cheap. Sure, if you are just serving a few pages with content and drawing a lot of traffic, you don't need as much hardware as you do bandwidth. But if you have a more complex perl/php/asp/etc. driven site with a large database containing users, products, etc. it does not scale as easily as the bandwidth requirements.

    A heavy traffic scipt and database driven site with millions of pageviews per month could easily require you to run a pretty hefty dedicated server.


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