Archive for the ‘internet markating’ Tag

Plan Your Internet Success Part 8 – Select an ISP

8. Select an ISP

There are literally thousands of Internet Solution Providers (ISP) today, and all offer similar things (more or less) presented in different packages and under different names.

However, there are three main options for users like you and me, and they include:

a) Shared Hosting – You, along with hundreds of others are hosted on the same machine(s), same hard drive and the applications that you can use are limited to what is available on that machine.

b) VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting – This is much more flexible than the shared hosting, since you have your own “virtual” drive within a server. This option gives you access to much more as far as applications, adding domains, IP addresses, etc. Furthermore, with some ISP, you get basic admin support.

c) Dedicated Server – A server (machine) is dedicated to you and only you, and the admin support is a bit more advanced. In this instance, you may upload any application you want and do pretty much whatever you want with your server.

The obvious difference between the three is cost, since a shared hosting can cost as little as $5 monthly, while you would be hard-pressed to find a dedicated server at less than $100 monthly.

The deciding factor here is what type of Web site you are planning to have. If your Web site consists of a few pages with some content and a few links to an advertiser or an advertising network then the first option is more than enough for you.

Alternatively, if you are going to run a database and need to install some apps, such as a shopping cart, to run your business, then the VPS solution or a dedicated server is for you. The big difference between the two is bandwidth and maintenance, and this is when you need to make a decision between VPS or dedicated machine.

I recommend that if you need a shopping cart and database capability, start with a VPS and take it from there. Some VPS servers allow you tremendous capacity and have pretty much all the apps that you would want to run your business, so it is my preferred choice.  Additionally, assuming that you outgrow the VPS, there are ways to transition to a dedicated server that enable you to do this very smoothly.

Resources: ISPs that I like and use

Regardless of where you decide to host your site, I would suggest that you make sure that you can upload your files via FTP (File Transfer protocol) or SSH (secure transfer) and get a FTP solution and always backup your Web site’s files. This will allow you to switch to another ISP provider if you are not happy with the one you first selected*

Finally, if you do not have the budget for a VPS and decide to go to a shared hosting, but worry about your shopping cart or the lack of it, there are solutions.  You can look for payment solutions that offer external links to shopping carts like PayPal, for example. The integration is relatively simple and while this is not the most elegant or inexpensive way to deal with purchases, it works well and is secure. Furthermore, PayPal is well established and that is something that may offer an added level of comfort for buyers who are conscious of security on the Internet.

* This is another reason why I personally register my domain with a registration provider that is independent of my ISP.

You can download a complete copy of this manuscript “Plan Your Internet Success” on my website at


What About Business Plan and Funding

At this juncture some people ask me about creating a full business plan to get a complete “picture” of what is needed to succeed.  My approach is simple. If you plan (or need) to raise capital to launch your venture then, absolutely, you will need a full Business Plan (and, as a matter of fact, much more).

However if you want to launch a web venture that you will keep relatively small-scale until you see how it “respond” to your initial marketing campaign, then I do not recommend that you spend the time needed to develop a full-scale Business Plan.  After all a complete business plan will probably run 50-75 pages and will take considerable time and research to accomplish.

Is this something that you want to do at this early stage? Possibly, but I would not recommend it unless you absolutely need funds to launch your business, and considering the state of funding in this country today, you better have a very unique idea that will show revenues very quickly.

My approach is that unless you need very complex programing and marketing expenditures that will cost you a bundle spend your time focusing on creating a small-scale business and growing it until such time when it has some clients and some revenues.  Then your chances to succeed in raising capital will be greatly improved.  Trust me on that one, I’ve been trying to raise capital for a start-up for several months and even though I bring quite a bit of experience in this field it hasn’t help.  Bottom line is that, today, the climate is not good for an early stage ventures.  Investors are still hanging on to their money and want to see revenues before considering if they should invest or not.

Finally, creating a complete Business Plans and raising capital is something that I cover during the group and one-on-one sessions since these are very personal and very intensive processes that require a lot of attention and take quite a bit or research and time.

In conclusion I did not overlook full-blown Business Plans or Fund Raising.  Rather, in this manual, my only goal is to give entrepreneurs what I consider to be the absolute minimum they will need to do in order to insure their success on the Net.  And this starts by rolling your sleeves and getting down to proving your concept and make it work, be it a small scale one.

Coming up Saturday Part 5: Choose your Domain Name

You can also read the entire document “Plan Your Internet Success” on my web site at

Plan Your Internet Success – Part 3 – Research Your Competition and Learn

3. Research your Competition and Learn

The best and easiest way to do this is search through Google, Bing, and Yahoo! or via directories for competitors using the keywords that you found. Take a look at the companies listed on the first two pages, including those found in the sponsor boxes. Review what they do well and not so well, including the “look and feel,” presentation, style, content, navigation, etc.  Make a checklist of what to do to improve or what not to do when you come across competitors that are not doing it right. Print out the pages of the ones that you find interesting and make notes that will help you remember why you liked the pages or what you did not like.

See how they rank by using services like Quantcast ( to measure their success on the Net. If you are checking ranking with Alexa, be very careful since Alexa can be skewed very easily and may not reflect reality.

Another simple way to do this is to input the company’s URL on Google or Yahoo! and check the number of links they show; remember, the more, the better. Keep these links in mind for later and make a note of the sites that have the most. These Web sites may be businesses with which you may want to have your own links as you get established.

Resources: Search:

Resources – Business:

Finally, never underestimate your competition, especially on the Internet. You have no idea what their resources may be and how well they can reach their target audience, no matter how trivial their copy, or how poor their Web site may look to you.

The complete manuscript is available at


Plan Your Internet Success – Part 1 – FIND YOUR NICHE

1. Find an Area of Business where an Opportunity Exists and Define your Niche

The first thing that we will be looking at is the type of business you should be doing.

This is an area where many gurus claim to have the secret to make a lot of money very fast (even when you are asleep or when you’re on vacation in Bermuda). However, if they know something you or I do not, I would be very surprised. Furthermore, why would anyone who knows the secret to getting rich fast sell it to you or me for $9.99 or even $999? In pure business terms, selling something worth millions for a mere $9.99 makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Bottom line: to succeed you must do some work and come up with an idea for a business in which you are interested. Hopefully, it will be original but, more importantly, something that you want to do because you care about it, not simply because someone told you that you can make money doing it. I’ve been around for many years and I’ve been an entrepreneur most of my life, but I have never come across something that was easy and allowed me to make money doing nothing. Business is not being on vacation in the Bermuda…it’s hard work and you need to be prepared for that reality.

Whatever you do, do not spend your money buying some “get rich quick” scheme. Doing this is like going to Vegas with lots of bells and whistles with only one outcome: you will lose your money (and I’m not sure you’ll even get bells and whistles with gurus)!

The reality is that there are hundreds of opportunities in this world at any given time. A good example of this is real estate, where agents get lots of leads when the economy is booming and people are on a buying spree for houses; meaning they’ll need a realtor, financing, insurance, trade workers for remodeling, etc. In a down economy, these same people will be looking to re-finance, and will be in need of cheaper insurance, as well as assistance with foreclosures, while others will look to buy foreclosures because they are better off. In short, it’s all a matter of timing and intuition, as well as what you will see me mention many times in this publication: “common sense.”

These areas of business are called verticals and to help you explore and find a vertical you may like, professionally speaking. I listed some resources below.


I suggest that you look at what kind of businesses are being launched or simply discussed. Trends come and go, and some are very quick to go, so you want to be careful about not getting sucked into something that will fizzle tomorrow. But more importantly, find something that you feel comfortable with. Don’t get involved in areas that are of no interest to you or that you would not want to be involved in simply because someone tells you that there is a lot of money to be made. Believe me, no matter how good it sounds, it is never easy, especially if you do not know the business.

Once you’ve done your research and found something that you’d like to pursue, drill down to the very specifics of this business. Go online and into chat rooms specific to your industry. Listen to what people are saying in the chat rooms and talk to those who have been working in your particular industry. Learn from the failure of these people and, as much as you can, learn from the success stories that you will read.
When you are satisfied that you’ve found something you’d like to get involved in, try to find a unique angle, a very personal way to target the audience that you are going after. In other words, try to find a core (niche) audience within this vertical and find a product or service that matches their expectations.

For example, let’s say that you want to generate leads for car dealers. That’s a business idea that has its merits, but defining what kind of cars would be even better. For example, would you want to have leads of people who are looking for SUVs, minivans, full-size cars or sports cars? Those are all very different demographic targets and trying to catch them all under one lead generating document would be very difficult. As a result, I suggest that you look for a core audience (or niche), where there is more potential.
These niches are much more specialized and targeted and, as such, limited; something that will result in fewer leads (for example, if, at any moment, 1000 people are shopping for a car, probably fewer than 10 percent, or under 100 people, would be looking to buy a sports car – if you were targeting sports cars shoppers, your potential for prospects would be only that number of buyers). However, targeting a niche market has tremendous advantages, especially on the Internet. It allows you to be very specific when you are creating advertisement or landing page for your Web site.

In other words, marketing a service or product to a niche audience can be a lot more cost efficient than targeting a broad audience.

Furthermore, the Internet allows you to create a multitude of pages and campaigns, each targeted at a specific niche, and, as a result, you could simultaneously or over time develop multiple niches within the same vertical.

What is important when developing different niches is to test them to get a “feel” for what works and what doesn’t. Based on the results of these tests, you would then increase marketing efforts or not, and move on to another niche market.

Keep in mind that the Internet is like a gigantic mall, where you can open specialized shops in record time and with minimum investment. So my question is “Why not do exactly that?” One note of caution, educate yourself on the niche you go after and never spend too much money developing your Web site or marketing it. However, and again, above all, don’t try to sell something you don’t know anything about or you don’t care for. Don’t try to sell vitamins if you don’t care about vitamins or know nothing about them. I guarantee that your chances of success would be extremely limited.

The complete manuscript is available at