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Website owners are always faced with challenges, such as:Why can't I get traffic to my site?Why are my sales so poor?Why are my sales poor when I have lots of traffic coming to my site?Why are my advertising revenue so low?If you have extensive knowledge about how the Web works, savvy about online marketing, and loves to analyze web metrics, you can earn money by reviewing other web sites. Think of yourself more as a consultant who is willing to look at the website as a whole and analyze why it is working or why it is not. This type of service goes beyond SEO or internet marketing, but offers
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a comprehensive view of the website performance and troubleshoot problemsOne example of such service is SambayReviews.com, where for $95, they will review your site design, usability and marketing effectiveness. Their review outline can give you an idea of how a site review can be done.You can also choose to simply include website review as one of the services offered by your existing business. Ediwriter.com, for example, is a professional copywriting firm with site review as one of their services.However, it is important to note that there are forums, Q&A sites or blogs that offer website reviews for FREE. In Yahoo Answers, for example, one of the common questions in the search engine optimization section is to review the asker's website. Hence, for your paid service to succeed, you need to provide an in-depth analysis, not just cosmetic reviews that they can get from YA or other forums. To make your PAID website review successful, here are my suggestions:Focus on usability analysis.from navigation architecture to credibility and flow of the siteAnalysis of web metrics such as funnel analysis to show how a person goes from one page to the goal of the site (e.g. purchase page or advertising order)Search engine optimization analysis focusing on on-page factors and link analysisConversion analysis to help the site owner finetune elements of the site to improve sales and turn visitors to buyersIf you will give any of the above, then you can definitely charge for your review.

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Microsoft Office Live is organizing an event for women entrepreneurs entitled Vision to Venture: Smart & Simple Strategies for Startup Success . This event will be held in the following cities:St. Louis = April 2 San Diego = April 15Miami = April 22Austin = April 24 Seattle = May 9 If you live anywhere near these areas, you may want to check this out. Registration is free anyway. If you cannot join in person, you can register for the free, on-demand Webcast - available in May.

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If you are planning to sell your business, one of the key questions you'll ask is: "How do I find buyers?"One way is to use the Internet and list your business in sites that brings business buyers and sellers together. Watch out, though, as many sites are sketchy at best. The most effective and reputable sites are:BizBuySell.com http://www.bizbuysell.com/ = This site has the biggest traffic in this area, and cost of listing your business for sale ranges from $59.95 per month to $99.95 per month. Businesses for sale also appear in Wall Street Journal's online edition, ensuring more targeted buy
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ers for businesses.BizQuest.com http://www.bizquest.com/ = Listings per month costs slightly lower at $54.95 - $74.95 per month. This site has partnered with Entrepreneur.com so listings are generate more visibility.However, if doing it yourself is not something you'd want to do, you can enlist the help of business brokers and other intermediaries. You can find brokers at:Business Brokers Association http://www.ibba.org/ = This is a non profit organization of business brokers. Their site allows you to search for business brokers by stateAlliance of Merger & Acquisition Advisors http://www.amaaonline.org = represents buyers and sellers of businesses from "$5 to $150 million in transaction value." Their services include due diligence, buyer/seller representation, business valuation, tax planning, legal, and financial advisory.You can also opt to enlist the help of business broker franchises such as VR Business Brokers http://www.vrbusinessbrokers.com

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The government website Business.gov http://www.business.gov/ has created a new search capability that will allow you to search for the business license needed to start a business at the state and county/city level.This new search feature is very much needed. A lot of small and home-based entrepreneurs know that they have to fulfill some regulatory requirements, but they simply do not know where to begin, what do they need and who to contact. Having this type of information can ease the new entrepreneur's confusion of what to do, and avoid costly mistakes for failure to get the necessary licens
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es and permits. The granularity of the data at Business.gov -- from the state level to the city/county level -- is what I find the most helpful as it can allow a person to know the legal and regulatory requirements from the state level as well as the county level.At PowerHomeBiz.com, we get a lot of questions on what are the requirements of the state if they want to start a business -- e.g. What do I need to starting a catering business in Los Angeles, California; or Do I need a license to operate an online store in New Mexico? -- questions that can be answered with this new search capability. As a response to these types of questions, we created our State by State Guide to Starting a Business .Now, if only they promote this search capability more intensively and let people know that it exists, then this new search capability of Business.gov would be a tremendous source of valuable information to new entrepreneurs.

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eBay's huge success can inspire others to replicate its business model and start their own auction site.Alas, it is hard to follow eBay's model where anything and everything can be traded on their site (within their guidelines, of course). Even Yahoo Auction, with all their marketing might and technology, can't even hold a candle to eBay. None of the big auction sites - from Ubid to Overstock Auctions -- can really claim to have anywhere near the customer base of eBay.If you are thinking of starting an auction website, the key to success is FOCUS. Do not go head-on with the giant that is eBay
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-- if you want your auction site to survive. I've seen some small entrepreneurs start an auction site, attracting very few sellers and buyers their sites look almost pityful. You'll stand a better chance of succeeding if you focus on a particular niche.Look at the wine arena for example. You have Winebid.com, CellarExchange.com, and other auction sites that are doing pretty well.Think of a sector or a particular audience. For example, Playle.com is a small auction site for vintage postcard collectors.Then find a good auction software that you can configure and customize to add features you'd like in your auction community. It is best if you yourself is a techie, or can have someone on board who knows how to troubleshoot and configure the software.Unless you can make the software yourself, expect startup capital to be around $10,000 or more. You'll need robust and scalable hosting, one that can handle 100 to 100,000 users on the fly without crashing -- and those don't come cheap (dedicated servers start at $99 per month and up).There are very successful niche auction sites out there. Study how they are done, and copy the aspects that worked well for them.

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When you have a small business, should you hire your family or friends? Here are some pros and cons to consider:Pros:You know them; and they know you so the getting-to-know learning curve is non existentYou trust themYou know what they can do and their area of expertiseThey know how important this business is to youThey know how you work (whether you are intense, easy going or high strung)They know how to deal with you and they can offer you the work complement you need (e.g. your father may be a great accountant and you need the expertise while you are great with marketing)You may be able to
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get the labor and expertise at a lower rateCons:They know you and may not take you seriously when you ask them to do the work Relationships can be affected if you are not satisfied with their performance or they are not happy with how you are treating themIt's harder to ask them to do something because you might be shy to ask them to do an errand and you will do the work insteadThey might not be prepared to deal with a different you -- not as the friend or family member they know but as the bossDifficulty in adjusting to this new relationship and dynamicsIt really depends on the extent of work and your relationship with them. In my opinion, though, generally, hire your friends and family IF AND ONLY IF the two of you knows when to separate the family/friend relationship from the boss/employee relationship. And that you both understand what you expect from each other, and know that it will not always be easy.It also helps if you know that the family member or friend you are hiring can be a positive contribution to your business (e.g. if you know your friend is extremely flighty and unreliable, you are better off hiring someone more dependable and knowledgeable).

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