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Three Traits of Successful Websites Find out what the owners of these one- and two-person Internet businesses did to generate as much as half a million dollars in sales each year.

By Corey Rudl

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

I'd like to share some personal insights with you that I believe will really help you move forward in your online business goals. The spark of inspiration for this article came when I was reviewing the interviews that had been conducted for our new site, Secrets To Their Success, where each month you'll find new interviews with real people who've had extraordinary success on the Internet.

Each interview I read told a real-life story of hard work and dedication, but there were also some messages that weren't so obvious at first glance. It was these underlying "common threads" that really interested me. I wondered, "What are the common traits shared by the owners of these one and two-person Internet businesses that have allowed them to build Web sites that generate incomes of $100,000 to $600,000 each and every year?"

Since they sell everything from body building programs to designer soaps to courses on day trading, what they sell is important, but it doesn't seem to be the key factor in their success. Their ages, formal education or prior knowledge of the Internet also didn't appear to be relevant to the ability of these entrepreneurs to make money online.

The more I read, the more it became obvious that besides all the strategies and techniques these people revealed as part of their "success formula," there were actually three common traits they all shared that have allowed them to grow their businesses and generate such extraordinary incomes.

Trait #1: They just plain got started. Most of the people we interviewed had little or no prior knowledge of the Internet. Typically, this was their first Internet business. Some had never even turned on a computer prior to getting started! And that's the first point I want to make: It doesn't matter what your knowledge level is when you start--the important point is, you need to begin.

You don't have to do everything well. In fact, you don't have to do anything well when you start! But you have to start. Take the first steps (no matter how small) to move your Web site dream into reality. You don't need to wait until you know "everything." These successful netpreneurs didn't wait until their sites were "perfect" or until they knew everything there was to know about selling on the Internet before they got started; they're living proof that you don't need to be an Internet marketing guru to start making money online. I'm sure you, too, have a great idea that's been percolating in your brain. You just need to start.

Trait #2: They focused on one thing and did it well. The second common thread I saw was that each one of these people focused on just one marketing strategy at a time, did it well, maximized profits and then moved on to the next one. That's why they also said they know there's so much more they can do.

There are many ways you can promote your web site. Some of them will give you a quick traffic boost (such as pay-per-click search engines); others will establish your reputation more slowly (such as writing articles and providing free content for other webmasters); still others (such as finding strategic partners who'll link to your site) will pay off well into the future for the work you do today.

That's the good news! You don't have to put a lot of pressure on yourself believing that you have to do it all or know it all. To follow the lead of these successful netpreneurs, focus on just one marketing strategy such as submitting your site to search engines, publishing your own newsletter or learning about how to write effective sales copy. and then really master it. Learn all you can, and apply the knowledge as you learn it. This is how you can generate $100,000-plus from your online business--by focusing on one marketing strategy at a time.

Start by choosing the theme of your site and then strive to become the dominant site serving your niche market. Next, make a list of all the different ways you can increase sales and then decide which one will make you the most money and start with that one. Leave the rest on your to-do list until you've squeezed every dollar out of the traffic-generation technique, sales strategy or design element you're working on. There will always be loads of other ideas just waiting for you to use to earn even more profits.

Trait #3: They wish they'd modeled success sooner. These successful entrepreneurs confess to having made mistakes--costly, frustrating and time-wasting mistakes that could have been easily avoided. This is the hard way to learn. After all, you don't have to be the one who makes the mistake to learn from it. It's much easier to learn from other people's mistakes. They all said they could have been earning a much bigger income much faster if they'd only started their Internet education earlier and modeled the success of others.

And that leads us to the third common thread I want to share with you which is that all of these people have committed to educating themselves in the most profitable marketing strategies and techniques. You don't need to personally conduct your own "trial and error" experiments to discover what software to use, which online resources are the most helpful, or which overall Web site designs are producing the best results in today's competitive Internet environment.

Others have already cut a path through the Internet jungle for you. Just get on the right trail, and apply the strategies and techniques as you learn about them. Great ideas are transferable. What works for others can be adapted for your site, too.

Final Thoughts
Building a successful online business is more of a journey than a destination. What works today may or may not work tomorrow. That's why the learning process never stops. The fact that the Internet continuously changes is the number-one advantage you have over your competition if you stay ahead of the learning curve and they don't. Make a commitment to continuous learning. Study top sites like the ones on Secrets To Their Successand model your Web site after them.

These successful netpreneurs are regular people who didn't start out with multimillion dollar advertising budgets, huge staffs or advanced technical knowledge. In fact, most of them started out with almost no budget, by themselves and with little prior knowledge of marketing on the Internet. Your site doesn't have to be perfect to make money, but you can't make money until you start!

Corey Rudl is president of the Internet Marketing Centerand SecretsToTheirSuccess.com, and has written, among other publications,Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet. Corey and his team of experts publish revealing and informative interviews and site reviews every month. You can activate a free membershipto Corey's private member site today and learn how to immediately apply these secrets to your online success. Any questions? Contact questions@marketingtips.comfor free tips and resources.

Corey Rudl, president and founder of the Internet Marketing Center is the author of the best-selling course Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet. An internationally sought-after Internet business consultant and speaker, Corey focuses his energy on the research and development of practical, cost-effective Internet marketing strategies and software for the small and homebased business owner.

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