• Thursday, 6 April 2006

    XSitePro And The Spirit Of Free Enterprise

    One of the vital ideas it's important to understand about the world wide web is that is just naturally designed to favour categories and niches, the narrower and more highly specialised the better.

    What I mean is that if you want to build a site about shirts for example, you'd be much better off building a whole bunch of sites about different types of shirts; formal, casual, silk, cotton, Hawaiian, even individual brands or sports, rather than one big generic shirt site.

    If, like me, you've next to no experience of building websites the thought of building just one can seem very scarey, as I wrote here yesterday New Beginnings. Now here I am saying build even more! What am I, crazy?

    Well actually, I have a cunning plan to cope with that problem - or at least a piece of software in mind that's going to handle it for me.

    Sometimes in life it's best to just dive in, get things started and make the rules up as you go along. Other times a bit of planning and research is called for and this is one of those times. There's an awful lot of software, eBooks and all sorts of moneymaking schemes available on the net, all of which promise to make it easy to make your fortune from the convenience of your own home or even on the beach!

    My mission, and I've chosen to accept it, is to find the golden yellowbrick road to financial independence and personal happiness, hopefully passing relatively unscathed through the thick forest of despair and deception without too much drama!

    After a lot of time spent researching and reading literally hundreds of websites I've come to realise that the hoped for dream, an effortless way to print money whilst enjoying the good life is as rare on the web as in real life. It happens sometimes but basically you need to work at it and not give up too easily.

    Good tools make hard work easier so it's obviously crucial to get the very basic first moves right. As I'm continually reminding my wife Ursula, who is documenting her own efforts to start an internet business at A Woman's Work, the most important part of a house is the foundation. If that's crooked, the house will fall down and I intend the House of Rose to last.

    The first tool we have decided to buy is called XSitePro, which does everything that expensive professional web design software like Dreamweaver does and a whole lot more besides as you can see on this page they call 47 More Reasons Why You Need XSitePro.

    I've only just learned that the people behind this package are English and based in Leeds in Yorkshire. Sometimes it's easy to think that the USA owns the internet, so it's great to have found a great European company to launch my adventures into cyberspace.

    XSitePro offer an affiliate scheme for people like me (or you) to recommend their software and earn a little commission if someone buys it and I'm almost certainly going to sign up for it. I say almost certainly because I haven't bought or used it yet and I'm not prepared to recommend anything without trying it first myself.

    One of the "Golden Rules of Doing Business on the Internet" is to understand that everything on the web is available for ever to everyone so don't ever fake it - you will be found out! It can be incredibly damaging to recommend a product that turns out to be junk, to be caught in an apparent lie by a careless endorsement. Don't sell stuff you're not prepared to stand by.

    One of the things affiliate marketers do to get people like us to buy stuff from them and not one of their rival affiliates is to sweeten the deal. There are absolutely loads of different sites offering anything from free eBooks and software, XSitePro training and even rebates on the purchase price in an effort to gain your business.

    As far as I have been able to discover - and I've done a lot of looking - the best set of sweeteners to go with the already pretty sweet XSitePro package is that offered by the Two Percent Club site, where the value of the free bonuses they offer is seven times more than the price of XSitePro itself.

    They also offer a 50$ (around 40€) rebate on the 197$ (160€) purchase price, so I'm looking at a total investment of only 147$ (120€) for the ability to create as many niche businesses as I can think of. The only other fixed overhead is web hosting but that's even cheaper than XSitePro itself. I'm going to buy it right now!

    Incidentally, the Two Percent Club is a reference to the fact that apparently two percent of affiliates are making 98% of the money. I sure know where I'm heading for!

    PLEASE NOTE: All of the links on this page are direct links to the sites mentioned, not affiliate links.

    Wednesday, 5 April 2006

    New Beginnings

    Due to an overpowering combination of circumstances, both personal and professional, this blog has been neglected for nearly six momentous months.

    I won't bore you with all the details that have diverted my time away from my blogly responsibilities , suffice to say that this blog is returning to active duty (followed shortly by its two Blogger relatives All I Ate Today and About Manchester United) and fully intending to live up to the lofty ambitions up there in the description!

    Expect to read dazzling deeds of ethical adventures in eCommerce as I take my first teetering steps into the brave new world of making a living on the world wide web.

    If you want to share the complete beginner's experience, I strongly recommend you visit my wife Ursula's blog, A Woman's Work.

    Ursula has no prior knowledge of what she's getting into and no previous experience of running a business so is very much going to have to rely on her own hard work and determination as she walks into the undiscovered country of the internet.

    I already have a little bit of a head start over the complete novice, having read up on the subject quite a bit over the last six months and also having an existing website or two, which I had to build myself.

    The most established is Antequera Villa Rental, which has been contributing steadily if modestly to the Rose family fortunes for just over a year now. There's no great secret to a site like that. I designed it over a period of about two weeks using a software programme called Web Studio and we put up a couple of ads on the internet, on Owners Direct and Perfect Places.

    I actually built the first version of the site using the free download of the software so it didn't even cost me anything. I then went on to buy the full programme, which I used early this year to build the current version 2 and put up our new little business on the web, Lighthouse Point Holidays in Torrox Costa.

    Once you get used to it, building websites doesn't seem quite as unimaginably scary as it first appears, although I imagine that it could be even easier.

    To be honest, I now know there are easier ways to build a website with a lot more control over both the layout of pages and important things like keywords to help Google and the other search engines understand what a site is all about. Neither of our two sites is keyword or search engine optimised (SEO is a massive field of mystery we will come back to in the future) at the time of writing and have Google pageranks of 4 and 3 respectively.

    DISCLAIMER: Some of what I cover in future will be on the very subject of making money online as I buy or try a whole bunch of software and new ideas to help me exercise my right to earn a living. Some future posts will include affiliate or associate links to products that I feel worth recommending.

    Rest assured however that any such links will always be clearly indicated as such and if you don't want to support my efforts by buying them through me, there will also be a link direct to the homepage of any site or product I endorse.

    It is my intention to be nothing but honest in these matters and will be reporting my experiences, warts and all, without fear or favour to the companies whose products I use. Some of the material will possibly be used for future publication elsewhere.

    I am particularly keen on the idea of reviewing a whole series of different software products and eBooks both here in Alienboy's World and for the time-sucking magnificence that is Blogcritics, the wildest bunch of bloggers on the web. Imagine the literary equivalent of the famous bar scene in Star Wars!

    However, I digress.

    The Rose family of blogs are probably going to abandon blogger.com in favour of a more versatile platform in the very near future. I'm sure Google haven't actually forgotten about Blogger as they grow, but the technical limitations of this platform (no categories!) and the frankly rubbish technical support they give leave very little option to anybody wanting anything more than the most basic of blogs.

    I will, of course, keep this blog and, more importantly, YOU, fully informed.