Hey, I invented that first!

The other day I was struck by the “Hey! I invented that!” conniption fit. You know the one I’m talking about. It happens when you’re mindlessly watching TV and a commercial pops up marketing THE item you always told your friends, family, and anyone who would listen, was the next big idea and would make you tons of money. And there it is. On TV. Making someone else tons of money.


Or maybe you’re the type that gets spastic with the “ Psssh! I could make that!” twitch. Whether you have the “I thought of it first” knee-jerks or the “any five year old could do that” spasms, it all boils down to the same coulda-woulda-shoulda disease. The appalling disease of inaction and envy.


Tired of hearing stories of so-and-so selling such-and-such on eBay (“I could do that!”) or neighbor Joe making big bucks with his online business (“Didn’t I just tell you what a great moneymaking idea that is?”)… I took matters into my own hands and plunged into the world of web marketing and online business.


Now there were more than just a few “humps” or misconceptions that I had to climb over (alright, alright, I was dragged over kicking and screaming by the tow-truck of necessity). But here are two major ones:


1) Making a website is hard.


Well, I’m not going to lie to you and say it was peaches and cream, either. It turned out to be rather simple when I realized I didn’t need to learn any fancy new programs from the ground up. For real beginners, there are free html editors that you can download from the web; and if you’ve ever typed a document/essay/paper/letter in your life, you basically understand a textual layout and the things you can do to it. So fine. My first website was not very… attractive. In fact, it was rather boring. However, I had some fine power tools on my belt. I knew how to google.


The thing about the Internet is people like to talk, and they like to give out information for FREE. So I learned just enough html to understand the underlying structure, and I used that helpful little trick of “View>Source” (on simple pages, of course… simple but better looking than mine). I googled any html code abbreviations I didn’t understand. And voila – I had a website that looked… downright gaudy. Long story short, I learned the fine art of balancing a little too much with just enough. (Helpful hint: just because you now know how to highlight every other word, doesn’t mean you should.) And patting myself on the back over a job well done (at least until I can make enough money to hire pros to make my site uber-wonderful), I then ran into misconception number two.


2) If you build it, they will come.


It took me a while to realize that the only ones who knew of my existence were family, who I bragged to, and my hosting site, who I’m sure will remember me on “invoice day.” You can see where I’m going with this next. Ok, I’m not going to re-hash everything you already know about bringing people to your site, nor am I going to preach to you about “conversion rates.” Let’s just say the bottom line for actually getting your website viewed, is to be creative. There have been hundreds (and will be probably millions) of e-books and the like which show you the sexiest ways to get traffic to your site, down to the simplest method like…hehe…writing an aticle. (dancing emoticon) A lot of good information out there is, again, free. Ultimately marketers want to sell you something, but you would be surprised at the amount of free information on the net that is actually worth something and is more than a baited hook. Poke around, do some research, check out a few forums, download a few e-books (free or paid), and above all get creative!


-Joshua White



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