Monthly Archives: June 2003

Are we just trying too hard?

I came across a website the other day, which, although clearly designed as a bit of fun has managed to achieve just about everything an online entrepreneur could wish for.

Before you look at the site, let me tell you that it has several top ten search engine rankings, there are over 200 other websites linking to it and the Alexa ranking (  confirms that the site is receiving some very worthwhile traffic.

Given the above and the fact that I thought the site had excellent entertainment value, I felt that the site could be used to generate a good income, so I emailed the owner to see if he would sell it to me.

At this point, take a look at the site:

Back to my story, the owner (artist) initially agreed that he would be interested in selling the site but then after calculating how much money he had made in the past year, he changed his mind as it did not make financial sense! Yes, you did read that correctly, people are actually buying this product!! (If you haven’t bothered to go and look at the site yet, this won’t make sense to you, so let me just say, the product is a screwed up piece of paper – nothing more, nothing less!)

Artist has not paid for any advertising – it is all viral (word of mouth). As I said above, he has over 200 websites linking to the site (at no cost whatsoever) simply because the site is completely original and it is funny – which is one of the best ways of generating word of mouth appeal.

I particularly liked his ‘letters from dumb-dumbs’ page. Not only are his replies to emails amusing but many actually contain superb advice. For example in reply to the question, ‘How do I start my own trendy business idea?’, he replies ‘Spend less time dreaming, more time working’. How true.

The point I am trying to make here is this, to have a successful online business, the product is often not the most important thing, often it is the way the product is presented and delivered that decides success or failure.

If artist can generate an income from selling crumpled up bits of paper, then I have to wonder if the rest of us are the ones that have got it wrong and ask myself if we all just trying too hard?

Write articles, get links!

In the past, I have spoken about the value of incoming links to your website – that is, getting other sites to link to yours.  This is particularly beneficial if the sites that are linking to you have good search engine rankings or a generally high level of traffic.  I have also suggested that one of the best ways of getting other sites to link to you is by offering them a commission on any resultant sales.  But there is another way – and this way won’t cost you anything except a bit of time…

If you have knowledge of a particular subject (and I assume you do if you have managed to build a website about something), then why not see if you can write a few articles and get other site owners to publish them online or in their newsletters?  There are many, many sites out there that are crying out for good quality content that they can use – many site owners simply don’t have the time to sit down and write fresh articles every week.  This means that if you offer to do this for them for nothing more than a link back to your site, many will grab the chance with both hands.

Choose the sites that you approach carefully and you could soon have your links on some high-traffic pages, which will benefit you not only by sending you lots of new potential customers, but also by increasing your ‘link popularity’ – search engines love sites that have lots of other sites linking to them, especially if the sites doing the linking are high-ranking themselves.