I am at a crossroads and need help!!!

21 replies
Hi All,
Want to lay my story on the table to see which direction I should head in. Also maybe it will help others in the same or similar boat. I have been chipping away at this web caper for around 5 years or so with some but limited success. I need to make some smart decisions from this point on to warrant continueing down this track.
5 years ago or so I initially bought myself a copy of Dreamweaver 8 and Photoshop CS2 and began teaching myself the skills to design and develop static websites.I joined lynda.com and started developing my skills. I also found a mentor online to teach me some of the very basic skills needed to get started online. Over time I have also learnt how to use cafepress, adsense, affiliates, ebay partnered network to monetize these sites. My approach in some parts may have been upside down with creating ways to make money out of my sites before driving traffic to them. I have spent the long hours trolling this forum and reading as much information as possible. I have also asked questions on this forum and gained some quality feedback.
I have built around 20 websites from scratch some finished, some half finished and some just a framework. I have built a couple of websites for clients that have been very satisfied. I love the creative side of designing websites and also the challenge of marketing these websites. I have learnt some ways of driving traffic to sites via forum marketing, social marketing etc.. and have had some success with this.
I have also operated an ebay business for the past 7 years that has a high level of sales but unfortunately profit margins for the product I sell are very low.
I have also recently dipped my toes in the freelancing business by offering some very basic skills via freelance sites and have secured a couple of contracts.

I have also decided to start teaching myself Wordpress and Joomla via Lynda.com so that I can design more dynamic websites.

So Why am I at a crossroads ????

I have always been an ideas man... Too many ideas ... Not enough time to work on.
As well as the skills I have learnt above I also have some weaknesses.

In learning web design I have done this more from a what the website looks like perspective rather than a how it operates. I understand the concept of SEO but don't think I realy put it into practice. I can design with the dreamweaver 8 the software but do not realy understand coding. I have never been one for keyword research.
I also had trouble in creating content and find it difficult at times in doing this process.

Below are links to some of my websites designed using dreamweaver 8. I am not doing this to promote them but to get some honest feedback on how they are set up.

All things Aussie

I have been told this site is not optimized for seo but it does rank on page 1 for some searches and I am not sure what this means. This site is something I wish to expand on and grow ... so before I go any further I want to know that I am getting it right. Does it have to be optimized for search engines or can I survive with other methods of driving traffic.

gamedaytradingcards.com

This is my most successful website in a niche I know well. In saying it is successful it makes me around $40.00 per month in EPN affiliate income. Would love to continue on with this site more but it needs to make more money.

Shopping for sports online

This is a site I am developing which is attached to my niche site above. The idea being to drive traffic via my niche site to this site to monetize this traffic.

Website design and Marketing

This is the beginnings of my venture into offering my services to the web and developing some products to sell online. I like my concept and design of the site but isi it seo friendly and how do I achieve this.

showmeservices website

This is a website I have designed for a client. The client is happy with this site and my next step would be to branch out and get more clients... However I do not want to be designing floored websites for people so some feedback would be great.

These five websites will give you a basic idea of my design style and for those that know code what my sites look like from that point of view.

So this is the crossroads for me...

What area of all my projects do I pursue... What skills do I add.... What corrections do I need to make....

I am at a point where the next five weeks for me a crucial. I need to start making $300 to $400 per week....

I am hoping someone on here can guide me through this process and help me make the correct decisions to move forward. I have a marketing brain so I feel once I get the mechanics right then I will be able to sell what I am doing. I want to make sure though what I am doing has the potential to make the kind of $$$$ that I need. I am also willing to work my but off to make this work but I just want to work smart and make the right decisions as well.

I hope I have not expanded on this too much but I just wanted to lay it all on the table...

I look forward to any responses I get and hope they may help any other people in similar situations.

Thanks in Advance
Peter
#crossroads #newbie #seo #web design
  • Profile picture of the author fated82
    As I can see, there are two routes for you. Be a freelance web designer or build a solid business. As a web designer, you can utilize your skills and build websites for both online and offline businesses. You may get by but you may not get rich.

    If you build a solid business, you can still utilize your web design skills and build complementary services around it. Ask yourself, besides a website, what else do they need? Maybe:

    - content?
    - Traffic?
    - SEO ranking?
    - Training?

    Then ask yourself, can you provide these to them? if you can't are you able to outsource the work?

    If I am in your situation, I will price website design cheaply and upsell my other services at a monthly fee. Then outsource all the work to others.

    Hope the above information help.
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    • Profile picture of the author Peter Thompson
      Originally Posted by fated82 View Post

      As I can see, there are two routes for you. Be a freelance web designer or build a solid business. As a web designer, you can utilize your skills and build websites for both online and offline businesses. You may get by but you may not get rich.

      If you build a solid business, you can still utilize your web design skills and build complementary services around it. Ask yourself, besides a website, what else do they need? Maybe:

      - content?
      - Traffic?
      - SEO ranking?
      - Training?

      Then ask yourself, can you provide these to them? if you can't are you able to outsource the work?

      If I am in your situation, I will price website design cheaply and upsell my other services at a monthly fee. Then outsource all the work to others.

      Hope the above information help.
      Thanks for that advice. This is the sort of stuff I am after. Some more ideas and feedback on sites please...
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      Peter Thompson
      supa2007
      http://www.pjtwebconcepts.com/
      Your home for building on the web

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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    If you want to go the route of making money from your own sites versus services, I would say pick ONE website (the one with the most potential but not necessarily the one you like the most) and develop it fully.

    Don't get distracted with other shiny objects.

    Don't add "skills" unless they are directly related to making money. It appears you at least have the basics of the design skills under your belt. That isn't your "downfall", it's not making money with the skills and sites you already have. For example your most successful site is still under construction with "blank" pages.

    Making some concrete decisions about which site to start with and how you want to monetize it is the first step. Then you can better develop a plan of action.

    Mark
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    • Profile picture of the author Peter Thompson
      Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

      If you want to go the route of making money from your own sites versus services, I would say pick ONE website (the one with the most potential but not necessarily the one you like the most) and develop it fully.

      Don't get distracted with other shiny objects.

      Don't add "skills" unless they are directly related to making money. It appears you at least have the basics of the design skills under your belt. That isn't your "downfall", it's not making money with the skills and sites you already have. For example your most successful site is still under construction with "blank" pages.

      Making some concrete decisions about which site to start with and how you want to monetize it is the first step. Then you can better develop a plan of action.

      Mark
      I agree on the need to focus.... Any advice on how to choose the best project... Any advice on seo issues with the sites.
      Signature

      Peter Thompson
      supa2007
      http://www.pjtwebconcepts.com/
      Your home for building on the web

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      • Profile picture of the author Horny Devil
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Peter Thompson View Post

        I agree on the need to focus.... Any advice on how to choose the best project... Any advice on seo issues with the sites.

        Choose the project which interests you most and has the better earning potential.

        As for SEO issues, like any other aspect of on-line trading it can be outsourced; if your willing to pay that is. Seek recommendations before choosing who you hire.
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        • Profile picture of the author WikiWarrior
          Hey Peter,

          It seems like you are at spaghetti junction with all your ideas! I like Andy's idea for increasing your business. Since you already have an asset that is making high sales, is there any way you can offer more upsells to these Ebay customers or get them on a list so you can increase the value of each one?

          When I ran a mail-order business I remember panicking when Ebay came along all those years ago. Lots of competitors sprang up seemingly overnight undercutting each other and I ended up creating a presence there just to try and block them.

          After getting over the initial shock I found that with aggressive cross-selling and upselling I could convert a decent chunk of customers with higher-margin products, and some would go on to spend $100's over the course of the year, ordering from my main website instead of Ebay.

          How about getting more aggressive with marketing your web design services and, as others mentioned, outsourcing some of the work to leverage your efforts.

          For now I would focus on what is already working and bringing in sales, to give yourself a solid foundation. Maybe put the rest of your ideas on the backburner for a few weeks/months until you have stabilized a level of income you are happy with. Then you can work on your other ideas with any free time and not feel so pressured to make them work quickly.

          Looking ahead, try to decide where you can combine your passions with your strengths. That is, I think, the best way to narrow down what ideas you implement. What I do is put all my ideas onto a big mindmap, flesh them out, then see which ones I still resonate with and believe in weeks or months later.
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          • Profile picture of the author Peter Thompson
            Originally Posted by WikiWarrior View Post

            Hey Peter,

            It seems like you are at spaghetti junction with all your ideas! I like Andy's idea for increasing your business. Since you already have an asset that is making high sales, is there any way you can offer more upsells to these Ebay customers or get them on a list so you can increase the value of each one?

            When I ran a mail-order business I remember panicking when Ebay came along all those years ago. Lots of competitors sprang up seemingly overnight undercutting each other and I ended up creating a presence there just to try and block them.

            After getting over the initial shock I found that with aggressive cross-selling and upselling I could convert a decent chunk of customers with higher-margin products, and some would go on to spend $100's over the course of the year, ordering from my main website instead of Ebay.

            How about getting more aggressive with marketing your web design services and, as others mentioned, outsourcing some of the work to leverage your efforts.

            For now I would focus on what is already working and bringing in sales, to give yourself a solid foundation. Maybe put the rest of your ideas on the backburner for a few weeks/months until you have stabilized a level of income you are happy with. Then you can work on your other ideas with any free time and not feel so pressured to make them work quickly.

            Looking ahead, try to decide where you can combine your passions with your strengths. That is, I think, the best way to narrow down what ideas you implement. What I do is put all my ideas onto a big mindmap, flesh them out, then see which ones I still resonate with and believe in weeks or months later.
            What do you mean by a "mindmap" ? Sounds interesting.
            Signature

            Peter Thompson
            supa2007
            http://www.pjtwebconcepts.com/
            Your home for building on the web

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            • Profile picture of the author Peter Thompson
              Thankyou everyone for the feedback so far. I will take a few of you up on the offer of help when I get the chance. Thanks Again
              Signature

              Peter Thompson
              supa2007
              http://www.pjtwebconcepts.com/
              Your home for building on the web

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              • Profile picture of the author WinstonTian
                You say that you need to make money. $200...
                $300... $400... It doesn't matter.

                Now, let's look at what you're doing currently.

                You're building sites, you're having ideas for
                more sites, and you're selling sites to clients.

                BUT...

                Are you focused more on SELLING? Are you
                really selling ANYTHING?

                Where is 80% of your time going to?

                Is it going to creative ventures like creating
                websites?

                Or is it going towards SELLING?

                Anything.

                It can be an affiliate offer. It can be your own
                services. Are you wasting a majority of your
                time, thinking & doing everything NOT related
                to selling?

                Firstly, are you monetizing your stuff?
                Secondly, are you driving the right kind of
                people to drive your stuff? Third, are you positive people crave your stuff?

                If you're really serious about it, check out the
                link in my signature.
                Signature

                Cheers,
                Winston
                The Beginner's Doctor

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                • Profile picture of the author Peter Thompson
                  Thanks for all the feedback...

                  Just wanted to give a quick update...

                  I have gone down the path at this stage of developing my PJT Web Concepts business which is providing my services to the web. I have started to develop these ideas further and began freelance work on a few sites.

                  I have just got my first contract as a virtual assistant building websites amongst other things for $300.00 per week.

                  The new journey to success has begun...

                  I will keep you all posted with the progress in the hope that it will help others at the crossroads.

                  Peter
                  Signature

                  Peter Thompson
                  supa2007
                  http://www.pjtwebconcepts.com/
                  Your home for building on the web

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  • Profile picture of the author Ayesha F
    you focus on web designing services and learn it from scratch up to full extent.I think you will prosper a lot by focusing on it.Best of luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Andyhenry
    Find a product(s) with higher margins and repeat your ebay success.
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    nothing to see here.

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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    I think you need to learn how to delegate and subcontract.

    If you have all these ideas, you need help on execution. You cannot do it all yourself--there aren't enough hours in the day.

    Multiplying yourself is the key to making a lot more money faster.
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  • Usually if you learn to design it's hard to learn to make money those are two diferent things. I would focus on running your business and making money let someone else design but if you can't afford make the minimum design to get by. Option 2 is to sell design and focus on providing services for a fee you can do that as well.

    Option 3 is teach design to others

    I'm sure there are more but there are a few
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    soon people... Relax...
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  • Profile picture of the author MattLee
    Think about your short term goals, brainstorm all of the possible strategies that could get you there, then brainstorn some criteria that is inline with your goal so that you can grade each strategy/project so that you know which ONE to focus on.

    For example if your short term goal is to make money quick, criteria that you'd grade each project/strategy might be

    - Will take time to make a profit
    - Requires some capital
    - I'm comfortable doing this
    - Dependant on 3rd parties
    - Potential of recurring income
    - It can be leveraged

    I'm sure that you get the idea. Grade each one and then focus soley on it until its profitable.

    Matt
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  • Profile picture of the author tooAlive
    If I were you I'd venture out into more profitable niches.

    For example, set up a Wordpress blog giving out design tutorials. Each blog post would be a different tutorial, and make Youtube videos to help drive traffic to your posts.

    Also, give away a free eBook in exchange for an email subscription to start building you list of potential future clients. If you provide quality content the traffic will come. Just do some keyword research to see what exactly people are interested in learning about, and structure your lessons around that. That's one way you can harness your talents to make some money.

    Not to mention you can monetize both the blog and youtube videos with adsense.
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    "Action is the real measure of intelligence." - Napoleon Hill
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  • Profile picture of the author rprieto60
    Originally Posted by Peter Thompson View Post

    Hi All,
    Website design and Marketing

    This is the beginnings of my venture into offering my services to the web and developing some products to sell online. I like my concept and design of the site but isi it seo friendly and how do I achieve this.
    Hi Peter. I'm an SEO guy from Silicon Valley who specializes in local search results. I'm also pretty good at getting global results, but those take more time and effort. I have dozens of page one results for multiple clients in niches such as Solar Panels, Personal Trainer, Weight Loss, Acne Treatment and Legal Advice, not to mention others. I'll be happy to share a bit of advice, based upon my own personal experiences.

    First off, I noticed that your websites are geared toward an Australian audience. That's fine, but if you want to target just Australia, you need to have your on-page SEO more targeted. Your pages have no description meta tags, thus making the Google Bots job harder when it comes to deciding what the pages are about. This is a small and easy thing to add and it will help a bit. I also always include a phone number it the Title tag (i.e. Site Name | Phone # | Keyword) for local businesses. What this does is show a contact phone number in the Google results right off the bat and when someone sees that it gives them the option of picking up the phone and contacting the business right away. This works great for local search results.

    You do have some good aspects already designed in, but there are a few other things I would also do for ranking. Properly formatted H1 and H2 tags wil help your on page SEO too. Google sees these tags as a bit more important than regular text when it comes to determining what your page is about. I also recomment a good, descriptive Alt tag for each photo, gif or jpg file so the spiders can see those too.

    As for off page SEO, make sure to submit the sites to DMOZ for inclusion in their directory. They take a loooooong time to get around to indexing your site, so the sooner you submit your URL, the better. You will also need to get backlinks to your site. This is a long and tedious task and I recommend outsourcing it if it's in your budget. If you want any recommendations on where to go to find someone to do that just PM me and I can send you a list of some of the guiys whose services I have used and can say that I've been pleased with the results.

    There is a lot you can do to improve ranking and there are a ton of people here who can help you, or even do a lot of the work for you. There are also WSOs that will give you step by step directions on how to rank your sites. Some are great and some are just so-so. I know because I've bought a whole bunch of them.

    I could go on and on, but there is so much information and only so much space and patience for most people. I wish you well with your business. Don't hesitate to conct me if you have any questions. Same goes for other Warriors. I'm here to help. :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hill SEO
    You said it your self Peter, Your an "ideas man". Put your ideas into practice and go for it mate.

    I can relate to a lot of what you have said and am in a pretty similar place myself.
    I have spent the last 2 years focussing on web design and I have now decided to give monetising sites my full attention.
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  • Profile picture of the author alamest
    I understand your situation, you have too many ideas, and you feel like that you need to build all the website at the same time..

    I will tell you relax go for holiday for week and when you come back focus only on "ONE THING"

    If you have permanent income from Plan A than you can only do Plan B income you can't do Plan C and D at the same time.. your brain will be hanged... lol..

    If you see in this way, if your one website is successful and making thousands of dollars every month than how long it will take you replicate it with other website..

    If you are generate money from one website than you can easy build more website by hiring and maintaining it.. does it make sense..

    What is ultimate concept is "to make money" right, so why to do everything at same time.. build a better one first than move to next..

    Trust me go for a holiday and relax, I hope this helps..
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    • Profile picture of the author taffie
      Thanks for your honest. Like a few others have said, find the one thing you think is the best you want to do and focus more on it. Its indeed a very challenging business as a lot of ideas tend to pop up all the time.

      Zeroing in on one thing and seeing it off has always been a challenge for most of us.
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  • Profile picture of the author Peter Thompson
    Another Update ....

    I now have several contracts and I am earning over $400.00 a week by focusing on freelancing my skills. This process has also led me to increasing my skill level and opened up other opportunities to get my half built websites up and running. I am about to start planning to outsource jobs on my many websites to make them happen.
    That door that I was standing in front of for many a month or even years is finally starting to open. I am so glad I located the key.
    For those of you out there looking for the key it does exist , it's just a different key and a different door for everyone.
    I will keep you updated on my journey.
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    Peter Thompson
    supa2007
    http://www.pjtwebconcepts.com/
    Your home for building on the web

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