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.
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.
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