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Jan 1, 2008
Internet marketing has revolutionized the way people from all over the world conduct business. Furthermore, it has brought about a huge change in career choices, especially for those who hope to own their own business. No longer is the only hope of owning one's business spent in years of saving to acquire a brick and mortar storefront, stocking it with inventory, and hiring a sales force. Now, anyone can start an online business, with or without any upfront capital.

Internet marketing takes many forms, some of which can literally be started without any money whatsoever. For example, many Internet marketers got their start by being affiliates for other marketers. This is a cost effective and convenient way to start a career of Internet marketing and many have been successful in this venue.

Becoming an affiliate is free. You simply sign up to promote someone else's product, and you receive a commission each time you make a sale. If you have a website or can get one, that's great, and it will likely increase your sales, but many affiliate marketers have gotten their start without having their own website.

Article marketing is one way to promote products when you are an affiliate marketer. You simply write an article and submit it to the appropriate directory and include a link to the product's sales page. Included within that link is your unique affiliate ID so that the proper credit can be given when a sale is made. Other people write ads or post a link in their signatures in forum postings to promote their affiliate products.

The benefits of Internet marketing are incredible. You can literally go to work in your pajamas and take off any time you like. Once you have a following and have built up a customer base, you can generate passive income while you pursue other interests. Some of the most successful Internet marketers now earn an impressive income mentoring up-and-coming Internet marketers.

Even though you can start your Internet marketing career without a website, once you can afford to have a site, you'll most likely want to do so. For one thing, having your own website is quite affordable; many hosting companies charge less than twenty dollars per month and this includes the cost of the tools to build your site. In this way, you don't even have to have any special computer or programming knowledge to get your site set up. You can literally be up and running in less than one day!

Before you start building your website, you will need to decide on a particular "niche" in which to concentrate your marketing efforts. While it may be difficult at first to decide upon a niche, you'll be most successful at something you either care about or are familiar with. For instance, if you are a dog lover, you might build a site that would attract other dog lovers. From there, though, you'll want to narrow the focus of your site and focus on a particular area like dog training, for instance, or perhaps a particular breed of dog.

The possibilities are truly endless when it comes to Internet marketing. Obviously, the point is to make money, so you'll have to decide which type of product or service you want to offer. Many Internet marketers make a nice living by offering digital products, such as software, ebooks, and memberships to an article site or something of the like. In this way, you'll have no physical inventory to keep up with, and you certainly won't have to worry about shipping. Even if you don't have the particular know-how to develop software or write ebooks or articles, you can still market them successfully.

Many online entrepreneurs outsource the tasks they either don't want to do or don't have the particular talent for. There are many sites where you can find competent writers, graphic designers, and software coders. Just as the clothing store owner in the brick and mortar world doesn't often actually sew the clothes for sale on the racks, neither does the Internet marketer have to actually produce the products he or she sells.

Anyone researching Internet marketing will likely come across the term SEO. This stands for search engine optimization and the proper or improper use of it can make or break your website; thus it can literally make or break your online business. The reason SEO is so important is that search engines put out "spiders" or "bots" to crawl websites looking for useful information. When a consumer searches for information using a search engine, the most relevant sites to the search terms the consumer types into the search box will come up first. Because most consumers don't shuffle through very many pages of a search engine's results, it is crucial that your site be listed as close to the top as possible.

How do you accomplish this? Well, before you go off the deep end and spend thousands of dollars to a consulting firm to "optimize" your web site, realize you can do this yourself at little to no cost. The truth is that search engines will "grade" your site depending on how useful it is to the consumer. While things like keywords are important, the most important facet of SEO is that your site provide useful information.

Search engines like fresh and relevant content and will rate your site accordingly. This means that once you build your website, don't think for a moment that you are done because the real work has only just begun! You must constantly add fresh and relevant information to your site, so that not only will the search engines like it, but that the real judges - consumers will like it also.

This means that if you are selling fishing equipment on your website that in order to have it optimized, you'll need to include information as well as products for sale. You might include articles, and you might even write a blog and offer a section for users to comment. In fact, user generated content is responsible for a great deal of web content and it is absolutely free!

If you're interested in Internet marketing, the best thing you can do in the beginning is to read everything you can get your hands on about the subject. Be advised, though, there are savvy Internet marketers who are out to sell the new online entrepreneur everything they can on the subject. Before you invest a lot of money, however, just take some time and read. It's free!
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