Last Updated:
A maze puzzle with arrow showing direct path out

A Contrarian, Profitable Web Business

Brian Austin
Brian Austin Balance

Much of what you'll read in this article goes against current popular thinking. A growing number of online affiliate-based businesses depend on third parties for income such as affiliations, Google AdSense, and so on. Yet if you're largely reliant on one or two sources for most of your income, sudden changes could put you out of business.

Google could cancel AdSense at any time, or make the program much less attractive. When you're at the mercy of other parties, you have a big weakness in your income strategy. Instead, control your own path?

Tip: one of the benefits of providing a membership-based website is that you can choose to give your subscribers and readers, your truth based on unique knowledge and experience gained.

So in today's article, we've assembled what we believe to be the best, most carefully considered techniques and strategies into 10 sound business principles that you can use to build your own profitable web empire. Enjoy and prosper:

Principle 1: Think Digital From the Outset

Creating and sharing digital resources is central to the overriding guiding principle for any information-based portal web business.

Why: digital products and services are the products of creativity - an inexhaustible resource. Digital products require little or no inventory and can cost little to publish and deliver.

Yet, when packaged correctly, digital solutions in the form of genuine content-based websites, articles, video clips, e-books, reports, white papers, and even DVDs can all work to build unique, high perceived value.

Methodology: focus on delivering compelling, unique, relevant, and timely information as the core driver of your web business. If you create a web business based around a core niche topic, since the world of knowledge and information is always changing, you have almost limitless potential. Lots of people want to know more about topics that interest them. Find quicker, better ways and practical solutions to help your target customers reach the goals they seek.

Principle 2: Serve Existing Proven Markets

Your information web business should serve a need that is already present and which is qualified by people who are already spending money on items within your chosen niche.

Don't create a product or service, then try to find customers who may or may not want to buy from you. Why: without adequate testing, you won't know if a sufficient number of people can be persuaded to buy.

Better: when first starting out, let others trail blaze potential new markets while you hold back as an active, alert observer. Why: in business, you can often fair better coming second instead of aiming at first place.

A practical, realistic outline solution plan:

  1. Find an existing group within an area that is under served.
  2. Then work out how to supply better answers or offerings to what is already available.
  3. Key point: gaps in markets are everywhere: find one and plug it.
  4. Then tell your target customers how you have plugged that gap.

By all means, look to other successful sites as models, or to get ideas, but don't copy anyone else directly. Instead seek to demonstrate uniqueness and build your own personal brand.

Principle 3: Know Your Primary Job

Are you Superman or Superwoman? We're not are we? So why try to do everything yourself?

Instead, from the outset, understand that your key role will be the primary content provider and manager of your web business. In one sense, see yourself as the captain of your ship, not the crew as well.

Unless you're an accomplished web designer who understands and can apply the latest coding techniques that search engines love, delegate, outsource, or contract someone else to build your website infrastructure.

Why:

  • So that you can start building relationships with your customers and build your web business quickly and confidently from the outset.
  • Focus on one thing at a time.
  • Get the most important components established first. These are your "big rocks".
  • Then progressively include additional items in order of reducing priority.

Principle 4 - Get the Proven Core Web Publishing Tools You Need Pre-Built

Find a non-technical web publishing system - like Publii (yes, I know I'm biased - with good reason), or Joomla. Perhaps even WordPress or Drupal web content management systems.

Why:

  • The core coding and website development work has already been done. You can choose and use templates for precise styling. Today, tens of thousands of low cost templates are available to use.
  • With Publii, you have a static website solution. Easy, Robust, much more secure than a web content management system because you don't have a database published online. However ...
  • Joomla-, WordPress-, Drupal-based websites provide a wide range of possibilities, though they do have one or more databases published online. So you must have extraordinary security in place to prevent getted hacked, blackmailed, or worse.

Invest in creating your own web presence cost effectively, choose an existing web design template and have that modified to match your brand - or create a new brand using your chosen web design.

Why: otherwise, you can easily spend months working on a million and one tasks struggling to get your web business infrastructure ready to do business, when your time would be more profitably suited to "stocking your shop" with your fantastic content, building relationships and marketing to your customers and clients.

Caution: I don't recommend that you rent your website publishing system - you'll pay more that way. Instead, avoid false economy, get serious and commit to obtain or buy a license for a smart web publishing toolset - one that you own the rights to use the key publishing mechanism that is the central powerhouse of your web business.

Going this route may seem like a more expensive plan, yet when compared to weeks and months of stop-start delays that often accompany the old ways of building a website, it is a fraction of the cost that a traditional, dirt-world business would call for.

Tip: when you commit to building a profitable web business, the right kind of investment at the outset is one of the most smartest crucial decisions you can make. A good choice can keep your web publishing empire in place and growing for years to come.

Principle 5 - Be the Owner of Your Web Business

Your main web business product or service should be owned or be fully controlled by you.

All the key tools and components that you use in your web business must be 100% under your control. No outside parties or partners should be in a position to affect the running of your business or potentially bring your business down.

By all means, test and explore affiliate methods, Google AdSense, Google AdWords, etc., to dertermine if these sources provide a worthwhile level of additional income for your web business.

However, ensure your primary income depends on you and the quality of your relationships with your visitors, clients, and customers. 

Principle 6 - Get real - Invest in What You Need

A quality resource takes time and effort to build. Commit to investing in the core quality drivers:

  • (a) Give yourself the time you need to learn about how to establish your web business.
  • (b) Select only two or three proven web-based training resources (to avoid getting scattered).
  • (c) Get an outstanding, modern, CSS-driven website design, one that is crafted both for people and search engines. Why search engines: if you can help search engines better understand your website, they can indirectly send more visitors to discover what you're about.
  • (d) Learn how to create your own unique website content.
  • (e) Discover how to promote your own web business and how to find, engage and sell to your target customers.

Principle 7 - Become Self-Employed

Work for Yourself but do ensure that your self-employment doesn't own you. Do not leave your main income earning mechanism to someone else.

Why: relying on others for your main income makes you vulnerable to exploitation by others and can weaken your defenses.

A better plan: ensure that 75% or more of your income depends on you and your own efforts through both direct income generation, passive income generation, and other multiple sources.

I know taking full responsibility for your own income generation is a harder option when you're first starting out, but please trust me: do it anyway, you'll be glad you did later.

Why: when you're one of the 5% successful web business owners, rather than 95% failure rate, you'll really appreciate such commonsense logic. When most of your income results from your own efforts, you can better ensure a relaxed, profitable lifestyle.

Principle 8 - Appreciate the Awesome Value of Networking and Mentoring with the Right People

Seek the help you need from experienced, proven experts. Be careful who you choose. It is my personal opinion that most website testimonials may not be authentic.

Google does not automatically accept what a website says about itself. Instead, Google prefers to value a website based on what others say about a site. In this way, Google can build up a more accurate picture from different sources.

Associating with and tapping into the wisdom of other reputable sources is a good plan. You too can apply a similar level of wariness to screen out false providers.

A commonsense suggestion: above all, avoid promoters and suppliers of hype from people who consistently tell you what you want to hear. Why: surely honest, realistic feedback offers better value even if what you may hear doesn't fit with what you prefer or expect?

Also: connect with a trusted mastermind group to connect with others who are also building information web businesses to network, share ideas, stay motivated and remain positive.

Principle 9 - Develop Your Powers of Communication

The most successful people communicate well to their core audience. Connecting with others is crucial for your web business.

Commit to work on creating your unique content based around writing, speaking and presenting especially using web-based tools and techniques.

Principle 10 - Have Fun

When first starting out, you'll most likely spend 4-5 days each week working on building up and developing your web business, so make it fun.

Later, through the power of familiarity, practice and accomplishment with automation tools, you may find that only 1 or 2 days is sufficient to run a fully active subscription membership website.

Create an information web business around a topic or theme that you enjoy and which you know others will enjoy too. Don't work too hard and take care of your health. Your web business depends on you: appreciate that you're both its key strength and its biggest weakness.

If you fall ill, your web business can suffer. Consider your work-life balance. Try to keep your working life and non-business lives separate. Set yourself business hours and keep to them.

Within 3 months after your business launch, consider whether you can work a maximum of 3 or 4 days each week, with an additional half day as a kind of "play-work-ideas" session. Why: when you're more relaxed, you can come up with some of your best future strategies.

Why: a key goal for many who embark into the world of smart web publishing is to eventually work less, create multiple passive income streams, and have more choice as to how they spend their time. All are good ideas by any standard.