Last Minute Villa Holiday
Author: Peter Hartley
A Dream Business or A lot of work?
Have you ever thought of starting an online business? Have you thought of making money from the Internet?
That is exactly what I was thinking when I started my first online business venture. My head was turned by the figures people were quoting of how much is spent on the Internet every year. I thought to myself that it would be an easy way of making money without leaving the house. In reality it couldn't be further from the truth.
It all started when I set up my first venture with a free website through one of the online Internet Service Providers. I decided that I wanted my own slice of the pie, so I set up a free website which can only be described as an embarrassing attempt at very crude web design. I knew exactly how to design a real website but didn't have the funding to start. Anyway the website obviously did not attract anywhere near the visitors I thought it would. I had to move to plan B.
I then decided to register a domain name for the business which did, and justly so, take a while to come up with the perfect name. I registered www.lastminutevillaholiday.co.uk and started to build the website around this name. The first thing I had to do when choosing the name was deciding whom my target market was? And what sort of thing would they be looking for?
The First draught of this website was a lot better than the first. It was designed using a software design program and was coded to attract the Search Engines. The only problem I had was I had no villas on my website therefore if anyone did find the site they would not stay on it. The problem was overcome when I contacted a few villa owners to offer them free listings on my site.
Now as the website grew it seemed easy enough to make a little bit of extra money here and there. I, however, was not interested in a little bit of money I wanted to offer a service to my customers and get as much business as I could. Two months had passed and I was adding more properties to my ever-growing list of villas for rent. Now with the database of villas that I had I was then ready to concentrate on the advertising of the business. The best way I thought of advertising an online business would be to get it found by the Search Engines like Google, Yahoo, Msn etc. I plunged into the optimisation of the website heavily. I made sure that all the pages had the right keyword density and the content of every page was as accurate as I could get it (content by the way is the only true way to get a website listed on a search engine).
During this time I was approached by a number of companies who were offering to get my website found on Google and Yahoo. They would ask me for £200 to £500 and I would have to pay this up front before they would do anything for me. I did however have enough knowledge of the search engines to know that these sorts of companies would not get me the return on investment that I was looking for. Then sure enough 2 weeks later my website was listed on position 1 of Yahoo and Msn and Lycos. This is when things started to get out of control.
I had villa owners on the phone wanting to place adverts; I had enquiries from customers wanting to book villas. My small business adventure had turned into a second full time job. I new when I started this venture that I wanted to give my customers the best possible service in return for their custom which is exactly what I did. I gave up my day job as it were and went full time with the website. The thing that I did not fully realise when I started out with this venture was the amount of work that was involved in sustaining the website.
I have to add villas to the site which is very time consuming I have customers on the phone and emailing me to enquire about the villas. You would think this however would be straight forward but there is never a enquiry saying " I seen that villa on your site I would like to book it please" that is only what dreams are made of. A website is just like a Bricks and Mortar company you do have to work hard to get the rewards you are looking for.
The reason I am writing this article I suppose is to be of some benefit of those people thinking on starting an online business. Just to make them aware of exactly what they are letting themselves in for. My advice to them would be simply this. With a lot of hard work and a good business sense will help far more than any quick fixes. Always be aware that if something is too good to be true...It usually is.
Hope you had as much fun reading this article as I had writing it.
Good Luck with any business ventures you get involved in.
By the way if you want to rent a villa have a look at our website.
About the author
Peter Hartley MD
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