When the Industry's Behind, Start Running

When the Industry's Behind, Start Running

I kind of fell into the job at AllAboutDoors.com. It happens to be one of those niches that if you do any kind of SEO or SEM, you are kicking everyone's ass. We aren't selling ipods, ringtones, or hosting. People in the industry or in closely related industries are just starting to sell online or at least it seems like that from the ease of blasting right past them in the search engines. Their site design and usability is still stuck in the 90's.

I had the advantage of trying to make a living through affiliate programs for a couple of years and also from working in doors and windows for three years. Plus on the hidden side of the business, I had the advantage of being district merchandiser for Checker Auto Parts in Phoenix, so that when orders started doubling, I could make processing them a simpler task.

And whenever I mention all of this, it is not to brag. It is to show that if you never officially graduated from high school (G.E.D.), always worked in semi-minimum-wage jobs, and don't have any experience that you could document, you can still move ahead and take what's yours. It just takes being very resilient, very open to new things, very willing to change, and very, very stubborn. And until you land a better job, pick the low paying jobs that will teach you something about where you want to go. They are out there. You just have to find them. And it doesn't hurt to always mention at your job that you make more in 15 hours of work at home than 40 there. Eventually they will realize that you are worth more doing something else, like running their website.

But back to running instead of falling behind though. Just because you've made it somewhere with your website doesn't mean it's time to stop and take a rest. A few site out there might not be where they are right now if they had done that like Ebay, Amazon, and Youtube. Am I comparing your little site with Amazon? Yes and no. People go to Amazon when they would go to Walmart in the real world. They know they will find some things, but what they find, for the most part, with be generic. And you are not going to find a Rolls Royce at DriveTime. And when you are going somewhere specifically for music, hard to find music, you aren't going to pull into the local Target. I bet Home Depot doesn't carry half of the specific products allaboutdoors carries.Category killers can only kill so many categories. They appeal to the lowest common denominator. If they appealed to much more, they would kill their profit with excess inventory and outdated product on the shelf.

If your site is truly a niche and you truly have a hold of it, it is best to stay on the cutting edge if not the bleeding edge of website promotion. That means the attitude that blogs, online videos, and social media are fads has to go, because if you don't use them, someone else will do it eventually while you are sleeping. So we have our first of hopefully many instructional videos up at http://www.allaboutdoors.com and YouTube has about 20 videos I could find on installing locks. I think that is a good ratio.

Another attitude to drop: "People that come to my site barely know how to use the internet." Well, if you want to stick with just that crowd, stick with your current way of running a website or take a chance on something new that will possibility only cost you time and potentially make you the Amazon of your niche.

Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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