Top 8 Challenges Facing Internet Marketing Newbies: Results of KeywordsBlogger Survey

Top 8 IM Challenges

Image by @astutesolutions

If there’s one thing the Great Recession has done, it’s forced a lot of people to reassess their careers and how they make money (if they’re fortunate enough to still have a career, and still be making money).

The result? Well, one of the results has been a shift in people looking to start their own business – including an online business.

Check out this graph from Google Trends showing the gradual (but noticeable) increase in searches for the term “make money online”.

Click image to enlarge

As you can see, that term took a jump in the second half of 2007 – which is around the time the economy in Western countries started to go into the toilet.

This completely makes sense. I’m not sure who said it, but I can remember reading once that “the ultimate security is the security that you create YOURSELF”.

Which is one of the (many) reasons I get tremendous satisfaction in running an online business. Not only can the SKILLS you develop provide you with more security than a job, an online business is an amazing creative outlet.

Feel like starting a website about Bora Bora, cold-water surfing, or behavioural economics? Go ahead. No one will stop you, and you can do whatever you want with that site.

And here’s the kicker: if you learn about search engine optimization and have some patience, you can rank higher than every other site on that topic! It truly is the best time in history to be an entrepreneur.

People might think their job with a big company (or the government) is iron-clad – until the day “cost-cutting measures” are introduced by the CEO, and they’re out the door.

Now, I’m not bashing jobs. There are enough make-money-online shysters who already do that! But I sincerely think that the only security one creates is in the SKILLS that they cultivate, and the ATTITUDE that they choose to bring to their life.

Which is why the online survey I’ve been running on this blog for the past two months has been so interesting.

Results of the KeywordsBlogger Survey

If you’ve downloaded my free report, you’ve probably seen the brief questionnaire. I have a link to it on the download page for the free report, and it contains two simple questions:

  1. What’s your most important question about finding a niche?
  2. How long have you been trying to make money online?

Over the past two months 1,432 people have opted-in to get my free report, and (as of yesterday) 682 people have answered the survey.

And over the past couple of days I’ve analyzed the data – reading through answers, grouping them into themes, and examining the patterns.

To say that it was fascinating is a massive understatement!

Here’s some of the information I’ve pulled out of the survey data that I describe below:

  • Which countries the survey-takers are from (this is more interesting than you might think)
  • How long people have been trying to make money online
  • The top challenges they’re facing in starting an online business

Which Countries the Survey-Takers are From

People from 68 countries around the world have completed the survey! Amazing…

Check out this cool map from my Survey Gizmo dashboard that shows where survey respondents come from (each dot represents at least one respondent):

Click image to enlarge

My favourite is the dot off the southern coast of Alaska (top-left corner of the map). I didn’t even know there were islands there!

Here are the top ten countries, in terms of the number of people who completed the survey:

Country/# of Respondents

United States/301

United Kingdom/60







South Africa/8


Not many surprises there – I would have expected the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia to come in the top ten.

What did surprise me was the number of responses I had in Spanish. As I mentioned, people from 68 countries have completed my survey. But regardless of the country they come from, most participants gave their answer in English –with the exception of those from Spanish-speaking countries. While less than 5% of respondents live in Spanish-speaking countries, most of their answers were given in Spanish.

Now, please don’t think I’m “slagging off” the Spanish-speakers for not competing the survey in English. On the contrary, actually. I see this as a huge opportunity!

Anyone who follows Clickbank knows that some merchants have massively scaled their sales by simply translating their English-language product into another language (notably: German, French, and Spanish).

I think you can see where I’m going here: the future of information products is in non-English-speaking parts of the world. Not coincidentally, those are also the parts of the world where there is a redistribution of hope going on.

As Richard and I have corresponded about, there are huge, emerging pockets of opportunity in places where none existed before. As internet marketers, the key is to keep our eyes open for these opportunities, and learn how to exploit them.

Amount of IM Experience

As I mentioned, one of the two questions asked in the survey was “How long have you been trying to make money online?”

Interestingly, almost half (48%) of the people who completed the survey are complete newbies to internet marketing (i.e. they’ve been trying to make money online for less than six months). The second-biggest group was on the opposite end of the spectrum – they’ve been trying to make money online for more than 2 years.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

Less than 6 months: 324

6 months to 1 year: 110

1 to 2 years: 85

More than 2 years: 148

And if you like graphs (like me!):

Click image to enlarge

What does this tell me? It reinforces that Google Trends graph that I showed you at the beginning of this post: for numerous reasons (especially the recession), a lot of people have jumped online lately, and are trying to make a go of the make-money-online dream.

Alright, now to the meat of this post: what are the things that internet marketers are struggling with?

Top 8 Challenges of Internet Marketing Newbies

One of the things I noticed in analyzing the data is how often some responses came up. While I did read some vastly different challenges that some people are facing, there seems to be a handful of persistent problems that many newcomers to IM are facing.

What’s the lesson there? If you feel daunted by the obstacles in starting an online business, you’re not alone! There are probably many (many) people out there who share your feelings.

Here’s the list:

Challenge #1: Finding a Profitable Niche

Surprise! Most IMers want to find a niche that will make them money straight out of the gate.

Here’s a typical comment, from one survey respondent:

  • “How can I identify a profitable niche with 99% certainty that it is profitable?”

Did you see that? They used the word “profitable” twice in that short sentence!

Here’s another response:

  • “How and what can I test to decide whether it will be a profitable niche?”

In essence, newbies want to know how to determine the profitability of a niche before they set up a website and all of that other stuff.

I think this reflects a fundamental aspect of our human nature: the desire to avoid risk. This is especially the case if you have previous experience of working hard on a site that goes nowhere, or sunk money into a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising campaign that bombed. Most of us would like to avoid the “trial-and-error” approach that many internet marketers go through in their early days.

Challenge #2: Finding an Uncompetitive Niche

At first, I was surprised by the number of people who claimed this as their #1 challenge. But then the more I thought about it, it made complete sense.

In most IM courses put out by the gurus, the advice is to choose a popular market where affiliates are already making sales. The logic is this: if affiliates are already making sales, there’s proven demand, so it’s a “safe” market to get into.

The “proven demand” part of that logic is correct, but there’s one small problem: proven markets are often cut-throat in their competitiveness. I’ve lost track of the number of newbie affiliates who have told me they lost their shirt in three days promoting X product using pay-per-click advertising.

So, it makes sense that people are looking for a safe way to ease into this business. But – I would add – instead of blindly following other affiliates to see if a market exists, there are niche research techniques one can use to find a market of their own to dominate. (I know this from experience, and currently operate in two markets where I have no direct competition.)

A couple of comments from the survey:

  • “How do I narrow down a broad niche so it is profitable yet not overloaded with competition?”
  • “How competitive is the niche that I have selected? That is, is the market already saturated with IMs or can I successfully find an audience who will benefit from my articles and will be happy to purchase recommended products?”

Challenge #3: Finding a “Profit AND Passion” Niche

We’ve all heard the saying “follow your heart and the money will come” (or words to that effect). That’s the dream many of us follow: working on our own terms, at something we love, while earning a good income.

So it wasn’t surprising to learn that many IM newbies are trying to find a way to integrate their interests/passions into their online business.

Here’s what two survey respondents had to say:

  • “Can I find a PROFITABLE niche in a field I’m passionate about?”
  • “I’m looking into IM again after several failed efforts a few years ago. Things have changed, of course, and since I didn’t succeed before I still consider myself a newbie. I guess my biggest question is, if you pick the niche first, should you (or shouldn’t you) pick something that you’re familiar with? I’m not sure how I would promote something to a niche I can’t identify with. I hope that makes sense.”

Challenge #4: Niche Selection: Step-by-Step

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the amount of information there is to learn about starting an online business?

You’re not alone. I still marvel at the number of “moving parts” that an online business has: niche research, keyword research, website development, content development, product development, traffic generation (which itself has dozens of tactics), conversion optimization, customer service…and on and on.

It’s no wonder that IM newbies (in particular) are looking for some hand-holding in getting their online venture off the ground. In fact, two common threads that wove their way through the survey results were the question “Where do I start?”, and the comment “I need a step-by-step plan”.

Here’s a representative comment from the survey:

  • “I’m new to e-commerce and all its facets. I’m overwhelmed with so many different levels or steps in the process of becoming a merchant/reseller/affiliate. My question would be, “I need to know it all. Where is it?”

Challenge #5: How to Get Traffic

Traffic is the lifeblood of internet marketing. Unfortunately, the saying “build it and they will come” doesn’t apply to IM!

You can have the best product in the world, but if you’re not getting it in front of people, you simply won’t make money. That’s why “traffic generation” courses are so popular in the internet marketing world.

Respondents to my survey had a range of questions about getting traffic, but they all boiled down to this one question from a Brazilian respondent: “How to reach them?”

Challenge #6: How to Develop Products

So you’ve done good niche research to figure out the range of needs of your target audience, and you’ve chosen a topic that is potentially lucrative AND one that you’re interested in. What next?

One of your next steps should be to either develop your own product (preferably an information product), or find existing products that you can promote as an affiliate.

But how do you know what type of product to develop (or choose)? That was the sixth-most mentioned challenge by survey-takers.

Choosing or developing products is MUCH easier if you thoroughly understand the needs of your audience – but there are still some steps that you need to go through to choose products that have a higher chance of being bought by your audience.

Challenge #7: How to do Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most important skills an internet marketer can have – because even though sites like Facebook are becoming a major source of traffic, most people still start their internet browsing with a search engine. So, for the foreseeable future, driving traffic to your sites means understanding what keywords people are typing into the search engines.

Many newbies to internet marketing seem to understand this, as the seventh-biggest challenge mentioned in the survey was how to do effective keyword research.

Here are some of the specific challenges mentioned by people who completed the survey:

  • “When I find a niche, how do I find the right keywords to promote the niche and make sales”
  • “What keyword global monthly search number is too small?”
  • “How do I find the right balance of high volume and low competition keywords”

Challenge #8: How “Micro” to Go in Targeting a Niche Audience

I talk a lot on this blog about FOCUS – about choosing an audience and researching the specific unmet needs of that audience (because if you take a “guessing” approach and manage to be successful, you can only chalk it up to luck, not skill).

Related to this, one of the questions I often get is how “micro” to go when targeting an audience. This issue also came out loud and clear in the survey.

Here’s a comment (a hilarious one) from one respondent that is representative of this challenge:

  • “How small or large should the niche be?  Where do I stop? White single males, under 30, college educated, with incomes greater than 45K, who play basketball more than twice a week, participate on Facebook and drive Nissans, and eat out more than 4 times a week, prefer blonde girlfriends and want to start their own business within six months and live in Washington DC?”

Summing Up

As I mentioned in the intro to this post, if you’re facing a bunch of challenges in getting your online business off the ground, please don’t feel alone – because you’re not.

The survey I’ve been running over the past couple of months shows that there are a handful of key challenges facing many people who are new to the make-money-online industry (and, of course, those of us who are a little more seasoned aren’t free of problems either!)

Do you see yourself in any of the challenges I described above? If so (or not), please leave a comment below.

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  1. says

    I subscribe to only one e-newsletter on IM, and that one is yours. Although a total newbie, with barely an idea to run with at this point, I appreciate everything you have to offer. You are generous with your information, and that builds trust. Sharing your survey results is a case in point: the results help me know where I stand, and that I am not alone in the field of ignorance. Therefore, I already feel a little bit smarter!

    • Moe says

      You’re certainly not alone, Michael. There are hundreds who subscribe to this blog alone who are in your situation. More to the point, we’ve all been there.

      And thank you for your trust! I will certainly try my best to meet your expectations going forward.


  2. says

    That’s easy. The biggest challenge facing me in making money online is, well, me. I’ve point-pointed it down to my beliefs and lack of certainty. I know I have the potential and I usually at least start taking some action. But I hold myself back with thoughts like I want to do it, but can I do it? I know Mr/Mrs. so and so is doing it, but he/she is a better writer or a better x, y or z. Or the cliche, what if I fail? And then slowly my follow-through dwindles and it’s easier to not think about it at all. I then move onto the next greatest idea. But thanks to great articles like this one, that’s about to change.

    • Moe says

      Luke, it’s interesting how our biggest challenge can be our fear of failure. (Did I just sound like Tony Robbins?)

      Here’s an example from my experience (today): I’ve been thinking of launching a paid product for some time, because so many people email me for advice, and (at the risk of sounding pompous) I know that I have some good information to share. But even when I was loading this post to the blog today, I had doubts about announcing my new product (“What if nobody leaves a comment about the post? I’ll look like a fool!”).

      There’s an excellent, free resource that you should opt in to for motivation: Dave Navarro’s The Launch Coach. I’ve gone through his free reports, and they’re a great kick in the pants. Check them out – I think you’ll like them.


  3. says

    I have to say that in my case my biggest problem is having more visitors to my blog. I have a relatively new blog, about 3 months, and it seems that the challenge has been bringing in more traffic and consistent numbers as well.
    Despite optimizing my page I have not seen much evidence of search engines finding me on the higher tail keywords, just a visitor here and there from the search engines and mostly for my primary keyword.
    I do want to add that I am a Spanish speaker (Mexican parents) and see a HUGE potential in many niches for the Spanish speaking market.

    • Moe says

      You said it, Sam – HUGE potential in the Spanish speaking market! If I were you, I’d approach the owners of high-gravity Clickbank products, and license their products for Spanish markets.

      Re. optimizing your blog: if you’re in a competitive niche (e.g. anything related to health), it can take longer than 3 months to rank in the search engines. My health websites have taken anywhere from 3 days to 6 months to rank, depending on the competitiveness of the keywords. Keep building backlinks from quality sites, and you’ll see your traffic increase significantly with time.


      • says

        Your site has a lot of good information. But I see one problem. You don’t go into a lot of details on how to build backlinks from quality sites? Can this be outsourced? Who should I use? Also, there’s not much on a cost side out there for building a profitable site. For instance if I wanted to build a site around testosterone thearapy which had 18k global what should I spend on hosting? a domain name? should it be aged? content? design? banklinks? Also, what kind of back links? directories? social? forums? articles? link bait? Is there a better way? How much should I spend on each these? I know there aren’t exact answers but there’s got to be a good guess.

        • Moe says

          Hi Bob,

          Thanks for your compliment and questions. The questions you ask could fill an entire course, so I don’t think you can expect to find them easily on any blog. I do have a course in which I answer some of your questions, and will be added step-by-step instructions on backlinking. The course is called Niche Sherpa, and is available here.


  4. terry says

    My biggest problem is my naievity. Having bought into the make money easy hype, i registered with A fortnight later i am totally lost and confused. The only guaranteed results, are a steady stream of people e-mailing me with get rich quick schemes; and finding out that supposedly free websites all seem to cost plenty. in conclusion i think its back down the job market again. The illusion of internet wealth for me is just a pipe dream.
    best wishes

    • Moe says

      You’re certainly not the only one who has bought into the dream, Terry. I get emails from people every day (and I mean every day) describing how they’ve been ripped off. And when I first got into this business, I also got duped by those “cash flying into your pockets overnight” sales pages. We’ve all been there.

      I’ve said this in a few places on the blog: the key to surviving the early days in business (offline or online) is to have realistic expectations, and to take confidence in small successes. One needs to have dreams, of course, but I’ve never bought into the idea that a person should set massive goals in order to motivate themselves. If your goal is to make a million dollars in your first year online, and you only make a few thousand (or a few hundred), how is that going to affect your self-esteem?

      Bottom line: if a sales page has a Ferrari and bikini babes on it, run away.


  5. Jimmy says

    I was stuck between following my interest and the interest of the others – the hungry buyers. What interested them mostly, I find, were not what interested me. After a long time, I realized that I was excited by the very activity of researching – which, Moe, was why I was instinctively attracted by your techniques.

    So, I asked myself: Does it matter what product I’m dealing just as long as you go through the research of determining the statement of the problem, the significance of the study, hypothesis, fact gathering, analysis, etc. When I redirected my focus on the joy that I derive out of researching, I could see myself involved in writing about the discomforts of wearing a brassiere – which I have no particular interest in. Incidentally, it’s probably a way of extracting ‘fun’ out of a boring subject.

    Now, all I need to deal with is ‘time management’. That should not be too difficult. (And you have an article regarding that).

    • Moe says

      “…the discomforts of wearing a brassiere”.

      Ha! Good one, Jimmy…

      You raise an excellent point (about following your interests, not brassieres). When people get into this business, many mistakenly believe that their interests need to coincide with the topic of their website. Not true. Their interests only need coincide with some aspect of their online business – whether that be the topic of their site, or some aspect of the business itself.

      Let me try to clarify what I just said with an example: I own a portfolio of health websites. Now, I’m interested in health issues, but I’m not passionate about health. What I am passionate about is niche research (like you are, Jimmy) and product development. So it doesn’t matter that I’m not gung-ho about health – because the research and product development aspect of my business keeps me interested and motivated.

      Hope that’s clear.


  6. says

    Great survey Moe, excellent content , enjoyed it and your blog.
    My biggest challenge is – attracting visitors to my website via referrals and back links and not so much search engine in origin. I’ll take if it is there though.
    So my offline marketing is just as important as my online , also who my “ideal” client /customer is .

    • Moe says

      Thanks for your compliments, Colin!

      Traffic is clearly one of the main issues for IMers. I’ve noted your specific challenge.


  7. says

    Nice survey, and a good job of making deductions. I have a couple of focused niche sites, that earn a decent revenue for the size market they occupy, but my authority site which covers the same, and related topics gets a lot more visitors, and makes almost 0 money, and thus my problem seems to be finding the right product, or method of marketing the right product. I am starting to think that traffic is the easy part.

    • Moe says

      I took a look at your Home and Garden site, Jim – nice use of Adsense. I like that big banner above the header.

      If traffic is the easy part for you, you really should be teaching people! Traffic is a huge problem for many people (newbies and veterans alike).

      As you say, with your authority site the problem could be (1) not offering the right product to visitors, or (2) not promoting your products in the right way. If you’re not making sales, there’s probably a mismatch between the needs of your site visitors and what you’re offering them.

      Have you surveyed your visitors to see what they’re looking for? Here’s a free tool that I’ve heard great things about, and am planning to test on my sites soon (it’s an online survey tool):


      • says

        I think I have gone through every possible position for adsense on this site, and still, zip! I have a couple of micro niche sites that earn $50.00 a month each. It is mind boggling.

        As for traffic, according to Google Analytics, I have a lot more than other similar sites my size, people stay on site several minutes, yet no one clicks on anything!

        As for teaching traffic techniques, well, that’s a new thought, I might look into it.

        I think you hit the nail on the head about not offering the right products, and I appreciate the idea of surveying the readers. I have made a couple of vague attempts, but I’m not sure I was going about it in the right way. Maybe the tool you suggested will help. Thanks

  8. says

    At last! Great to hear that you’re going to be running a members course – I predict it will become the stuff of IM legend. What will the price be and will there be an affiliate program?

    P.S. Thanks for the mention 😉

    • Moe says

      Wow, “IM legend” – let’s set the expectations at a reasonable level, Richard! But thanks, as always, for your kind words.

      Not sure what the price will be at this point. I’m planning to launch it just to my list on a “charter member” basis. And there will be an affiliate program eventually.


  9. says

    Great post Moe!

    And I am still stuck on the 1200+ subs in 2 months?!?!
    How have you been marketing this blog because I think I could use some pointers. Here I was thinking I was getting good traffic from the blogosphere, and you quietly sneak in and do that!


    Oh sorry, I’m trying to win something here aren’t I
    (Yes Alex you are, so don’t call the Host a bastard, just a thought)

    I think my biggest challenge has been a lack of focus, or at least a want to take on too much at once.
    At first I thought this failure was with me and my lack of ability to focus and stay on task, but truth is that I CAN stay focused, and I DO stay on task – it’s just that I stay on all of them.
    This boils down to a lack of business planning. I jumped in headfirst and took on niche sites, Keyword Research, SEO, Blogging and some more and what resulted was a jumbled mess.

    I liken it to doing a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. WHen you first start there is just a chaotic mess of information, but you logically sort this into edge pieces, sky pieces, tree pieces etc etc until you have a framework – something to work with and from. Well I have been trying to do 4 or 5 jigsaws at once, and no matter how well I sort the edge pieces from the sky pieces, I always end up confusing the puzzles, and quite frankly (between you and me) I can’t even remember where I put the box, so I have no idea what the finished product is supposed to look like!

    Now I am on top of things, have promptly thrown out all but one of my puzzles and am starting 2011 with a new sense of purpose.

    Thanks for your awesome content as always Moe, you quickly became my favourite blogger in 2010 and this trend looks to continue into 2011.

    • Moe says

      It’s pretty obvious you DO know how to focus, Alex – look at the amazing output of your blog! As you say, I think the key to your success will be concentrating on one puzzle at a time. Actually, I think that’s the case for most people.

      Here’s to you overtaking as the #1 SEO consulting firm in 2011!


  10. says

    You mentioned surveys as being powerful means of extracting information from your audience and I see that you have a lot of useful info here that would have been difficult to obtain otherwise.

    My biggest challenge currently is selecting a niche or niche audience. I would say this falls somewhere between “Challenge #1: Finding a Profitable Niche” and “Challenge #3: Finding a “Profit AND Passion” Niche”. I believe (possibly mistakingly) that without some kind of strong interest in the topic then success will be hard to come by.

    I’m still getting my head around this first crucial step, choosing a niche audience, as I have been taught in the past, that when finding a niche you should select an activity, area, interest, etc that you are passionate about. This selection process would coincide with your method when you mention (in a blog post) the ‘work backwards’ angle. You have introduced a slightly different approach where you go after an audience rather than start with an interest. What are the pros and cons to both ?

    As you pointed out, niches can be grouped by demographics, psycho graphics and specific needs. Is there anything more that can be touched on here regarding classification ? You stressed the importance of really knowing your audience so that you can offer them products that they will be gagging for.

    In a separate blog post, “Find your audience : How to identify a niche market to serve” you listed four steps to finding a niche: 1. The audience as yourself. 2. What group do you gravitate toward ? 3. Take a mercenary approach… 4. Work backwards… This is EXACTLY where i am at now and as much clarification/info with these four steps (and any others?) would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks again for being very generous with your info, ingenuously, Alwyn

    Oh and yes, I am located in China and YouTube as well as others like Facebook are blocked by the paranoid commie gov’t…better dead than red.

    • Moe says

      Thanks for your very specific questions, Alwyn – you’re in the draw!

      In my opinion (and experience), surveys are THE most powerful way of getting detailed information on audience needs. And you’re getting that information “straight from the horse’s mouth”, as the saying goes. I’m planning to cover surveys in detail in my paid course.


  11. ezekiel says

    Dear Moe,
    let me start by appreciating your relentless assistance to see my internet business up and running. Honestly i have followed every of your mails but today i’m still yet to get my site up for the following reasons:
    a. How to research a profitable niche
    b. How to research keyword (Head, Tail and Long tails word)
    c. How to use these keywords to write articles.
    Sir, i do know and sure that your interest to assist me still remain unshrinking, therefore my hope is really on you to see through, bros i’m waiting.
    Thanks and Cheers.

    • Moe says

      Thanks, Ezekiel. As I mentioned in the post, finding a profitable niche and doing proper keyword research are two challenges that many IM newbies are facing.

      I’ll do my best to see you through!


  12. says

    All that is really necessary is a deep understanding of a niche – not necessarily a passion for it. Don’t get me wrong. Being passionate helps you get through the “I don’t want to’s” but by no means is it a must have.

    My work as a solo-developer has me diving deep into various niches that I previously knew absolutely nothing about. What I do know is how to drill down into a niche to see what makes it tick so I can develop something that is truly helpful to that niche.

    Of course I am talking about developing software and web tools but I have little doubt that the same applies to creating information products as well. You just have to be willing to research enough to be able to build a better product for your audience.

    • Moe says

      You hit on a couple of important points, Dan:

      – “All that is really necessary is a deep understanding of a niche – not necessarily a passion for it”

      Exactly! A passion is not necessary – but you must have at least an interest in some aspect of the business (whether it be the topic itself, or the “business side” of things, like the marketing, website development, etc.)

      – “…how to drill down into a niche to see what makes it tick so I can develop something that is truly helpful to that niche”

      Absolutely crucial. This is a competitive advantage that most marketers don’t take the time to cultivate. For those of us who do, it can lead to domination of a market.


  13. Moe says

    One additional thought re. Adsense, Jim. I know this might sound odd, but: the reason your site might not get Adsense clicks is that the content you offer is too good!

    This is the case on one of my Adsense sites, which provides information on a particular type of surgery. My site provides great information on typical costs, potential complications, etc – and the Adsense click-through rate is pathetic.

    What’s the average # of pages that people are viewing? If it’s high, you know that your content is very good! If that’s the case, you should consider launching a product of you own in that niche, because you’ve got people’s trust.


    • says

      It would be nice to think that it’s too good. Yes, let’s go with that! lol The average is about 2.5 pages per visit, and the avg time on site stays above 4 min. I m not sure what that means. I may start thinking about that product.
      Thanks again!

  14. Mark says

    Hi Moe,
    Haven’t seen the survey, but the questions people asked surprised me a little, even though I am not quite sure what I expected. Anyway, I can see how this complex thing of the internet business is indeed complex and demands a systematic, dedicated and persisting approach with a lot of wisdom. And that’s my main challenge right now – to find a wise source of information and knowledge who I can trust and rely on. I have no problem with motivation, nor with hard work, but to really find a great mentor seems a bit of a problem. Even those who claim how great they are and how they care about their clients, and how other gurus are just scammers, do not necessarily provide a quality product for a reasonable price. In addition, my fears and doubts bug me. I think what a person believes plays a huge part in how well he’s going to succeed, and if there are doubts and fears of “Oh, it’s not working,” “Oh, I’m not gonna make it,” “Oh, is this the right way? Am I sure? How can I be sure?”, then it’s really hard to keep going. I am a complete beginner and it’s really overwhelming to find a ray of light in the sea of darkness that surrounds us on the web – so many claims, so many promises, so much confusion. So, I am confused right now and bewildered a bit, but I do my best. Most of all I want to go the wise path and not jump from one product to another, just choose a dedicated and sound approach and stick to it.
    Good luck with your new program.

    • Moe says

      Mark – I think everyone who is new to this business finds it hard to resist the temptation to keep buying products. There are a couple of (understandable) reasons why people do this:

      (1) they’re looking for a “magic bullet” (even though they know – subconsciously – that such a thing doesn’t exist. That’s also why lotteries will always be popular); and

      (2) they haven’t found an online model that suits them.

      I think (2) is a legitimate reason to buy a bunch of different products when you’re first starting out. It’s one way to quickly learn the different ways to make money online. I spent a whack of money in my first couple of years online (thousands of dollars), and also spent money trying out affiliate marketing through pay-per-click advertising, building a big Adsense site, etc. before settling on an approach that really interested me and I felt comfortable growing into.

      It IS overwhelming at first. But if you take a long-term view, and don’t expect success overnight, it gets MUCH more enjoyable as you learn, get your footing, and have some small successes. Trust me 😉


  15. says

    After finding a niche and researching your keywords, the time comes to design a website. I am looking to expand into more products but want to start as an affiliate until I find my groove. My problem is “The Google Slap” If I understand it right, Google isn’t interested in promoting affiliate sites and too many affiliate links can cause your account to closed. How can you effectively use Adwords and still promote an affiliate product.


    • Moe says

      Jerry, I can tell you from personal experience that the Google Slap is alive and well! One of my accounts wa recently slapped, and I’m in the process of revising my site to make sure it complies with Google’s increasingly-onerous rules. (In the meantime, Yahoo/Bing is still a good traffic soarcs, and their rules are far looser.)

      The bottom line, though, is that it’s worth taking the extra effort to please Google, because they can provide so much high-quality traffic. Here’s a page from the Adwords site on their rules for landing pages:


  16. Rafael says

    My biggest challenge has been working around fears of inadequacy that, ironically, have been fed by some of the gurus themselves in order to secure their places as the “go-to-guys.” Some of them flash the “if you don’t know this technique I’ve honed over years you’re guaranteed to fail” sign in front of you so much that subconciously you make the task way harder than it probably is and you just stop out of confusion. My challenge is to break from that mentality while learning in an objective and constructive way.

    Thanks for sharing the insight on the Spanish-speaking market. I am a translator with 4 languages under my belt, including Spanish, my native language, so this is good news indeed.

    Best regards!

    • Moe says

      Thanks for highlighting that “dependency” tactic, Rafael. You’re right – I’ve seen it used before.

      The reality is that once people learn the fundamentals of a tactic (whether it be traffic generation, niche research, or whatever), it’s up to the student to then implement, observe the result, and tweak to see what improvements they can achieve. It goes without saying that the course/program doesn’t achieve the result – it’s the effort and determination of the student.


  17. Michèle says

    Hello once again from your neighbour up here in Montreal! Cold as hell here (is that an oxymoron?), how’s the By-town?

    I have read blogs, free reports, and gurus forever. I’ve suffered the paralysis by analysis over and over again beginning one system after another, but never actually doing something concrete to make money.

    My thing is this. I’ve gone over this niche subject ad nauseum. I tried finding a good niche + passion mix and have come to the following conclusion…SCREW PASSION! I am not ashamed to admit that I have a SINGULAR passion that trumps the other “stuff I like/love”. Money!

    So I need to learn how to turn my “love” for cold, hard cash into an online boon so that I can do the things I’m ALSO passionate about…SPEND money on trips, PAY for my daughter’s tuition, call off the collection agency that has my student loans, PAY my bills with both my eyes open and one less glass of wine (it’s hard to concentrate on which one was eenie and what was miney after the 3rd glass but I digress), etc!

    I will save you the energy of suggesting I do a blog/site about budgeting, accounting, day trading, or russian roulette, I don’t have that kind of passion for the green. My passion is figuring out how to make it. Then spending it on necessities first, cool stuff after. (Honest!)

    So that is the thing that gets to me each time. I have varied interests, all unrelated, none -if segmented demographically – would ever overlap. This is what is turning a passion for the process and the resultant payoff into an ordeal of mammoth proportions. IM GPS please…no rush (but hurry!)


    • Moe says

      And yet you yourself identified where your passion lies, Michèle: figuring out how to make money. In the IM space that has a number of components: research, promotion, website development, outsourcing, systematization, strategy, etc. Surely at least one of those components appeals to you enough that you could focus on it and outsource the rest (eventually)?


      • Michèle says

        Hey Moe,

        Good to hear from you as always. You are right about what I intend which is to eventually focus on what I like teaching, guiding, couselling, making mullah, and I will of course outsource the rest. However, as with any newbie, you’ve got to start out doing it yourself with a niche. What niche?

        This issue is becoming quite circular like which came first the chicken or… I already have a tentative mid and long-term goals per what you suggest, but I’m still trying to get off of the ground.

        I don’t have the luxury of “costly mistakes” so I need to tread carefully no matter what I do. I must make something happen in the next 6 months or I’m toast!

        • Moe says

          I think six months is realistic to make something happen, Michèle (if you had said six weeks, it would be a different story). The info products I’ve had created have taken less than 3 months to research, create, and start selling, using the survey method I touch on in my free report, and will be covering in detail in my course.


  18. says

    Aloha Moe,

    The biggest challenge facing me at this moment is structuring my time so that each minute online is if not profitable immediately, then at the very least a potential future return on investment to provide for my family. After many many mistakes, applying what works and discarding what doesn’t, with the learning curve gradually evening out with the “guru’s” — inevitably time management for implementation of each technique leads the way as the the biggest challenge for me.

    By the way, eMyth AWESOME Read!

    Thanks again Moe!

    • Moe says

      It sounds like you’re pretty far advanced, John. Now to find the time to scale up what works! (Easier said than done, I know.)

      Thanks for mentioning your challenge,


  19. Ezekiel Sanni says

    It is over a year now I have been trying to build an online business but all I have been meeting on the net has not giving me anything. I have spent hundred of dollars buying one product or the order, joining one membership site or the order but I have not seen any result. Why, I am fed up.

    • Moe says

      This might sound like cold comfort, Ezekiel, but it was only after two years of trying that I started making money online! I think the key is to reflect on the things (however small) that have worked for you, then try to build on them. Are there successes that you can think of – getting traffic, making an affiliate sale, earning a few dollars in Adsense?


  20. Keith says

    The biggest challenges facing me at the moment are information overload and being dis-organised. It is so easy to spend loads of time reading emails about the “next big thing” and before you know it an hour has gone and nothing is done.
    I’ve come to realise there is no “magic button” for me, I have to learn the basics, treat IM as a proper business, get organised, make proper plans, do something positive for my business every day, and everything will come together, and I will make money. I f I don’t treat this as a real business it will forever remain a hobby and my results will mirror that.

    • says

      Contest or not, I agree with Keith. Every other hour there seems to be a new bright shiny object to distract us away from the warm friendly glow of a slow and focused IM strategy. Meanwhile the gurus get better, the newbies spend money, and all the people in the middle keep struggling to find their magic “niche”button. Keith is right, a proper business approach is key in making IM work.

      • Moe says

        Right – and those bright shiny objects give us a small mental release, a brief moment when we can dream. But “slow and focused” wins the race, ultimately.


  21. says

    Without a doubt the biggest issue holding me back from even launching my internet marketing venture is inability to get focused on a niche. The majority of opinion of the “gurus” is to find/determine what you like and make that a niche. Problem is, what I really like is something I’m not experienced in and so how in the world would I know how to compose content pages on my website (when it ever sees the light of day in cyber space).

    • Moe says

      Tony – I’m sure you’d agree that focus is one of those things that’s easy “in theory”, but so hard in real life! But I think the real culprit is the time it takes to see results. Personally, I’ve found it much easier to focus on things in my business that are already making money. The challenge has been to give new things (such as a new website) the time to show results.

      Regarding the challenge of pursuing a niche that you’re not experienced in, have you read this post on becoming a “niche journalist”?


      • says

        Moe, many thanks for the attached post. It cleared out a lot of the cob webs circulating in my head.
        Without a doubt I inflicted this mindset upon myself. So for me the challenge then is to walk the fine line between plagiarism and reportage. Available time is not an issue but effective use of my time IS!
        Thanks, you have already helped me by causing a 90 degree shift in my course of thinking. A classic case of not being able to see the forest for the trees, I would say.

  22. Peter says

    Thanks Moe for a nutritious blog.

    Just like other commentators I would like to draw attention to the psychology of success.
    Becoming a successful internet entrepreneur seems to me like a real self transformation, and you need more than technical knowledge to do that.

    What I and many other entrants need is first a realization that success is a must. There is no second option to fall back on, and not to succeed is simply intolerable.

    Secondly needed is rock solid determination to carry on steadily even if obstacles turn up and the goal seems far away.

    I don’t know where to find these two things. Perhaps they can be teased out from within oneself in the right environment: with a supportive mentor, team member or spouse.

    The rest should be easy – joyful even

    • Moe says

      I couldn’t agree more, Peter – the psychology of success is hugely important. It’s become even more clear to me from the comments on this post that my blog (and upcoming course) need to focus more on this.

      I’ve jotted down some ideas regarding the psychological “crutches” that have helped me along, and will put up a post on that topic in a couple of days.

      Thanks for summing up things up!


  23. Jane says

    Duhhh what is holding me back MONEY of course with every day a new shiny object being offered!! I think patience and persistence is the key make sure you do a little each day train your mind and NOT get toooooooo distracted with the next big thing. Concentrate on the necessities. I could give you my hard luck story of what I need in the next two months eg 60,000 for brain surgery for my husband and money to overcome the loss and devistation we have gone through with the Queensland floods but I don’t think that is what you want to hear so I will just quitely and consiciously keep working at my project at hand.

    • Moe says

      Our thoughts are with you, Jane! I’ve seen the footage of the floods all week on the news. It looks terrible. And I’m really sorry to hear about your husband…

      Thanks very much for taking the time to comment in the midst of all that’s going on in your life.


  24. says

    Hi Jane, this might be a bit off topic and if so Moe will delete it.
    But all I wanted say Jane is, that I am completely and fully sympathetic what you and your family are experiencing this very minute and I will hold you and all the people in Australia in my thoughts. We were heavily involved in the 2005 Katrina flood on the Gulf. There we were “lucky” enough not to have to deal with crocks and poisonous snakes.

  25. says

    Hi Moe,

    I found your site today through Alex Whalley’s. There were some really great questions were asked by your readers, and many of them are hard to answer in a general way.

    I think there are really two big challenges that just about all new Internet Entrepreneurs face:

    (1) How to choose a niche that is interesting to the marketer, profitable, and not saturated.
    (2) How to do all of the steps needed to get the site noticed by Google and other potential traffic sources.

    The thing about each of these challenges is that there are so many steps to each. That is, unless the person is just lucky and picks something that is just missed by everyone else.

    For me, I would say that the biggest challenge is keeping up with all of the work involved. There are a bunch of these steps, and it certainly would be nice to have had a map for how to do each of them a year ago.

    I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

    Have a great day!

  26. says

    The biggest challenge for me and others too would be finding “buyers” keywords and driving traffic.

    That 2 things brings me headaches every time.

    Hope your course will clear this problems.
    Good luck all.
    God bless :-)

  27. mohan says

    I am a newbie …i am trying to find some good keywords so that i can start my affiliate sites for the products based on those keywords …but my problem is there are many keyword research strategies on the internet …so when i try do research a specific keyword using different strategies i am getting different results…

    Can you please provide us a perfect keyword strategy on which we can rely….which deals with everything like competition,monthly searches,commercial intent(number of searches resulting in purchases),authority sites etc

    • Moe says

      Noted, Mohan – although I won’t be able to provide a perfect keyword strategy (it would nice if such a thing existed!)

      Thanks for your thoughts,


  28. Paul says

    Hey Moe,

    Just wanted to say you can count me in on your course. One seat sold!

    I am the one who wrote “How can I identify a profitable niche with 99% certainty that it is profitable?” without re-reading it before to press submit :)

    Have I re-read it, I would have removed the first “profitable” occurrence, but I’m glad the mistake served!!

    Here’s to a profitable 2011.

    • Moe says

      Ah! So it was you, Paul. I’m glad you didn’t re-read your statement – it really reinforced what many people are looking for (a niche that can make money from the get-go).

      And thanks for your vote of confidence in my course! I look forward to seeing you on the inside.


  29. Ambo says

    Hi Moe,
    Nice one here. The pas two years have not been easy on me. I turned to IM as a way out of a situation but Money has been my greatest obstacle. Somehow I should say the delay has prevented from falling into some of those money-in-a-click “get rich overnight” offers. At one point I was drunk with too much junk but I think I beginning to filter through.
    If finding or choosing a niche is not the main problem, making a product probably is.
    And without a product, choosing from the lot on Clickbank and others isn’t easy either.

    • Moe says

      Thanks for your thoughts, Ambo. So your challenges are: (1) finding or choosing a niche, (2) product development, and (3) choosing affiliate products to promote. I’ll be covering those topics in detail in the course.


  30. Matt says

    My biggest problem is that I try to find and read information about everything related to IM biz, building web sites, marketing, creating content and so on to minimize the risk of failure (and time spend) before making the big jump. What I should do is just make a plan, stick to it and see how it goes. More action and less planning!


    • Moe says

      That definitely ties in to the “fear of failure” comment that a lot of people have made on this post, Matt. What you’ll find when you start implementing is that you’ll learn as much (sometimes more) from taking action than reading.


    • Moe says

      It sure is, Kevin. Copywriting is one of those skills that takes a long time to perfect. If you haven’t checked out Brian Clark’s blog (Copyblogger) yet, I highly recommend it. Just studying the headlines he uses for his posts is a good education.


  31. Steve says

    Great stuff as usual Bro!! looking forward to your Niche Sherpa course….do you have a release date yet? The big theme I’m seeing is paralysis…and it’s real easy to freeze up with the overload of info out there….what’s the saying?….”success is 99% failure.” so fail away all!!

    • Moe says

      Thanks, Steve!

      Niche Sherpa was supposed to launch tomorrow (Feb 1), but looks like I’m going to have to delay it by a day (I’m a technical dunce, and am waiting for some tech fixes to the site) 😉


  32. Duy Nguyen says

    Hi Moe,

    I’ve read your special report, and all of your blog posts in the niche-research category several times, and I’m on my way of finding out a niche. Then I dropped by this post, read people’s comments, and wanted to ask you something.

    You seem to be so confident when it comes to finding out a niche. I see you take different examples here and there, and all of them look potentially as well! I follow your teaching in the report, and it’s very effective. But whenever I come across a niche idea, my brain says: “OK, it’s a potential niche, but I have completely NO interests in it. What would happen if I build a list, and HAVE TO communicate with my list constantly (you know how hard it is when we have to talk about what we don’t like)? What can I do if I have to maintain long-term relationship with my list?…”

    Now I think I need advice from you, can you show me how to have such confidence to enter whatever potential niche comes up in my research like you do? This question is like a big stone lying challengingly on the road of approaching my audience!

    Anyway, thank you so much for the helpful post!


    • Moe says

      Duy, confidence comes from taking ACTION. The reason I seem so confident is not that I have some magical sense for niches that are going to be profitable. It’s because I know that internet marketing is a numbers game. Some ventures are going to fail, some are going to make a little money, and a handful are going to be blockbusters. The key is to keep trying new things.

      I know that some people spend forever looking for that perfect niche, the one that’s going to make them a millionaire. That’s a COMPLETELY wrong approach. If you study any successful IMers, you’ll see that most (if not all) of them tried many different things before hitting a home run.

      I’ve had my share of failures. In fact, I entered one niche last year (meal plans) that bombed. I surveyed one of my lists, found out exactly what they were looking for in a meal plan program, hired a nutritionist to develop the program, launched it, and…silence. A few sales here and there, but nothing much. Why hasn’t it taken off? I don’t know. Maybe it’s the way I’ve promoted it.

      Here’s my suggestion:

      (1) Identify an audience you’d like to serve
      (2) Come up with a list of problems that audience is facing
      (3) Choose 3-5 problems that you’re interested in
      (4) Launch one site for each of those problems
      (5) See what works

      It’s as straightforward as that. (Notice I said “straightforward”, NOT easy!)

      Hope that helps,


  33. Andy says

    Hello Moe,
    I am new to your blog. I read above that you will be releasing a new course – Niche Sharpa. When will the course be available for purchase.

  34. says

    Thanks for your article

    My bigest challenge is how to promote my site freely and manually, because i have really spend so much on the IM without any result.

    Please if you can help me with the step by step guide on how to do them, so that i can achieve a good result.



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