Today’s online economy affords entrepreneurs plenty of opportunities to start new businesses, however some types of online business do not require a lot of tech savviness. With basic web development skills and some inexpensive hardware, just about anyone can get started. Consider comparison websites, for example.
A comparison website allows consumers to compare just about any item consumers are interested in. Fastbusinessloans.com.au is an Australian website that compares short-term business loans from a variety of lenders, as well as private equity funding.
Comparison websites aren’t just about finance, they exist for mobile phone plans, broadband internet, utilities, and many, many more categories. The internet is awash in a sea of comparison websites, because people use them.
How they make money
With almost all comparison websites being free to use, you may question how the website makes their money? Generally there are 2 methods. The first is affiliate marketing; the second is information harvesting.
Affiliate marketing is a business model that pays website owners a commission every time they direct a paying customer to the destination company’s website. Imagine you are comparing mobile phone plans. If you click one of the links on a comparison site, then eventually sign up for a plan with the company the link directed you to, the owner of the comparison site earns a commission on that sale.
Affiliate marketing is actually all over the internet; it is not limited to just comparison sites. In fact, there are phenomenally successful business owners whose entire revenue stream is based on affiliate marketing. Be that as it may, harvesting information is another way that comparison websites can make money.
Note that information harvesting is not legal in every jurisdiction. Where it is, comparison site owners collect information customers enter when they are shopping for things like car insurance and mortgages. They turn around and sell that information to other companies.
For example, you might enter your name and email address to get free quotes on multiple mortgage products. The site owner might then sell your information to mortgage lenders who now know you are looking to borrow. It is not long before the lenders begin peppering you with offers.
A technologically easy enterprise
Getting started as a comparison website owner is technologically easy. You do not need a lot of skill. Sure, it helps to know some basic coding so that you can make your website exactly what you want, but even that isn’t completely necessary. Content management systems like WordPress and Drupal are more than adequate tools for building remarkably effective websites.
If you are capable of building a decent website, your next big hurdle is finding a company to host it. This is where this type of business can get expensive. Obviously, you are hoping your site generates a lot of traffic. But the more traffic, the higher the bandwidth. You can start with an inexpensive shared hosting plan for less than $100 a year. But if your site succeeds, increased traffic will eventually mean buying a more expensive hosting plan.
Marketing Is the hardest part
Setting up a comparison website is pretty easy from a tech standpoint. But succeeding in this particular business can be quite difficult. Success is tied more to your marketing ability than your website itself. In other words, you have to get your site in front of people so they will use it. If they do not know about it, the site will not do them any good.
Internet marketers have a variety of tools at their disposal for getting their websites out there. The first is search engine optimisation (SEO), a collection of tools and strategies designed to guarantee websites perform well on all the major search engines.
SEO experts can assist in developing strategies to increase ranking in search, helping drive traffic to the site. These strategies typically involve touching everything from posting regular, quality content, to chosen keywords and phrases. Improving navigation, page load times, and HTML tags can also help.
Another frequently utilised tool is guest posting. In a guest posting scenario, the site owner writes an article to be published on a completely separate site. In that article is a link back to his or her comparison site.
Generally, the article is one that would interest someone who would also be interested in what the comparison site has to offer.
Obtaining comparison information
By now you might be wondering where comparison websites get their information. In almost every case, the information comes from the websites of the companies being compared. For instance, assume you are comparing deals on rental cars. The website owner goes to the websites of five different rental companies, gets their information, and posts it on his/her website.
Here’s where a bit of tech savviness can help. A site owner with some tech skills can code their own site to automatically check the affiliated sites and update the information. Otherwise, they have to visit those sites daily and update the information manually.
There are some cases in which a website owner wants to compare data from companies that do not publish it on their sites. The only way to get the information is to contact companies and ask.
Also, note that companies offering affiliate marketing opportunities are sometimes willing to furnish the information themselves. You just set up a table on your website complete with some shortcode provided by the company in question. That shortcode tells your website to populate that particular section of the table with information generated automatically by the destination site.
A good business model
Comparison websites are a form of affiliate marketing. They represent a good business model for those who can make them work. Affiliate marketing is not for everyone but might be an excellent opportunity if you are the type of person who knows how to sell. The most attractive part of affiliate marketing is that you do not need to be a technical genius to pull it off.
Next time you’re using a comparison website, you’ll have a better understanding of how it works. You will also remember that someone is making a living off that site. While you are shopping around for the best deal, you’re also supporting a business owner whose livelihood is based on affiliate marketing.