One of the biggest barriers to online entry is the notion that you need to be a computer geek or a web programmer. As a result of preconceived notions too many people shy away from attempting to setup a web site. Today it has never been easier and MORE confusing to get started online. Why the confusion? The choices of authoring tools are endless. You can add to this confusion by asking almost any web developer "What does it take to be successful online?" If you ask twenty different web developers the previous question you'll probably get twenty different answers. There are a number of people who have decided to jump in without prior web experience. In most cases it isn't that hard to setup a site, the hardest part is getting started. You can start with some words and "Not Knowing Any Better."
Almost Entirely Text
Two very successful sites I know of are primary text based. You will find very few pictures on each site. Compare and contrast the lack of pictures with almost any other web site. They break from what many developers would classify as web standards and embrace aspects of traditional direct marketing. To the best of my knowledge each web site generates between five and six figures of revenue annually. Their owners probably give an hour or less of work to each site daily. Day to day their time is primarily focused on keeping their customers satisfied. The sites presented might be needles in the haystack, but it is important to understand how simple sites can be tremendously successful.
Two Great Examples: (If you have a moment, take a look.)
When other web professionals visit these web sites many of them get upset. I have heard them make comments like "this type of crap is ruining the Internet" or "this is a joke, nobody can make money off of this." Perhaps it is the human condition. Very few web professionals react with a sincere "Good for them, that's awesome." This is usually followed by serious look at how it was done. Everyone can learn a thing or two from the examples. Again these examples are to illustrate that you don't need to be a professional web developer to be successful online.
Being Successful By "Not Knowing Any Better"
People who are successful with very little web experience tend to focus on content as opposed to the mode of delivery. You'll notice there aren't any bells or whistles on either web site. There were no preconceived notions of "this is how you have to do it!"
I've met one of the site creators who is an example in this post. He's not a web programmer, but he is a very intelligent person. He focuses on getting the right content to the right person in a systematic manner. There is some automation that is used via third part applications. Targeted advertising is used to direct people to his web site. After people visit the site, the focus shifts to building trust and credibility with perspective buyers with follow up.
It Takes Time
Success didn't come overnight for either web site. There was an appreciable investment of time upfront. People should realize that to be successful online requires commitment. There aren't many fire and forget online solutions.
The lesson for today is simple. You don't need to be a computer geek to get started online. A smart start with a little tenacity and determination can go a long way. The worst that can happen to you is you'll learn something.