Building and setting up your website is an accomplishment for anyone, even more so for a Newbie. All the things you had to learn, the never ending study curve; the general feeling there's going to be a "gotcha" just waiting for you. Looking back you see the mountain of work you've done; feels good, doesnt it?
Take a deep breath,
my friend, the real work is just about to start! Yes,
the never-ending job of promoting and marketing your website
is waiting for you.
Though accomplishing the setup and building phase is a feather in your cap, leave those laurels alone and roll up your sleeves; your work is just barely beginning.
Just because your website is there, doesn't mean you're going to get any visitors. You must let the Search Engines and the Net at large know that you are open for business. Other than the occasional redo of your site, marketing and promotion is going to occupy most of your time. Believe me, it is never-ending work.
The only way your website will grow and provide a self-sustaining income is to get traffic to it. The theory is that if your visitors are targeted, some of them will purchase your products. Consider these resources to get traffic:
a) Go to the forums that are related to what you do and post knowledgeable answers to questions in your area of interest. It will draw visitors to your website because they will come to think of you as an expert. As a side benefit, each posting will elevate your Page Rank if you use a signature and include an anchor text link to your website. On the minus side, some of the folks that visit will be your competitors.
b) Do your best to get indexed by all the major Search Engines and directories. Many of your buying customers will be provided by them. The easiest method to get indexed is to post in many of the relevant blogs; they get spidered quite often and will follow a link back to your website.
c) Once you have your website URL indexed, you must establish relevance for a number of phrases. To read a more in depth treatment of this subject, read my article "Keywords and their costs to Newbies."
d) Write articles and distribute them to all the online publishers that will accept them. The good thing about distributing articles is that you'll get to reach so many more people that will have an interest on your subject matter. Make sure you provide a link back to your website in the resource box.
e) Explore all the other ways of promoting your website. There are traffic exchange programs, business cards, word of mouth, Google AdWords, ad networks, linking to relevant websites, etc, etc I would advise to stay away from FFA (Free for All) and Safelist advertising. If you use them, do it only to get contacts, not necessarily to sell. Setup special email accounts for the avalanche of incoming emails.
f) Schedule your time and do each promotion activity on a weekly basis. You must sleep, eat, think, dream, and live to promote your website. Cary your business cards with you and pass them around. Develop contacts and relationships and nurture them, join any online or offline groups that are related to your website.
If you are realistic and keep at it, you'll see results. It won't happen overnight, its more like a steady trickle that will grow. From everything I've read it appears most websites take about 9 months to a year to start producing an income. The one constant will be your dedication and commitment to make it happen. Keep plucking at it and the Internet horn of plenty will deliver.