I would like to formally introduce myself as Jake. I've been a member here for a long time but have not really took full advantage of this forum. So I wanted to start a thread discussing my failures in IM and what I've learned up to this point in hopes of helping new IM'ers from making the same mistakes. So, i'll start with when I began my IM Journey. I began in 2010 when I was in college. I was looking for a quick buck and figured there were plenty of ways to do so online. I did make some money, but nothing spectacular. Hopefully some experienced IM'ers get a laugh at some of my projects, and hopefully new people take notice. So without further ado....my failures and what I've learned. Keyword Research is Key My first site was built around the keyword "Forex" with the hopes of monetizing via Adsense. Anyone familiar with this keyword knows that the CPC is high for that keyword, but the competition was very high. Why Forex? I had actually invested into the market before and knew a bit about it, so I started there. Now, being a college student, I refused to pay for much. Hosting, outsourcing, backlinks, I purchased nothing but a domain. I used Blogger (Blogspot) and spent alot of time on content, social media creation, etc. I joined Forex forums and other forex blogs and left comments. I did daily forecasts on the market and posted them to forums with a link back to site. The site generated very little traffic, made about $100 in 1 year. So....do your keyword research. I made countless websites without looking into keywords. Invest in Hosting Like I said above, I did not want to spend any money. I used Blogger (Blogspot) for all my blogs. This is a terrible idea. If Blogger (Blogspot) , for whatever reason, decided to remove my blogs, and they were making money...I would not be making any money. Luckily this didn't happen, but I wasn't making any money from these sites anyways. In addition to the above point, free hosting provides nothing but limitations with what you're capable of doing with your site(s). Not only that, If somebody is searching on Google for a solution or product, they're not going to be clicking on a blogger (Blogspot) blog. And if they do, they won't spend too much time on it, regardless of content. It makes you look foolish and unprofessional (trust me). Believe is or not, I have ranked on first page in Google using free hosting, but they were extremely low traffic and competition, and little to no advertisers - What's the point (See above- Keyword Research). Wasting Time I Had one Particular project that revolved around the game "World of Warcraft." I spent hours and hours writing up content on how to play each class in the game, etc. Not only is this a very competitive niche, but the game changes constantly, and those articles would have to edited or re-created constantly. Not a task for one person. Not only this...but the CPC was below $0.50 I believe. Not worth the effort. Alot of this thread is referencing Keyword Research. It is without a doubt, the most important aspect of IM. I have wasted so many hours of my time, all because I didn't spend the time to make sure the effort was worth it. If the keyword research is done, and everything looks good, and your site still fails....that's completely ok..because it was a sound decision based off research. Bottom Line- Do it Right! Determine what your goals are. Are they short-term or long term? Do your keyword research - Can I rank this keyword, is there advertising competition, is the CPC high? Invest in Hosting and Domain. Create Quality Content - Outsource or write it yourself. How will you Monetize? - Is this a good keyword for Adsense, or maybe Amazon, or maybe Clickbank? Create quality backlinks. Scale-up to more sites once site is making money. Update sites with new content regularly. Don't rely on organic traffic alone. Social media traffic or forum traffic are great additions OR alternatives when Google penalizes sites. So there you have it. I had about 20 min of free time and decided to contribute here. Maybe it's helpful to new people, maybe not. The ultimate point here is: Read alot of Black Hat world forum before you begin a project.