Top 12 Internet Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

What I want to do in today’s post is share what I consider to be the top 12 internet marketing mistakes. These are common mistakes many new and experienced internet marketers make.

What is Internet Marketing?

Before I share the common internet marketing mistakes with you, I figured I would take a moment and define internet marketing. Putting it into my own words, I would define internet marketing as “the process of making money online” or “anything you to do promote a business or product online” or “anything you do to sell a product or service online.”

top internet marketing mistakes to avoid

Top Internet Marketing Mistakes

With that being said, here are the top 12 internet marketing mistakes as I see it. They are listed in no particular order.

# 1 Not Building Your Email List

Without a doubt, the biggest and most common internet marketing mistake that most people make is not building their email list. No matter what niche you choose, or what marketing strategy you choose, your primary focus should always be on building your email list first, not selling a product.

Keep in mind that most people do NOT buy something the first time they learn about it. In many cases, people need to see something 10-20 times MINIMUM before they take action. If you’re just trying to sell a product online, but not building your list, you are leaving a TON of money on the table.

For example, if you send 100 people to your affiliate offer, you might make one or two sales. However, if you send people to your capture page first, you might generate 20 to 40 leads AND get your 1-2 sales. If you have a good follow-up email sequence, you should be able to convert those 20-40 leads into and additional 5-15 sales in the months to come.

Always send people to a capture page first and then redirect them to your affiliate offer AFTER they opt-in. Also, stay in touch with your email list at least three times per week, so you can get your subscribers to like, know and trust you. As you do that, you can send them to your affiliate offers and make sales.

Use an autoresponder to build your list and work smart.

# 2 Choosing the Wrong Niche

Not all online niches are created equal. Most people venturing into internet marketing for the first time end up choosing the make money online niche. This is a good and bad decision. The MMO niche is very competitive and saturated.

Yes, there is a lot of money you can make in this niche, but you have to compete with the big boys and big girls who have deep pockets and have been in the game for years.

There are many affiliate marketing niches to choose from. I suggest you find one that interests you, has plenty of affiliate products to choose from, and has plenty of hungry buyers who are willing to spend money on what you are promoting.

Remember, it’s better to be a big fish in a small pond than be a minnow in an ocean!

# 3 Not Having a Written Business Plan

All businesses need a written business plan. An internet marketing business is no different. You should come up with a 1-2 page business plan for your internet marketing business. It should outline your vision, mission, marketing plan, marketing budget, target market, competitor analysis and include your daily action plan.

You can’t just wing it and be successful. You need to get organized, set your goals and develop your plan so you can stay on track and work smart. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

# 4 Promoting the Wrong Affiliate Products

Most affiliate products are not worth your time promoting. When it comes to picking an affiliate product, you want a product that:

  • Pays at least 20 to 50 percents commissions
  • Earns you at least $20 per sale, and ideally much more than that
  • Provides ongoing, residual commissions
  • Has a sales page that is compelling and converts
  • Have a product that delivers more value than it sells for

These are just a few things to look for. If you want additional tips, you should read my post about how to evaluate an affiliate program.

Remember this, it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to make a living online if you are promoting affiliate products NO ONE wants to buy, or even worse, products that only pay you a few dollars per sale.

# 5 Not Taking the Long-Term View

Contrary to what you might have been told, internet marketing is nothing like the lottery. It is not a get-rich-quick business. It’s not fast, free or easy either.

Like ANY business you start, the goal your first year is to learn and survive. Most businesses in the real world take a year or two just to make a profit, and at least three to five years to become a stable, successful business.

If you aren’t willing to commit at least five years to your internet marketing business, do yourself a favor and just go get a part-time job instead.

Think long-term and have realistic expectations.

all internet marketers should use paid traffic

# 6 Not Using Paid Traffic

This is one of the common internet marketing mistakes that very few people ever talk about. Focusing on free traffic exclusively is a complete waste of time and effort. Why? There are a few reasons why.

First and foremost, free traffic methods take a TON of your time. And time is money. In addition, most free traffic methods take MONTHS to produce any type of results. You have to be very patient. Another issue with free traffic is that you typically cannot scale it. Plus, you have ZERO control with free traffic. You can rank high on the search engines today and then be deindexed tomorrow.

With paid traffic you are in complete control. You can test different traffic sources very quickly, figure our what works, do some split testing and then scale your marketing efforts once you know what works best for you.

# 7 Not Finding a Mentor

All successful people I know have a mentor. Internet marketing is no different. Find someone who has achieved the results you desire and ask them to help you. Learn from their successes and mistakes. If they charge a fee, pay them!

Whatever you do, do not be a lone wolf and try to figure our everything on your own. This will hold you back because you don’t know what you don’t know. Following someone else’s guidance and experience can take YEARS off your learning curve.

One of the reasons I love Wealthy Affiliate is they have a community with THOUSANDS of successful online marketers who are willing to answer your questions and show you what right looks like.

# 8 Buying Too Many Training Courses

Another one of the common internet marketing mistakes is buying lots of different training courses. Some people end up giving themselves information overload. They buy 10-20 different training courses, read them all, but don’t take action because they are confused with the conflicting information.
They end up with analysis by paralysis and do nothing.

You would be much better off finding the BEST internet marketing training course you can afford, buy it, study it, and implement what you learn.

# 9 Not Focusing on ONE Marketing Strategy

There is only one skill you have to master to succeed with internet marketing. That skill is TRAFFIC GENERATION. The people who make the most amount of money online are the people who have mastered traffic.

Don’t spread yourself too thin and try to master 10-20 different traffic strategies at once. Pick one PAID and one FREE strategy and do not deviate. Learn everything you can about those two strategies and then take all our massive action.

After a year or two of mastering those two strategies, by all means diversify and learn additional marketing strategies.

# 10 Not Having a Marketing Budget

I understand for most people money is tight. It’s a sad reality in today’s world. However, I don’t know of ONE business in the real world that does not do some type of PAID marketing or advertising. Even churches advertise!

You need to set aside a monthly marketing budget for your new business, minimum $200 to $1,000 per month. This will let you test our different advertising and marketing strategies until you find something that works for you.

Do not be a cheapskate and try to do everything for free. Be willing to invest in your business, especially your marketing!

# 11 Not Having a Daily Mode of Operations

One of the common Internet marketing mistakes people make is not having a daily mode of operations. In other words, most people do not have a written list of 3-10 tasks they will do each day to grow their business. Instead, they just login to their computer and do what they can think of.

That is a recipe for failure. You must be organized. You need a daily action plan. This is nothing more than a short list of INCOME PRODUCING ACTIVITIES you are going to do each day to grow your internet marketing business.

# 12 Not Investing in Your Business Education

Another common internet marketing mistake is not investing in your business education. People are funny. They will spend tens of thousands of dollars on their college education without questioning anything, but they complain about spending $500 to $1,000 on their business education.

Attend events. Study courses. Read books. Join a mastermind team. Hire a mentor. Be willing to invest in your business education. All successful business owners invest in their own business education. You can’t afford not to invest in your business education.

Yes, you can watch some free YouTube videos and read some blog posts, but you need to put aside money each month to invest in your business education.

Try to attend 2-4 events per year, read 1-2 books per month on your niche and marketing strategy, hire a coach and join a mastermind group. This is money well spent. You can’t lose money when you invest in yourself.

Final Thoughts

In review, these are the top 12 internet marketing mistakes as I see it. Most of this should be common sense to you. I hope you will evaluate yourself in each of these 12 areas to see where you stand. Identify areas you can improve upon and come up with a game-plan to make it happen.

What are your thoughts? What do you think are the most common internet marketing mistakes? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.


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32 thoughts on “Top 12 Internet Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

  1. What an epic post, Chuck!

    I have made many of these internet marketing mistakes myself. I am still a newbie. I think I chose the wrong niche. I don’t have my own business plan either. Plus, I have never done anything with paid advertising. I guess I have a long way to go to become successful. I appreciate you sharing these tips with your readers. Thank you. 

    • We all make mistakes. That is how we learn. When you look at any successful internet marketer, you will discover that they made many of these mistakes at least once during their journey. Just learn from each mistake and press forward. 

  2. Awesome Information. I really love the way you outlined these 12 internet marketing mistakes. The one that really stands out to me is not taking the long-term view. I will be the first to admit that it’s easy to give up when you’ve worked a few months, even a year, and not made any money. It would be very frustrating to work so hard and not get to enjoy your results.

    I’ve been blogging for a while now and I’ve wanted to throw in the towel many times. I’m glad I didn’t give up!

    • Yes, one of the keys to success when owning a business is to practice delayed gratification. This is something most new entrepreneurs struggle with, especially if they’ve never owned a business before.

  3. I have just started with email marketing. I’m excited to add this marketing strategy to my business, because I really do feel the money is in the list. Absolutely. 

    Furthermore, I have not ventured into the world of paid advertising, and I really wish I had a course on this alone.  How to test, how to know what types of marketing to do, etc.  

    I have no idea, and I feel like I’m going to blindly waffle around in this world, spending a lot of money, and not knowing what I’m doing.  

    Do you know of any training in this area? I know you talk about a mentor. Do you do mentoring at all? I really want to be be successful.  I do one to two posts per day on my one site and one a week on my other. I’m not seeing the traffic, and I need to do something.  Thanks.

    • Great points. There are several courses online about paid advertising. You can do a quick Google search to find the one that looks the best for you.

      I do some business coaching, but not too much. I’m currently overbooked right now.

      When it comes to blogging, your job is a lot more than just writing new content. Spend more time promoting your content than you do creating it. That would be one of my best tips. Just making more and more blog posts is not going to make you more money. 

  4. Great article, Chuck.

    I have a few questions for you.

    1. How many affiliate programs should I promote?

    2. How much time should I give my website before I throw in the towel and move on to something else?

    3. If you could only do one paid advertising strategy, which one would you focus on and why?

    4. What is the worst internet marketing mistake you ever made?

    I look forward to hearing your answers. 

    • Here are the answers to your questions. 

      1. How many affiliate programs should I promote?

      I would start off with no more than three to five affiliate programs. Test them out for two or three months to figure out which ones convert the best. After that, always add in one or two new affiliate programs every couple of months, just to keep testing, so you can find the highest converting affiliate programs. 

      2. How much time should I give my website before I throw in the towel and move on to something else?

      I would say five years. My websites took me three years of FULL TIME work before I made ANY money. They took about 5 years to get really good. And then at the 7 or 8 year mark they became exceptional. Considering you are doing your business part-time, I think five years is a good time frame for success.

      3. If you could only do one paid advertising strategy, which one would you focus on and why?

      I would do solo ads. This is my favorite paid advertising strategy, because it is easy, simple and scalable. Of course, it might not work for EVERY niche, but it works for a lot. 

      4. What is the worst internet marketing mistake you ever made?

      My worst internet marketing mistake was starting additional websites, rather than just focusing on one. Choose one niche, one website and get really good at it, The last thing you want to do is spread yourself too thin and dilute your efforts. I hope that helps. 

  5. Wow, this is definitely for newbies and internet marketers who haven’t realized the reason why they haven’t  succeeded yet. I have learned a whole lot from this post

    As a newbie, I feel good when I read articles like this from experienced marketers because I want to ensure that I learn from experienced people and not make the mistakes they made. 

    Before reading this article, I didn’t know about finding a mentor or having a marketing budget. I’m going to do both of those things very quickly. Thanks for sharing. 

    • Glad I could be of help. You definitely want a mentor and marketing budget. 

  6. This article is really amazing! Great and helpful information to all online marketers and bloggers. 

    Online marketing can open up your business to a whole new world of customers, drive your sales up, and even help you connect with buyers on a deeper level. And it really generates real cash for people. 

    But what happens when we’re doing it all wrong? I made many of these internet marketing mistakes early on because I was desperate to make money quickly. I was looking for a shortcut. 

    Although I chose the wrong niche, promoted the wrong affiliate products and services, and tried many different things, I failed miserably. However, I am grateful I got it right eventually. 

    The list of possible internet marketing mistakes in this post taught me a lot. Your topic is very nice and helpful to me. Thank you for sharing this information of yours. Happy Earning!

    • Glad I could be of help. Failing at something is quiet perhaps the fastest way to learn!

  7. One of my biggest internet marketing mistakes was not having a mentor. I tried to figure out everything on my own. That didn’t work out very well for me. Fortunately, I eventually found Wealthy Affiliate. The training and community taught me the RIGHT WAY to do internet marketing. Since then my journey has been very enjoyable and profitable. 

    • I’m glad you found Wealthy Affiliate and learned the right way to do affiliate marketing. Here’s to your continued success.

  8. This piece of information is appreciated on Internet marketing mistakes to avoid. I have been exposed to some errors I have never thought about at all. Choosing a wrong niche is more like trying to give what you don’t have. It’s impossible to excel in area of no interest. All the points you have listed are an eye opener to me, which I am ready to take note for me to avoid them online if I want to be successful in affiliate marketing business. 

    • Yes, avoid these mistakes at all costs if you want to succeed with internet marketing. 

  9. Thank you for sharing your “Top 12 Internet Marketing Mistakes to Avoid”.

    I would add only one additional item to your list, and you may pay dearly if you do make this mistake: NOT PUTTING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FIRST.

    CEO Jeff Bezos hammered home the point when he said “if you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.”

    Customer experience is everything. Complaining online is so easy, thanks to social media. Bad customer reviews can spread like wildfire and tarnish your brand.

    That´s why is so important to provide a great customer experience. And it has to be consistent at every contact point. If you are marketing the most user-friendly smartwatch, with around-the-clock support, make sure you deliver.

    Even if you´re not promising 24/7 customer support, you should respond quickly to any customer who reaches out.

    • Great points. Customer service is huge. Amazon is great at it. Most online companies suck at it. Keeping your customer happy is vital, especially for the ones you want to keep!

  10. As someone who is just beginning the email portion of my business, this article is very valuable! (Your whole site is valuable). I love the idea about keeping a list of the subject lines. I’m definitely going to start keeping a log of subject lines that cause me to open the emails, because some definitely do for sure. Thanks for another great article.

    • Glad I could be of help. Keeping a list of subject lines has helped me a lot. It gives me tons of creative ideas when writing up my own emails. 

  11. Hi Chuck, 

    Your article is well researched and you have practically covered all of the common mistakes that do take place in the world of internet marketing. To me, the gravest mistake that can happen to anyone is that of number 12, not investing in your business education.

    This is very important. When we are well informed about our internet marketing business by reading books and attending seminars, I believe that other mistakes will be taken care off. Just my thoughts. 


    • I agree. We are a funny industry though. In the internet marketing and network marketing world, most people are so cheap (or broke) that they don’t want to invest in their business education. Outside of those two industries I don’t know of ONE entrepreneur who does not invest in their business education. 

  12. Internet marketing provides a huge market for online entrepreneurs to tap into, to maximize their business’s potential. It’s good you’ve listed out some of the common internet marketing mistakes, so we can avoid making them ourselves.

    I’ve taken my time to read your list of the top 12 Internet marketing mistakes, and I must admit, I am guilty of most of these mistakes myself. I don’t even have a daily action plan of what to do. I’m going to fix that. 

    Thanks for sharing this great information.

    • Yes, having a daily action plan can make a huge difference. You should never sit down at your computer to work on your business and not know EXACTLY what you need to focus on. 

  13. Great points, Chuck.

    Having a mentor is vital, if you want to succeed. 

    Not relying on just free traffic is also a smart move. When you only have one traffic source, you are just one Google update away from being out of business. 

    I also like your points about having an email list. I’m going to get mine started today. Thanks for sharing. 

    • Thanks for the comment. Follow this advice and you will be well on your way.

  14. I never thought about having a business plan for my internet marketing business. That is something I will have my friend help me with. I like how you said it only needs to be 1-2 pages. 

    I also like your points about building your own email list. I have not done that yet either. 

    I learned a lot from your post and really appreciate the info. 

    • Glad I could help you. Having a solid business plan is key. So is building your email list. Learn from my internet marketing mistakes so you don’t repeat them. To your success!

  15. Thanks for this informative post. I have been an internet marketer for over 5 years. I really disagree with you about having  business plan. I think that takes too much time and is a waste of time. It’s better to just dive in, make a bunch of mistakes and learn as you go. Creating a business plan is just too hard for the average person to do. 

    • Thanks for the comment. We can agree to disagree. I believe that every business needs a business plan because it makes you think through what your goals are, what your plan is, what your strategy is, etc. Internet marketing has a very high failure rate, mostly because people just jump in, have no mentor, and no clear strategy. 

  16. I think I’ve made most of these internet marketing mistakes myself at one point or another in my online career. 

    I’m glad you shared them in this detailed post, so people can read it and at least know about these common mistakes. 

    I think making mistakes is a great way to learn. Of course, I’d rather learn from someone else’s mistakes than my own, if possible. 

    • Every successful internet marketer I’ve ever met has made a ton of mistakes in their online career. They weren’t scared to invest money and fail temporarily. They just learned from each mistake and improve their skill-set. Ideally, it helps if you can find a mentor because it will definitely shorten your learning curve. 

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