Once you have your mind made up that you are going to create a successful online business and made a commitment to the amount of time you will spend on the venture, you need to look at the specific types of activities through which you will build the business .
A key point here is to be aware of your time management. The internet is probably the most distracting communication medium ever known. It is so easy to go off at a tangent and waste large amounts of time. Decide what you are going to do before you sit down at your computer. Choose a specific task and see it through to completion. Set aside other time for your internet surfing but get your work done first.
These are some of the marketing and promotional activities used, in one way or another, by virtually everyone who is making money online in their own business:
1) Writing articles: Writing articles and submitting them to article directories will cost you nothing but will definitely get traffic to your website. Try to write at least 3 articles per week.
2) Pay-Per-Click Advertising: This will cost you money to start with. Do not forget to regularly monitor your results to see which words are working. Also, start small and test until you know what you are doing and what works.
3) Blogs: Set up your own blog based around the theme of your website and post a few times a week.
4) Classified ads: Look for ezines where you can insert your ads for very little cost. Also post ads on selected free sites. I say selected because most are complete waste of time. One that does still work is http://www.craigslist.org . This will help with your search engine ranking as well as giving you traffic directly from your ads.
5) Post to forums: Find the forums about your topic and post often, both asking questions and answering the questions of others. This will help establish you as having credibility in your market.
6) Write articles and material that you can use to create reports and courses for your autoresponder and ebooks. Rather than be daunted by this, create an outline and write a section or chapter every week.
None of the above is rocket science. And since the claims of products floating around on the net claiming 'secrets', there are no 'secrets'.
Perhaps the only real secret to success with your online business is this: Create a plan of action using the above activities and commit to it daily for six months and FOLLOW THROUGH.
This does not seem like a secret, does it? But the truth is that this is what 99% of people starting their own home-based business online do not do, and why they do not succeed.
I wish you well with your online venture. If you go into it with clear goals, a plan and you KEEP GOING you are bound to succeed.