An online business; that is the dream of many entrepreneurs. The old adage that “you have to spend money to make money” is still partially true in this day and age. But the days of spending thousands of dollars in order to start a business online are pretty much over, unless of course you get yourself swindled by some fast talking person. But how can you make it if you have no idea how to start your own business, much less an online business?
Here is the scoop. You will have some initials expenses, and if you are smart and lucky, you can keep them to a minimum.
First things first; what do you want to do with your business? Do you want to sell something tangible, intangible, your own products, someone else’s, do something in the entertainment industry (use your imagination on that one), or… you take your pick.
It does not matter what you want to do, you will need a website. Here is the warning: almost everyone who offers you a free website, is probably only offering you the website, not the “Domain name”, or the “hosting”, and for sure, not the advertising.
What does all that means in layman’s terms? The “Domain” is the name for your business. Here goes another warning: when you go to purchase your domain, make sure that you have the usual fee for the hosting (about $5.00-$25.00 per month) because when you enter your very original “name” and try to figure out if it is available, the search engine that you are using, or the company that is trying to sell you the hosting, will keep tabs of it, and if you do not snatch it right away, they will buy it, and then auction it back to you at a higher price. Also, “Hosting Companies” will give you the better rate if you pay for the entire year up front. I.E. you will pay about $20.00 per month, if you pay one month at a time; versus $5.95 per month, if you pay the entire year.
“Hosting” is the place where you are going to keep your files, and website. They have a server, or huge storage facility and can sell you a package that would allow to keep your site, provide you with emails for your business, and or give you the option to rent space for other entrepreneurs to hang their websites, that way you also make money from it. That of course is more expensive.
Web design, HTML, and whatchamacallits: You can buy a cheap WYSIWYG program (what you see is what you get) at your local software store, you can ask someone to do it for you and pay a few hundreds to thousands, or use the hosting company WYSIWYG software and hope you can figure it out. I suggest for you to go to blogspot.com, or officelive.com and create a free account, then, practice, practice, practice… figure out the colors, the layout, the advertising placement, etc. It will give you an opportunity to practice your decorator skills.
Once you figure it out with a few disposable blogs or websites, you are ready to get your feet wet. Do these next:
a. Buy your domain; the “Free domains” gimmick is to make you buy a hosting packet.
b. Buy your hosting packet. See if they throw an auto responder with it. Trust me, you will need it.
c. Get the auto responder if you did not get it with the hosting.
d. Create your website.
Now I am going to break your heart. Just because you have a great website, does not mean that you will have people coming to look at it. No visitors, no purchase, no advertising revenue. The only business that is really a sure thing is an “adult website business”. Other than that, you will need to do some serious “Search Engine Optimization” in order to get visitors.
“Search Engine what? Here it is in English: if search engines like Google, Dogpile, Ask Jeeves, etc. cannot find your website, nobody will see it. If your website is not within the first few results in the main search engines, people will not take the time to find it. So, you can do it yourself, or again, pay someone to do it.
Once you have your domain, your website, your hosting, your auto responder, and your site fully optimized, you need to ask yourself, how am I going to get pay?
E-Commerce, Electronic Shopping Cart, PayPal, SafePay, etc are topics for a future article, in the meantime, do not fall for every Tom, Dick, or Harry that promises to make you a millionaire. Only invest what you can afford to lose, and make yourself smart. I am not trying to be condescending; I am trying to tell you to start studying. Continue to read this blog, go to Technorati.com, check out their 100 top blogs, read some of those and learn, learn, learn.
Any doubts, feel free to ask.