If you’re seriously contemplating running a web site business, read the fast track steps to success below, my recommended resources and the reasons why I suggest each step and resource.
Home Based Businesses Need Internet Marketing to Make Them Successful
If you’ve started a home based business and need more help on promoting or marketing your business site, drop me a line on my internet marketing website. I’m always happy to discuss website creation, re-designs, income streams or production management with my country living visitors. Plus you’ll find a pile of other people just like me visiting that site, happy to add their outlook and opinion as well – you’ll get all the attention you need and can rest assured that the answers you get are what works now.
Let’s get to it!
Below is my 5 step list to starting up your first business website on a tight budget. Once you get one website up and making money, keep building them, or adding to the first one, to expand your business.
5 Steps to A Home Based Business
Step 1: Get Skype
You will likely find yourself making long distance calls all over the world – talking to affiliate managers, drop shipping companies and potential partners. Just a few of these calls can eat up a start-up businesses’ operating budget before you turn your first profit or make your first sale. The smart way to cut those costs dramatically is with a SKYPE calling plan. With Skype you can make free calls over the Internet. Skype – the whole world can talk for free.
For the kind of work you’ll do, you’ll appreciate the service and you can use it for your personal or family calls as well and save even more money with the same plan. You will also be able to write the cost of your internet connected call invoices as part of your business expenses anyway, so you might as well start thinking about starting up as cheaply as possible as it will only make your business more profitable in the coming months.
For that matter, you’ll be writing off a lot once you’ve got a home based business – part of your rent or mortgage payments, part of your electric bill, part of your transportation costs, and a lot more than you’d ever thought of. I’m telling you, this is a good life.
Step 2: Site Name Registration and Hosting
You’ll need to register a domain name and find a host to house your website.
I’ve used a number of different hosting services but I like this one the best for people just starting out. Why? Because your payment secures your site name registration and your hosting contract all in one place – it just cuts down on the confusion when you have so many other facets of your business to figure out.
Here’s my recommended hosting for beginners that grows with you. As a second option, you can currently get $10 off with a ‘green’ web hosting company (all powered by wind generation) that is equally efficient for a limited time (this offer is due to expire at any time though) – even without the coupon, the price is still very low and the service top notch.
Your site name registration (your www.YOURBUSINESSNAME.com) is $15 for the year and the hosting plan is versatile. You can register your site name at GoDaddy and save about $7 year, but keeping it all in one account saves time, extra steps, and confusing configuration.
Choose entire service above and your start up costs for the entire year costs less than $100. Then, if and when you’re ready, you can easily upgrade for just a few dollars more per month (less than $3 at the time of writing) and host even more websites under one account. (Trust me, once you begin to make money with one website you’re going to want more sites – making more money.)
We can talk more about having more than one website and multi-domain hosting later – my primary goal today is to help you get your first internet home business up and running with the least cost and the best chance of success.
Those two are hands down my favorite hosting companies and I’ve used 14 different DNS providers over the last 15 years. Also, if you’re hell bent on spending your money locally, in most instances I’d advise against it – this country living site was once hosted by some real crooks in my small town. They double billed me, didn’t return calls, and often had trouble with their servers. In the end spending locally could seriously damage your business. Choose a high-end, reliable provider and you’ll make lots of money to spend locally in other areas.
Step 3: Accept Payments Online
There are a multitude of ways and providers to help you accept payment for your product or services online. The best service for you is determined by the type and quantities of products you are selling.
For most websites PayPal is a great choice for payment processing. Nearly all your customers will already have a PayPal account, the name is trusted in the online community and setting up your own business account is easy and free. You can’t beat it! (I use PayPal for my mail-order products, my ebay auctions, and some of my ebook product downloads.)
The majority of the home business information products that I sell as a download are managed by Clickbank. Why? Because Clickbank signs up, manages, and pays the sales team for me – I don’t even have to hunt for people to help me sell my products, they find me through the Clickbank marketplace. Plus, Clickbank also accepts PayPal payments from your customers – so you get far more than twice the action than if you’d simply used PayPal payment processing.
To get a ClickBank account though you have to spend some money – a $50 one-time fee but you’ll make your money back many times over as Clickbank ‘gets the word out’ about your new web site and product offerings.
Step 4: Create Your Site
Okay, you have your domain, you have your idea for a website and maybe you’ve also got some content ready (images and text) you’re sitting in front of your computer screen wondering "What’s the next step?"
It’s time to create your site, your web site pages. Don’t worry now, I’m not going to suggest you head off to geek class and learn how to hand code html…
Option 1: If you are hosting your site with my recommended provider above you’ll find over 1,000 plug and play templates to use to create your website.
You simply add your text and images into some online web-page software, click a button, specify a few variables (colors, fonts, etc.) and presto!, your site is published on your own domain and your first step into a home based business has been made!
Option 2: Another great way to get your business online is to install some blog software on your site and simply write a few paragraphs into the software about your business every day. Blogs are one of the easiest types of websites to operate and get the fastest traffic from the search engines. Plus, no matter which of the two hosts I suggested above that you chose, each has a one-click installation of blog software to your website. Click to install, click to post – it’s that easy!
Option 3: Alternatively you can find and hire a designer or create the website yourself with software like FrontPage or DreamWeaver. Hiring a designer is big money, learning specialized software is a big time investment.
Step 5: Promote Your New Online Business!
Now that you’ve built your site you’ll need to think about how to get visitors (or traffic) and make a sale. Again, there are so many variables on how to perform either of these tasks that I can’t cover them all here. Plus ‘the best way’ is completely dependant on what products or services you are selling or offering.
Getting Visitors to Your Site
Initially you might need to perform some Search Engine Registration and optimization, Pay-Per-Click advertising, affiliate marketing, and print advertisements.
Making Sales on Your Site
You’ll do this by effective selling techniques such as competitive product pricing, offering bonuses and commissions to affiliates, and effective copywriting for your sales pages.
Feel free to check out my website promotion website and use the contact form to ask for specific help or suggestions. You’ll also find a lot of information provided for free, links to free e-courses on marketing, website traffic, sales letters and more!
Don’t Have Time for All This?
Let there be no doubt. Creating a business website yourself is time consuming work, even with my shortcuts and free training guides.
If you find that you just don’t have time or the mindset for learning how to register a domain, choose a template, add text and graphics, manage a mailing list, promote your site to the search engines, I do have a viable and affordable option.
Hire a freelancer. There are thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of designers or beginning marketers who would love the opportunity to perform work to your specifications. You simply need to provide them with a viable description of what you want the site to do and how you want it to look.
I realize that you may have been told that owning, running, or building an internet business is easy and cheap – it is and can be, but perhaps not the first one you set up. I’ve been at this for over 10 years now (since 1995) and have reached a level of success that allows me to help others fast-track their business plans. I remember how frustrating it was when I was starting out.
To Your Internet Home Business Success!
This article was originally published on GoodByeCityLife.com in 2001, updated again in 2009.