Are You in a Position to Start an Online Business Today?
When I first started my online business years ago, I did everything I could to save a little money. I didn’t want to pay for a domain name, not even for a mere $35/year (it was expensive back then!), and I certainly didn’t want to pay recurring monthly fees for a web hosting.
That was a mistake. What I soon realize was that if I wasn’t willing to make these small investments — well, I just wasn’t in the position to be starting a business. Yes, sometimes the truth hurts!
I came to accept that I should listen to the recommendations of successful online entrepreneurs. From them, I learned that it just doesn’t help to try to “cut cost” on certain things. So, what are some of the things you need to get started with an online business?
1. Your own domain. At GoDaddy, you can register a domain name for about $12/year. There is NO excuse not to have your own domain at this rock-bottom price (compare to $35/year back then). Your domain is your property online that tides to your business name as an asset.
2. Web hosting. Don’t skimp on it, but don’t get a whole bunch of features you don’t need, either. Be willing to spend money for a reliable web hosting provider, one that can offer you excellent customer service 24/7.
3. Website stats. Knowing who your visitors are, how they’re finding your site, which pages they’re viewing most, etc. will help you to refine your site and your marketing efforts. There is a free tracking tool called Google Analytics that you can use.
4. Ad tracker. An ad tracker will help you to see which one of your marketing campaigns is giving you the best results. For example, how many responses are you getting from your ad on a website? How much interest did your article generate? You can then focus your efforts on the marketing techniques that are giving you the results you want — and dump those that aren’t. AdTrackz is one good ad tracker.
5. Autoresponders. These excellent tools help to automate customer follow-ups (you *do* follow up with your prospects, right?) and other tasks, such as mailing out articles or reports to visitors who request them. They typically run about $20/month… but WorkYourLeads offers unlimited autoresponders for $10/month. Other good choices are GetResponse and AWeber.
6. List hosts. You may already know that capturing your prospect’s email address is one of the most important things you can do — it gives you the ability to build a credible and trusting business ‘relationship’ with them, and you’ll be able to market to them repeatedly. Many Internet businesses offer a newsletter to keep in touch with their customers. To deliver your newsletter you can use either an autoresponder (see above) or a list manager.
Note that free tools aren’t necessarily either the best or worst choice, and they’re not guaranteed to be free forever. Please don’t use price as your only criteria.
7. And finally, don’t forget about investing in two more vital keys to success: education (for example, copywriting manuals, Internet marketing courses, etc.) and marketing. All of the best tools in the world won’t do you any good unless you can get interested prospects to visit your site and make a purchase.
The old saying, “You have to spend money to make money” is true of businesses everywhere… and that includes on the web. Fortunately, starting a business online is much more affordable than setting up a brick and mortar store.