Would you like to know how to start a small business online?
Even better, what if I said you can do it virtually for free?
These days, it seems almost everybody is either doing business online or knows of someone who is. Having your own online business is something many aspire to, but without the right information and advice few will turn it into reality.
The truth is, you can make money online.
There, I’ve said it!
The downside is that there is no such thing as a Free Lunch, so if you aspire to joining the ranks of those of us making a living (and sometimes a very good one) with just a computer and an internet connection, you’ll need to have a plan and be prepared to WORK at it! Ambition without action is just a dream, after all.
Yes, there are a million and one web pages out there that will promise you anything from Hundreds to Thousands of Dollars a week with very little effort (and just a small outlay, of course) but the only ones making a living from most of them would be the ones trying to get between you and your money.
As I say elsewhere on this site, if it seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is.
I’ve compiled a list of Ten Ways you can Start an Online Business
Maybe you already have a blog, or perhaps you have, like I did not long ago, made the decision to investigate blogging as an alternative income stream.
Perhaps you’re just wondering if the Blogger’s Life is for you. Let’s face it, we all love to share our knowledge and experience with others. Why shouldn’t we jump at the chance to earn a little money from our life knowledge and interests? Or better still, turn our interests and/or hobbies into a thriving online business?
Seem too good to be true? Can you really make money by Blogging?
A new (to me, at least) scam just caught my attention.
A colleague of mine recently encountered this one. Luckily he was alert enough to perform the necessary due diligence before following any instructions.
This is how it works.
Supposedly from someone called “Domain Abuse Admin”, and possibly from a domain using the name DomainCop.com (or .org, .net, etc etc), an email arrives informing the website owner that their site has been blacklisted for spamming and spreading malware. Read more
Wealthy Affiliate is a program that was created way back in 2005 to facilitate, encourage, and assist people just like you and me to become online Affiliate Marketers.
Since that time, literally thousands of people have been able to become financially independent with the help of the team at Wealthy Affiliate.
What is Affiliate Marketing?
For the uninitiated, affiliate marketing is a term used to describe the common practice of posting ads or links into a website in return for payment. This payment could be on a pay-per-click (PPC) or a commission basis or some other arrangement. The job of the affiliate marketer is to create and publish content that people will want to read.
When I say “content”, I could be referring to a travel blog, a writers’ website, a fishing site, whatever. You could publish articles that either answer a question or supply information that someone has searched the web for. It could be as simple as “What’s the best blender for home use” or “How to do crocheting” or “What’s the best fishing lure for Coral Trout”. Read more
The first, and arguably most important, thing to stress here is the old adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” I’d elaborate on that and say almost certainly is.
Some internet scams will offer you unbelievable financial success for minimal effort. Some will attempt to trick you into downloading malicious software. Some will simply appear to be legitimate online transactions where the goods you ordered never arrive, and possibly never existed in the first place.
Believe me when I say you would not be the first, nor will you be the last, to fall for a clever trick. I’ve fallen victim to a few myself over the years and I’m always on my guard whenever dealing with someone I don’t know.
Making money online is much the same as making money anywhere. It matters little whether you have a dress shop in a mall, an online clothing store, or a fashion blog. You have to be prepared to put in the effort, and establish your business gradually.
If you open a coffee shop, for example, you will get some passing trade right away, and your business (assuming you are doing things correctly) will grow over time.
The difference with internet marketing is that you will have ZERO passing trade to start with, and probably very little for quite a while. Not understanding this fact is one of the main reasons many internet-based business fail. Actually, fail is probably incorrect. The truth is, many people go into online trading with unrealistic expectations and simply give up when these expectations are not met.
Don’t despair, however, as there are things you can do.
You can tip the scales in your favor in a number of ways. The most important aspect of online trading however, is getting TRAFFIC to your site. Without traffic, you could have the best, most appealing website in the world, offering the absolute best deals anywhere, and you would just be spinning your wheels.
They say “Content is King”, and whilst this may be true to an extent, the most well-written content will be wasted if nobody gets to read it!
There is a term you will see everywhere these days in relation to online content: SEO Copy. It stands for Search Engine Optimized Copy. That is, copy written with special regard to attracting rankings in search engines, predominantly Google.
You could simply employ a Copywriter to take care of this for you. Many online entrepreneurs do just that, preferring to put their efforts into other aspects of their business. If you feel you may like to go that way, please send me an inquiry at email@example.com and I’ll be happy to discuss your needs. If you’re just dipping your toes in the online pond however, your budget may not stretch that far. It’s not that I charge high rates, I’m very reasonable in fact. It’s just that I’m assuming you’ll want to remain as DIY as possible. Never fear, you can write your own copy. Just take it slowly, make it relevant, and keep your grammar and spelling precise. I do offer an editing service, at very reasonable rates, if you feel you need it.
I also offer a Website Creation Service at very reasonable rates.
Of course, all this is irrelevant until you have a web presence of some sort.
Now, you can spend several hundred dollars or more (sometimes much, much more) building a website or having one professionally created for you. Again, depending on your type of business this cost may be justified. The best way to start, however, is with a dedicated website creator such as Wix, Shopify, WordPress etc.
This site, my-buzz.com, was created with WordPress. I can definitely recommend WordPress to anyone unfamiliar with website design. (which, until recently, included myself) It was originally designed for blog pages, but with thousands of templates available you can create great looking sites for just about any type of business in just a few minutes. There is absolutely no need to know anything at all about coding, links, etc.
Around 25 – 30% of web pages are currently created using WordPress.
Now for some Extra Good News!
If you follow this link and sign up for the free trial offer, you’ll be able to create two websites of your own FOR FREE, and have them hosted on the Wealthy Affiliate platform. Again, For Free.
Wealthy Affiliate is all about getting you started as an affiliate marketer. They offer free access to all of the support and training for a trial period, and if you prefer you can stay indefinitely as a free subscriber and retain the free websites you created. This has to be the best offer going for someone wanting to get established online.
If you want to really make your mark as an online business person, you can upgrade to Premium Membership (which is great value, by the way) for loads of extra benefits. There’s no compulsion to do so however, and you can set up your websites for any type of business you choose. My writer’s site https://write-for-u.com was my first attempt at building such a website. Should you visit, you’ll see the site is still under construction as I diverted my attention to my-buzz.com. and also my other affiliate niche sites. Rest assured, when time permits I’ll be getting back to work there too.
You will need a domain name of your own. That goes without saying, but there, I’ve said it anyway.
These days, it’s getting harder and harder to find a “good” domain name. One that shows at a glance just what your website is all about, and has that little catch, or hook, that will make potential clients want to visit. In my case, with both this site and my other, write-for-u.com site, I had to search for some time before I found what I thought was a good fit for myself personally and also conveyed what I wanted to offer.
All my first choices were taken. I wanted a .com domain as I didn’t want to be seen to be tied to any particular geographical area. You may prefer to use a domain that shows the country your business is based in. It’s all personal choice, but it’s something you will need to give a lot of serious thought to. Read my e-booklet on SEO copywriting before you make the final decision on a domain name. I say this, because it’s always a good thing to have a keyword or two within the domain name. You’ll understand what I mean when you read the book.
Keep in mind that your website is a business tool. It shouldn’t become an extension of yourself, except on a business level. Sure, if you write copy your personality will come through, to an extent, but don’t fall for what I call the vanity trap. That’s what your FaceBook page is for. It’s unlikely that your friends will be inclined to visit your website regularly. (Unless you can turn them into clients, of course)
Hosting is something you will need to take into account. While not super expensive, it is, however, an ongoing cost to be considered. (unless, of course, you’re taking up the Wealthy Affiliate deal above)
You should research this a little. Remember that all online content belongs to somebody, and if you post media (photos, videos etc) without approval you could find yourself in legal hot water.
Never cut-and-paste from another site. It’s called plagiarism. It’s illegal, and in any case Google will penalize you for having duplicate content so it’s simply not worth the risk. And anyway, it’s just not cool.
Anyway, that’s it for now. I will be updating as time goes by. If you have a query or comment, don’t hesitate to email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Bye for now.
Thomas (AKA BusyBee)
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