I have researched all of the aspects on how to make money online for months. Some of the information was hard to come by. This letter is designed to outline the steps of setting up a home based internet business, as well as giving you numerous resources for you to check out. I hope that the information helps you in some way. Grab a cup of coffee!
So you are thinking about starting a home based-business to make money on the internet, but that is as far as you have gotten. Well, let me tell you my story. I am a stay-at-home mother with four kids and an extremely supportive husband. I always have a hobby, project or craft that keeps me busy. I used to make and sell crafts in a local consignment store. I wove baskets, tole painted, made jewelry, cross stitched…You name it, and I did it.
That was until baby number 3 came along. Then I had no time, no energy and no room to craft. As the years went by and we now have our fourth child getting older and very independent, I started thinking about what I would like to do with myself and how could I contribute to our income, rather than deplete it with my hobbies.
This is where my journey into the jewelry design business begins:
I researched all aspects of an on-line jewelry business for 6 months. I researched suppliers, new jewelry techniques, wire wrapping techniques and polymer clay. I suggest that what every you you choose to do, for your new home-based business, the first thing you should do is learn everything possible about it. Whether it is web design, crafts, jewelry or making gourmet dog biscuits (the list of possible home based businesses is endless!) learn, research and read!
I went to About.com and joined some of the forums. Forums let people post a question or a picture, and others write back. These are a group of highly experienced individuals giving out their best kept secrets and advice, as well as a wealth of resources. Through these forums, I was able to find suppliers, books, and resources to help me learn more about the art of jewelry making.
One of my friend at Beyond4cs.com also gave me the advice that you need to give more than you receive online. In order for people to trust your opinion behind a screen, you need to make sure that the information you provide is of value and not rehashed from other sources.
Ok, you’ve done your homework, and you are ready to get busy.
Start out by getting your sales and use tax number. I really urge you to get your tax ID number. I only paid around $17 for mine. Many wholesale businesses require tax ID numbers before selling supplies to you.
This will allow you to save money. When you go to the store, you present your ID number, and you don’t have to pay tax on the supplies that you will be using to resell. I am working on compiling a link to all of the states web sites that offer specific information for each state.
Time to order your supplies from wholesalers. You should have a list of suppliers that have reasonable prices with products that you are interested in. I make a spread sheet in Excel with columns and rows. Across the top I write the suppliers name and on the side I write the supplies that I need to order.
I then get on the internet and write down the price that 3 or 4 suppliers charges for each item that I am looking for. Don’t forget to add shipping into your prices. Some companies pocket money for their shipping. Others are real reasonable. Most times I have to order from a couple of suppliers, because I cant seem to find a supplier that has everything that I am looking for.
Once you have some products in stock, you want to get your business on the internet. This is where it gets hard. You think researching your trade was hard, getting your business on the internet will take you weeks or months of research comparing the different possibilities. You can’t just build a site and they will come!
There are a lot of steps involved. The first thing that I realized about an internet business was that a lot of people have sites on the internet, but they never make any money online because their website name never comes up in the search engines. I am not a real patient web surfer.
If I search for something, I will look at the first few sites that came up in that search, and then quit. I won’t look at number 120. I really wanted to be in the top 10 and not get lost in the crowd! But how? SiteSell has a fantastic course on internet marketing and making money on the internet.
They have a program that will reveal numerous ways to get your internet business rocking! Making some real money online. It is called Make Your Site Sell. (Look at the bottom left of this page and click on the link that says Make Your Site Sell They have a FREE trial that you can look at to see what is offered. Just go to FREE TRIAL.
I already got my moneys worth out of the program. It is so reasonably priced that you cant go wrong. I honestly believe that I would not be making money online, if I hadn’t spent my $29 and ordered the program. I cant say enough good things about it. If you are serious about making money online I highly recommend that you visit this site, otherwise you are just going to be another one of those businesses that gets lost in the shuffle.
You would not be visiting my site today, if I had not found this program! Another really good site with FREE (I love that word!) information is called Selfpromotion It too has information that will really make your site a success.
Now’s the time to decide how you are going to build your web site. There are many options and opinions about what program to use to build your web site. I checked into Dreamweaver, and FrontPage. I have heard good and bad about both. One person said that they wouldn’t pay $169 for FrontPage, because you will lose thousands of dollars in business if you use it. Hmmm!
Guess that means they didn’t like it. Others have said how great it is. Dreamweaver was out of my price range at the time, so I went with FrontPage 2002. I know that FrontPage 2000 had some problems, but I will tell you that FrontPage 2002 is a dream! I honestly can’t tell you which to choose.
You may chose to go with a professional to build your site. I didn’t check into that too much. I knew it would be out of my price range anyway. The one that gave me a quote said around $600 for 4 pages! Not an option! Another fantastic option is to sign up with SiteSell They have ALL of the tools to build your website.
You don’t need to know HTML. All you have to do is add your information and then build your page. SiteSell has everything that you could want in a host, plus a lot more. They host your site, have a program to help with your link exchanges, and they even have a program for your newsletter. Yes, you need to have a newsletter! More on that later.
I recommend learning a little bit of HTML. You need to know this whether you use a program or HTML to build your site. There is a great site, Davesite that will give you a FREE tutorial on HTML that does not take long. You will see why it is so important to know this once you get into the course.
Davesite also has tips and tricks to help you optimize your web site. This is a must see site! And it is all FREE info for the taking.
One really important step that must be taken when building your website is to make your web site search engine friendly. If you can not get listed in the search engines, how will your potential customers find you? Google has an outline that will tell you how to do just that at Google information for Webmasters.
Now that you’ve spent weeks or months getting your web site built, you need pictures of all of your projects to put on the internet. Photography for Your Jewelry and Craft Website is an article that explains some techniques that will help you to make the most out of your pictures. Resizing Photos for the Web is another article that helps to show you how to resize your photos so that they will load quickly.
Next, it is time to decide who will host your site. The host is the company that you pay to put your site on the internet. What ever you do, do not go with a free or low cost host because you get what you pay for. With the low end sites, you get all of the banners and advertisers on your site and you have no control over who advertises on your site.
Just like the guy that does not accept credit cards or have a shopping cart, you will be viewed as a small time business. I always picture these people sitting at their cluttered kitchen table, working in their boxers. Not a good vision but possibly true. You may be working in your boxers too, but at least people will THINK you are a true professional and that is what counts.
There are all sorts of places out there to get web hosting. Ten people will tell you ten different hosts that you HAVE to go with if you want a profitable business. No matter what anyone tells you, DO YOUR RESEARCH! You need to decide what is right for you. Don’t take my word for it. A few of the options that I would look into are Homestead, I Power Web Hosting, SSHost and SiteSell
You may want to consider an on-line craft mall. These sites will give you all of the tools that you need to build your site and publish it for you. To check out just a few of the on-line craft malls that are available, click here.
Now is the time to decide what company you will use for your shopping cart, and to accept credit cards. This is something that I recommend all businesses do.
Have you ever gone to a site that just had a phone number to call or an e-mail to place an order? Did you order from them? I haven’t. I probably never will. They just showed me that they are some small time business and you know what I am thinking! (remember the boxers?) I have had someone recommend a company that would set me up for e-commerce, having a shopping cart on my web site and being able to accept credit cards. Perfect!
Exactly what I was looking for! It ONLY (that is a very sarcastic, ONLY) cost $400 to get set up and cost $45 a month in fees!! Wow! I didn’t realize that it would be so expensive to set up an e-commerce account. Well, it doesn’t! Most hosts provide a free shopping cart with their hosting package.
Some only offer PayPal. NOTE: PayPal has recently improved their shopping cart. Now your customers can use either PayPal OR their credit card. At one time, if you used the PayPal shopping cart, your customer had to pay using PayPal. Not so anymore! That is a big bonus in my book!
Now for the credit card company. You want to make sure that your credit card company and shopping cart are compatible. I applied with U.S. Merchant Systems and I was approved with no problems. It was great. I really anticipated problems with this. I have no business credit!
I had just started my business when I applied. But they didn’t see any problems, and approved me. Tech support helped me get set up to work with my shopping cart and I was up and running within minutes. Now I can look like a pro. Another great source for accepting credit cards is PayPal. If your customers use E-bay, they probably already have an account, and it is a low cost alternative for you.
Your site is complete! You believe that your site is as accurate as it can possibly be. I would suggest that you have someone check it out for you. I thought mine was perfect. But I went to Netmechanic and used their FREE tool to check my HTML code. They do 5 pages for free. I checked out my web site and each page had 35 errors! I couldn’t believe it! I would never have known.
Now it is time to get it number listed #1 in the search engines! You will find all of this information in the course, Make Your Site Sell Another fantastic FREE site that will help you to get listed in #1 is called Wordtracker.
It tells you what the top words are that were searched in your category. Say you sell “dog biscuits”. Wordtracker tells you that “dog biscuits” were searched 11000 times in the last month. But “dog bones” were searched 28000 times. So, obviously you would want to use “dog bones” in your site.
I highly recommend submitting to the search engines yourself. The ones that you should absolutely submit to are:
*Aeiwi Submit page
*Alexa – Submit page
*Alltheweb – Submit page
*Alta Vista – Submit page
*AOL Alta Vista – Submit page
*Exact Seek – Submit page
*Google – Submit page How to submit your site
*National Directory – Submit page
*Search Hippo – Submit page
*Search It – Submit page
*What U Seek – Submit page
*Yahoo – Submit page How to submit your site
*MSN – Submit page
I am sure that you could find hundreds more to submit to, but start with these. Note: If you use SiteSell they submit each and every page for you as you build your website. No worries! Let them do all of the work while you concentrate on more important things.
You’ve got yourself submitted to the search engines, now you have to wait (sometimes 4-6 weeks) to see if you are listed. Make sure that you use all of the FREE tools in SiteSell to see if you are listed. Also, now is a good time to start checking out your competition to see how they are ranking.
Download the FREE Alexa toolbar This is an indispensable tool that allows you to view data on any site that you visit, such as traffic data, site stats, and contact info. The toolbar is placed at the top of your browser and is very un-obstructive. This is a great way to keep an eye on your competition as well as see how your site is ranking.
Make sure that you are getting up to date information. I can’t stress how important this is. Sign up for the only newsletter that you will ever need, other than ours, of course. It is called SiteProNews. It is a free Webmaster ezine full of information on web development and search engine optimization. There is a sign up form in the upper left of this page. Sign up! Read it! You will be glad that you did. And PLEASE sign up for our newsletter! Sign me up!
Keep in touch with your new found customers! I have found that a lot of people will visit my site once and then forget about us. That is why a newsletter is so important. Once your potential customer signs up for your newsletter, you will be able to remind them about you every month.
For quite some time, the only people that purchased from our website was from our newsletter subscribers. Do not underestimate the power of a newsletter! We checked all of the prices on the net for a good newsletter program.
Most were the same price at the bottom level, but once you started to get a lot of subscribers some companies prices went WAY up. That is why we use Intellicontact. Their prices are the best that we have found and they are fantastic to work with.
The more knowledge that you have on a subject, the more ammunition you have against the people trying to take advantage of your inexperience. I had asked a young gentleman what he thought of the e-commerce program that cost $400 to set up.
He told me that I would have to hire a consultant to look over the program. He would be glad to do it for $150 an hour and it would take two hours to do. Ha! No thanks! I did my own research and I will tell you for FREE, right here, right now, that you can get e-commerce a lot cheaper than that! That just saved you $300 in consultant’s fees.
On the other hand the $400 program may be exactly what your business needs. If you are going to make millions on the internet, then that may be the way to go. I really don’t plan to make that kind of money, so the $45 a month for the privileged of having a shopping cart and accepting credit cards was way too much for me to pay. You decide. Research it! That is my point. Be informed and don’t let someone talk you into anything that you really don’t feel is right.
(A note about the above referrals; After deciding that I would recommend the businesses that are listed above, I went to each and every one of them to see if they offer an affiliate program. (something else that you will learn in the Make Your Site Sell program from Sitesell)
Some did, some did not. An affiliate program is when a company pays you a referral fee for sending customers their way. The point that I would like to make is that I am not referring these businesses to you because of the referral fee, I am sending business their way because I feel that they are outstanding businesses to deal with, and you will profit from using them.
In fact, I have gone back several times and deleted companies that I am an affiliate of because I no longer felt that they were a good company to deal with. But I still would like to receive credit for referring you, so please visit their site from the links above so that I can get credit for your business.)
I hope that this article has helped steer you in the right direction for your new internet business. Please Sign up for our FREE irregular newsletter and periodical specials.