Sunday, June 8, 2008

How Much Investment Needed for Online Business...

Many people wonder how much it would cost to start an online business. They also believe that it would be very expensive as it involves technology.

It is natural when you decide to enter Internet business the first question that comes to mind is how much investment would be required. Okay, let me bare the facts.

I assume you have a fast computer and an Internet connection.

Online business has some unique aspects. You can get started without any investments at all. Of course, like in any business, the more you invest the faster and better your returns. Provided, you do things right.

In general, you should ideally start with around $100 if you are serious about it. It is possible to succeed with little or no investment. But ask yourself whether you have the right mental attitude, skills, dedication, time and efforts. If the answer is 'yes' then you are on the right track.

If you simply want to try it out as an experiment or just want to test the waters, you can literally start with nothing except for your computer, Internet connection and your time. After you taste success you can plunge full scale and expand your business to your heart's desire.

If you are willing to set up your own website then the costs as well as the returns will be higher. You will have the responsibility to get and manage the contents for your website.

You can buy related articles for a very cheap rate sometimes as low as one buck or less per article. These articles are sold with Public Label Rights licence which means you are free to modify the articles and publish them in your name. This will save your time and efforts researching and writing the articles.

The free method involves using free-to-publish articles from article directories. There is no cost here. However, you must follow the terms and conditions. You have no rights to make any changes to the article and must publish the author's name and his/her personal details at the end of the article (known as 'bio-box').

You can design the website yourself or get it done by professional designers. If you outsource the work, you can start working from day one (provided your web designer does it faster than you could). Outsourcing increases your cost but leaves you with ample time to focus on promotion which in turn can pay off quick returns.

The designing charges may vary depending on the location, expertise and experience of the designer.This job can be outsourced cheaply on the Internet.

Web designing is not difficult to learn but takes quite some time. However, you must be willing to learn with patience and persistence as in any walk of life. Believe me it is not at all difficult as there are video tutorials available to take you step by step along the way.

If you are new to web designing and want to do it yourself it can take much longer to set up your web site on the Net. It is not necessary you should have a perfect-looking design when you start with.

With today's technology you can design a page yourself quickly. You simply type your articles or sales letter on sample pre-designed page of your choice (known as 'template') and your website is ready. And then you simply learn to upload your web pages to your hosting server so that people can access your site via Internet.

To run and maintain websites means you will have to update your web sites with fresh content periodically. For this you should put aside some money for contents.

Since the Internet world has too many suppliers - whether it is contents, design or programming - you get them all at cheap rates. But you should be aware of possible problems that may arise when you outsource everything on a budget. This is where some basic technical knowledge on your part helps. When you understand at least some basic aspects of the technical part people cannot take you for a ride. Also, you can make small but important changes on your web site at any time without depending on your designer or web master.

After your websites are done, there will come hosting expenditures. Web hosting is a recurring expenditure and costs start from $5 upwards. A reliable and efficient webhost will charge you $20 upwards. You may find some offering very cheap rates; but remember you will have to check out the hidden costs.

Cheaper hosting always comes with add-on expenses. For example, a cheaper web hosting company cannot provide fast and efficient services and will bill you for some essential add-ons at a later stage. And you may not be happy with them. However, to start with, you can always try out a cheaper company. And later you can upgrade to a better hosting service plan with the same company or another.

Besides hosting, you will need the services of a mailing company to send and receive hundreds of mails,newsletters, special offers to your prospects. Here again, there are free and paid services. The best paid service in the market comes with the price tag of $20 per month. So you will have to budget for your recurring expenses which are likely to be at least in the region of $10 - 20 per month.

I shall be providing you with both free and paid web hosting, mailing service sources along with comparison.

So in general, you must be prepared to shell out about $20 - 30 per month minimum on your website alone. As I said earlier, you can always try out free or cheap sources till you start earning enough to afford a better service.

Ater putting up websites comes traffic. What is a website if no one visits your page? You need people to visit your website. How will you do it? There are again several free and paid ways to do it. This will be covered in detail in the web traffic section. You will need to reserve some amount for advertising and other promotional expenses. The amount you spend is entirely up to you.

When you spend money on various methods of promoting your site, you should also know which method is bringing in better returns on investment (ROI). In Internet, it is possible to track your ad spend and identify the sources which is bringing you the moolah. For this, you will incur tracking expenses.

Here again, you have a choice of free, low cost and high cost sources to track the profitable as well as loss-making methods. This is covered separately. Tracking and analysing the results will also take away some of your time.

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