Your online business is no different to a traditional business in that there are always resources that you will have to purchase. If you are serious about building your business, you will need to have a certain amount of money that you can use to set yourself up.
As you progress, you will discover a growing list of services and tools that can help you keep your business running efficiently. (Beware of ‘shiny objects’ here, too.)
Here is a list of your initial requirements that you cannot do without:
- A domain name
- A web-site
- Hosting for your web-site
As you progress you will definitely need:
- An autoresponder for collecting names for your list and corresponding with them
- A program for producing pages for sales funnels and lead pages for your offers
- A tracking system to collect and collate statistics
If you are on a budget and do not want to commit immediately, start off with one of the several free services that are available. Many companies offer a free limited version of their service, hoping it will lead to a sale of their bigger packages later on. It will not offer the range of features that a paid plan will, but it will give you a chance to sort out just what it is you want to do before you commit to what may turn out to be unnecessary expenditure.
Below are the resources that I use and which I am comfortable working with.
Please note that I am an affiliate of several of these companies and if any of their products are purchased here, I will receive a small payment. This is a good example of an important aspect of affiliate marketing and you will find that most marketers connect up with companies that provide reliable online services.
If you have decided to own your own website, you will need to purchase a domain name. This is, in effect, the public face of your address on the world-wide-web. To purchase my domain names, I use Go-Daddy.com and I also register my domain names with them.
I have been with Go-Daddy since I started out and have never had any problems at all. My first coach advised me not to spend anything with them other than the cost of the Domain Name and the Registration Fee and I took his advice. When you make a purchase from them, they offer a string of extras which all of a sudden seem to end up in your shopping cart!
Wait until you have a bit more experience before you decide what you actually want from them.
I use Hostgator.com to host my web-sites. Again, I have absolutely no complaints. Others may have, but not I. I have always found their Support to be excellent.
Word of advice – never have the same company both registering your domain name and hosting your web-site. It can make for trouble down the line if you ever do have a problem that needs resolution. Keep them separate.
Funnels and Landing Pages
I use Lead Pages and enjoy the way they work. I have used other companies which were fine, but I have always returned to Lead Pages. I also have purchased software that allows you to construct funnels etc on your web-site. Never used it! Lead Pages Support is fantastic.
Another option is Clickfunnels which I have just subscribed to. It is a little more expensive than Lead pages, but it has a much wider sweep and those who use it swear by it. I am only joining up because I have started working on a new affiliate marketing platform that uses it. I will let you know how I get on.
Autoresponders are mail delivery systems. They allow you to send emails to thousands of your customers at the click of a button. You can write a series of emails, place them in a queue and they will be delivered according to the schedule you have ordered. You can even segment your customers into groups and name who you want to receive certain emails. You may well be confused, but at the end of the day, these are clever creatures and as long as you take care, you will be able to do amazing things with them.
I use two AutoResponders, GetResponse and AWeber. Each offers similar features in different ways and each has its strong points. GetResponse has a facility for building landing pages which you pay a bit extra for. I do not use it.
Truthfully, I can’t say that one stands out as being better than the other, each is just different. Either can seem complicated when you first start out and you need to spend time using the program you choose until you totally understand it. Both have great support though. There is always plenty of help. They also have free trial periods which can be useful. Click on the image below to set up a free trial.
‘Tracking’ is the term you use for keeping a record of everything that happens on your web-site and in your sales funnels. Who clicks, who buys, what pages are visited, who visits, who opens your emails – everything that is statistically important. Notable marketers say that you should start tracking the day you start building your business, but that is up to you. When you start out you can use free tracking tools such as Google Analytics (complicated for beginners). Lead Pages has its own tracking device. You can also use Facebook Pixels especially in conjunction with FB advertising. But once you start buying traffic and advertising, you really need a system that provides accurate information while compiling and collating your statistics from all your campaigns – something that is all-encompassing.
There are several link-tracking tools available, but the very popular one that I use is Clickmagik. It is easy to learn to use, has several payment plans and as well as doing all the things you would expect from a link-tracker, it does lots of fiddly things for you such as monitoring and cloaking your links, and setting you up for re-targeting.
So – even though the cost of setting up an online business is a lot less that that of a traditional business, you do need to be aware that there are costs involved. These can grow rapidly if you are not careful, so a good idea is to work out just what you are prepared to spend and then budget carefully. Do not rely on making a profit immediately and using that as your seed-money. It rarely works, unfortunately.