You have an idea for an online startup – sometimes you want to sell handmade goods or books, or wish to promote labor services. If you do not have a website to advertise your availability, you're naturally missing out on a large audience searching for what you offer. It's natural, too, to felt intimidated with the expense of an online presence if your initial budget is limited. When it comes to creating a website, however, it will surprise you to know so many free tools are at your disposal.
A Minimal Investment Equals Maximum Exposure
It's important, once you decide to launch your online presence, to outline your goals for the site and research your options. For most businesses and self-employment ventures, taking advantage of free hosting benefits from companies that register domains is a good bet. At best, your minimum investment is ten dollars or less a year, and you have an established brand on the Internet.
Now, with the proliferation of free blogging platforms offering instant web publishing, you may be tempted to sign up and use that as your primary presence, forgoing spending money on a domain. While blogs are highly regarded in search, if your business takes up too much time that you neglect your online work, this type of marketing could backfire. Consider, too, if you do not register the domain you want that best represents your line of work someone else could take it and establish the identity you planned for yourself. If you do anything at all with regards to the Internet, claim the domain first.
Choose the domain registration service that offers the greatest selection of web building tools. Some offer free hosting space, free proprietary blog software so you can supplement your main site with a journal, free analytics for tracking traffic, and extras for content and image management. Certain free host providers, too, offer a variety of templates to help you structure your site, so do not worry about spending hundreds of dollars for a designer to handle that job!
Decide which features work with your website concept and build pages accordingly. If you offer an off-site service for your community, be sure to include contact information that is easy for customers to find. If your goal is to sell products online, sign up for a free account with PayPal or Google Account, both of which provide options for individual buy buttons and simple shopping carts. Configure everything to suit your needs and you're open for business!
Marketing your website need not cost money, either. Take advantage of free social networks like Facebook and Twitter to promote your website, and encourage visitors to share your link through bookmark portals like Digg and StumbleUpon. Use your URL in your e-mail signature every time you send a message, and you're creating viral awareness for your brand.
Your online venture, however, does not begin, until you've invested in a domain that suits your business. For pennies a day, you can maintain a website and see an amazing return on your investment as you attract your clientele.