There are tons of people who are interested in making money online. There are also tons of people who are already making money online. Some manage to generate some extra spending money and they are satisfied. Others strive to support themselves and their families by working online from home. Many of these people end up failing, for a number of reasons.
Obviously each person’s situation is unique and we can’t really account for all the variables when it comes to each individual. However, the most important investments will generally be the same for everyone who wants to find success in internet marketing or making money online in general.
The following list contains the five basic pillars of your online career success. They are the foundation of your internet marketing business, regardless of which niche you choose. If you’re a newbie, use these suggestions as goals that you plan to achieve within the first six months of your online money making efforts.
This one is pretty important, so don’t put it off for too long. It’s perfectly fine to start out using a free domain from a service like Blogger, but you want to upgrade to a custom domain name and paid hosting package as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that buying a domain and paying for hosting each month won’t set you back much at all. I recommend registering your domain for AT LEAST two years to start with. The main reason for doing this is the SEO benefit from Google. Since most spam sites only register domains for the minimum one year period, Google automatically gives your domain less page rank when you do this.
I personally use Namecheap to register my domains. They are cheap and their customer service rocks. Registering a new domain name for two years will cost you somewhere around $23.00. In my opinion, this is worth the money as soon as you are able to afford it. As far as hosting goes, I recommend HostGator. Their Baby Croc package (the one I use for this blog) only costs $9.95/month, which is very reasonable.
Need help with choosing the right web host for your business website? Check out this list for some valuable advice.
Extra credit: I highly suggest that you also pay for an email address for your domain name. This looks much more professional and people will take you more seriously than if you are using a free email service.
If you want to make money online while working from home, you will need a method of receiving payments. That’s pretty damn important, right? So you have two main options to choose between: applying for an actual merchant account or using a payment processor like Paypal.
I do not recommend Paypal at all, but it is the easiest and most simple service that will allow you to start accepting credit card payments immediately. Just be sure to exercise extreme caution when using Paypal and be aware of the risks associated with their less than trustworthy services.
While no perfect alternative to Paypal currently exists, there are some worth looking into, depending in your business model and situation. You can find a comprehensive list of Paypal alternatives here. My top recommendations to check out for receiving and sending payments online are Amazon Payments, Google Checkout, Dwolla and Payza (formerly AlertPay).
If you are serious about your online business, you should convey that to your website visitors in every way possible. There are certain elements that people expect to find on authority sites, which is exactly what you want to establish yourself as over time. As you probably already know, we place a high value in professionalism when it comes to trusting and respecting a business in the real world. The same applies online.
In fact, there is nothing wrong with using free online resources to generate these when you are just starting out. Having something in place is always better than having nothing at all. Besides, that just looks incredibly amateur and will make your visitors suspicious.
Important: Don’t forget that the links for both of these documents should be featured on your homepage and be easily found by anyone visiting your site for the first time.
This one ties in directly with the last item on this list. Investing in a professional logo design is a crucial element of your business branding and plays a huge role in the image that people will associate with your company. Again, don’t make the mistake of being cheap when it comes to your logo. It will only end up hurting your brand’s reputation in the long run.
There are tons of affordable options for getting a professional quality graphic design for your logo. If you save up a few hundred dollars, you can use a crowdsourcing service like 99Designs for your logo design project. Going that route is probably the closest thing to having your cake and eating it too, since tons of different professional designers will submit their best work to compete for your business. You choose the design you like the most, and only pay one designer.
If your budget is a bit more modest than that, I suggest using a similar service which is priced slightly lower than 99Designs or getting super frugal by searching for a Fiverr seller with lots of good feedback for logo designs.
While this item is not a must-have, I still feel like it’s important enough to include on this list. An email newsletter service or autoresponder is not something that every business needs, but it remains a fact that email is among the most effective methods of online marketing for the majority of businesses. That being said, it’s worth at least considering.
There are tons of email marketing services out there, each of them offering their own unique features. Choosing the best one for your business will really depend on what niche you are in and what you are marketing. There is no one size fits all when it comes to choosing an autoresponder service.
And you may not need a paid service. You may want to start with a free newsletter service, such as Letter.ly or TinyLetter. If you decide to upgrade to a more robust provider in the future, I suggest AWeber for most internet marketers. If you are trying to market a brick and mortar business, you may find a service like iContact better suited to your needs.