Own your own website
You can start out with a free blog from one of the various sites that offer free hosting, however at some point you will want the control and freedom that comes with having your own site or blog. money.blogspot.com says hobby, but www.money.com says this is a serious business.
You’ll want to find a good host and pick a good domain name for your blog. Remember, this is your brand now. There are many good hosting companies out there. This blog uses iPage. I like it for several reasons. It’s been reliable for me at a good price $3.50 a month, which includes the domain name. You do have to commit yourself to several months at a time as a package, but I feel this is reasonable since you should make a time commitment when you start a business.
If you are just starting out a website or blog, then you don’t want to break your budget on the startup costs. At the same time, you want to make sure your company is reliable, and provides you with a stable service. iPage has met all of those criteria for me so far. In addition, recently they gave me a courtesy call just to make sure I was happy with their service. I may be a sucker, but I don’t mind a little kissing up when it comes to customer service. It tells me that they at least want to go in the right direction. I urge you to investigate and find the right host for you, but if you want to look into iPage, you can read about all their features here.
Once you find a good host, the next step in a successful online business is building a good looking, professional website. This is your jumping off point in all your online marketing endeavors. Having your own site means having your own unique brand. There’s a number of options to help you with web design. I’m currently using WordPress with this website and definitely recommend it. Not only is it relatively simple to use, but there are a number of developed plugins designed to help you make money online. You can create your content easily and put your mark on your work. It’s indispensable.
Now that you have your own site, you want to drive quality traffic. Attracting people to your website or blog is a full time job. Part of the key is to create links back to your blog. Out of all the SEO techniques, this one is the one thing that you control the most. You can draft and publish articles, comment on forums and other blogs.
The simplest things you can do right off the bat are to submit your blog to the major search engines. You can do it manually at each of their sites. Start with Google, Yahoo and Bing. Next, make sure you are pinging your site, to let all the major search engines and blog directories know when you update. This is a good automatic way of building some links initially. There are several free services to help you do this. Start with Pingomatic, pingoat.net, and pingler. If you intend to run a large number of websites, you may investigate further into pingler. They have a low cost subscription service to automate pinging up to 25 websites for you.
Now, you want to start visiting the other blogs in your niche and really exploring. As you read up and educate yourself, also leave some quality comments behind. You will be promoting your reputation and establishing some quality backlinks at the same time. There are numerous ways to get your website linked. You need to put your brand out there. Just as you would advertise in the offline world if you opened a shop, you need to do the same thing when you open a website.
Free Offers and Incentives
Once you get people to your website, you want to give them a reason to come back. You want to develop a relationship with that person, who may become a loyal customer. You may have heard the phrase, “the money is in the list.” One way to develop a relationship is to offer a free gift with an opt in subscription to your newsletters. Your free offers gives a reward to your visitor, and at the same time helps you build a targeted list of potential customers. The relationship that you build with a free offer may lead to a long term customer for you.