Thinking about starting your own online business? Maybe you have been tempted by some of your friends telling you that you can create something wonderful without investment. It’s a story you hear all the time – but is it true?
Well, the short answer is, no, it isn’t. As with any other business, it’s going to cost you money to get started online, whatever you are trying to do. Here are some of those costs laid out for you so you know what you will be dealing with.
The free stuff
First of all, let’s take a look at some of the examples people give when they talk about setting up a no-cost business. There’s WordPress, of course – which is a free-to-use content management system. It’s an excellent tool, no doubt. But, there is a bit of a learning curve when you are just starting out. And, of course, your time has a cost attached to it, too. There are free blog platforms you can use, as well.
The only trouble is, you can almost guarantee that your blog won’t enjoy a great deal of success on these platforms. They are generic, some are filled with advertising, and they just aren’t reliable tools. So, yes – you can start a business and make use of free tools – but they still come at a cost. Now let’s look at some of the other things you will have to pay for.
A domain name
You will need to buy a domain name if you want your site to appear as professional as possible. There are plenty of services out there that you can buy a domain name from – use your favorite search engine to find them. Plus, it’s an ongoing cost. You will have to renew the name every year so that no one else can use it. That’s going to cost you anything from $10 upwards.
And, it can get expensive. Let’s say that you have a domain name that suddenly becomes popular, due to a news event or a new product. With regards to renewal, registration companies take popularity into the equation. They will charge you more than you paid the previous year. It could be a small amount – or it could even be thousands of dollars, depending on the name.
There are free web hosting packages out there, of course. But, if you are serious about your business, they just aren’t worth your time. If you want a reliable service, you are going to have to pay for it. There are a few choices to make, too. It’s possible to get shared hosting, a dedicated server, or VPS hosting.
You can find out more on the differences between the three if you read this VPS hosting guide. There are plenty of web host companies out there that offer great services – and plenty that don’t. If you lack experience, it’s going to take a while to find one that fits your needs. Again, this is all going to cost you time.
Once you have a host and domain name, you can start creating your site. It’s possible to go down the DIY route, of course. However, the chances of you building a beautiful website without any experience are unlikely.
You can spot an amateur site a mile away, and it can be a real turn-off for your audience. If you want to be a genuine and reputable online business, it’s vital that you have a professional build your site that can bring your ideas to life.
It‘s possible to build a strong audience from writing amazing blog posts, infographics, and using images and video. But, it all takes a long time to create – and it has to be excellent quality. So, you might want to think about advertising online – through a platform like Google’s Adwords.
Now, you might think the answer to this is social media – often thought of as a free advertising platform. But, again, this is a fallacy. As a business, your Facebook pages will get few displays – unless you are prepared to pay for advertising. It’s all more cost – and far from the free platform, a lot of people think it is.
If you want to make money from a website, you will have to spend money. It’s as simple as that. So,m the next time someone you know suggests you can start an online business for nothing at all, they aren’t lying. But, if they want to start a successful business, they are going to dig into their pockets.