The beauty about online business is that it enables you to make money with no money. All the tools you need – and there are quite a few – are available to you for free. They may not be the best out there in some cases, but there more than enough to get your business going for next to nothing. I’m going to explain how you can set up a business investing close to $0 (although lots of time – hopefully it will end up being worth it!).
First, you have to get the know how. Websites such as SEOmoz will give you almost all the information you need to set up successful SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) campaigns, as well as great insight into online business and ecommerce. For any information you need about the specific market you’re getting into, check out your competitor’s websites and look for extra knowledge on websites such as Suite101, the Yahoo Contributor Network, About or Squidoo. You can also set up a Google Alert for certain keywords that are important in your market. That way, you will get a daily email with all the important news related to your business.
Second is setting up a website. There are free resources such as Joomla that let you get pretty creative with you new site. WordPress is also one of these. Other tools such as Blogger or Tumblr are a bit more limited, but putting the right amount of hours can get you a great website with Joomla.
As for the domain, you’ll probably have to pay for this, although the cost can be pretty reasonable, starting at around $5 a year but always depending on your domain provider and the domain name itself. An alternative for those of you who don’t want to spend a penny more than you are earning is to use a free WordPress or Blogger domain (that is, a domain with the word .wordpress or .blogspot in it) until you make enough to buy a proper domain and redirect from there.
Now that you are set up, you need to measure traffic and see if your website is working. Well, people who love all things free are in for a treat, because your option, Google Analytics, is probably one of the best traffic trackers out there, if not the best.
Finally, you probably want to market your site and get the word out that it’s alive and working. Although there are very good paying traffic options, you can also set up huge social media campaigns for no cost at all. Your company should be present in Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at least; sharing great content with users from around the world that shows you know your stuff while creating a community.