Frequently Asked Questions
I don't have a product to sell. Can I still make money?
Absolutely. What you may want to think about is joining some affiliate programs. These allow you to earn commissions by referring your visitors to other products and services. Once a sale is made as a result of your referral, you receive either a flat rate determined by the merchant or a percentage of the sale. You don't collect the orders, talk to the customers, or ship the products. The merchant company handles all the transactions. All you do is send people to their site and collect your commission.
How do I get listed on the major search engines?
These days, the keys to getting your site listed and ranked high with the popular engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN is all about links. You want to get other sites that are related to your theme to link back to you using the keywords you are targeting. For example, if your site is about bowling balls, you will want to partner with other bowling related sites and get them to link to you using bowling related keywords. This helps provide a "vote" for your site and the search engines start to see that your site must be worthy of a good rank if other people are linking to it using certain keywords.
How much does it cost to create my website?
If you plan on creating a site that lasts, we recommend registering your own domain name instead of using the free web hosts. These days, the prices are so reasonable, it's definitely worth spending a few bucks. There are two costs associated with building and maintaining a website: The domain name and Web hosting. The price will vary depending on how far in advance you pay for your site. Generally if you pay for domain names years in advance you'll get a better deal. The same goes with hosting, Some hosts will give you a better deal if you pay six months in advance for example versus one month at a time.
How do I sell products from my own website?
To sell anything from your site, you'll want to setup some kind of shopping cart software and be sure you have some way to accept credit card payments. You can either install the shopping cart on your own server (requires a bit of tech knowledge and help from your web host), or you can outsource a shopping cart service. PayPal is one solution. No shopping cart installation is necessary and they manage all the credit card transactions then send the money to your bank account. It's much easier to setup and their basic plan is free!
How do I get started?
The first step in creating a web site is registering a domain name (www.something.com). Once you have your domain name, you need to choose a web hosting package so you can start building your website.
What is a "web host" and do I need one?
In addition to a domain name, you need a web host. A web host provides the support for building your web site. Every web site needs to be hosted somewhere. The hoster gives you a certain amount of space for all of your web pages, provides email addresses and other features you may need to build your site.
What software should I use to create my website?
Microsoft has free Visual Studio Express versions of anything you might want to build websites. It's great for all levels of experience and it's a widely used so you'll have no trouble getting help and support. Most web hosts support FTP, you can publish your site to the Web directly from the software. All you do is create an FTP account with your web host and you're ready to go. To start building your site you can get free templates from any number of sites like www.templatemonster.com
What's the best way to collect payments?
We recommend using a third party to collect and process your payments. The primary reason being that the third party company assumes the liability of securing your customers private information. This means another company handles all your transactions and sends the profits directly to you. Of course, they will take a small percentage of every sale, but at the end of the day... it's worth it.
Do I have to learn how to program?
Absolutely not. In fact, most of the web hosts recommended here provide either a web authoring tool or some kind of templates to aid with your website creation so there's no programming knowledge necessary.
How do I advertise my site?
There are many ways to advertise your site, but the most effective way is "word of mouth." It's free and if people can recommend your site that makes it even more credible. The more useful and unique you can make your site, the more others will want to bookmark and tell others about it. The biggest mistake people make when building their sites is lack of content. If your site is for information purposes and you want to reel in the traffic, then you need to start out with at least 30 pages of content and plan to keep building. Give people a reason to return. The search engines and directories are another great place to promote your site and some of them are still free. Link exchanges are another traffic-building tool. Find people with sites similar to yours and ask for a link exchange. That just means, they put a link on their site to yours in return for a link on your site to theirs. Keep in mind it's most beneficial to link up with sites that have similar content. If your site is about jewelry, it won't do you much good to link up to a site that is about soccer.