Over the last 4 years of developing web sites for individuals and companies, I came to a realization, based on these experiences, that there are certain components which a successful Internet Business or web site should have.
If an online business or web site owner is seriously about what he is doing on the Internet, he should carefully take the following into consideration.
1. Own your domain name
Technically, a domain name is where people locate you on the Internet when they are looking for you. Marketing-wise, a domain name is your branding.
As you market and promote your Internet business or web site, you are branding yourself on the Internet. Think of the hugely successful web sites in the world such as Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, Ebay, MySpace, Youtube. They are all very well known, established brands on the Internet. If you are tempted to create your online presence using free resources such as free hosting, free email or free 3rd party services like blogger.com, I would suggest to you that you should not.
Domain name is cheap these days, you can register one for yourself for less than USD$10 per year all over the Internet. You can get a domain from godaddy.com, hostway.com, namesecure.com etc.
Branding is very important if you want to succeed online.
2. Paid Hosting
A lot of people took up the offer of free hosting from service providers like Yahoo Geocities, GoDaddy etc. In exchange, these service providers insert their own advertisements into your web site and often than not, they also impose very limited bandwidth on your web site. If you have slightly more visitors to your web site, you will realize that the traffic restrictions on your web site will start to kick in, and your visitors will have problems accessing your web sites. This is something that you do not want to see.
Web hosting is an extremely competitive industry globally. For consumers, these are good news for us because prices have been driven so low to less than USD$10 per month for a generously, huge amount of bandwidth, email accounts and bandwidth etc. Instead of paying thousands to buy, install, maintain a web server, you pay only few dollars a month for the professionals to take care of everything for you, including supporting and ensuring that your Internet business or web site stays up 24 hours a day!
In fact, these days, some web hosts even give you free advertising credits with search engines, free web site templates and other freebies when you sign up for an account with them. You can find one of the reliable and value for money web hosting company that I am using at:
3. Web Site Design
In the past, you have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to get a web site designer to create a web site for you. Today, anyone can create a very professional Internet business or web site in under one hour using free software that you can download on the Internet. And the best part is you do not have to be a technical person to design your own web site.
Take for example, an extremely popular, powerful and free open source software known as WordPress. WordPress is a powerful personal publishing platform, and it comes with a great set of features designed to make your experience as a publisher on the Internet as easy, pleasant and appealing as possible. You can download a copy of the software at http://wordpress.org.
Follow the instructions to downstall the software and you will be up within 5-15 minutes.
WordPress is famous for its 5-minutes installation, hence it should not be too difficult for you to set it up, even if you are a newbie.
The default installation of WordPress comes with some default themes for you to choose from inside your Administration panel under Presentation menu. If you wish to look for more free WordPress themes to be used on your new WordPress installation, you can go to http://themes.wordpress.net
Just download the free WordPress theme that you want to use and upload them onto your FTP server under the WordPress theme directory. For details, please refer to the documentation that comes with your theme.
If you are fast, you can get your new site up within 30 minutes or less. If you want to get started even faster, easier, then you can use the web host which I am recommending at: http://www.donaldlim.com/go/webhosting
This web hosting company supports Fantastico on cPanel (the control panel for your hosting account) which allows you to install WordPress within a few clicks of your mouse.
However, if you prefer learning and designing a web page from scratch but do not have the budget of a few hundreds dollars to buy Dreamweaver or Frontpage, you can download this free open source web site builder software at freenvu.com
4. Paid Autoresponder
If you want to keep in constant contact with your mailing list or your web site visitors, you will need a way to keep in touch with them.
There are many ways to do so but one of the most effective and popular way is via email. You can collect email addresses from your visitors, and send your messages to them on a periodical basis, to keep them informed of new updates for your Internet business, or web sites.
You can make use of an autoresponder service to help you automate the process of handling subscription and un-subscription of email addresses from your mailing list, to schedule email messages to your list, to send email broadcast to your list via a mass emailing. The best part is you can also personalise your email messages to your recipients and track the deliverability and open-rate of your email messages through a centralized online system.
One of the most popular autoresponder services on the Internet can be found here:
5. Internet Traffic
There are countless ways of driving traffic to your web site. There are free ways or paid ways. There are time-tested and proven ways as well as new ways that are constantly popping up on the Internet, especially with the evolution of the Internet. There are also online or offline methods in which you can drive traffic to a web site.
Some popular ways to generate traffic will be via blogs, forum, social networking sites, social bookmarking sites, article marketing, video marketing, Pay-Per-Click advertising, TV ads, direct mailers and emails etc. (See my other blog posts on how to generate free traffic to a web site)
6. Traffic Monetization Systems
Now you have everything you need to be in an Internet business. However, the most critical component that you must have is the systems/mechanisms to convert your traffic, mailing list, site contents, expertise etc into money, into cash.
Without this, all the costs involved in getting your domain name, hosting, autoresponder, traffic etc are all losing you money. You need cash and you need enough of those cash to make yourself profits in order to sustain your Internet business and make yourself some good money online! The primary aim of being in business is to earn money, earn profits!
There are also many ways for you to monetize your Internet business depending on what you are doing for your Internet business. You may be selling something of your own, selling someone’s else product via affiliate marketing, building enough traffic and convert those traffic into cash using traffic monetization systems like Google AdSense, Bidvertiser, Kontera and Chitika etc. (See my other blog posts on more information about these traffic monetization systems)