Setting a presence online is actually.. quite cheap. I know because I am a Micro-venture capitalist. All I do is to set a site up for a customer-cum-cash cow, ready for the milking.
Knowledge is power and Power is wealth as they say it, but it is fun to share technologies with people who don't know or are just plain arrogant about the web, namely brick-and-mortar business persons.
So, what is in my cookbook?
PHP 5 with all the addons
APACHE Server (linux based as it's quick to go)
MySQL with the latest patch.
Some Open Source Content Management System
Some Free Shopping Cart
Some SEO Scripting Code
And for Main Dish:
Some Banners Designed up
Some other Advertising system
Some Pay Per Click advertising...
and loads of publicity.
So, what do we do first.
1) Check for your Trade Mark or Service Mark or Product Name presence. If possible get it.
Otherwise, just sue the bugger for it.
2) Check if your company name is used on the web.
Good catchy ones (especially dictionary names) are hard to get.
CHAT.NU (CHAT NOW) was recently priced at $5,000,000!
3) See if someone cyber squatted on your names.
Costs ? :
Domain name cost about $10 annually for .COM/NET/ORG/BIZ/US
European ones cost alot more, about $20 on average.
It is a good thing to buy Chinese or Asian names too if you intend to penetrate to your potential customers.
Chinese domains cost about $10 annually whereas Singapore and others cost as low as $150!
Next in line is the Hosting.
Cheap does not mean good. For basic setup, don't you feel silly if you rent a dedicated server at the rate of about $275 a month when you can go for Shared Hosting for about $5.77 a month payable annually or Biannually upfront (I personally say 12mths is good enough)
Some provide a FREE DOMAIN for signing up. Others like GizmoNET IntraWEB offer FREE NO FRILLS HOSTING with domain registration plus a small setup fee. I personally suggest to go for POWWEB or HOSTGATOR (for month to month billing @ $10 a mth, ask for a discount coupon)
Make sure it offers Apache, PHP, MySQL (5 databases at least) and some addons like GD,CURL etc.
Now to set it up.....
You can install basic all-in-One Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla. Joomla has an add-on called Virtue Mart which is a shopping cart, with billing system all in one. It's what you need to take your online store orders. You can even process them and take payments thru PAYPAL or any Credit card processors like Google Checkout, 2CO or MoneyBookers.
It is best to download the ALL-IN-ONE package from Virtue Mart as it's all encoded already.
COST?! = FREE OPEN LICENSE.
Don't forget to setup a blog too. People, workers, customers love some juicy information from within the company. Makes it a bit more human. Search Engines love it even more!
Now, Add a banner to the site to add some extra sales or commission from sales or referrals like Aductions, etc.
Total cost so far?
1 Domain + 1 Months Hosting = $25!
Otherwise, it would be $80 annually.
Sounds good enough?
It's time to get more traffic in.What do you do?
Well, place yr URL in your business card..get your emails out etc... but then, what better way than to get information written within your blog.
Spiders look for them, and people will then search for them and pay you a visit.
I will talk about the SEO and Pay per Click in another time. Google it.
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