Have a small business? Or have you been dreaming of starting one? Regardless of where you are in your journey, the 21st century demands that you have a website. You may be surprised at how easy it’s become to get your business online, and how affordable it can be.
Starting Your Business
Do you make really awesome crafts or prints that you’d like to sell, but don’t know how? Etsy may be right up your alley. Opening up a shop on Etsy is super easy. It’s free to set up, and then you pay $0.20 per listing. Once your item sells, Etsy takes a 3.5% cut of the sale price. But for the convenience and potential market you can reach, that’s a small price to pay.
Maybe you’re a thrift store goddess and want to resell a bunch of stellar finds. While Craigslist is great for local sales, setting up a business on eBay can help you reach buyers at a scale larger than regional. When setting up your store, eBay’s interface is extremely user friendly, holding your hand through each step of the process. A basic store costs $19.95/month to run, or $15.95 if you get a year’s subscription. There are a couple other nominal fees, but if you’re good at finding and marketing great items at a great price, there’s little holding you back from turning a profit.
If you want to make or sell products that don’t fit into either of those niches, Yahoo Small Business can help you set up a store that fits your individual needs. You can set up a basic store for $26/month plus a 1.5% transaction fee, all without the hassle of setting up a website one your own.
Getting Your Established Business Online
If what you’re selling is a service, you may not need a store, per se. But websites are an almost necessary way to advertise your business, and more customers will come back to you if they can visit you online.
The first step in getting your business into the twenty-first century is registering a domain name and getting hosting. You don’t have to do both at the same place, but many providers, like GoDaddy, do offer both services. If you look at promo codes and special offers, you can score the first year for as low as $30. Much like cable packages, subsequent years will never be as cheap as those initial sign-up offers. But they can still be made affordable by keeping an eye out for deals.
After you have your domain name and hosting, you’ll need to set up and design your website. This can seem like a daunting task, but there are many website builders out there today, such as Weebly, that make it as simple as click and drag. WordPress is a great website creation tool if you’re going to have a content heavy website or a blog section to connect with customers on a regular basis.
If the thought of setting up your own website is too daunting for you, there is an entire workforce out there dedicated to doing it for you. While their fees may initially feel like a big investment, hiring a freelancer to design and set up your website for you can save you time, research, and frustration. If computers aren’t your forte, hiring someone else to produce a professional-looking product may be worth the added cost.