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Earn Money From Home Online Through Your Own Website
So you’ve decided to stop spending your time in rush hour traffic and figured out an idea for your home business. But chances are, if you’re truly looking to earn money from home online, then you’re going to need a website.
Whether starting your own blog, selling your own products, or promoting your personal brand online, a website is usually one of the first steps you’ll need to take to make money online.
Of course, there are a few steps involved in setting up your own site and we’ve boiled them down to five simple tasks that will have you designing a world-class website in no time.
And if you aren’t the most design-inclined, most of the services we suggest below provide templates that will enable you to build your own site without knowing any code.
Many businesses have found that by investing the time it takes to learn some basic webmaster skills will save them thousands of dollars that would have otherwise gone to a host site, such as Etsy or Ebay.
In addition, building your own website means that you don’t have to pay or rely on a web developer to make your vision a reality.
So follow the five simple steps below to start your own website and earn money from home in no time!
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1. Set Your Goals and Establish a Publishing Schedule
We can’t tell you how many times we’ve seen people pour hours into building a website, only to leave it untouched for months.
While some sites serve a similar purpose as a business card by providing users with essential information about a business, if you want to earn money from home, you’ll want a site that offers some unique to a user, like regularly updated content or new products.
Before you commit to paying server fees and possible platform fees, determine what value your site will provide to visitors and how exactly you’ll provide it.
What are your goals for your site outside of making money? Whether it’s generating new leads for your sales team or growing an online audience, you’ll want to have a clear sense of the goals your site will seek to achieve.
One thing virtually all successful sites do to keep a fresh slate of content coming is to create a content calendar for several months in advance, establishing the days on which you’ll publish new articles or products.
This way you’ll never find yourself at a loss of content as you’ll have it all prepared in advance.
2. What’s In A Name? Choosing and Registering Your Domain
Chances are, if you are looking to build your own site, then you already have a solid idea of what your home business is going to offer.
Picking a name for your domain should ideally be either the exact spelling of your business’s name or a close-enough approximation.
After all, it’s one thing for an established brand to start a brand new site and spend millions on marketing to get it in front of as many eyes as possible.
But as you’ll be fighting to establish your brand online, you need to make it easy for people to find you.
Let’s face it, when you tell someone the name of your home business, they’ll likely type your name in and enter .com after it when looking for it online.
And while hundreds of new Top Level Domains (TLDs) like .academy, .business, and .consulting allow for companies to make their domain the exact same as their business name, if you can get a .com for your business site, then that’s the best choice.
But as more and more businesses are refusing to spend the tens of thousands of dollars it takes to buy certain .com domains, it’s becoming much more common to see start-ups using unusual TLDs.
Not sure what your options are? Click here to see an up-to-date list of the many TLDs you have from which to choose.
Once you’ve settled on your domain name and TLD type, you’ll want to make it official and register that domain.
Registering your domain will mean that if you decide to change web hosting down the line, your domain will come with you. While many hosting companies are also domain name registrars, like GoDaddy.com, you should still always register your domain as it will cost as little as $10 and keep that domain URL protected for years to come.
While some home businesses balk at the registration fee, in the long run, it will seem like nothing once you start turning a profit so don’t be short-sighted about domain registration.
3. Choosing the Right Server for Your Home Business Website
Another common hurdle to many small home businesses starting to earn money from home lies in choosing a web hosting service. A web server is a network of computers that are connected to the internet.
By placing your web pages on a server’s computers, your content will be visible to anyone with an internet connection.
There are a number of free and commercial web hosting platforms out there. And while “free” might sound like a better price than whatever annual rate you pay from a commercial hosting service, for our money we suggest going with an inexpensive commercial host like GoDaddy.
That’s because many “free” web hosts aren’t really free at all, but actually require you to post ads on your site without seeing any of the profit. In addition, they provide little to no troubleshooting when it comes to setting up your site and dealing with bugs.
By simply searching for the right web hosting service and choosing the price that works for you, you’ll guarantee your site won’t disappear suddenly or drop out while people are trying to access it.
4. Start Building Your Site With the Right Platform
It wasn’t long ago that building a new website for a home business meant hiring a freelance web designer or firm and spending thousands of dollars on updates.
Now start-ups and home businesses have access to a number of powerful Content Management Systems (CMS’s) that allow users to build a website without the use of HTML, CSS, or any other development language.
Of course, if you know code than these platforms will often allow you to get under the hood and make adjustments to the existing template’s code to customize it as you see fit.
Each one has its own set of strengths as well as weaknesses and thus there is no one service that is right for everybody. WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla are all free while SquareSpace charges a monthly fee of around $26.
WordPress and SquareSpace are generally considered the most user friendly as WordPress offers a number of easy to set-up templates. SquareSpace offers both a variety of templates and the tools that allow someone to build their own web pages from scratch, giving SquareSpace the most immediate versatility.
If you’re interested in Joomla, it helps to have a bit of technical knowledge while Drupal is mostly recommended for developers or people who know their way around code.
Ultimately, when it comes to choosing a CMS you need to assess your level of technical knowledge and pick the one that best fits you.
If you aren’t too tech-savvy than paying for SquareSpace is a way to get a great looking website without spending hours tweaking code. If you have a bit of experience with HTML, then WordPress is a great choice for many as it’s free and offers countless free templates, along with ones that you can buy to set up your own eCommerce site with.
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5. Design The Website of Your Dream in Moments Using Templates
Templates are like the skeletons of sites that you can then apply the details too, such as the background, text color and size, and creating your own custom menu.While templates are great for getting your site up in no time, some can find them restricting down the line.
SquareSpace offers perhaps some of the most flexible templates as they let you control many elements, such as background color and column width, for which you typically need to know some CSS and HTML.
WordPress also allows you considerable flexibility by letting you see the code for certain parts of the page that you can tweak as needed.
Templates are especially helpful if you’ve never run a website from home before. Many templates are designed with home businesses in mind and help to earn money from home by having eCommerce features like shopping carts built into them.
By gaining experience working from a template, down the line you might choose to go with a CMS or template that allows you more flexibility as you become more comfortable with what it takes to run a site.
Time To Get Started!
So there you have it. You’ve set your goals and content schedule, chosen and bought a domain, picked a hosting service and CMS platform and designed your site.
Now it’s time to start making money online by publishing new content regularly and tweaking your design based on user feedback.
After all, building a website is a never-ending process in a certain sense as you’ll always be making changes.
But by following the five simple steps above, you’ll get further than most and establish an online presence for your home business, something that is essential to earn money from home online.