Reader Questions: Realistically What is the Minimum Investment Required to Start an Internet Business?

If you ask a lot of people, they’re all going to say something different. And so am I. I guess there’s people of both sides of the fence, some say free is okay others think you need to own your domain, a reliable hosting service and WordPress.org.

I’ve heard people say just use Facebook, Google+, etsy or devianart depending on what your business is about. Oh and if you already have a company having your own website or blog is important today.

Continue…

Hot Links Friday: CTAs, Small Businesses on Twitter, and other Meaty Stuff

calls-to-actionIt’s finally here, TGIF the day you’ve been “excitedly” waiting all week. If you’re new here, just to let you know we do these every friday.

Okay, not EVERY friday, but we have since the last two weeks.

It’s a pretty basic series, since I know a lot of you are busy running your cool bizzznesssses, and don’t have the time to be surfing around the web like I do for awesome content.

I bookmark it and save it for Fridays, so you can enjoy.

This week I ran into some great content that would benefit your small business a ton.

First one is actually comes from the blog of a online tool I’m going to start using here and other of my small businesses. If you’re interested in the company it’s SlideDeck.

This Friday’s Hot Links

Six Tips For a Stronger Call to Action

I’ve been guilty of not having strong calls-to-action in my blog. Reading this was a like a refresher and reminder that I need to work on tweaking this site, so-you-my-friend can start doing stuff I want you to do on my blog.

I’m only playing with you.

But the truth is that it’s important to have them, because that’s just the way our brains work. It is proven that calls to action work. See for yourself!.

Gary Vaynerchuk: Can Small Businesses Be Heard On Twitter?

Anytime Gary Vay-ner-chuk speaks I listen. I love this guy, for real how can you not? But I’m not going to talk more about him. Gary makes a great point about small businesses and HOW they are missing the point.

He’s been saying this all along but it seems like people still don’t get social media. My message to them is LISTEN to this post.

Sorry to be so obvious, but no really, go watch this post. If you haven’t used twitter or don’t get it, you might learn a thing or two from Gary.

How To Calculate Lifetime Value – The Infographic

All of you by now probably know how much I love infographics. I don’t know they just work for me. I’m sure they do for some of you. They’re easy to digest and they’re not BORING like this post, written about the same topic.
You can choose boring, long and confusing or cool, fun and engaging?

8 Ways To Use Your Blog To Improve Your Business

Blogging, blogging and more blogging. I know you can’t get enough of it. They talk about it in every corner of the web. But what can you do, it’s what people want and you’re just gonna have to give-to-them.

It’s sad to see that still a big percentage of businesses don’t use a blog to improve their business.

One more Friday that comes to an end. Okay folks, I have to go now.

Get your learning on today, so next week you can tweak (if you have to) a few things to your business. Then see some massive results and hopefully say thank you Wilson for that post you shared with me, it made me a trillion bucks.

Alright, it probably won’t make you a trillion buck, but hey they might improve your conversions, you might connect with new people, who knows I just hope they’re valuable to you.

Don’t forget before you leave to tweet this and join the newsletter to get updates.

Thank you!

Remember, if you have other cool link to share, leave them in the comments as long as they’re not spam.

Self-Hosted vs. Hosted Blog for a Business The Biggest Mistake…

That’s a question that many small business owners starting a blog email me a lot.

The simple answer to that question is; “YES”. But I don’t recommended it.

In this post I’m going to share with you the biggest blogging mistakes I and many other successful bloggers have made in the past so you can avoid them.

I know this topic has been repeated a million times, but obviously some people still need to understand why it’s not beneficial.

When I first started blogging one of the mistakes I made was beginning my blog on WordPress.com, as opposed to WordPress.org.

This involves hosting your blog for free on the WordPress site, rather than owning your domain and self-hosting to have more power over it.

I got rid of it because it was to ugly and the content wasn’t even close to what I put out today. You need to remember that content is king, and that’s something you should always keep in mind.

A big problem with not hosting your own domain is that you don’t have that much power over the customization of how your site looks. Plus your domain name looks pretty ugly as well.

For example, http://www.wilsonusman.wordpress.com Vs. http://wilsonusman.com. Which looks more professional?

Additionally, when I was looking around the blogosphere I found others using the same template that I was using and that just made it extremely boring to look at–no way to stand out and be original.

You look at my design today, it’s exactly what I want and I can change it tomorrow if I want easily.

WordPress.org Vs. WordPress.com and Blogger.com

WordPress is a website software you can use very easily and fast to  create a good-looking and fully-featured website or blog.

You install it on your host, and using this recommended hosting service (affiliate link)  it will provide a 1-click WordPress installation to make the process simple.

WordPress is by far the most popular blog tool and publishing platform, also known as a CMS (content management system).

  • You’ll get all the flexibility that you want.
  • Now there are more than 200,000 plugins created that extend your website. (ability to add Google Maps easily, create surveys and polls, add social buttons with a press of a button)
  • If you want to sell whatever you want or have advertising on your site you can.
  • You’ll have reliable web hosting company can provide 24/7 technical support and an uptime guarantee for self-hosted business blogging.

Some might consider paying as a con, but I don’t believe that to be the case. Come on, you’re running a business here, or aren’t you?

If you’re serious a few buck a month aren’t going to hurt you. As they say in business, “you need to spend money to make money”.

Okay so you want to get all this moving, but you’re stuck because you have to web skills. I get it. I want to help you get your small business blog moving along, with a legit hosting service. Hit me up, send me an email. I’d be glad to help you set it up.

 

 

What is the Easiest, Most Affordable Way to Launch a Blog With Your Own Domain?

setup-blogI think everyone has their own personal favorite way of launching a blog. Some people like to use this hosting company versus another, they use a domain company because that’s what they’ve been using since they starter.

You know what, to each their own, right?

So in this post I’m going to ask the readers what do they think is the best way for a beginner to launch their first small business blog without having to spend much, and without going the FREE way [I don’t recommend FREE].

For the majority of things done on the web you’re going to want to create a website of some sort. There’s more than one way to go here.

Say you’re just blogging, for example, you could start a site by going with a free hosting company such as WordPress.com, Tumblr.com, TypePad.com, or Blogger.com. Do you know why it’s not a good option to go free?

Here are some of the disadvantages of choosing a free hosting service:

  1. You can’t customize your site how you want to. For example, if you want to try to make money through your website with advertising you’re screwed, because they don’t allow that.
  2. It doesn’t look professional or easy to remember. If your website is http://www.abcd1234.com, in a blogger.com website it would look like this: http://www.abcd1234.blogspot.com, I’m sure you don’t want that.

The two disadvantages about going with a free hosting service are “the biggest mistakes business and new bloggers make” when they want to launch a blog.

And it’s also the reason why I recommend everyone go with a self-hosted website. You own it baby! You have all the control you want. For example, if you want to advertise go for it. If you want to make it look unique, you can too. It’s your own home, that’s the way I like to look at it.

Whether you’re going with a business blog, affiliate blog, niche, personal any sort of site you’re using I recommend using GoDaddy to register your domain and Hostgator to host the website.

I’ve been using both companies on all my sites and clients site for almost three years and they’ve always helped me out setup things and always offer great customer service when I have any problems figuring something out or it’s just a dumb question through live chat or phone.

Disclaimer: I do earn a commission if you choose to go with Hostgator and Godaddy. There are obviously other domain and hosting companies available, but again this is my recommendation based on my experience with the company since I started doing business online. If you do purchase through my affiliate link, thank you so much for your support!

I’ve embedded two videos below that walk you through the exact steps to setting up your website on godaddy and hostgator, which includes how to register and install a blog.

 

Have you launched your blog yet?

Tell us what you used? Share in the comments.

Blog or Newsletter: What’s a Better Communication Vehicle for Small Businesses with Customers?

I have a blog and a newsletter, which one should I keep? That’s the question I received last week.

Many companies now provide a blog and a newsletter for free.

Blogs are good because they can keep an audience updated on your company and it can improve your online footprint by putting good quality content on the web. If your business can offer information that’s valuable to prospects can increase future sales.

An email newsletter which is distributed on a weekly or monthly basis, which most companies usually choose, can be created to send out different topics instead of a focused blog post. I believe that a newsletter is more to keep subscribers engaged with your company.

If you look at this report here, you’ll find that email is the #1 activity among all ages in 2010. So some people are still prefer to get their information through a email.

Any information that might serve as a benefit to the industry that you provide content to, should be shared both through the newsletter and the blog. A little mix doesn’t hurt anyone. (e.g company news, new tools, industry information, tips)

To conclude this question, I believe that any good marketing strategy should have more than one option and channel of distribution to satisfy the consumers needs. When you combine newsletter and blog it just makes it easier on your targeted audience to connect with you or your company.

Besides a blog and a newsletter, businesses should be looking into other channels like: mobile marketing, social media, and advertising.

What do you think she should do?