What does it cost to set up an online business?
This is a question I see asked a lot.
People starting their own blog or online business often don’t have a lot of spare cash. They also want to see if the business works before plowing a load of money into it. I was careful not to get too carried away when I first started, but when everyone is offering the “next surefire success” course, it can be tempting.
How Much Do I Need to Invest in Setting Up My Online Business
Well, it is a matter of choice, but I can certainly give you some pointers.
It is possible to fast track your online business with a big investment. Investing in a quality website design and some paid ads can certainly make a difference. There are also a myriad of paid courses that will teach you how to build your business, your audience and your income.
However, you still have to have good content and ways to convert visitors into subscribers.
If you want to set things up on a budget, what will it cost?
Well here is a list of what I believe are the essentials, with pricing:
- Domain Name: $12.99 from www.hover.com
- Hosting: Hostgator $10.95 for one month
- WordPress theme: $99.95 Genesis framework from Studiopress. This includes a child theme of your choice.
- Landing page software: $37 for one month Leadpages Standard Plan
- Email Automation software: $0 for up to 100 subscribers with Drip or $9 per month for Active Campaign
So your minimum month 1 costs are around $160 and $50 per month thereafter. Over the first year, that will be $710. Not too much to spend on something that could change your life!
These are worse case prices. If you are prepared to sign up for 12 or 36-month agreements, the monthly costs can be reduced considerably. For example, a one year commitment to Hostgator is $71.40 ($5.95 per month) and Leadpages is $300 (25 per month), which brings the first year costs down to under $500.
Either way, this investment will get you:
- Somewhere to host your blog, with a framework and theme for your site.
- You also have software that you can use to build your landing pages and manage your email list.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of these software vendors offer affiliate programs paying out monthly commissions on the subscriptions you sell through your site. This means that you can cover the cost of your subscription quite easily. Full disclosure, most of the links above are affiliate links. If you click on them and sign up, I get a commission. It doesn’t cost you any more and, in some cases, gives you a promotional discount on the regular price. When I first signed up for these products, I made sure I used an affiliate link from someone who had provided me with valuable information on their blog or free ebooks.
I also recommend you buy a couple of books:
If you don’t have your business idea fully formed and tested, “Will it Fly” from Pat Flynn will be a great help.
“Ask” by Ryan Levesque is also highly recommended if you want a proven ‘go to market’ formula.
I also found “Crush it” by Gary Vaynerchuck a great source of inspiration.
Here are some links if you want to take a closer look:
There are also many free ebooks you can download in exchange for your email address. Here are some good ones:
Personal Branding Roadmap by Chris Ducker Email the Smart Way by Pat Flynn Blog Profits Blueprint by Yaro Starek Ultimate Guide to Starting an Online Business by Ramit Sethi How to Use Landing Pages to Grow Your Business by Nigel Wright
OK, the last one is a shameless plug, but I still think you will find it a helpful resource. You will also notice that all the links above go to landing pages where you have to subscribe to an email list to get the resource. I did this for two reasons. Firstly, it is only fair that the person who wrote the resource should get the chance to add you to their list. Secondly, you will learn a great deal by being on their email lists. Not only will you get a lot of valuable information sent to you, but you will also learn how their email sequences are set up and delivered. For more on this, check out my blog article, “How To Engage With Your Email List”
Conclusions and Further Reading
If you apply what you have learned from this article, you will have all the resources you need to start your online business or blog. Just remember that you still need to learn how to use these tools. I suggest you start with the demo layout for your WordPress theme so you have a basic design in place. Most Studiopress themes include tutorials which show how to build your site to look reasonable.
I also recently tested out www.fiverr.com. I was able to get my front page and blog redesigned for $70. If like me, you find editing WordPress a pain, this may be a worthwhile investment. If you go down this route, I recommend you find a couple of website designs you like and email the links, with your order. This will really help you get the result you are looking for.
Leadpages is next and, in my opinion, is very easy to use. I have even started using Leadpages to replace some of my WordPress pages. It is so much easier to get a compelling design and integrate email subscriber forms. You still want to publish your Leadpages on WordPress using the Leadpages plugin so your correct domain name is displayed on your website. If you need help with any of this, please drop a note in the comments box with your email address and I will show you how to do it. You may also want to check out my ebook on the subject,
Email Automation Software
The area I struggled a lot with is setting up my email opt-ins and email sequences. I plan to put together a tutorial on this shortly so watch this space or subscribe to my email list for updates. I would also be interested to see how you apply some of the things I have presented here and whether you managed to stick to these budgets.
I have other resources on my site that are closely related to this topic and you may find useful. Here are some links for you: