Domain Names, Hosting, and Site Automation
If you’re intending to do business from your web site, it is essential that you have high
quality, reliable web site hosting, and your own Domain Name.
While some people starting out on a shoestring budget will find it necessary to use free web
space, this does nothing to enhance the professional image of your online business, and quite
probably will hurt it. If at all possible, get your own domain name, and pay for web site hosting.
Think about it. Would you prefer to buy something from someone who can’t afford his
own web site and uses a Hotmail account for his e-mail, or from someone who has a nice-looking
website hosted on its own domain, and whose e-mail address goes through the web site?
Which one looks more professional, and gives you as a potential customer more confidence and
peace of mind?
Domain Name Registration
While domain name registration used to be quite costly, it has gotten down to the very affordable
range. You’ll still find companies that want to charge you in excess of $30 per year for simple DNS
registration, but there are plenty of high-quality, reputable Domain Name Registrars out there who
will give you excellent service for around $10 per year per domain. It makes no sense at all to
pay any more than that, nor do you have to!
Web Site Hosting Providers
There are a wealth of excellent companies out there eager to host your web site. While you can
also get free hosting, it is a poor choice for an internet business, and you’re only saving about $10
a month or less. Using free hosting gives your business a “cheap” look, and can cost you in other
ways. I advise strongly against it. If you can’t afford even a few hundred dollars to start your internet
business, it is all but pointless to do so, in my opinion. This need not cost you a fortune, but it isn’t
absolutely free, either.
To give you all the details, and some links to the highest quality hosting providers I’ve found,
I’ve prepared a separate page with all the information you’ll need. These are all very highly rated
web site hosting providers.
Getting Ready for E-commerce
You’re almost ready to go, except that if you’re going to sell a product or products from your
web site, you’ll need either a shopping cart, or some other way to have your orders processed.
For those who sell digital products (for instance e-books) there are two choices that we
The first choice is to work with
Clickbank. For a small setup fee, and a percentage of your sales, they will take and process
your orders, and send you a check each month. This also gives you a ready-made affiliate sales
force, since Clickbank is primarily an affiliate-sales portal. Clickbank member affiliates advertise
and promote your product at a commission rate that you choose, most commonly around 50%.
You are, of course, free to choose any commission percentage that you prefer.
By the way, if you sell products through Clickbank, either as a vendor or as an affiliate, you may
want to check out the collection of ClickBank Tools that I’ve assembled. Both vendors and affiliates should be
aware of and protected against download theft and “link hijacking”. These tools do the job, and will
pay for themselves in a short period of time.
Your second choice is to have
integrated order processing on your website, and run your own affiliate program, if
you choose to. This will cost you a bit more per month than Clickbank, but you can choose
not to pay affiliate commissions, or to be selective in who your affiliates are and how much
commission you pay. Some people pay one set of commissions to most affiliates, but offer
higher commissions to high-volume sellers (i.e., “super affiliates”).
Ordinarily you’d need a merchant account to do this, but my own shopping cart service and
website automation solution takes care of that
for you, and even gives you autoresponders and database management as part of the deal. You
can sell ebooks and other downloadable products, as well as being able to sell physical products
that you ship yourself or that you have drop-shipped from a supplier. You can accept payment via
and/or any of 50 online credit card processing gateways.
Finally, you may want to simplify things by signing up with a web site host that provides
integrated order processing as part of their service. I’ve recently begun using such a
hosting service, and can’t say enough about it. Your hosting account includes expiring download
pages for digital products that you sell, password protection of directories, and a shopping cart
that interfaces with several major credit-card processing and merchant account service providers,
You can sell either digital or physical products, can set up and manage your own affiliate program,
or run a paid membership site. This is truly an all inclusive e-commerce web site hosting solution.
Email and Autoresponders
One other thing you’ll need to plan ahead for is some sort of automation of your handling
of email, especially if you expect to receive any volume of inquiries, or will be publishing
an email newsletter, or doing any permission-based opt-in e-mail marketing.
Basic email functions can be handled by any of
several excellent email programs. These are well worth the small investment, and
you can actually use them for free, if you’re willing to put up with looking at ads every
time you open your email sofware.
You probably will also want to consider setting up an autoresponder
An autoresponder is a great tool if you send out mass mailings, want to build a mailing list
through an automated subscription form on your site, or you intend to publish a newsletter,
which you’ll discover elsewhere on our site is highly recommended.
O.K., you have registered your URL, you have designed your site, found your web hosting,
and obtained a shopping cart or other merchant services you need, as well as squaring away
your email client and autoresponder. We are just about ready to launch this internet business
startup and begin making some money.
It’s time to learn a few marketing techniques to help promote your site. The next things
to learn about are email newsletters and permission
e-mail marketing. Then we’ll explore how to track your success, and finally give you some
marketing tips, as well as teaching you a bit about how to get indexed by the search engines