Last week I covered some ideas for starting an online business for free. There are some good points about going the free route, but also some bad ones, such as the lack of control. Your free host decides to take away your site, you’re just out of luck.

Better in many ways to pay for a domain name and hosting.

Online businesses really can be cheap to run. I get my hosting from Host Gator, and the plan I use is $9.95 a month and lets me set up unlimited domains… theoretically. Practically, there are limitations on how much processor time can be used, but that’s a limit I only hit once, in an extreme circumstance where I was getting an astounding amount of traffic. Normal circumstances, even with several websites, no problem! And when problems like that happen, they’re still really, really helpful.

Your next cost is domain names. This is an annual cost, and what you pay varies depending on where you buy your domain names. I suggest buying your domain names separate from where you buy your website hosting, so that if there’s a problem you still have control of the domain name. But domain names still shouldn’t cost too much.

Running a $10/Month Business is Much Like Running a Free Business

If you’re only paying for hosting, you’re going to have to do a lot yourself for your business.

The easiest way to set up your site is to install WordPress. Host Gator and many other hosts use Fantastico to give you one click installation of WordPress and other programs. It’s amazingly easy.

If you’re only paying for
hosting, you’re going to have to do a lot yourself for your business.

You’ll need to pick a theme for WordPress. There are tons of free WordPress themes available, and if you know how you can edit them a little so they don’t look like anyone else’s site.

You’ll need to do a lot of writing. If you’re blogging, write every day that you have something worth saying. If it’s nonsense, don’t put it out for everyone to see. If that’s how you warm up, consider keeping a free blog where you just post random thoughts to get them out of your head.

Try to be pretty regular about your posting. A couple times of week is pretty much necessary. WordPress lets you schedule your posting, so if you’re inspired one day don’t worry that you won’t have anything for the rest of the week. Just spread your posts out with the schedule function, and you’ll be in good shape.

Once again, it takes a bit of content to get to where you should be promoting your website. You don’t want to look as though you started and then quit. This is where the scheduler comes in handy. Your prewritten content can give you a break from writing if you need more time to develop further ideas, and no one will know you were gone.

How Do You Earn Money?

When you’re spending money on your business, earning from it matters. You want to bring in money, enough to make the time you’re spending on your business worthwhile, someday.

AdSense is an easy route to go. Once you have some good content on your site, you can apply. Some say you need to wait six months, but if you have solid content you may be approved sooner.

You should be aware of any affiliate products that you can offer through your website.

Once approved, you add the AdSense code where you want ads to appear, and in a short time it will start matching ads to your content. They won’t always be perfect, and sometimes you’ll see ads you want to block, but it’s one of the fastest ways to monetize a site.

Not always the best, however.

You should be aware of any affiliate products that you can offer through your website. Once you have enough content to be interesting, start applying to affiliate programs. Clickbank, Commission Junction and ShareASale are my three favorite sites for finding affiliate products to offer. Amazon’s Associate Program is pretty good too.

You can offer any products or services you make too. Many writers, graphic designers, crafters and so forth run their own websites. It’s a great way to get your name out there and let people see your work. You never know who might be interested.

Spending So Little is Not an Easy Path

Spending as little as possible isn’t the easiest way to earn a lot of money online. It takes time. You have to find a niche where you can make some good money.

You may wan to spend a little on educational resources to learn what you’re doing. I like the Super Affiliate Handbook for learning affiliate marketing – it gets updated periodically, so it won’t be years out of date, unlike other products. It’s been around long enough to have a well earned reputation as a quality resource.