I have been working with a couple of people on how to build a website which is why you are seeing this topic covered so often this week. I figure if they have these questions there may be more of you who have the same questions so I will share the questions and answers until we run out!
1. Do you actually have a product of your own that you promote and sell on your website? or is it an "information website" with links to other companies that sell products?
2. Do you need to have a product of your own to sell to have your own website?
3. Does affiliate advertising really put money in your pocket? Is it worth the time and overheads to do this?
4. How do you select the companies to affiliate advertise?
5. What would be an approximate yearly outlay for webhost costs?
6. What would be an approximate monthly outlay for advertising? If that is required on my part.
Okay 1 and 2.: You do NOT need to have a product of your own to sell. In your case you COULD because you know how to create. In fact, one idea for a website that I started but never finished was a place where crafters could each have their own little "craft stand" on my website to sell products. So you could sell your products, help others sell their products (they would pay you for this space) and have affiliate products. Or you could just have affiliate products. I only sell affiliate products. (to clarify there really is no selling involved. I just put up links to their websites)
3. Affiliate advertising does and can put money in many peoples pockets. It depends on you and how much time and effort you are willing to put into learning the business and promoting your website. Over a period of three days last month I earned over $1200 from ONE affiliate program. Part of this was from being prepared and aware that the promotion they ran was going to happen and the other part was knowing where to promote it. Now if I was really on top of things and took the time to hunt down more programs like that it is possible I could do that every week, but I don't.
The overhead for this kind of business is incredibly low at least for me. I have NEVER spent a penny on advertising. My only costs are the costs of website hosting. NOW.. that does not mean that this is good advice. My goal when I started was to prove everyone wrong and show that you could do this with NO advertising dollars. My website is low cost and free home businesses so it would have been a little hypocritical of me to spend thousands of dollars in advertising and then say "see, you can do it!".. IF you can afford the advertising DO IT.. You will get one way links back to your site which are very valuable and you will be able to drive traffic to your site sooner which means you will start making money sooner.
4. You select the affiliate companies based on your website. So if you are building a a website based on crafting you might become an affiliate for Joann.com. If you are building a website based on medical conditions you might want to be an affiliate for webmd.com. There are a lot of choices once you start looking around.
5. Yearly outlay for your website costs could be as little as $120 a year to thousands depending on who you go through and what you want to be able to do. I use Homestead and I pay about $240 a year but it gives me lots of flexibility in building my websites, it allows me view my site stats, see where my traffic is coming from and includes a lot of great tools that other companies don't provide. It also allows me to build multiple websites for only $2 a month more. I think that in itself is great at least for me. There are other companies that charge less per month but I don't think they give you the same features. There are also companies who charge more per month. I am getting ready to do a review today on a webhosting company called Easy Web and Design
I tried it out last night and you can click the link and give it a try to. It's free to try out. Just click on the sitebuilder link at the top. The part that impressed me the most was how quick and easy it is. If you don't want to create your website from scratch or don't feel you really can, this is an ideal place. It took me less than 5 minutes to have a website made here! It is almost like a website in a box. You just enter your personal information, enter whatever name you want for your website and tell it what kind of site you are building and voila! There it is! It gives you a very professional website especially if you have products you are offering. I imagine after you are past the initial setup and signed up you will have the ability to go in and add products and more things. It runs about $40 a month and includes all of your optimization tools, statistics etc.
6. The costs of advertising are dependent on what you can afford. The key is to make sure your advertising dollars are going where they will be best spent. If you have a craft website for instance it would be more beneficial to spend $100 for a banner or text ad on the main page of a well trafficked and well known quilting site than to spend $50 at some place that promises to send you 20,000 visitors. They might send you that many visitors but it probably won't be quality traffic. There are also lots of advertising venues that cost you nothing.
1. Join message boards that have an interest in what you are promoting and that allow signatures. Put your website in your signature. It is important to not just run in and try to advertise on every message board you find. Take some time to get to know the people and offer your help where you can. You will build a good base of return visitors this way and not get yourself banned from what could be a great place to advertise.
2. Write articles. Personally I am terrible at writing so I don't get to take advantage of this. Write an article about quilting or doll making or other crafts etc. Submit those articles anywhere you can. People can pick up the articles and use them on THEIR websites giving you exposure and more one way links. They have to use your signature which will include your website and a little blurb about it. Free advertising.
3. Print up flyers and business cards and hand them out.
4. Print out a window cling with your website on it and display it on your car or you can pay someone to do this.
5. Use your signature in your emails and include it will every email you send! Just think of how many places those "jokes" get forwarded to... There is bound to be someone along the line interested in what you are offering!
You have some great ideas in your head for building a website. Now you are that much closer to getting it started!
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