Monday, December 7, 1998

Putting your Business on the Web

You have downloaded one of the many shareware html editors and browsed through some books on creating a web site. You may have even put together a first draft of your web site. But one question has been nagging away at you: "How do I get this onto the Internet?" There are web servers that you can download, but your computer isn't connected to the Internet all the time, so how would that work? You could get a leased line, but those are expensive. Isn't there a cheaper and easier way to do this?

How to Profit from your Web Site

Either you already have a web site, or are planning one. You have original content that others find valuable. How can you profit from providing this information to people? You could try charging people for it but a popular alternative is to accept advertising. This keeps the content free for your visitors, while providing you income.

The simplest way to accept advertising on your web site is to sign up with a service like Commission Junction. Through Commission Junction a web site publisher has access to hundreds of different advertisers, and can select from among them for adverts of interest to their web site visitors. All payments from the advertisers are conveniently collected into a single account, and paid by check or direct transfer into your bank account.
For example, let's say you have a web site about James Thurber. You join the Amazon.com affiliate program, and create links from your site to the books of James Thurber on Amazon.com. Now when a visitor to your web site follows those links and buys something from Amazon.com you are paid a 15% commission.

How to accept Online Payments

Perhaps you would like to charge for access to certain content on your web site. Maybe you make something, or offer some service, and would like to sell that online. You might be designing the web site for your church, or another charitable cause, and want to accept online donations.


Accept Credit Card Payments Online
It is possible to setup your own Merchant Account allowing you to accept credit card payments through your web site. However, a much simpler approach is to accept payments through Paypal. Setting up a business account with Paypal allows you to accept credit card payments, as well as payments from several other sources.

Paypal integrates with many 3rd party shopping cart tools that you can add to your web site. But they also offer their own free shopping cart that is fairly easy to integrate without any CGI programming. Sign up for a Paypal business account (disclosure: if you sign up with this link I will receive a referral commission).

How to register Domain Names

It used to be that to register a .COM .NET or .ORG domain name you had to go to InterNIC. But now they (Network Solutions) are just one of several accredited registrars. And while they are charging $35 to register a domain name many of the new registrars offer the same service for much less.

This competition has also driven registrars to offer other services, one of which is free parking. This lets you reserve the domain name you are interested in before you have settled upon a hosting service.

Ready to reserve a domain name now?
Disclosure: I have several domains registered with GoDaddy and have been very happy with their service. I will receive a referral bonus if you sign up through either of these links.