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What should a beginner do?!

By Chuck McCullough
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Maybe you have a great idea....maybe you don't.

What you -do- know is that you want a website and you want to make money from it.

But where do you start?

If you are like many (myself included), you feel the most logical thing to do is to use the free space you get with your ISP, or one of the many free website communities out there.

It gives you the opportunity to learn how to make a website, upload it to a web server, promote it, and learn killer search engine strategies.

Then, when its making you some money, you can get your own domain name and move to a real website hosting company.

Besides if it doesn't work aren't out any money.

You and the other umpteen million people with websites on these places are thinking the exact same thing.

Time for a reality check.

You are putting your business in the middle of a community of millions. Its future now depends on the ability to make money in a situation that can best be compared to buying a lottery ticket every week.

Your chances are about the same. In fact, to save yourself a bundle of time, effort, and major disappointment you should give up this idea now and buy a lottery ticket every week instead.

I'm sure -some- people have managed to make money from free website hosts, and -some- have done so through legal means.

But the vast majority don't.

There is the possibility on some of these sites for you to get your own domain name and point it to your free site.

---Here are a few flaws with this option:

You still will typically have to post their banner rotation at the top of your pages, or at least at the top of the main page.

Many of the top search engines ban submissions entirely from these communities because of the objectionable content and quality from many of the members' sites.

Even though your visitors can type in ( and make it to your site, they will typically still see the redirect to the free host in the URL portion of their browser.

When you start getting visitors, and better yet, customers... reliability and uptime become a major part of your vocabulary. Even with the major companies you will experience some downtime. And believe me its nerve-wracking to say the least. But many of the better ones will have 24/7 technical support to work on these issues and keep them to a minimum.

---End of gloom and doom

The only thing that I like about this approach (it worked for me) is that as you are learning html and graphics design, not many people will really see it :-)

The point I'm trying to make is don't put the future of your business on the -possibility- that you will make enough money to register your domain name, and moving up to a paid host.

With the masses moving to the Internet, you have to quickly find a way to put yourself in the -smaller- percentage that will actually manage to make money.

---So, what -should- a beginner do?

Personally I like the 'all or nothing' approach in which you find a good domain name (you better hurry on this one), pay someone to design your site for you (if you don't have the skills), and open an account with a reputable hosting company.

You've probably heard the old adage "it takes money to make money." This is true in this business as an extent. I say "to an extent" because you don't have to have a million dollar advertising budget to have an Internet presence.

Spend every minute possible finding and utilizing free promotional opportunities. If you can afford it, set aside a specific amount of money and call it your advertising budget.

As you learn these things and start to make progress, you will start to see some income. Be very strict with that money. First, you pay yourself back for the registration fees, hosting fees, web design fees, etc.

Get yourself a separate checking account that all business transactions are done from.

Earmark a certain percentage of income for additional advertising.

Spend a little time marketing your site -everyday-!

---Another option

The more I look at 'affiliate stores', such as Vstore (, the more I like the idea.

Using Vstore as an example: within a few minutes you can have a very professional looking website, with products to sell, and a way to make money.

This cuts down on the html learning curve, and the time necessary to find affiliate programs with the products that you want to sell.

They generate the website for you based on a number of templates, then you promote it, and if you make any sales you get a percentage of those sales.

The nice thing about this approach is that you get to skip ahead to the marketing and promoting phase of your Internet presence.

And as you are learning how to bring people to your site you have the ability to make some money from them.

You still need to get your own domain name and have it point to your Vstore. This is necessary because:

Good domain names -really are- disappearing at a very rapid rate. A big reason for this is that there are entire companies out there that have a business model based on buying and reselling good names. They dedicate people to going through the dictionary grabbing everything they possibly can.

And the ridiculously over-inflated prices amaze me. If you visit Great Domains at ( you will see what I mean.

There are the biggies like which sold for $3 million dollars. Well, it is a short name, easy to remember, and there is a ton of money to be made in Internet loans.

This I can somewhat understand. But what about those that have: and are trying to sell it for $150,000?!

That part I don't get. But either way, the name that you want for your business will be gone if you don't get serious and grab it.

Besides, it used to be a $70 decision...not anymore. A newsletter that I follow recently mentioned ( as having great service, and at a low price.

They register your domain, for as little as one year, up to 10 years, for only $13.50 a year!!!

If you can't afford $13.50 for your business...its time to get that lottery ticket again!

Anyway, if you can, go ahead and find an inexpensive website host, the ones for $10 a month will do. Create your index.html and then have that page point to your Vstore.

Don't do any automatic redirecting, make it a decent page with your keywords, and a description of your store. A nice graphic will do, or you can even copy the look of your actual Vstore. Then put a 'Click Here to Enter' link that sends them to your Vstore.

This is very powerful for several reasons. You can control your keyword selection and experiment with different looks and content for your main page.

Many search engines penalize you, or won't even list your page if it automatically redirects to another site.

If you outgrow your Vstore relationship, or come up with a better idea and decide you want to change it, then you can just modify your index.html file and move on.

It is much better to be in control. And, you won't have to start your promotional efforts all over again, because your name will be out there all over the place already.

Plus, you now have a ( address to point your friends and potential customers to.

Well, we've talked about a couple of options here. You can choose either one, just make sure you have the right mindset if you decide to throw up something on the free sites.

Don't base your success or failure on them...instead use them as a training ground to prepare you for when you are ready to create a -real- website.

About the Author
Chuck McCullough is the owner of ( offering FREE articles, tips, hints, and real-world advice on how to make money with your website. Visit his site or join his FREE newsletter, The AffiliateMatch Informer by sending a blank email to


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