1. Register a Domain Name
It's easy to get started on the web because all you really need is a domain name. People all over the world can use your domain name to visit your business. There's no need to get directions, drive, or get on a bus for someone to pay your place of business a visit. All they need is a computer with an Internet connection and they're at your door in just seconds.
According Neilson's latest Internet statistics there are now more than 1 billion people surfing the Internet in over 100 countries! That means you'll have plenty of potential customers that can reach your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
You won't even really need to pay for web hosting as there are plenty of services online where you can simply purchase a domain name and get free hosting with your purchase. For example, you can register a domain name with GoDaddy.com for around $8.95 / year and receive free hosting and email.
2. Start Publishing Your Web Pages
Once you've registered your domain name allow up to 24 hours for the DNS to propagate and you can begin publishing your pages on the World Wide Web! Now the question is what do you put on the web site? If you don't already have an idea for a business there is a cornucopia of wealth to be made on the Internet that doesn't require a lot of time or money to get started.
Here are the three top money-makers online that are both easy to do and won't require any additional expenses:
A) Niche Content Sites
B) Affiliate Programs
C) eZines or e-newsletters
3. Content Content Content
The key component to building a good web site really has a lot to do with content. You don't have to be concerned too much about how good the website looks or all the fancy programming and java scripts that make the lights flicker and the contraption clink. There will be plenty of time for you to learn professional web design and master the art of building eye-popping sites. Your primary focus at this point should revolve around putting together quality content and lots of it. The more you have the better, but you don't just want any kind of content on your website. You need content that people can read and benefit from.
The best part is you won't even have to write it yourself! The Internet is filled with tons of free quality content in hundreds of niches that you can usually reprint, or use, on your own website without it costing you a dime! The restrictions are simple and quite fair. Usually the only restrictions for reprinting articles, such as this one, are that you leave the article title and body unchanged, include the author's byline and or copyright information, and keep the link pointing to their website clickable on your pages. That way you have quality content that you can use on your own web site for free, but still give credit to the author. Now that's a win-win situation if I've ever seen one.
4. Build Your Traffic
You'll need traffic to your website in order to rack up those potential customers and get your business moving. Don't be alarmed though. The Internet is a busy place and there are lots of people looking to surf the web during any given hour of the day or night. All you need to do is get their attention.
You can do this by submitting your website to search engines. It's quite simple. All you really need to provide the search engines with is your domain name and the search engine or spider will crawl all of your web pages by following each and every link on your site. You can start with the biggest traffic generating search engines first - that's Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL - and then submit to smaller ones - like Altavista, Ask, and Lycos.
The more pages of quality and unique content your web site has the more hits you're likely to get from search engines. If you still want to increase your traffic without spending any money you can always join free banner and traffic exchange networks. Just search Google for “free banner exchange" or “free traffic exchange" and I'm sure you'll find dozens, if not hundreds, of them.
If you decide to start writing your own content, one day, then you can begin submitting that content to article directories online or through websites like ArticleMarketer.com and in a few months you can have thousands of links pointing your website that generate a multitude of pre-qualified traffic for you, absolutely free!
5. Monetize Your Pages
You may be wondering to yourself, now how is this content going to make me any money? Here's the fun part! There are a few powerful tools online that can monetize (generate money for) your website simply by placing a tiny piece of code in the web page. You won't need any special skills or expertise. If you can copy and paste from one browser to another, then you are fully qualified.
Contextual and displayed advertising networks are the fastest and probably the biggest payers in quickly monetizing your web pages. That's things like Google AdSense and the Yahoo Publisher network. It won't cost you anything to sign up and they're more than generous in terms of the commissions they pay you.
Here's how it works incase you're not too familiar with these programs. When people visit your website to read content about the niche you supply, they'll see tiny little ads appear next to the content where you've placed the AdSense code. Those ads are usually relevant to the content their reading because Google sends in a bot that scans your pages for key words and matches its ads to your context. So if someone clicks on any of the ads you'll get a percentage of how much the advertisers paid Google for that ad.
With this type of advertising method the click-throughs are usually very high because chances are that if someone's reading an article about body building, for example, and they see an add to get a 20% discount at their local fitness gym - there's a very good chance they'll click on that ad.
There are also a number of other monetization programs like Text-Link-Ads and Exit Traffic Exchanges, but the contextual advertisements require the least amount of experience or technical expertise. As you progress and start to pile on your web pages, you're site visitor count will grow bigger and you can begin promoting other affiliate products for additional streams of income.
If you continue down this road with confidence and persistence, during your first year, you will learn a great deal - I'm sure. Just remember that as easy and relatively cheap as it is to build your small business online this way, it's still an investment and investments require care, consideration, and most of all patience.
Visit http://www.business-geek.com to learn more about small business online through our free online business guides or to find affordable and practical solutions for your small business online.