1001 Newbie - Friendly Tips by Bob McElwain - HTML preview
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Free vs Paid Hosting Services
There is only one option. You must have your own domain name ($13.50/year from 000Domains.Com) and a good hosting service. I use both Pair.Com and JumpLine.Com. While there are other fine services available, these two offer attractive entry level pricing. $5.95/month will buy ample resources at Pair.Com provided you do not need cgi or statistics initially. HitMatic is a free service that provides great stats. JumpLine.Com at $14.95/month may be the better choice, for CGI capability and adequate stats are included.
If you need a shopping cart service. Americart is very good, and is available through Pair.Com at $15/month, but anyone can use it at $21/month. JumpLine.Com offers a shopping cart as part of their package at $24.95/month. However, it is limited. If you can live with the format available, JumpLine may be the best choice.
Note forms or shopping carts only take the orders. You will need a merchant account to deal with credit cards. Set up fees run from about $300 on up.
Monthly fees run from $25 and up. If you need online processing, add similar amounts. (For inexpensive options, see "Take Credit Cards On The Cheap.")
Opening An Office
While getting started, you will likely keep your present job, and it may make sense to work from your home. Even so, you still need an "office," including stationery, invoices, business cards, and possibly brochures to be handed out wherever you happen to be. Costs here are the same as in an offline business, and will be a function of your needs.
Don't overlook software. If you want to do some of the graphics for your site, Paint Shop Pro at $99 is a good value. (JascSoftware.Com) For your accounting, Quicken is good. For mail list handling and personalized mailing, including emailing, Easy Mail Plus at $50 is an excellent choice. (For more info, see "Manage Your Mailing Lists The Easy Way.")
Then there are other things, such as supplies. Printers chew up enormous gobs of paper. For competitive prices on consumables, try Office Depot. Call 800-463-3768 for a free catalog.