What is the best strategy: One big site, or many small sites?

Without doubt, there is much controversy or debate regarding whether you should devote your efforts to one big site or many small sites. And the truth is that both sides of the discussion have valid points to make. For a webmaster earning a significant income with a specific business model, that is the side of the debate that she will choose. For her, that has been her success and she will vouch for that method.

Since this article is not going to say one side is right and one is wrong, let’s examine the advantages and the best strategy of maintaining one big site versus creating a network or portfolio of many small sites.

Web Development

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Biggest Benefits of Starting an Online Business

Starting an online business can have many benefits for you both personally and professionally. Just the rewards from achieving something different can be stimulating. But, of course, most people want to see other benefits as well so we’ll discuss the biggest benefits of starting an online business.

Tax deductions from an online source are great. When you start the business, you have more costs and little or no income. This means that in many jurisdictions, you can use the losses from your online business to offset or reduce your income from your job. Once you start making more money, the benefits will not be as pronounced but certainly in the beginning, your income taxes should be reduced.

Online BusinessAnother benefit to starting an online business is to augment your weekly or monthly earnings. Today, many families are finding it difficult to cope even with more than one job or more than one person in the household working. Making ends meet has become a burden and being able to earn some extra cash is a real savior to many.

Presently, starting an online business is much cheaper than starting a bricks and mortar enterprise. Basically a nine dollar domain name and a five dollar web hosting account can have a webmaster up and running in a matter of hours. The domain name renewal is not due for another year so that is a one-time cost and hopefully by the next month, you have your fee for the hosting account. Five dollar hosting sure beats rent on an office or store!

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The best sites to find freelancers to help you

When you decide that you need or want help with writing articles, submitting links, modifying your design or layout, writing a script, an online marketing consultant or to carry out a specific function, or any other duty that you find troublesome, there are plenty of freelancers around the world to help. And, they are easy to find if you know the right places to go. Since this write-up is just a brief summary, let’s look at EIGHT places that are among the best sites to find freelancers to help you.

freelancerThe first type of sites are gateways where webmasters and freelancers interact. Web owners or employers submit their project specs with maximum budgets, and then the freelancers bid on the projects. Once a person is chosen by the webmaster, the project is closed to other bidders. The freelancer completes the assignment and the webmaster pays. Then each leave comments on the website about the other. If the project is rather large costing a lot of money, then some type of escrow may be used.

Elance was probably the very first major portal bringing webmasters and freelancers together. Started in 1999 by two professors, after having written an article in the Harvard Business Review, Elance was a product of the new economy where corporations could find cheaper employees quickly and hire them to do specific duties. Once the project was complete, so was the association. Today, Elance is still large, but it has become very expensive to use, both in labor rates per hour and user fees.

ScriptLance and RentACoder were the next two oldest and are well-known. The sites started with projects for programming and coding but quickly evolved into all types of assignments. The great thing about these two sites is labor can be very cheap in price and excellent in quality.

oDesk, meaning “no desk” because the worker is virtual, is the next in terms of age, but the concept is different. Employers place projects for bidding, but freelancers are pre-screened. In order to become a contractor, the site requires the potential worker to go through a series of tests to determine competency. Once approved, they can make a profile and bid on jobs. The other thing that is drastically different is, although the workers are freelancers, they are still monitored. The site takes “screen shots” of their computers, web cams are available, and their keystrokes are logged.

GetAFreelancer, also known just as Freelancer works along the same lines as the other portals. It, too, has become very popular and workers can be found to complete projects very inexpensively.

The second group of sites where you can find freelancers is on forums. These sites have sections where you can post your project and wait for responses or you can buy from sellers who have posted their services. These are not bidding sites per se, although you can ask potential workers to give their “best price” when quoting their services.

SitePoint is quite old and popular. But because of all the fraud and spam, the site moved to a “paid” type of service. To list a project, there is a small fee. The forum is still free to use and you can search upon registering. And they do have plenty of “how-to” articles which can help you.

DigitalPoint is probably now the biggest forum where people meet others to find work and complete projects. But you really must be careful of the scam artists. There are plenty of good people on the site, however, so be sure to check people out before sending any money.

WarriorForum is a good site to find freelancers, too. Although quite a bit smaller than other forums, you can search through the services and see if someone has something to offer you.

As you can see, there are a wide range of sites available to find freelancers to help you.

Common Pitfalls for Online Entrepreneurs

Online entrepreneurs are generally full of great ideas and have plenty of ambition. But those enthusiastic traits are quickly doused as the reality of the online world comes knocking. Despite the hyped-up ads you see all over the place regaling the rags-to-riches stories of so-called online millionaires, the raw truth is that online work is hard. Making that first dollar can seem like a long and unsurmountable task because eighty hours of work per week does not always mean a pay check on Friday.

Common PitfallsAlthough this website is meant to help you and give you the confidence to start and continue your online business, it is also important for us to show you the common pitfalls for online entrepreneurs. Being aware of some of the real issues can only make you a better webmaster and brace you for what lays ahead.

Common Pitfall #1 – Giving up too early

After working long hours at installing a script, writing some content, making a design, and promoting the site, it does get tedious especially when barely a few pennies come in. No-one can fault you for being discouraged and wanting to quit. But you must remember that once you find the right recipe for your site, the growth comes faster. The key is to stick with it because you are laying a foundation. So tomorrow morning when you feel dejected and unmotivated, get yourself out of bed and continue with your to-do list because you are making progress.

Common Pitfall #2 – Depression sets in with no earnings

Nobody wants to feel like a failure and because we see our personal worth in terms of how much money we earn, this attitude can be hugely detrimental to an online entrepreneur. You need to understand that money does not come instantly in this business. Making the first hundred dollars consistently for six months in a row will be an arduous task.

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Getting Business Funding for a new Online Business

Many people dream of starting an online business and going to work for themselves. It is certainly possible to start an online business, but creating a successful one is another matter. Anybody can start an online business but most will fail because they fail to treat it like a business. Part of treating your online business like a business is making sure that you have adequate funding. Although you can start a an online business with very little money it is a lot easier if you have a source of funds. Fortunatly there are plenty of options to get funding for a new online business.

Business Funding

The source most people use when they are starting an online business is the bank. Banks lend money and most people have experience of borrowing from a bank, however borrowing to start a business is different than borrowing for personal purposes. When you want to take out a business loan you will normally need to submit a business plan. This tells the bank how you plan to make money, how much money you expect to make and how long you expect it to be before you start making money. A good business plan is critical to getting a loan so you need to make sure that yours is well written, there is plenty of information on the internet on how to write up a business plan. Getting a loan for an online business can be tricky because unlike a traditional business there are few physical assets to secure the loan. On the other hand because online businesses can usually be started without a large initial investment that may work in your favour.

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Taxes: What You Can Expect to Change when Going Professional

taxesPaying taxes and saving on taxes are both going to change when “going professional”. Once you register a business, you are going to be permitted to take deductions that would not be possible with just a salary or hourly earnings from a job. On the other side of the fence, there are certain taxes that you will be required to collect and remit as part of your new business. Failure to collect those taxes could result in not only fines, but also having to pay the government the amount owed that you neglected to collect. Plus, they will not take an amount that you decide, they calculate the liability based on their estimation of your sales.

Certainly taxes fall into different categories which may include corporate tax, state tax, income tax, sales tax, employer taxes, and city taxes. In addition, depending on your business associates and specific business dealings, you may be forced to adhere to rules regarding the VAT (Value Added Tax in Europe) and GST (Goods and Services Tax in Canada). Understanding your tax responsibilities is going to be important right from the beginning. And remember that you cannot just take the good and forget the bad. Just because your business is a hobby and you want to benefit from the deductions does not mean that you can “lower” your real sales figures to pay less tax while at the same time reporting all the deductions.

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Starting Your Own Web Design Company

webdesign businessThe lucrative nature of web designing companies might tempt you to switch jobs. If you are planning to start your own web design company, you will have to keep a tab on numerous factors. You might have seen people making handsome figures sitting at the comfort of their homes by designing websites for their clients. You can follow their footsteps or set up a fully-fledged startup business as a web designer! The second option seems more viable because of the greater profits involved. Besides, if you are able to flourish in this business, you can team up with others and set up subsidiary companies.

a) The knowledge of existing web designing practices – This is one of the most important factors, which you must consider as an aspiring web designer. Plenty of freeware and open source CMS platforms are available, which might reduce your workload significantly. The clients might ask you to design the website in compliancy with numerous factors. You must have ample exposure to designing techniques and tools in order to excel in this niche. Even if you do not have any working knowledge about the requirements of the clients, you must hire diligent professionals for your web design company.

b) The layout of the website – Look and ponder over the works of professional web design companies. They will strive hard to create simplistic websites. The widespread availability of various kinds of web technologies will tempt the designers to experiment with unknown arenas. It can lead to overall failure of the design. Certain plug-ins and widgets might also induce additional vulnerabilities into the website. Follow the age-old tradition “keep it simple”. Enhanced levels of eye-candy might incorporate additional expenditure of precious bandwidth. The clients could even reject the work – this could turn out to be highly disadvantageous to your business.

c) Make the website search engine friendly – The best web designing companies will also design the website so that the search engine bots can index it properly, and do the needed on-site Search Engine Optimization. The layout of the website along with the content included in every page plays a pivotal role in determining the search engine ranking of a website. The clients might realize this simple factor and could award you with more work. It is a win-win situation. News can pass around and within months, your web design company will get the attention it was lacking.

Designing and implementing a website might seem like an easy method to make extra dough. However, appearances can be deceptive, and it takes a lot of hard work to rise to a dominating posture in this industry. Perhaps you can concentrate on specific paradigms such as e-commerce web design. That would help you to maintain a distinct position in the niche. Furthermore, outsourcing of web designing works is also on the rise these days. Creative web designers reside in some of the third world countries – they take regular work from trusted clients. Maybe you could try setting up an online business venture to utilize their services.

Starting A Web Hosting Company

Web hosting is an ever growing industry and, each day, numerous companies spring up trying to make it in this competitive field. Of these many attempts, very few last long enough to become profitable due to a variety of reasons such as poor planning, insufficient capital, unexpected circumstances etc. This article should serve as an effective guideline to person seeking to venture into this industry from people who’ve actually done it themselves!

vpsFirstly, you need to know how you will provide the service. Will you run your own servers? Will you lease servers from a larger company? These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before you begin. Running your own servers is quite expensive and usually only turns out profitable in larger companies. The best bet for a new company, with a small budget, is to purchase a “reseller plan” from the many large companies that offer them.

Reseller plans work like this. You pay a monthly fee (usually) in return for a certain allotted amount of disk space and bandwidth which you can then “resell” in smaller amounts to your own clients. They will provide you with a Control Panel from which you can add accounts for your new clients and adjust their features as necessary. You must plan carefully, beforehand, and ensure that you can make a profit on the resale of the service you lease.

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The dangers of quitting your day job for your e-business

online businessSo you started an online business some time ago and you figure that it is time you spend all day working on the site so that you can make a full-time income right? Maybe…. Before quitting your job for your online work, you need to understand that there are some serious risks to doing that, so we are going to show you EIGHT real dangers of quitting your day job for your e-business.

    1. Businesses, whether online or bricks and mortar, are usually seasonally. What are you going to do in the long, dry months when very little or no money comes in? Do you have the financial resources to see through this time period?
    2. Your business model, if you have one, could be a “fad”. Once the hype is over and users are on to something else, how will you reinvent yourself? And how quickly can you get something up and running to compensate for the lost revenue of the first venture?
    3. Hours worked on a website is not relative to the amount of money earned, whatever kind of online business you are in. What that means is if you make $20 for doing nothing (you set up your website and are trying to decide what to do next), it does not mean that if you work 20 hours per week, you will earn 20 times the $20. Bottom line, you are not going to quit your day job, work twenty hours the next week on your website, and find $400 in your bank account. While it is true that the more you work on your website, the more potential you have, money and time are not direct correlations. You cannot guarantee earnings this way.
    4. Everyone has the read the stories about someone starting a website on a shoestring and making it big-time. These stories are not the norm. You hear about them after the people have long been successful. You do not hear about the millions who failed. To gain any momentum on the internet not only takes long hours and a good strategy (business model), but it also takes money.
    5. Your business always depends on someone or something else. For example, if an affiliate program can no longer pay, you are out your commissions – one of many problems for a starting an online business. If your host or server goes down for some reason, you have no revenue. If the search engines change their algorithms, you could be in for some serious trouble as you watch your income fade overnight. When the hacker decides to mash up your site, your income is lost.
    6. When you go to your day job, you are expected to complete a certain number of tasks in a day in order to get paid. But when you are working for yourself online, it is VERY easy to get sidetracked and ultimately waste time, even days. Many people spend so much time “learning” and “reading”, that they never do anything. Money is not made by perusing. It is made by doing something concrete and having people buy something.
    7. Depression and poor motivation are serious issues with quitting your day job and focusing on your e-business. You have no-one else. Plus, you may in fact be trying really hard and putting in a long day’s work but you have not seen a full-time earnings. It is hard to watch your money and time being spent without getting upset or down.
    8. Earnings are not consistent for a long time in online business. Typically it takes years to build a consistent income. Just because you might have three good months in a row, does mean that level can be maintained. The income can drop as quickly as it came. Until you have about eight to twelve months of the same revenue, you are best served to stay at your day job.

One other thing that should be noted is that these scenarios are not “maybe this will happen”. These are all things that are happening as the norm everyday to millions of webmasters around the globe. So please, recognize the dangers of quitting your day job for your e-business.