Whoever said you need thousands of dollars to start your own web based business didn't know what they were talking about. If you know where to look your business can be on web for very little money, and in some cases free.
1) Free Domain Names: If you want your own domain name like http://www.sallysshop.com, you may expect to pay anywhere from $10.00 to $30.00 a year to own it. Back when Network Solutions was only game in town, they charged $70.00 for first two year period. Now that others are allowed to sell domain names, pricing has become quite competitive. Some of cheaper ones are:
http://www.onestop.net $11.00 per year http://www.joker.com $12.00 per year http://www.dotster.com $15.00 per year
But what if I told you that you get your domain absolutely FREE? That's right! Free. I have found a few sites that will register your domain at no charge. The catch with most of them is that they set themselves up as administrator, but will transfer ownership of domain to you after a set period of time or for a very small fee. Check:
http://www.namezero.com http://www.domainzero.com http://www.namedemo.com
2) Free Web Hosting: If you've been thinking of launching a website but don't want to pay $20 to $40.00 a month typically charged for hosting it, you don't have to. With a little research, you'll find plenty of places that will host your site free.
Before you get too excited let me tell you drawback: Most free hosts place a banner at top of your pages for giving you this courtesy. But believe it or not, I have found web hosts that won't charge you a dime and won't force you to display those pesky banners. Some of them also will take banners away for a small yearly fee which is nothing compared to paying a host monthly.
Some of best ones are:
http://www.netfirms.com Requires banners, but you can remove them for $60.00 a year.
http://www.crosswinds.net Free hosting, no banners required http://www.doteasy.com/ Free Domain Hosting, no banners
If you sell product and need a shopping cart, check some of these:
http://www.gta-tech.com http://www.freemerchant.com http://www.bigstep.com
3) Product or Service to Sell: Let's face it -- if you don't have something to sell on your website, it won't earn you any money. The best-selling items online seem to be information products and software, because they can be paid for and downloaded immediately. If you sell a product, you need to factor in shipping expenses -- both local and international.
If you don't have your own product to sell, no problem. Many Internet companies will be happy to have you sign up and start selling their products for them. They get increased sales and you get a commission on everything you sell. Online these are called "affiliate" or "associate programs." While most are free to join, you should resist temptation to sign up with too many. Stick with one common theme when deciding on what to sell. In other words, don't resell software and dog biscuits on same website (unless your site is targeted to veterinarians and software deals with patient records). You need consistency, so pick a theme and stick with it.
To find associate programs to join check out:
http://www.associateprogams.com Over 2,000 to pick from http://www.associate-it.com Huge directory of programs http://www.referit.com Many to choose from
4) Fax Number: Don't buy a fax machine; now you can get your own virtual fax number totally free. These online companies will give you your own fax number that will send your faxes directly to your email inbox ("e-faxing"). If you travel a lot and need to receive faxes from office this service is a godsend. Easy to sign up.....and use.
http://www.efax.com http://www.onebox.com http://www.faxwave.com/
5) Logo: If you're going to have an online business, you really should come up with a logo. A logo will help to brand your company online. After awhile, folks will come to associate your logo with your products and services. At least, that's main idea. So what if you can't even draw a stick figure? There are plenty of online sites where you can design your logo or absolutely free:
http://www.freelogos.com http://www.cooltext.com http://www.thelogocreator.com Software to purchase to make your own logo from templates