You Shouldn't Pay ANYONE to Learn How to Build Your Own Online Business

There are a huge number of scams and self-described jerks selling worthless "e-books" about "making money online", "money-making programs", "wealth creation systems", "passive residual income", "make money online NOW", etc. (and their advertisements often appear on our website!*. Those and other income scams prompted us to create a website that provides free information , which no catches (you'll notice we don't have an ebook or anything else for sale; just ads that pay the bills) to explain how anyone can earn money on the internet.

What makes this website different?

You don't need to sign up, give us your email address or provide a credit card to get all of the information.  It is all here on the free pages of the website.  You won't be asked to buy anything from us: not "ebooks", newsletters, "wealth creation programs" or other junk. We will show you, step-by-step, how to do it, in detail, for free. Why?  Simple: odd though it may sound, we believe in altruism, and it costs very little to maintain this website.

We do recommend tools to use - but you can buy them anywhere, not just from our links.  Many tools are available free, from reputable resources like the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the Small Business Administration, CNET, PC Magazine and other sources. And these are tools that professionals in the business use, like HTML editors, some free, some at a cost (like Adobe's Dreamweaver to make a website or WordPress for blogging).  And we'll also show you freeware equivalents, so you can get started for free, and only buy the professional products, if and when you need it.

*You will find some ads on this website (they are administered by an outside ad aggregator and we don't know what ads will appear, nor do we have any relationship with the advertisers.  You do not need to buy anything in order to obtain all of the information free.  The advertisements help fund the website, which allows us to offer the information for free, but that does not mean we recommend their products.  Most of the products we recommend are freeware or shareware.  When we do recommend a product (and there are some legitimate products, like Microsoft Expressions Web 2 and Adobe CS4 Dreamwweaver that are very good) we will specifically say "we recommend this product" and explain why.

So, how do you earn money online?

Let's start by changing your focus.  Of course, you want to earn money. But first, you need to figure what you are interested in, what you are good at, what products or services you are going to sell, who would want to buy them, what will make your business different from many others offering the same things, etc.  These are the fundamental questions to ask before starting any business, on-line or off.

If you are so blinded by greed, that all you can think about is "when do I get a check? When do I get paid?  How much money will I make next week?" then you might as well click away from this website immediately.  You won't have the patience to actually make a business and earn an income from it.  Instead, you WILL be scammed. If you want to throw your time and money away, we recommend any of the "Earn Google Cash" or "CrapCutter Marketing" programs or similar.

If you are still reading, than hopefully you understand that there is no such thing as "passive residual income" and are ready to get down to basics and learn the practical steps you'll need to follow to build a legitimate business online. The income can be very substantial and may start fairly quickly, but it does require you to do some work.  And THAT ought not be a surprise!)

The menu at left provides a quick path to the major sections of this website.  The table of contents below will provide an overview of each section:

Types of Online Businesses

There are many types of businesses you can start. Of course, you can sell products that you make or buy from someone else.  You can sell services (your own or others). You can sell things via auction websites, like eBay. You can even sell just your words (blogging). Click here for an in depth discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each.

Scams to avoid

All you have to do is go to Google and search on "make money online". When we did, we saw websites selling "ebooks". "money making programs" and names like "Crapcutter Marketing", "Earn Passive Residual Income by placing tiny ads", "EarnGoogleCash" and much more nonsense. See this page for some red flags to scams and simply worthless money-making schemes.

Real world considerations

Just as there is no job that is right for all people, using the internet to build a legitimate business also isn't right for everyone  See this page for some real world considerations to help you determine whether making money on the internet is the right job for you... and whether you are right for it.

Where do I get free resources

Any business requires resources and raw materials, whether you're building a house, selling a book, offering a consulting service or doing something on the internet.  Let's look at what resources you will need and whether to get them for free or the best prices possible.

How do I start?

The pages above help you to understand what is required in skills, time and effort to create a legitimate online business, whether it is a simple blog or a retail site selling products.  Now, we'll go through each step to actually build your web business, in detail.

  1. Define your business concept and goals
    It is impossible to start a business and be successful at just by winging it. 
    You do need to define your goals. This section will help to define specific goals that are important.
  2. Do your research 
    Doing your research is an important step.   See this page about market research
    Will it be in demand?
    Who else is already doing it?
    Do I have a competitive advantage over them?

  3. Plan out your business
    You don't need a formal business plan, but you do need to think through how you will make money, pay for things, take care of taxes, etc. Designing and planning your business
    • What will you sell? - A product?  One you make, or resell someone else's? A service?  The information on the website itself? Or may sell nothing directly, just put ads on the website.
    • Banking - Do you have a business bank account?
    • Organization - Do you need a business entity (LLC, Corporation, etc.) to protect your assets?
    • Taxes - Do you have a tax account? If your business becomes successful, sooner or later you will need one.
    • Funding: Will you need capital (money) to purchase inventory?  Have you checked your (and your business') credit and ability to borrow? If you have an retail start-up or are starting your own online business , you will want to check your credit report information to understand your cost and ability to borrow for your business.
  4. Planning your website
    It's really not difficult. Just like planning your business, you can't expect to make a good website if you don't know what you want it to look like and do! See this page, Designing and planning the Website
    • Look and feel - how do you want to lay out the pages? Style? Colors? Buttons?
    • Navigation - How will visitors find their way from one page to the next?
    • Organization - How will the pages be grouped? By topic? What are the topics and hierarchy?
    • Files - Will their be any files (documents, pdf's, music, pictures, video, etc. ) to download?
  5. Gather resources
    There are tools you will need, such as  a web editor, an FTP program, business plans, etc.  But don't worry, they're all free or cheap and come with simple tutorials and guides.

  6. Domain names and hosting your website
    Oddly, many people rush to get their domain name before they have done the preceding steps. That would explain the many poorly names websites.
  7. Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  8. Building your website
    Now, you're ready to start actually building your website! We'll explain the following topics:
    • Tools:
      What tools and programs do I need?
    • Skills
      What skills will you need?
    • Standards:
      What are the standards I should follow?
      Which matter and which are trivial?
    • Content:
      What is content, why do I need it?
    • Learn HTML or use an editor?
      Dreamweaver, the best there is.  And very challenging to learn and use
    • Free HTML web editors:
      Expressions Web 4 (formerly Microsoft FrontPage)
      Microsoft Expression Studio 4 Ultimate Trial (it says trial, but it's the whole package and it is free)
      WYSIWYG v. HTML editors
    • Dynamic Websites
      What is it?
      How do I do it?
      PHP, ASP, JSP, etc.
    • Database Driven Websites
      Do I need one?
      MySQL, Postgre, SQLServer?
  9. Monetizing
    This is the section that the scam websites talk about first, and only in nebulous, vague terms. We'll explain exactly how it works, which are the legitimate free programs, how you enroll and exactly how you can earn money.
    • Affiliate Sales and Referrals
    • Advertising: GoogleAds and Others
    • Shopping Carts
    • Merchant Bank Accounts
    • Credit Card Processors
    • Shipping and Delivery
    • Liability Issues
  10. Putting your web business on the internet
    For people to see your business, it must be on the web hosting computer. Sounds obvious, but how do you get the pages you create from your computer to the web host's computer - find out here:
    • FTP or SSH/Telnet?
      Where to get the programs
      How to use them
  11. Testing
    There are quite a few free tools available to help you test your website, to be sure that the links work and that it will work in the different browsers that your visitors will use.
    • Testing and debugging
      Common pitfalls to look for
      Checking your links
  12. Marketing and Advertising
    Once you have built your web business, tested it and are ready to launch, it's time to start getting the word out.  It's actually fairly easy and need not cost a penny. Start here to find out how to market your web business. 
    • Getting listed in search engines
    • Getting a better placement in search engines
    • Links from other websites
    • Webrings
    • Newsgroups
    • Paying for help?
  13. Ongoing maintenance
    You wouldn't build a hardware store, stock it, hire staff, open the doors... and then just walk away from it, expecting money to roll in, would you?  The same is true of an online business.  Here's what to do to keep your business alive and growing. Start with this page.
    • Checking for broken links
    • Refreshing and updating content 

Free and Inexpensive Resources to Help Your Get your Website Up!

Thanks to open -source software, GPL, and the altruistic nature of geeks, often the best software is often free.  And nowhere is that more true than in the area of website tools. From domain name checkers, editing tools, code generators and code checkers, to FTP tools and link checking, you'll find tools here to help you design, build and maintain your website. All but a few of them are completely free, and the few that charge are inexpensive and worth it! We've combed the web to find the best resources available. Whether you are a newbie or an experienced webmaster, we are sure you'll find some useful tools and tips here.

Maintenance and other issues

  1. Moving your workspace to a new computer
  2. Windows "Easy" Transfer problems and work-arounds

Appendix and Resource List