“It takes money to make money” – Titus Maccius Plautus
Of course, the internet has made things easier than ever. We now have bloggers, affiliate marketers, freelancers and people who have their real-life, brick and mortar business run almost entirely on the internet.
No matter how small, you need to invest in your online business to get results; how you invest and what you invest in will determine how successful you become, but I think a guide on how to effectively spend money on your online business would be cool.
In their order of importance, even if you won’t spend on anything else, here are 5 things every internet business should spend money on this year.
Investment #1: Web hosting
Choosing the right web hosting company is perhaps the most important step you can take for your online business.
If you run a legitimate internet business then it’s safe to assume that you have your own website, hosted by you or a web hosting company somewhere.
While you could learn everything you want to learn about building a successful online business, from marketing your business to making money from it, it doesn’t really matter if your website isn’t always active.
Regular downtimes, slow loading speeds and even regular hacking attempts could thwart your business. Just so you see how dangerous being on the wrong web host is, data has shown that slow websites alone cost the US economy over $500 billion every year. That’s very huge and while you might think you’re unaffected, you’ll be surprised at how much in sales and traffic having a slow website costs you every year.
Look for more specialized hosting solutions; if you’re a WordPress user, look for WordPress hosting. If you run an ecommerce site, look for something that is tailored to your needs. Stop using generic hosting.
Investment #2: Web design
First impression matters a lot.
While we’ve been advised for generations not to simply judge a book by its cover, a lot of us still do.
With a lot of massive changes happening in the design world lately, if you’re not up to date then you’ll be the one who pays.
If you cannot hire a professional designer to help you create something epic, there are dozens of design tools, solutions and website themes available online for you to choose from.
The more professional your website design looks, the better it is for your business.
Investment #3: Content
This might sound strange to you, especially if you’re a blogger.
After all, it’s your duty to create content so why hire others to do it for you?
By content, I’m not entirely referring to articles although that could also be part of it.
The image you use in your blog post is a part of it and you’ll occasionally need videos created for your website; Infographics have been revealed to be very powerful. It’s the same thing with guest blogging and other forms of content marketing.
Unfortunately, as a content marketer, you can only do so much of these things at a time; you’ll often have to get others to help you with this and you get what you pay for.
Even if you you’re paying free, you still get what you pay for.
For example, in Zac’s most recent post here he talks about how he the images he uses on this blog comes from Deposit Photos; each image costs around $1, which goes up to around $100 for every 100 images used (some articles contain several images).
Is it worth it for Zac? You bet! It’s worth a lot more than being sued for using the wrong images.
Investment #4: Email list
Email marketing is very powerful and can be effective if used wisely.
Whether you’re a mega corporation or you have the smallest blog in the whole wide world, an email list can be very useful; even Obama used his email list to win the election last year.
Every quality email list building service I know of has a monthly fee attached to it; the free ones are not worth talking about so not only is it important for you to start building an email list. It’s just as important to build your email list with the right tools.
Yes, social media is hot. Twitter is powerful; Facebook has a billion users etc. Most people won’t like to hear this, but email is really what matters. It has been statistically proven that email beats social media and even search by a huge margin.
Investment #5: The Right Courses
You can only read so much online.
There are many benefits to investing in online courses; I’m not talking about free courses here but premium ones. Here are some of the main benefits:
- You get premium material; information you probably wouldn’t have read in a blog post. Also, the cost attached to this prevents a lot of people from purchasing the course and abusing the information in it.
- You get information in a more organized way; instead of looking for topic A & B on a certain blog and then using Google to find the rest, you’ll often find everything you need to know about a particular subject in a premium course or ebook
- You get access to expert support to help you implement what you learned; this is perhaps the most important benefit of investing in online courses.
To put things in perspective, a great example is Zac. Zac is the go to expert when it comes to the subject of affiliate marketing and website flipping online but no matter how much he tries, there’s only so much he can say about website flipping on this blog. Instead, he created a website flipping guide that contains everything you need to know.