The need to be online has never been greater.
If you sell stuff, you can sell more by being online. If you have a customer service business, you can generate more leads by being on the web. Even a business that can’t trade directly through a website – like a plumbing service – needs to be online so that it can be found by more customers.
Trouble is, many business owners put off setting up a website because it sounds like hassle and the sort of thing they could easily get wrong.
Fortunately for us entrepreneurial types, that creates a profitable niche business opportunity.
Ready? Here’s the plan…
You set up a quick start service to help small and medium sized businesses get online without the hassle. You charge a monthly fee. Maybe offer a discounted rate for a year’s payment in advance. There’s no setup fee because people hate setup fees.
For an affordable monthly payment your customers get web hosting, site design, and a super easy publishing system so they can update their website whenever they like, without needing to hire someone.
There’s just one thing. You know nothing about web design and even less about web development, programming or any of that nerdology.
No worries. Here’s how you can offer each of those features with a few dollars and a little bit of time investment.
Get yourself a hosting account that allows you to add unlimited sites to the same account. That means there won’t be any extra costs when you add client sites.
Tip: To offer extra services like buying domain names and ecommerce solutions, you need a reseller hosting account. Think of it like wholesale pricing – you get it cheaper so you can resell it at a profit. Some of the best plans for price and features are offered by GoDaddy, they’ll even run your customer support center which is usually one of the “headache points” of a business like this.
2. Publishing system
Use WordPress. It’s free and ready to go on all the major web hosts. Choose a host that has a one-click install option for WordPress (most of the major companies do). That way, every time you have a new customer and need to install WordPress you can just hit a button and be ready to go in a few seconds.
Even if you’re new to WordPress or aren’t that confident with it, an hour or two with a couple of good tutorials will give you enough knowledge to set up websites for your customers. You don’t need to be a full-on expert.
One of the best guys to learn WordPress from is Matt Wolfe who has a free 7-video course that walks you through getting a WordPress site online. If like me you prefer to learn through old-fashioned reading, he also has a book.
Using the two steps above, you’ve cut out the need to pay a web developer. Now let’s remove the need for a web designer.
3. Web design
With WordPress, you have access to plenty of low-cost premium design themes – but almost every company sells each theme separately. Having to charge your client perhaps $75 – $100 to cover the cost of the theme would make it impossible to offer a low-cost service.
So instead, use a company like Elegant Themes, which offers designs as a yearly membership. For $39 you have unlimited access to all 78 of their themes, as well as new themes as they release them.
To save you the brain work, that works out at $0.39 per theme.
In reality it’s less than that because each design has a number of preset color palettes, giving you several different “looks”. In total, you’ll have a couple of hundred different looks to offer clients.
Here you can see the customization panel that comes with each theme, which lets you tweak and customize sites without needing to be a WordPress ninja.
How the costs stack up
Your initial startup costs would be:
Yearly payment of $39 for an Elegant Themes membership.
Sit back and watch the monthly payments roll in…
Once of the nice things about this type of business is that aside from a few dollars here and there, everything connected with running this business involves only your time, not money – so it’s worth considering if you want an extra side business that won’t break the bank to launch.