Practical Accounting: 6-Point Action Plan To Minimize Your Internet Marketing Costs
Financial difficulties is undoubtedly one of the main reason why we tried internet marketing. We turned to the internet, hoping to make easy money and get us out of debt, or free ourselves from the shackles of the 9-5 rat race.
So when we checked out tutorials on how to build an Amazon Niche site, we only to got frustrated and intimidated by the amount of money we need to invest before we can even start to blog. It’s a scary prospect considering how financially constrained we already are.
These internet marketing sites have plenty of tutorials on how to make money online, but I haven’t read ANY at all that guides us how to properly budget your (a) initial IM capital and (b) your earnings. This post is made to fill that gap.
I know, I know. It’s not interesting. I thought so too at first. But living frugally for most of my life I slowly realized that money management is a huge factor in achieving online success.
It’s pretty easy to do too. I call it Practical Accounting (I used accounting loosely here)
In this post, you will learn:
- Decide on the project size
- Set the right budget
- Know what digital goods to buy and not to buy.
- Learn how to calculate your expenses before you start
- Set aside contingency money
- Put all your eggs in one basket…and take care of it.
Tools you will need:
Decide On The Project Size
The project size will determine how much money you need to invest on a project. In Amazon niche sites, the site size is usually determined by 2 factors:
- Keyword difficulty or industry competitiveness
- Number of articles
If you chose a niche with competitive keywords, chances are you’ll spend more on SEO just get your pages to the front page of search engines. The number of articles will bloat up your costs if you decide to outsource the writing. If you plan to write yourself (which I recommend you do first) then all the better.
If you’re just starting out, I would recommend that you choose the following project specs:
- Very easy niche where long tail keywords can rank quickly with proper on-page optimization and content.
- Site with 20 or so articles.
Set the Right Budget
Sometimes in our drunken stupor, we get so excited and buy everything that we think we need in a project.
Yes you need a domain and hosting. Go ahead and make your purchase.
A theme? Maybe. But it doesn’t have to cost $100.
Oh you want to buy this premium plugin? Hold on, you may not even need it.
It’s so easy to click that buy now button, but what you really need to initially do is to step away from the computer, count your money, and ask yourself how much are you willing to spend for your internet marketing endeavors.
Based on experience, sites with the given specifications above will only cost you around $110 if you write the articles yourself and avail of the domain and hosting discount coupons.
Know What to Buy and Not to Buy
To buy or not to buy, that is the question.
Even if you have a bit extra cash, don’t go on a digital shopping spree just yet – you may need that money later for an emergency. You never know.
Basically, you only need 4 things to start a niche site:
A Domain – This is the address that you enter on your browser’s address bar. Google.com and rankmeister.com is a domain name. The price of a domain name ranges from $10 to $12, but you can get one for $0.99 for the first year using coupons.
Hosting – Think of hosting as the “apartment” where your domain lives. You can’t access a website if you don’t point a domain to a webhost. The monthly price of hosting greatly varies, but you can get $10/month on some good hosts.
CMS – Short for Content Management System, a CMS makes it easy for you to publish posts, especially if you’re not acquainted with the backend of websites. WordPress is the most used CMS and that’s what I also recommend. Not to mention that it’s free!
A Theme – Themes makes your niche site pleasing to the eyes. It also improves sales and user experience. Themes range from $40 to $60 on the average, but some high-end themes shoot up to $100+. I stick with the lower end themes though. You don’t need something too grand, you’re not building a corporate website. There are a lot of free themes out there, but I personally don’t like them because they don’t provide support and they are rarely, if never, updated.
My most recommended theme to use for Amazon niche sites is called Schema from My Theme Shop. It’s very easy to configure and it’s got a nifty review system for all your product reviews. The support is highly responsive too and you can get your problem solved within 24 hours.
Plus, it only costs $59. I’m currently on the look out for more updated theme but for the meantime you can check out the Splash demo here.
Stuff you will buy other than these four are just extra frills on your site. Again, just to reiterate, differentiate your needs from your wants. Buy only what you need.
Calculate Your Expenses Before You Start
Now that you know what you need, it’s time to get them at the cheapest price possible. Listed below was my budget for an Amazon niche site that earned $150 to $180 per month and sold for $3,500.
- Domain Name (Godaddy): $0.99 with coupon
- Webhosting (Hostgator): $9.95/month
- Articles: $0 because I wrote them myself
- Theme (Splash theme from MyThemeShop): $9 (I got a Black Friday discount!)
Initial Total Investment: $19.94
Recurring Cost: $9.95 for the hosting
Here’s how to get ’em cheap:
Searching “Go Daddy coupons” will return a buttload of websited offering discount coupons. Some of these coupons work, while some are already expired. You just have to try several coupons to get a working discount. I prefer retailmenot.com when searching for coupons.
I’ve since moved on to Site Ground for hosting and currently loving it. I also wrote all the articles myself. Hence no cost!
My Theme Shop always offers discounts on special occasions like Black Friday.
Finally for SEO, you can do it yourself or buy link packages. Just be careful that you don’t send spammy links to your website.
Set Aside Contingency Money
Contingency money is basically extra cash that is available if in case you go beyond your budget.
Why have contingency money, when your project is properly budgeted? The answer for that is this:
Uncertainty is the only certain thing, especially in business. Even if you checked and rechecked your budget, a situation may come that will force you to spend more than your allotted resources. You might not find a discount coupon. A hosting promo might have already expired. For non-US citizens, the dollar exchange rate fluctuates so bad that you never know how much you’re paying until the final step.
If your budget has no room for uncertainty, what would happen if you need to spend more? That’s right, you either get funds from another source (your rent money, perhaps?) or halt the project altogether. We don’t want that happening now, do we?
I don’t have a formula for contingency money, but I usually set aside $100 extra for small projects.
Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
The saying goes never put all your eggs on one basket, but I say:
Put your eggs in one basket and take care of it!
If you’re just starting out, attempting to diversify your income streams will spread your resources (and focus) thin, and the chances of you failing every venture will just be higher.
I actually fell on this trap not too long ago. I tried various methods to earn online like freelance writing, simple blog and site setup, link building services, and making niche sites. You think of it, I tried it.
I failed because I couldn’t handle them all. I grew tired of writing for others, I couldn’t handle my clients, and I can’t find enough SEO clients. In hindsight, I did learn a lot about myself.
I highly recommend that you stick to one method that you find comfortable doing. If you find success scale it up and only then move on to other online business models.
Just to recap, budgeting your capital will greatly improve your internet marketing success. The lesson and experience you will learn can also be beneficial when you’re a big shot already.
Here’s the 6-points we went through:
- Deciding on the project size
- How to set the right budget
- What digital goods to buy and not to buy.
- How to calculate your expenses before you start
- How to set contingency money
- Focus on one project if you’re just starting out.
So are you all set? Go and spend your money wisely!