Starting a business with $0 capital

There’s a fascinating set of blog posts by Jennifer Laycock over at SearchEngineGuide about starting a small business with absolutely no capital. She’s posting every day with updates on what she’s doing and how sales are going. What’s interesting is that she introduced to me several ways to go about getting things done that I hadn’t considered before. As a Software Engineer I spend most of my day on computers and have no problems setting up and hosting websites. The issues I do have though are in the area of design and marketing. Jennifer had some very good points about ways to handle these problems.

She pointed out a site, TemplatesBox, that has some very nice free templates. These of course would need some work still to apply them to your site, but it’s a good way to get started. I’ve found that if I have something to start with, I can usually tweak it to get what I want. It’s just so hard to start from scratch though. Following up on this I also found a good site for free stock photography, Stock.XCHNG,.

Another area that Jennifer pointed out was the ins and out of marketing with things like Adwords. Like her I had some issues with logging in to Adwords with the same username as my Adsense and Analytics account. I got around it by trying every link I could find to adwords. eventually it just lets me in.

It’s fascinating to see how you can direct traffic to your site and start to pick up business. As she points out though this is just the beginning. Having traffic does not mean that you have customers. Converting that traffic into customers is the tricky part. One of the easy things that people miss when using Adwords is not having a specific landing page for each ad. First of all, this just helps with your own tracking. Secondly, if you’ve got a very targeted specific ad, why on earth would you just then direct them to your front page. The viewer will be confused and frustrated and move on. If you’re specific in your ad, you should have a very specific follow page as a landing that explains to the viewer exactly what your doing. You have one change to convert them and you’ve got to put your best foot forward. Especially since you know why they clicked to start off with.