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Start an E-Business Without a Website

How to make money online--for free--on someone else's site.
April 24, 2006
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/159416

Back in the early days of internet marketing, there wasn't much you could do to get started with marketing your business online until you actually launched your own website.

Before you could make money, you had to:

But maybe you want the chance to "get your feet wet" before you commit to building a website and getting really serious about marketing your business online.

Or maybe you're trying to discover your online business niche: the problem you want to solve, the people you want to sell to, and the best possible way to create a viable business. Maybe you don't want to commit to a website until you've had a better chance to experiment with different ideas.

Well, fortunately for web newbies, there are more options for getting started with e-commerce than ever before. Now you can actually market and sell products without ever creating your own website. Here's just a few.

Start Selling on eBay
eBay.com is the hottest e-commerce site on the web today, and for good reason:

And--most important to you--95% of eBay users are individuals or small businesses. eBay is clearly a place where newbies can go to find instant profit and success--and you can get started selling in less than an hour. And while those listings will cost you only pennies to place on eBay's pages, you gain immediate access to millions of buyers who are looking for items just like yours.

To get started selling on eBay today, go to: http://cgi5.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?SellHub2.

But what items are you going to sell?

This is the real beauty of eBay: There's a market for practically everything on the giant online auction site. If you're not sure what you want to sell, try checking out what products are popular at http://pulse.ebay.com, or by reading these strategies for finding items that'll sell like hotcakes.

Start a Blog
You can create your own website in less than five minutes (and for free!) by starting a blog. (Read "Harness the Marketing Power of Blogs.")

Business blogs have become one of the hottest tools for marketing on the web today. And while some companies use them to promote their products in addition to their main websites, you don't need to have a website--or even have a business yet--to start a blog.

Anyone can create a blog for free and have an active, functioning presence online in just minutes. Even complete internet newbies find the set-up process simple and easy to understand. You don't have to know anything about web design or pay a single cent for a domain name or web hosting.

And once you've got your blog online, you can start making money instantly. Here are some tips to get you started:

With PayPal, they can order your product and pay for it in seconds, and it only takes you a few moments to get set up to take payments.

You can create a blog in five minutes, absolutely free, with a free blog hosting service. These are considered the top options for blogging beginners:

Use Google Page Creator to Get Free Exposure
Google Page Creator is a brand-new program that enables anyone with a Google ID to set up their very own website. The most obvious benefit of the program is that your pages are rapidly indexed by the Google search engine spiders.

Some new website owners spend a ton of time and effort trying to show up in search engine results for their keywords, but with a Google Page, you jumpstart that process. Within minutes, you have a fully functioning website that you can use to make money online right away.

You can generate profits with Google Page Creator in much the same way as with a blog:

When your account is approved, Google offers a simple page setup process with an easy-to-use WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor. You can add your own text by typing it straight into the editor, or by cutting and pasting from any kind of text file. You can also upload pictures, create links, and even edit the raw HTML code if you wish.

In order to get started with Google Page Creator, you'll need a Google ID, which you can sign up for at: https://www.google.com/accounts/NewAccount.

Once you've got an account, you can head to the Page Creator homepage (http://pages.google.com) to add your name to the waiting list (demand is so huge that they're currently not accepting real-time submissions).

Final Thoughts
Of course, if you're getting serious about starting a business online, we always recommend that you create a website of your own. It's never been easier to build an e-commerce presence online than it is now, with the rise in popularity of blogging, auction websites like eBay.com, and quick web hosting solutions like Google Page Creator.

Each of these options offers you the opportunity to determine the viability of your business model, test your strategies and salescopy, establish a ranking in the search engines, and gain credibility and a reputation in your industry. Best of all, you can get started making money online today.

Derek Gehl is Entrepreneur.com's "E-Business" columnist and the CEO of the internet Marketing Center, an internet marketing firm that has helped thousands of people learn to start and run their own online businesses.