Q&A With Ray… Ask Me Your Questions

This begins a series where you ask your top questions about copywriting and online marketing… and I answer via audio podcasts.

Don't worry about the podcast thing. If you don't have an iPod, it still works with any MP3 player. And if you just don't understand what “podcasting” is all about, simply download the audios from right here on the website.

First Question: “What are the basics of getting started online?”

This is a great question because there are plenty of people willing to sell you stuff in order to get your online business up and running.

First you need a domain name. You need to register a domain name. A place where your website “lives”. This is your address — which might be something like YourName.com.

For instance, RayEdwards.com is a domain that I own.

The second thing you need is a hosting account. This is an account that allows you to put your website up on the Internet for other people to see.

You can get a good hosting account at HostorixOnline.com.

The third thing you need is either web-design software or a web designer / webmaster… because somebody is going to need to be able to put together the web page that you put onto your hosting account.  If you want to do it yourself you’ll need some basic software to get the job done. If you’re going to have someone else do it, that means you'll need a designer and/or webmaster to put that all together for you.

The fourth thing you’ll need is a graphic artist or some graphics to put on your website. Now, for a lot of reasons we won’t go into on today’s training I recommend not using a lot of graphics. But you do need a professional look and feel for your website so you may need some graphic elements — and you’re either going to have to create them yourself, buy the right to use certain graphic elements, or have a graphic artist to put that all together for you.

The next thing I would recommend you get is an autoresponder account, which is an account that allows you to build a mailing list so that you can mail to your customers or prospects.  It can also do this for you on an automated sequential basis, so once someone signs up for instance they get an email from you once a week for the next seven weeks or something of that nature.   I use aWeber.com for my autoresponder and email management.

Then finally you’re going to need shopping cart software or an account with a shopping cart company and that’s what allows you to take payments online when people buy your product or service. The company I use is NewMarketingAutomation.com.

Now each of these are somewhat complex discussions that we could probably spend a one-hour teleseminar talking about each of them. We may do that later on in the series — or I may create some videos that allow you to watch over my shoulder as I go through the process of each of these steps.

Let me know your preferred deliver method for this kind of material — do you prefer audio, text, video, or static screen shots?

I'd love to hear from you. Just leave your comments below.

Click for the Podcast Audio:

Click Here

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Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • Ray,

    This is good information. You asked about future teachings. I know I struggled with the shopping cart issue, so I think a video would be a great way to teach that. That would have helped me out tremendously. That might be good also to teach about autoresponders.


    • Ray Edwards

      Thanks Laurie… good idea! I’ll put that on my “future editions” list.


  • If you go for the shopping cart option you don’t really need to have aweber. It’s duplicating costs I think when just starting out.

    If your starting out it’s easier to get a wordpress blog set up, get your domain name and hosting ( make sure the hosting has fantastico scripts enabled) you can choose a custom theme for a blog probably less than $50 or choose one of the many free ones and get moving.

    If you go for the website route and working with designers if your a newbie you could get taken to the cleaners and end up wasting a lot of time.

    I’ll get a wordpress blog set up very quickly and do it for $150 including the first years hosting.

    Apologies for the shameless plug but I think that’s the right thing to do and to get someone to do it for you. Sure you can learn but you end up wasting time doing that.


    • Ray Edwards


      Because I’ve used your services in the past, I have no problem with you making that offer here.

      I use both the shopping cart and the autresponder, by the way. The reason is three-fold:

      1. I like having redundant systems. You know… not having all the eggs in one basket, that sort of thing.

      2. One many shopping cart systems that include autorespodners, the deliverability of the “prospect” emails is not as good as the deliverability of the “customer” emails. It gets kind of technical, so I’m not going to go into it here; suffice it to say that in my experience this is the case.

      3. Because I use aWeber, I get great deliverability to my “prospect” lists.

      Thanks for dropping by — and for the offer to my readers.

  • Good info, Ray. Of course, for real newbies it needs a lot more detail…

    About delivery: I like to read things, so I’m glad you’re writing it up on your blog in addition to having the audio.

    As for audios, I prefer them to be straight downloadable MP3’s. For some reason, I can’t get iTunes to work right because of some intelliboard crash that mixed up my iTunes account 🙁

    MP3’s work for me though. Or listening to it right on your blog — if your audio is short! But I always like the visual too.



  • Hi Ray,

    About a year ago, you asked me how good I was at web design. I answered that I’d rather leave a lot of that stuff to someone else.

    I bring this up because I’ve discovered a neat shortcut to needing a webmaster/designer in many cases.

    It turns out that there are hundreds of very high quality (professional) designs that you can use for – the best price of all – FREE (I can use that word in a blog, can’t I? 🙂

    The secret is to bootstrap your website up through Joomla, which comes free with many hosting packages. Joomla rocks because it neatly spits your site into two parts – content and the design, or look of the site.

    The content gets typed right into the site using a built in word processor. You don’t need to learn Frontpage, Dreamweaver or any other separate editor.

    Now, here’s the really neat part. Just google “Free Joomla templates” and you can go browsing through hundreds of professional looking templates.

    Find one you like, then upload it to your Joomla site. Instantly, your site takes on that look! Don’t like it? Simply load up another template instead. It might take you a bit of hunting to find one you like, but it’s easy, fun work. The only tricky part is that you might not like the default graphic at the top.

    You can pay someone to make you a different one, and probably get them to change out the default graphic as well. Hint: you can right click and select properties to find the file name for that graphic.

    Another shortcut is that you can attach a shopping cart, which can also be free, to the Joomla as well. Admittedly, it won’t be as sophisticated as, say Amazon, but you shouldn’t be trying to compete with Amazon anyway.

    Even if you are a rank beginner and have somebody help you set up your Joomla based site, you’ll still end up saving a lot of time and money by being able to do much more of the work yourself compared to a traditional HTML site.

    Now you’ve got my secret as well as to how I create really sharp looking sites for clients in a couple of hours, including some of the content.

    – Mike

    • Ray Edwards

      Good advice, Mike… though Joomla can be a little daunting for beginners, it is a great choice, as you point out.

      Frankly I prefer WordPress for that kind of work. There are lots of themes available for free; and you can get great themes for a small amount of money, too (like the ones at ithemes).

      But many smart people (like you) prefer Joomla. So I think it is a matter of personal preference.


  • Harjit Irani of http://www.auctionsinaction.com

    I started my business in Feb and by now have a few hundred on my list and it continues to grow. My website is fairly simple.

    • Ray Edwards

      Congratulations on your new business!

      This is one of the things I get most excited about — the way the Internet has given anyone the ability to have an idea, act on it, and build a business.

      Great work Harjit!

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  • Thanks for the information, Ray!!

  • Yes, internet can provide almost everyone with a big opportunity to start business