Today’s blog comes from the Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, WI. I am here for a couple of reasons. First, they are removing a tree in front of my house so, I have no internet service for the second day. Secondly, to give you one more way, to not spend money when starting your home based business.

Besides the library there are numerous WI-FI hot spots in my area offering free internet access. Even McDonald's has free WI-FI. Take advantage of this if it makes sense for your situation.

One of the best business rules I ever learned, was simply; If it doesn’t add value to your process, don’t do it”.  Don’t spend money that doesn’t increase your profit margin or make your job measurably easier. This includes wasting time and energy.

Which brings us to, Tools.  One of my “shop floor rules” is “Don’t do math in your head”. Use a calculator every time. It is a “tool” designed to make accurate calculations every time. Use the tools available to you to make your job easier. I feel the same way regarding, free website providers.

I am not going to spend time learning to write HTML code just to get a website up and running, when providers like Blogger and Yola who are experts, and do it for a living, allow you to access their service for free. It makes sense to take advantage of that expertise so you can focus on marketing.

Here is a tip I wish I had before I started my website. You are designing a marketable product. Especially, if you are contemplating, a Blog based website. You really have to “sell” your product. So it needs to be “appetizing” to a wide range of people and personalities right from the start.

I completely changed the format of this site in the first 3 weeks. If you step back and look at the pages and formatting today, it all has purpose. My intent was to provide a site that is professional, yet modern and friendly. The colors are easy on the eyes. The font is a readable size and color. Links to other pages are right at the top at eye level and easy to use. The banners are placed alongside the blog for readers to access easily.

I want the reader comfortable as they read. I also want the reader to come back. So I have an RSS link (Really Simple Syndication) so you don’t have to go to the site every day, it comes to you. I know in my case, if I have to “work for” or wait to view a website, I am moving on.

If you keep these things in the foreground, you can save yourself some time. Of course a blog based site is not your only option. Though, I think it is a very good solid option.

I also have a forum style site. This is a site designed to allow musicians to post questions and comments about musical equipment. It is in fact another “Tool” I am using for affiliate marketing. I use the site to post advertising for my affiliate partners. I chose the affiliate partners specifically aimed at the musician demographic (a specific group of customers). Visit the site and you can review this option.

The next site I am “rolling around in my head” is a direct sales site. This site will feature products of my choosing marketed to a specific “niche market”. A niche market is a group or groups of customer who interest is in a very specific area.

People who knit comprise a very large market. People who collect antique knitting needles are a “niche market”. Since I am a musician my next site will probably be musical equipment related.

So, there are three options for you to explore. Notice all three are fueled by my own personal interest. I use knowledge I already have to provide valuable content to the sites.

Yola offers a very powerful hosting service. The tools for building and tracking your website are very easy to understand and use. Customer service replies the next day to questions. And if you need it to be, it is free. Since this site is a blog, I may never really need to purchase a domain name separate from Yola.

That is the caveat your domain name has tacked on to the end. Even with Yola tacked on to my URL the search engines are still picking up my site. I recommend starting out with Yola, you can always go elsewhere if does not work to your liking.

Here is the review. Collections Etc. My wife has been receiving a Collections Etc. catalogues in the mail for years. They are a company based in Elk Grove, Illinois.  They have been around  for 40 years and online since 1997. They offer all sorts of fun Nick-knacks for the home and garden.  Lots of nature themed home décor products (bears, eagles, wolves etc.), yard tools and even Garden Gnomes. The cool part is everything is $19.99 or less.

We have personally order products from Collections Etc. and have never been disappointed. They have themes based sales promotions for each holiday season. I posted an ad on Craigslist on Tuesday and sent out 30 emails to targeted addresses. I have received 171 impressions and 28 clicks this is a conversion rate of 16.37%. Almost 17% of the people seeing the email or posting clicked the banner and went to Collections Etc. website. That makes Collections Etc. my biggest performer to date.

Next blog will be about Free web hosting, blog content and contain a review of affiliate marketing partner Jimmy Jazz

 Like always, join and follow the blog, click the banners and text links to start making money. You can use the EWAHR forum to post questions or request a review of a site. You can also email me directly at