I’m working on a new project for a web-based application. So, I’ve been going through the motions of “standing up” the online presence for this website. For me, this is what this entails:
- Source Control – in my case, this means using http://tfs.visualstudio.com, setting up a project, and then sharing it with the project team. Also, when I set up a website in Azure, I can setup Continuous Delivery of my changes from TFS to Azure automatically.
- Website – in my case, setting up a new Azure website – and then getting the domain pointed over there. This can be a pain, but once it’s done, it’s fine. In order to do this, you must upgrade your “website” from “Free” to at least “Shared”, so that you can attach your own domain name to it. When you are on the dashboard page for that domain, click on the “Manage Domains” icon in the bottom navigation to get started.
- Email – in case you are not aware, both Microsoft and Google both will host your e-mail for FREE, and you can even point your mail.whatever.com address at it – AND include branding (your logo/colors) – AND include groups and even rules for the users. For example, if you wanted to add a legal disclaimer to all outbound e-mails. Isn’t that nice of them! Well, if you read the fine print – it’s because they want to scan all of your email and sell it to marketers. However, for what I’m doing, I don’t really care about that. UPDATE: you can set up Gmail for free, but it looks like they want to charge $5/month – this used to be free, not sure if it still is?
- Twitter – set up a twitter account, with the logo of your product/company
- Facebook – set up a company or product page, with the logo, description, etc for the product/company. This is different than a person page – this is an organization page where people “like” it, to see your updates.
- “File share” – one thing that project teams need is a file share to put files. With SkyDrive or Dropbox for example, you can easily create a folder and “securely” share it with the other people on the team. Plus, with the companion Windows applications for Dropbox for example, it will synchronize to your local hard drive too.
- OneNote – one very effective way to keep track of notes, meeting minutes, etc is to use OneNote. Again, with something like SkyDrive (in particular) – or Dropbox, you can create a shared OneNote notebook for everyone on the team to share and view.
- WebEx – if you need to do sharing or video-conferencing with more than one person, you can create a free account where you can have a web conference with up to 3 people.
The purpose of this post was really two-fold. 1) to write down the links needed to do some of these things. For example, the Microsoft e-mail link and the Facebook startup page I can never find. And 2) it just hit me what a time we live in – allow me to elaborate.
If you are a software startup company, you basically need to spend $35 for a domain name – and then host your website someplace for a month. In that time, you apply for, and get BizSpark. BizSpark gives you all the Microsoft software – and it gives you plenty of Azure time to host a website, so you move your website over to Azure.
From that point on, that’s it. That is all of the startup costs for your new venture. ALL of the things I mentioned above in the list are all FREE to do. There has never been a time when you could start a company so cheaply. In reality, the only time where cost might come up is when you start getting a lot of traffic on your Azure website. Hopefully that also corresponds with income! You also might want to become incorporated, for legal protection – if your company starts taking off too – that is about $50-150 per year.
We live in a pretty amazing time – and for the moment, the US and A is still a pretty fertile place to create a new company!