Welcome to Webmaster Toolkit

Your resource for free webmaster tools and resources

This site came into existence as a collection of webmaster tools developed to help myself and a few other webmasters with our daily webmaster chores. After creating a fair number of online tools, it was decided that we should make the site public, so that other webmasters around the world would have access to them for free. The suite of free tools and resources offered continues to grow to this day, and we aim to offer something useful for the beginner to the advanced webmaster alike.

Should you have any any comments or suggestions we would be glad to hear them. Happy Webmastering!

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Funding your Web Development Project

During the 1990s, starting an Internet business was quite costly. Thankfully, times have changed and it no longer costs people millions or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to create most web applications. However, it does require some time and money and below is a list of five ways that you can raise money to fund your web startup.

1. Apply to startup incubator

Some people would like to argue that the increasing number of small, seed fund startup incubators are not the best deal for up and coming entrepreneurs. They insist that the programs like Y combinator and TechStars, require far too much equity in exchange for the small cash investment of between 5 to 10% for between £10,000 and £30,000. However, we would like to disagree.

Aside from allowing you enough cash to work full-time and build a prototype for a couple of months, most of these programs offer priceless access to advice and mentoring from some brilliant minds who have already gone through the process of starting up a web business successfully.

So when you think about it, a 6% stake in your business is a great deal when it comes to getting the advice, mentoring and access to services such as PR, legal and hosting that ultimately boost your chances of success and ensures that you don't get the raw end of the deal somewhere down the line.

2. Enter a contest

While this may be one of the weirdest options on the list and also the least likely to work for you, contests are out there and you can win money for any initiative. One such contest is known as "You Be The VC" and the crowd basically votes on their favourite idea and provide the winners with guidance and mentoring from top companies. You also receive advisers, a stipend for living expenses and office space in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

If you are still in school, you should think about trying out a business plan competition. A great option is the Harvard Business School which offers a cash price of £20,000 and services prize, while MIT's entrepreneurship competition is quite good as well. The latter offers a £100,000 grand prize which is up for grabs every year. There are plenty of other business schools that offer some similar contests.

3. Trade equity for work

Basically how this works is that anyone who is looking for assistance on a web business can let you know what they need and how much of the company they are prepared to part with. Web equity has expanded beyond Australia and currently includes USA, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Prototype invest is another option. This venture capital firm providing software, guidance and web applications, instead of money is based in Denmark. The company takes ideas and creates workable prototypes to pitch to VCs and ultimately charge you in equity.

When it comes to giving out equity to get your startup up and running it is quite an interesting road to take and one that requires plenty of trust. So ensure that everything is put down in writing prior to beginning.

4. Use family and friends (or strangers)

One of the most obvious options is to go to the bank and get a business loan. You can opt for a secured loan or unsecured loan. You may also enquire about a credit card. However there are plenty of other options thanks to the World Wide Web. Social lending is one of your options. This basically involves a loan coming in through small contributions by an x amount of people and the bonus for you normally comes in the form of fantastic interest rates. There are three primary social lending sites that you can consider. Zopa is one of them and rates start at 8.49%. Lendingclub has rates as low as 7.88% and prosper.com has rates starting at 8.68%.

If you are contemplating borrowing money from family and friends, you can use Virgin money to keep track of everything so that it doesn't get messy later.

Ultimately, if your site is already up and running and you just need a little extra funds to give it a boost, then you should consider asking your users to invest. One such online and netting community called Raverly did exactly that last April. The best part of it all is that it worked and in as little as three weeks they raised more than £71,000 from 3,000 of the most devoted users.

5. Self fund with side jobs

Probably one of the most popular ways to raise money to start a web application is to simply get a job and lay out your own cash. Lots of entrepreneurs use money from consulting jobs or day jobs at a tech company to fund their own startups, which ultimately begins life as a side project. It's not easy since you could be working around 14 hours a day, hardly spending any time with your friends and family, and mostly staring at a computer screen, that is of course when you're not sleeping. However, the advantage is that you own 100% of your startup and you won't have to get any debt advice later in life.

Web app sellers 37 signals offer some advice in their book. It basically states that nowadays it doesn't take much to get started. This is typically since hardware is cheap and there's great infrastructure software that is also open source and free. Passion also does not come with a price tag. So basically you need to work with the cash that you have on hand.

So you need to determine what you can do with 3 people instead of 10? What you can do with £20,000 instead of £100,000? And what you can do in three months as opposed to six? Ultimately, you also need to consider what you can do if you keep your day job while building up on the side?

And if the facts speak for itself, then starting a web application nowadays costs far less than it did a few years ago. Lots of online communities on the web spend very little of their own capital to run and maintain their site. One such example is my site Ruby on rails, and 37 signals which built their first product, Basecamp as a side project while they were still doing client work.

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