Learn How to Start a Business Online
Starting Online Businesses
How to start a business online is an easy to understand step-by-step guide to starting an online business, and it takes you through a low cost method for turning your business idea into a ready source of income. This is not a get rich quick scheme but rather a practical introduction to how you can get your first Internet business online, and get your idea and up and running. You will:
- Choose an Internet business idea that interests you
- Do some research for your business before you start
- Pick a domain name and web host for your business
- Online, build a website and chose a payment method
- Market and promote your business online.
- Expand once you get your business idea implemented right.
Choosing an Internet Business Idea
An Internet business should involve some area of your life that you love, or that you know a lot about. Don't worry yet about what you are going to sell, you will get to that later. Make a list of the three things you know the best and the four things you most enjoy. Now look at that list and see which of those seven things you would most like to be spending a huge chunk of time on over the next year. That is probably your best bet for a business idea.
One of the biggest obstacles to a successful Internet business is not narrowing things down. Let's say you love to read, so maybe your business idea would be something about books. If you tried to open an Internet book store, you would be facing some stiff competition from Amazon and others. But if you narrow that down to a smaller focus area like mysteries, or maybe to even a more specific area like cozies, you can have a better shot of having a special angle. You might even pick a single well known character like Sherlock Holmes. If your broad topic was dogs, you might be better to focus on terriers, or even more specifically Yorkies.
Researching Your Online Business Idea
Before you spend a lot of time developing your Internet business, a little effort now can save a lot of grief. Think of at least three names you might want to use. Also, imagine that you were doing an Internet search looking for Yorkie training (substitute your own business niche). What would you type into google? work up a list of about ten ways you might search for your topic. Now, it is time to check out your competition.
It is beyond the scope of this article to go into a detailed discussion of your competition, and how to analyze them. From the point of view of an Internet business you are going to be very concerned about who is your competition for google searches, so look at the web sites that turn up in your searches. Do they seem to have a very professional presentation? Is it a company that you have already heard of? In addition to looking for ways they may make your life too difficult, keep an eye open for ideas you can use in your business (if it is working for your best competitors then you can save some money by going with a product or a strategy that works!).
Finally you need to watch for patents, trademarks and copyrights. There is no need to spend a lot of time marketing a product that someone else has the rights to own. In today's patent environment. everybody is getting and buying up patents to stop their competitors.
Pick a Domain Name and Webhost
If you know what target business you want to have, you will want to get a website, and the first step is to buy a domain. You can buy the domain from any number of sites, ranging from the staid and slightly more expensive company network solutions, or the less expensive and flashier vendors like Godaddy.com or Cheapnames.com. Wherever you buy your domain you will want to find one that has not been already bought up. You can find what names are still available by using the "whois" domain lookup function at Network Solutions.
It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss the idea of keywords in depth, but you can find discussions of how to research keywords on this site. The keyword tool provided by Google, is free to use, and will give you plenty of ideas for words that are similar, and popularly used with the search engines..
Building a Web Site for Your Business Online
In order to build a website you need a place to host it (where your website lives) and a program to build it. While there are sites that will host it for free, the cost is so low that if you are planning to start a business online, you should buy a hosting package from one of the vendors who will provide it inexpensively, and without ads to support a free website.
Whatever site you chose to host your Internet business online, and no matter what the website you have selected, chances are that the site will offer you a free program that will allow you to build a website. Depending on your budget, this might be a good first step. However eventually you will want to either hire someone to build a professional website or buy a program that will allow you to build a top notch one your self to promote your business idea. In either case, you will want to consider a silo structure in order to make the site, and your Internet business idea, more search engine friendly.
Building a website that includes silo structure architecture is easiest if you use a program like XsitePro which efficiently organizes your website so that search engines will find your Internet business easily. Before deciding with which program to build your website, the need for silo structure architecture should be considered.
Finding a Payment Option for Marketing Your Business Idea
If your Internet business is supposed to make money, you need a way to get paid. Many web hosts have options for the client to buy things, with checkout and other types of commercial choices built in to programs. But you will still need to decide whether or not to accept credit cards. The easiest way to do that at first is with a Paypal account, which will allow, when you start your business online to let you accept the major credit cards.
Marketing and Promoting Your Business Idea
Other sources can give you an in depth discussion of how to promote your website and market your business online. You can use social media, like Face book and Twitter, and buying adwords from Google and other vendors can help you target your online ads to people who already share your interests.
One of the least expensive ways to drive traffic to your site, and boost your sales, is to learn to do white hat (acceptable) promotion by optimizing your Internet business online for the search engines. You might want to hire that service out (be sure to pick a reputable firm that won't get you in trouble with Google) but if you are patient and willing to learn there is much you can do to increase your business' online presence. Whether or not you are doing it with the intention of marketing and promotion, it is smart to network with other similar businesses.
Finally, when you start a business online, once you are successful, you will need to get some accounting, legal and tax advice. However, once you have it right, you will want to expand, and find ways to market related Internet products and services. If you can successfully develop one business online, the skills to turn another business idea into a reality are already in place.
Photo credits: Yorkie: me and the sysop