Terra Sell :: Start Online Business


Learning about the basics of information technology, right from use of software packages to the use of the computer allows one to navigate the internet and get the best deals in an online business. Online businesses do not require one to be an expert in the use of computers but having a great business idea is not enough. It requires using available tools and techniques to implement the idea and make your product or service sell. Online businesses have the potential to grow to global entities with the right approach and the application of important skills to ensure success.


Post(courtesyof http://onlinebusiness.about.com/od/onlinebusiness101/a/startinganonlinebusiness.htm) gives tips on the various tools and techniques for running an online business



Eager to launch your online business, but not sure where to start? With improving technology, including excellent online tools and lower costs, there has never been an easier time to put your business online. These 10 steps will get you online in no time.





Or for an even faster start, follow this 9 Step Quick Start Guide.



Know the Internet

What is your experience with the Internet? Do you still think "MySpace" is your little office under the stairs? Do you raise an eyebrow when your daughter talks about "tweeting"?



Success online requires spending significant time:



Researching competitors

Understanding how Web tools work (Twitter, RSS Feeds, etc.)

Becoming familiar with the culture of the Internet

Register Your Domain

Your domain is your unique address on the Internet. It is your piece of intellectual property, just like a patent or a trademark. There are numerous registrars (companies that register domains) online where you can purchase your domain.



Some registrars even offer "free" domains with a hosting package or another purchase. While many of these are legitimate, be sure to confirm that the domain is registered in your name. If the domain is registered in the registrars name it may be difficult, if not impossible, to switch to another hosting company without losing your domain.



Domain registrars:



Bluehost

1and1.com

Network Solutions

Go Daddy

Find a Web Host

A Web host is the company that essentially will "rent" you space on their servers to host your website. These companies usually offer domain registration and it’s often easier to have both with the same company.



Web host features such as storage capacity, uptime percentage, domain based email and server security should be evaluated. Also, the ability to host a blog, provide response forms, marketing tools and tools for e-commerce are important criteria to consider when choosing your Web host.

Web Hosting Providers:

Bluehost

1and1.com

Network Solutions

Go Daddy

Designing Your Website

This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. You have two options for site creation:

Create the site yourself, or

Hire a designer to create it for you.

There are at least three options for creating your own site.

Many hosting companies offer free site building tools.

WordPress is a popular free tool – both for websites and stand-alone blogs. It is a very simple install, with many hosting companies having install tools just for WordPress. You won’t need years of study and thick manuals to use this software.

The other option is to use a high-end program like Dreamweaver by Adobe (Visit Adobe's Website) which will do everything you need, but has a pretty steep learning curve. One of the training manuals for Dreamweaver is an overwhelming 1000 pages thick.

Hiring a professional designer may be a simpler option. This isn’t necessarily expensive. By using services like Craig’s List or Elance.com you can find designers eager for your work. Expect to pay from $50 to $100 to have a designer assist in the install of your free WordPress software on your hosting space. In addition to the visual design work, you'll need to give significant thought to your site content.

Online Payments

The days of printing and faxing an order form, or mailing a check are long gone. Online payment acceptance is the foundation of an online business. This allows clients to act on an impulse.

Accepting Online Payments:

PayPal

Google Checkout

Shopping Carts:

E-junkie.com

1ShoppingCart.com

Be sure to check for required features and their terms. Minimum monthly fees can affect a start-up business. Its best to choose a capable service provider that allows growth, so you can start with basic services and low cost and upgrade as your volume increases.

Determine Product Delivery Methods

Depending on your product type, your delivery methods can range from very simple (downloadable information product or an online service) to more complex (shipping of goods via courier, using a fulfillment company). For downloadable products consider an electronic fulfillment company like E-junkie.com.

Fulfillment Companies, for shipping of physical goods:

Motivational Fulfillment

Mailing Fulfillment Service Association

Build Site Traffic

Even the most cutting edge design and amazing new product is worthless if it’s buried under millions of other websites. Consider these basic methods of promoting your new site:

Register with the three major search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo)

List your blog in the major blog directories

Content marketing, video and audio podcast

Online Advertising: Google and Facebook ads.

Direct mailing (print, not email)

Offline marketing (billboards, company vehicles, stationary, print ads, promotional products)

Publish an Email Newsletter

Collection of client and prospect email (and other contact information) is critical to the growth of every online business. However, a large and growing list is only valuable when useful and relevant information is sent on a regular basis to these individuals. The goal of an email list is to turn prospects into clients and clients into ambassadors for your company/product.

Some popular options include:

AWeber


Constant Contact


Constant Contact



Constant Contact

For more options, check out the Email Marketing Review

Track Growth

Easy (and free) tools are available that allow you to see who clicked where and when. Many Web hosting companies offer traffic analyzing tools.



Google Analytics is a free tool – which tracks, among other things:



Popular pages

Traffic sources

Popular keywords

Location of clicks

These reports can be customized with a plethora of variables including date range, page views, and length of time on site.

While visitor traffic provides an interesting gauge, what you are really looking for is transactions. Whether you are selling a product or a service, success is measured in sales.

Other Business Considerations

In addition to the specific online considerations, you’ll need to consider:

Taxation

Banking

Licensing and trademarks

Legal business structure

Business location

Product warehousing

Product creation

Accounting

Legal matters




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