Are you ready to start an online business, but don’t know where to start? Here’s an eight-step guide you can follow to get your business up and running.
Start Online Business Eight-Step Guide:
1. Research Your Idea
Many entrepreneurs make the fatal error of marketing something that consumers just don’t want to buy. Avoid this startup mistake by researching your idea to make sure it’s firm.
2. Register the Domain Name
You should think carefully about the name you choose because it’s part of your brand, and don’t give up if your first few choices are already taken. Popular sites for registering your domain name are are GoDaddy, Register.com, and Namecheap.com. You can register your name for about $10 per year.
3. Find a Web Host
A web host rents internet space to website owners, and this space houses the pages and images on your site. Most places that register domain names also offer web hosting, but you can also use other sites like Bluehost. It’s important that if you allow your web host to register your domain name that they register it in your name. Otherwise, you don’t officially own it, and that could cause problems if you want to switch hosts later.
4. Design the Site
You can hire a designer to create a custom site, or you can design and build the site yourself. If you decide to build your own site, many web hosts offer free website building tools, and low-cost consulting services. You can also build your site using WordPress, a free website and blog platform that offers many themes and plugins to choose from. First find a web host that supports WordPress, such as Bluehost or DreamHost, and then download the WordPress software. Note that you’ll need additional and substantial customization to enable an e-commerce platform.
5. Get Set Up to Accept Online Payments
You can accept online payments by using a merchant account plus a payment gateway, an all-in-one provider, or other options, including e-checks and ACH transfers.
6. Design Your Delivery System
Your delivery system will depend on what you sell. For instance, if you sell downloadable information, such as e-books or white papers, you can use a digital publishing platform such as DPD. If you purchase wholesale from a manufacturer who houses the inventory, you can employ a drop-shipping company such as ShipStation. And if you plan to house and ship the products yourself, you should create a shipping rate strategy and schedule, or use a fulfillment service like Shipwire. You will send them your products, and they fill the orders as they come in.
7. Market Your Site
Fill your site with quality content to increase your search engine ranking. This will allow more people to find your site. Create an interesting and informative blog that keeps site visitors coming back for new posts. Keep the email addresses of the people who buy from you, and use email marketing to announce sales and new product offerings. Video marketing is becoming more important to websites as consumers are using them more often to inform buying decisions. Make one that talks about the benefits of your products, or instructs viewers how to use them. Don’t forget about social media. You should set up social media accounts and learn how best to participate with your customers via social media.
8. Track Your Development
Track and measure your site’s development and determine which online marketing methods are getting results. Do this by closely following your site’s search engine ranking for the keywords that you target, and by using tools such as Google Analytics. The free tool offers your insight into your most popular pages and keywords, and helps you track the source of your web traffic.