Online Business Guide: Start, Sell and Succeed!

Looking to start your online business? Check out our tips to help you find business success in the online world.

The rapid growth of the internet has encouraged many people to start their own online business and to become their own boss. But while starting and operating an internet business sounds easy to many, the reality is actually quite different. I believe that web-based ventures can be just as risky as brick and mortar outfits, with the risk of failure even higher in today’s increasingly competitive online environment.

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Despite the risks, such a business can turn out quite profitable and can become quite lucrative. If done right, anyone with some business sense can embark on new projects fairly easily with little startup cost and marketing expenses.

Online Business Guide: Start, Sell and Succeed!

Would you like to start a home business? An online venture may be the way to go.

Step 1: Know what kind of product or service to offer.
First and foremost, you may want to ask yourself what kind of product or service you intend to sell. Many people believe that you can sell almost anything on the internet. While this may have been a true perception a few decades ago, it’s a different story today, with many markets saturated. So you’ll need to find a product or service that will still command a market; you’ll need to find yourself in a niche that will have room for growth and opportunity.

It is also important to differentiate your product or service from that of your potential competitor. Whether your business is a traditional one or whether it runs online, the marketing rules remain the same. Because it’s tough to make your product or service unique, you’ll need to spend an ample amount of time brainstorming on how to make your offering stand out from the rest.

Step 2: Decide on a domain name.
Once you’ve decided on what product and service to offer your target market (and you’ve settled on a business idea and model), you can then think about getting a domain name. You should put some thought into your domain name since it’ll likely represent your business name as well (this is usually the case with online businesses).

Give some thought to what your business name should be since you’ll want it to reflect your business or brand in the best way that it can.

A few points to consider while selecting a business/domain name:

  • The name should be easy to spell and pronounce.
  • It should be easy to remember.
  • Make sure it is a unique name, and that none of your competitors are already using it.
  • Make sure that the name you have decided upon is available with a .com extension. The .com extension is by far the most common one used on the web (it’s pretty much considered a default by many web users).

If you’re ready to get a domain name and to host your site, then it’s time to take a look at some cheap web hosting services. Here’s a sampling of companies that can help you set up, develop and support your online business:

Web Host
Monthly Rate (Sample Plan)
Lunar Pages $2.95 a month Has diverse packages from a simple email service plan and basic hosting to dedicated hosting
Blue Host $6.95 a month One of the older web hosting companies around with a strong reputation, Has received many awards
HostMonster $5.95 a month Great customer service, free set up, free domain name or transfer
Fat Cow $3.67 a month Includes free search engine tools, WordPress blog tools, Carbonite back up, great rates
IX Web Hosting $3.95 to $7.95 a month Top customer service, Has an unconditional money back guarantee
PowWeb $4.88 a month Uses proprietary load balancing technology for high reliability, simple “one plan” package
1 & 1 Hosting $3.99 to $19.99 a month Various plans are available including basic hosting, business hosting, VPS packages, dedicated servers and ecommerce support

Step 3: Develop your website.
Develop a user-friendly website. Take the customer’s perspective when developing and designing your website; the more attractive and easy it is to navigate, the more conducive it will be for users to make their purchases. It’s important to make your site stand out in a crowded online landscape in order for you to gain the edge on your competition.

Step 4: Promote your business.
Once you’ve addressed your requirements and finally have your web site up and running, then it’s time to start selling online. You can promote your online business by educating and creating awareness about your products and services. You can achieve this on a low budget by using basic online marketing principles. For those of you who are new to the idea of online marketing, you may be wondering what the following terms are, but needless to say, these are the strategies taken by web publishers to get their sites noticed on the web. So if you’re going to own a site, you’ll need to build traffic and get noticed by using strategies such as search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, email marketing, article writing and distribution and affiliate marketing. These activities are some of the core marketing functions which you’ll need to perform as a business owner and online entrepreneur.

Hopefully this gives you some idea of what’s in store for you if you choose the path of an internet entrepreneur. I can certainly say that while it’s a lot of hard work to build a successful web business, it’s really quite fulfilling and a lot of fun!

This guest post is from Ben Johnson of LogoInn, a custom logo design service provider based in the UK.

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