Monday, November 17, 2008

7 Steps to Building an Online Business

Goals and Objectives

Pinpoint the reasons you want to start an online

business – are you looking to replace your current salary or do you just want discretionary income? Are you looking to purchase a new home or car? Having your goals and objectives in mind will help you remain focused and motivated while growing your online business.

Select a Domain

The domain you choose should reflect what products or services you provide. For example, if you sell bike parts, possible domain names should

include the term “bike.” Make sure the domain you want is available and get it registered so you can start building a noticeable presence online.

Web Hosting

Getting the right web hosting is very important – you want a reliable service that provides high-quality customer service to ensure your site is always up and running.

Build Your Website

Unless you have broad web programming and design knowledge, it’s recommended you hire out to have your website built. The layout, design, and content of your website will directly impact how successful your business is – the site should be professional, clean, and easy to navigate. Having relevant, well-written content will help the search engines find and index your website, allowing users to find your site for related keywords. Avoid busy or distracting images.

Shopping Cart

If you are an e-commerce site, your shopping cart should be simple and efficient in order to increase your conversion rate (the number of visitors who actually buy a product refers to conversion). There are a myriad of shopping cart software programs (such as X cart) that allow you to customize one for your site. You will also need to select an online payment service provider. If your site caters to an international market, select a service that provides global Payments. This way international customers can pay in local currencies, which can be converted into U.S. dollars.

Provide Continuing Service

In other words, automate your website! Provide a weekly or monthly e-zine for customers related to your business. How about an emailing list to let customers know about special offers, discounts, new products, and more?


You need to design and implement a marketing strategy. How are you going to garner customers and grow your business if no one knows about or can find your site? Establish a monthly marketing budget so you know just how much you can afford for a marketing campaign. Since outsourcing internet marketing can be quite costly, consider more affordable solutions, such as do-it-yourself SEO Software or a pay-per-click campaign. You can also write articles and press releases and submit online to get the word out about your business. Add your site to relevant online directories, both free and paid. There is virtually endless ways to promote your website, you just have to be willing to put in the effort.