The phenomenon of online shopping has gained a lot of popularity. Many entrepreneurs are interested in starting an Internet business. Like any enterprise, it is not a very easy thing to do. Hard work, planning and determination are the requisite ingredients for making an online business a success. It is important to proceed systematically and formulate the blueprint for creating an Internet business. Here are a few steps necessary to start an online business.
This is the foremost requirement for any enterprise. Beginning haphazardly will result in chaos and confusion. To start a small business, the entrepreneur must ascertain a few important issues. It is important to make a business plan. This will address all aspects of the business. The first thing to ensure is the budget allocated for the enterprise. This will be the basis for making many decisions later.
The entrepreneur will have to choose the product to be sold. The next step is to find a few drop shippers willing to execute the orders. It is advisable to compare the rates of a few services before finalizing the most profitable deal. It is important to plan the type of website used.
It will be in the best interest of the seller to have a good insight into the legal angles of starting a web based business. It is a good idea to incorporate the business even if it is a home based business. Banks and other institutions treat an incorporated company with more respect. Carefully consider the tax implications and expenses involved in the process.
It is also important to know the business laws and the intellectual property rights as it applies to the internet before starting your own business on the World Wide Web. Rather than unwittingly breaking some laws, it is better to acquaint oneself at the outset. Read all contracts carefully and clear the doubts unhesitatingly before putting your signature on them.
The name of the domain is what the user types in the browser to reach the site. It is important to choose an internet domain name that is not too long and simple enough for the customer to remember. Although it is not free, many companies offer their services for the registration of domain names. Unlike the days of exorbitant fees, the registering company now days charges an affordable annual fee for this purpose. Supposedly, every possible word in the English dictionary has already been registered. However, there are ingenious ways to overcome this problem. One way is to opt for .org or .net extension instead of the more popular .com. One of the more favorite places to go register a domain is Godaddy.com
The next step is designing the website. Computer savvy people can do it themselves. There are many templates available online for this purpose. Otherwise, it is advisable to engage a web designer who will prepare the web site for a fee. It is important that the website be fast loading and easy to use. So check up on the software used, net speed and other features before settling.
But before awarding the project to a web site designer or try doing it yourself, it is important to decide the type of website that is most suitable for the product. It can be a catalogue-style online store, listing all the items and their descriptions. Online shopping cart software will be required for this purpose. This enables the user to browse, select and buy the products listed on the website. The other type of web site gives information related to the products on sale. The links for purchasing the items are woven cleverly between related information.
Merchant banking account
For accepting credit cards over the Internet, it is mandatory to obtain Merchant Banking account from the bank. A merchant account is a clearing account at a bank that enables it to accept credit card transactions. There are a number of institutions offering this facility. Probably the one everyone is most familiar with is PayPal. Check up the features offered by a couple of banks and choose the most profitable one.
SSL Server Certificate
This enables SSL (Secure Socket Layer encryption) on the web server. Offering credit card numbers on the internet makes them susceptible to hackers. The SSL certificate ensures secure transactions between web servers and browsers. A Certificate Authority (CA) identifies one or both ends of the transactions. They encrypt the vital information before transmission. It is possible to accept the credit cards securely without the fear of hacking. This certificate is available with companies like Thawte or Verisign. Some online service providers also offer this facility, like Godaddy.com, for a small fee.
A web hosting service provider is required to host the website onto the Internet. This is where all the files and data related to the website are physically stored. Choose the service provider with care. It should be affordable, provide reliable service and timely support to the user. Check the server space allotted. It should be ample to store the website files along with some margin for future expansion. Other extra facilities usually provided are secure server for secure credit card transactions, FTP access for uploading web pages, POP Accounts for secure access to the mails sent to your website, server side software, CGI-bin access etc. Some web hosting services also offer a variety of software tools for managing the website. These include auto response tool, guest books, search engines, chat features, online orders, FAQs, bulletin boards, online web site management, backup and restore programs, shopping cart software etc. A great place to start is to check out the Yahoo web hosting service.
A website is as good as the traffic it generates. If there are no visitors, there will be no business generated. Employ intelligent Internet marketing techniques to promote your website. Build the customer database and keep them updated regularly through newsletters and emails. Contests and surveys draw attention to the web site. Articles placed in the various article directory sites and blogs channel visitors to your site. Consider joining the many free affiliate programs and pay-per-click programs. Because there is no cost involved and provides the opportunity to advertise the many free offerings available on the web, it's a great way to monetize exit traffic. But most importantly, do your best to keep repeat customer simply because it zooms up the profit. Take steps to ensure customer satisfaction to attract repeat sales.