Start an Internet Business in 5 Easy Steps!
Want to start an Internet business? Great! Let?s get started quickly by looking
at five simple and necessary steps to getting your Internet business off the
1. Select Your Domain Name - It is very important to
select the proper domain name for your business. Why? It's how customers
will find you online. A couple of simple pointers: shorter is usually
better, I'd stick with a .com name - not one of the other top level domains.
It can also help search engines to list you higher if your domain name
contains some of the keywords you want to be found for.
Believe it or not, there are still a huge number of domain names that
have never been registered. Sure, the so-called 'dictionary' and common
single word domains have all be registered long ago, but there are strategies
to circumvent this issue. <
Why not simply add a modifier to a word in order to create a compelling
domain name? For example: let's say that you sell bicycles and bicycle
parts online - here are some domain names that come to mind that are almost
So how can we modify these common names to create names that are available?
Let's try adding some simple descriptive terms either before, or after
the main word. For example:
I'm sure you can think of many others that apply to your products and
business. If you simply add this short list of modifiers in front of the
original short names, you can create multiple new names that are available
You can search to see if your domain name is available here: Dotster
2. Hire a Web Designer - Ask around to locate a great
designer that someone else has used. The design of your site can make
you look professional, or like an amateur - it's clear which way you will
want to look.
An alternative that can be very cost effective when compared to a custom
designed web site is to use pre-formatted templates - either put together
by another company, or filled in with data yourself. For example, Affinity
Internet, Inc. offers a professional web design product through it's ValueWeb
brand that is billed out at a low flat monthly fee. According to the ValueWeb
website the ReadyWeb product offers the following advantages: 'A professional
web designer will set up a consultation with you to better understand
your business and online goals to ensure your web site is not only impressive
but successful. Our web site professionals will make updates to your website
on a monthly basis as needed. ReadyWeb includes two hours of maintenance
and updates each month at no additional charge.' You can learn more about
the ReadyWeb product at: ValueWeb's
ReadyWeb product info.
Alternatively there are do-it-yourself templates available at sites such as
3. Choose Your Web Hosting - Every small business that sets
up a web site online will need to host it somewhere. According to industry expert
Tamara Field, President of Apollo
Hosting these are the top three things to consider when selecting your
web hosting company.
* REAL Live Support - Call their tech support number NOT their sales number,
and see if you can talk directly to a technician. Or go on their live chat and
see if you are able to talk to a technician. How long did it take for you to
get someone on the phone or live chat? That's very important. Just because they
say they offer live support, doesn't mean they really have people there when
you need them.
* Guarantees - Money back guarantee, price freeze, uptime, and a guarantee of
a refund on unused portions. There are so many hosting companies that don't
offer money back on unused months if you cancel early! If you sign up for 1
year, believe it or not, many hosting companies won't give you ANY money back
if you cancel 3 months later. A money back guarantee is important as is a prize
freeze guarantee. But these days, look for the refund on unused hosting. Many
companies don't mention it because they don't offer it.
* Upgrade Path - If you see your business growing, and you might want more products/services
in the future, then you will need an upgrade path. It is a real hassle changing
hosting companies. Just getting lots of bandwidth and storage is not the answer.
Many customers don't use near the amount of bandwidth and storage that many
hosting companies are offering. This is really just a marketing technique for
a lot of hosting companies. Look for extra products that they offer. What about
ecommerce? Do they offer the best ecommerce products, SPAM/Virus filtering,
Marketing tools etc. Remember that these days hosting is not just about storage
and bandwidth. It's about a whole lot more. Don't settle for just space on a
You can easily compare web hosting options by looking through web hosting directory
sites as well. These sites offer information about multiple hosting providers,
and special offers and product information. Several of the more useful directories
are: Website Host
Web Hosting Directory, and Tophosts.
4. Set Up Your Email - It may seem like a no-brainer to some,
but you simply cannot adequately conduct business on the Internet without an
email address. Your email address will let your customers and potential customers
communicate with you, and give you valuable feedback on your web site, products,
services, and ordering processes.
You'll also need a way for you to communicate with vendors and others
who can help you market your web site. Each hosting provider has different
protocols for setting up your email account, so you'll have to look to
your provider for help with your specific account. One other important
note: be sure to include a signature line at the bottom of every email
that includes your business name, URL, and a brief description of your
products and services. This idea alone can increase your business.
5. Promote Your Site - There are so many ways to get traffic
to your web site that it would require several separate articles to cover the
topic. Here are a couple of basic ideas. Try to educate yourself about, and
get listed on search engines. A few basic steps can go a long way towards traffic
driving in this way. A great step-by-step manual is at Search
If you have a budget to advertise, you may want to try Google AdWords
as a method of reaching the search engine keyword market. Information
is available at: Google
advertising. Alternatively, if you simply want to pay someone else
to manage your online search engine advertising campaign for a flat monthly
fee, you could check out ValueWeb's ValueTraffic program. ValueTraffic
costs $100 per month, and guarantees traffic and impressions to your website.
You can see further details at: ValueTraffic
Of course, you should print your web address on all of your existing marketing
materials such as: business cards, stationary, brochures, newsletters, product
sheets, etc. You may find that driving qualified traffic to your website is
as easy as releasing information on where to find it in your company promotional
materials. Customers are always eager to utilize faster and more convenient
forms of communications with companies.
Good luck with your new site, and remember - it takes a while for any great
project to get real traction - the same holds true for your website.
About Derek Vaughan
Derek Vaughan has been actively marketing on the Internet since 1995. His extensive
online marketing experience includes serving at the Walt Disney Company as the
online marketing manager for ecommerce at ESPN.com. Mr. Vaughan was also the
marketing manager for the launch of the NASCAR Online Store.
In web hosting, Mr. Vaughan served for over 4 years as Senior Director of Marketing
for Affinity Internet, Inc. and Vice President of Marketing for Aplus.Net. Mr.
Vaughan holds a bachelors degree from Purdue University and has also earned
an M.B.A. from the Owen School at Vanderbilt University. He now consults for
Directory, and runs Webmaster