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Starting an Online Business – Fast and Cheap

You’ve been thinking about it, toying with the idea of becoming your own boss… but it always seems like you are just one step ahead in the idea stage, and two steps behind when it comes to execution of the master plan. If this sounds like you, then fear not; you are certainly not alone. It’s a big move to start your own business, and doing it online isn’t necessarily without its share of risk. However, you can minimize the dangers and make the most of the opportunities, by following advice that’s been proven in the field, by experts who are now doing extremely well with their own online venture.


Step 1: Get Hooked Up

While it may seem somewhat silly to point out that an online business requires a connection to the Internet, it’s fair to say that not all service providers are the same, in terms of service and costs. A good idea before taking the plunge into starting up your own online biz is to make sure you choose a reliable and effective ISP (Internet Service Provider) that won’t pull the plug on you when you least expect it. That means those local, cheap, and friendly-looking small time providers might not be the best choice in the long run. Spend a little more, and get the ISP that has proven itself in your location for at least the last 5 years.

Step 2: Get Your Look Together

Now that you’re connected, it’s time to make sure you’re looking as presentable as possible. If you have the creative talent, then by all means get on your PC and start designing logos and images for your site. However, if you’re not the artistic type, then it might be better to bite the bullet and hire somebody to do it for you. Most of the content could be a one-off deal, since you can reuse logos and other designs over time, but the other stuff like product photos and catalog items might be easily handled on a more DIY note, as long as you have a good format to stick to, to keep them all fairly uniform and effectively feeling like they “belong” on your page.

Step 3: They Want to Play? They’ve Got to Pay!

You need to set up an online payment service, if e-commerce is ever going to be your goal. The difference between simply showing people the goods, and allowing them to buy it directly from you with extre3me ease is the whole nature of the e-commerce game. You may be surprised to see how affordable some providers can be, especially when they offer shopping cart services and other nice features for around $50 per month. Of course, you get what you pay for, and it’s worth noting that security risks inherent in payment programs are a factor, when shopping around for the right one to power your shopping cart.

Step 4: S… E… Oh, What?

While it’s easy to ignore the stuff that goes on in the background, it certainly doesn’t pay to skip out on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) methods that can help to put your site on the map. At the very least, they could mean the difference between being an unknown who’s lost in the pool of sites that are all competing for your attention, and being amongst some of the best-known search queries on sites like Google, Yahoo, and other search engines that are used by millions of people daily.

Step 5: Vote, Gloat, and Promote

Keeping quiet about what you’re doing might be fine if you don’t want to make any sales, but… who are we kidding, the whole idea is to get your name and your face out there, right? If you are going to get down and dirty, and go head to head with the thousands of competitors who aren’t necessarily doing a great job of promoting themselves, then you’ve got a real shot at slipping past them, and getting more for yourself. On the Internet, it’s simply a matter of setting a schedule for yourself that includes a daily dose of self-promotion on sites like Facebook, Digg, Reddit, and others that are frequently visited portals in the social media sphere of influence. High-traffic sites mean a much higher probability that you will be noticed by shoppers, and that is good. Of course, the best way to go is with vertical sites that cater specifically to the audience you seek.

You’re only 5 steps away from starting a project that could become your greatest dream come true. It takes a bit of planning and a little effort, but with your friends at helping along the way, you’ve got a real edge over the rest of the online sites out there.

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