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So You Want To Start An Internet Business?

So You Want To Start An Internet Business?

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The internet is a great place for those that want to start a business to do so with out the worries of having to rent a store front or warehouse.
For some reason many get the idea all they have to do is sign up for an associate program of some sort, submit that url to as many places as often as they can and the cash will start rolling into their pockets in no time.
Despite what many are lead to believe however, there will be investments that have to be made and their are certain steps that must be taken,for your and other’s protection.
Legal steps:
1. Check with your local agencies and find out if you need a business license. In many places,there is no charge for the inital license as your tax will be determined by your income reported.In my area, you must report every quarter stating you made X amount of dollars or even if you made none (after expenses). Many will require that you must advertise your intention to set up a business in a local newspaper under the ‘fictious business’ notification section of the ads. You do not have to incorperate in most cases.
2. Check with your tax person and find out what you may claim as deductions.
3. Check and see if you qualify for government loans for small businesses.
Internet Steps:
You will have to make up a budget at this time. Never spend more than you can afford to lose, but spend what you can afford. Any business whether on the internet or not, is a gamble. Some make it, many don’t.
Find and read as many articles as you can on every aspect of internet business, pay attention to promotional (advertising)methods. This will make or break your business very quickly. Keep your site ‘web based’, that is off your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and off your home PC.
Notify your ISP that you are starting a business and what they advise. ( Remember, if they get complaints about you,you may lose your ISP connection). Some well known ISP’s ( such as Net Zero, AOL) ,ay have special requirements and may also have the options to give you reduced advertising rates or more.
Give your new business TIME to get established. In my opinion, it will take at least two years for the average person to show enough income to show a profit after expenses, unless you have deep pockets. If you have qualified for a loan, you will be given guidelines to follow.
Find a product or service to sell. If you are not an expert in the field, take training or find a product or service you are very well versed in.
IF you do not have your own website with it’s own domain, you will not be considered as ‘serious’. The next two steps may be done in either order:
1.Secure your domain ( example: Joe’s autoparts.com).This will become your URL (Universe Resource Locator). Keep it short but to the point.
Have the domain directed to your hosting companies server set up for you. If they offer it, get one that will re-direct e-mails. Get your domain for at least two to three years ( the longer the less it will cost). You will be charged for each ‘extension’ also. (example: .com, .net ). Remember, .org is for non-profits and educational sites such as your local college or the Red Cross, etc. and .gov is, well you know, do not even try to get one of those or you will find yourself in a whole lot of trouble from the start ( unless your business is going to be one ).
2.Hosting: You have to have your domain ‘hosted’ or residing at a server somewhere. This is where all the files that make up a good website are stored. Many hosting companies will also secure a domain name of your choice,for a smaller fee. DO NOT get ‘Free’ or cheap hosting. As they say, you will get what you pay for. Get the best package that the hosting company has for commercial sites that you can afford. Many of these will come with ‘basic’ options to get you started and others that you may get as you need them. (as ‘secure server’ for credit card payments, etc). Do NOT use the ‘homepage’ your ISP may be providing you with. You will lose your ISP if they find your running a business from it.
3. Your domain will have to point to your ‘index or home’ page of your ‘web’. Your hosting company will have a ‘temp’ page for you to edit. Many also will have a simple editing program if you desire to do your own website work.
4. Site set up and page(s) design. If you don’t want to spend the time to learn to do so, then you will have to pay to have a site set up. Once again, many good hosting companies can do this for you also,at an additional charge, or you will have to contact a company that does such things and pay for it to be done.
Remember, the internet is all about information. Keep your main site page ( the one people will see when the type in your domain’s name) fairly clean of pictures, sounds and the like, unless the site is professionaly done for you. The programers know ways to make the pictures etc load on your visitor’s browser with out slowing down the ‘load time’. Many visitors will not ‘wait’ for a site to load for more than five to ten seconds.
5. Promotions
When you have your site set up, a good product or service to sell (or re-sale), you will now want to advertise it on the interenet AND in your local papers and yellow pages, etc. (You can do both from the internet itself).
You can pay for a company to do your promotions or you can do it yourself on the internet.
Find out exactly what the SEO companies (Search Engine Optimization) will do for you. It may be more cost effective to go this route the first year or so.
In spite of what you may have heard, you do not have to be ranked in the top ten,one hundred,or even the top 100,000 to get your site noticed. There are many companies making millions of dollars a year that have sites ranked past the ‘million’ mark in the rankings.
Many search engines will not list your associate ( or re-sale site page given to you) if your going that route. Instead,you will want to have a description of them and a ‘link’ to it (or them) on your site page. If you later on change associations, it will be easier to change the content of your main site page, and any related pages,than to start over. Remember the business is yours, the products may change or you may add more as you grow.
There are many ‘factors’ that effect how your site will be ranked and if you are not well versed in Search Engines, then let the pro’s do it for you or start getting yourself knowledgable. There are thing such as traffic volume, keywords,meta tags,how the title is worded etc to be taken into consideration. Some engines will visit your site before listing, some you will have to pay to get listed with, and some will require periodic checking to see if your listed or to stay listed. Some will list you right away,some may take months and some may not list you at all. Many will not tell you either way. If you ‘spam’ a search engine you may be put on their ‘do not list’ list, and as many engines share information between one another, well guess what happens?
Do not start any e-mail campaigns untill your understand how e-mail works and how to do it without getting into trouble. Here you will want to apply ‘reverse marketing’ only at the start.
The most important factor in the whole equation will be YOU. Do not let your desires outweight your common sense.
Good Luck.
Robert Nixon
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