1. You must evaluate your business idea - Do your homework and see if your business idea is viable.
2. Write a business plan - A business plan is your road map to success. It's a guide that outlines your goals and details and how you are going to achieve them.
3. Research host sites - There are plenty of host sites to choose from. Some have a small monthly fee while others such as Etsy are free but have other requirements for selling. Some facts to consider are: 1) Does the host site have good customer service when problems arise? 2) What type of traffic does it generate? 3) Can you get you own domain name? 4) What type of security can they guarantee? 5) Is it easy to build your site and for potential customers to get around within the site? 6) What other features does it include? Whatever you decide make sure fit you needs.
4. Research SEO - SEO refers to Search Engine Optimization. It how people on the Internet find your online shop. There are some great sites on the the Internet that will help you with this. Wordtracker Academy is one such site.
5. Learn about keywords / keyword phrases - Keywords are essential to a successful online business. They are the words that people put in the search bar of the big search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo to find information. One great source of keyword information is Google Adwords Keyword Planner. Learning how to use this tool is a great advantage towards building a successful online business.
6. Promote - There are many ways to promote you business in the form of paid advertising, blogging or through social media sites. There are pros and cons to either way. Paid advertising doesn't guarantee sales, but it will give your business exposure. There are a couple of things to consider. 1) What is your budget? 2) How can this exposure generate into sales and increase your business? In the end, you will have to access whether paid advertising is worth its price.
Another form of promoting your business is through blogging. You can start your own blog or try to get featured on an established blog with lots of followers. Starting a blog from scratch will take time to establish, but you decide on the content. Whereas an established blog may be harder to get a review if you're a newer online business without many sales. One option to consider is that some established blogs also have paid advertising within their site.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter can be a great way to get your business noticed, but you'll have to put some time into it in order to make it work. Social media is an additional expense in your time and may take away from doing shop improvements in the beginning. However if your time can be equally balanced between your shop and your social media site(s), it may be pay off in the long run. In the beginning it might be best if you limit you social media sites to just one or two so you can become familiar with them. You also don't want to spread yourself so thin that you don't have time to work the other parts of the business. There is always the option on adding more social media sites as your business grows.
7. Build backlinks - There are two types of backlinks: internal and external. Internal backlinks are links that go from one page in your site to another page. External links are links that go from one Internet site to another. It's the external links that your want to build. The more external links you have the higher you will rank within the pages of the search engines.
8. Analyze your data - Analyzing your data with tools like Google Analytics will help you make an visual assessment so you can make changes as needed in your business. It can build your business by knowing: 1) who is your target market; 2) how to track that market and 3) how that target market interacts within the pages of your business.
Starting an online business can be a very rewarding opportunity. However, it does take determination, goal planning, and plenty of insight. A successful business is always a work in progress. When I started my Etsy online shop, Purse O'nality by Mary, I did abundant amount of research. I watched videos about pricing; read about how to take good pictures and make a great listing. Still, there was much to learn after I opened my shop. However if you implement these tips, I guarantee that your online business will be off to a good start. Just make sure you enjoy what you do and have fun along the way.
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