Online business is not so different from any other sort of start-up venture; the same principles apply. Think about what makes an “offline” business successful, and then analyze your Web business in the same way. To get you started, the following About.com article outlines some of the essential steps you’ll need to take.
- Find a Good Name: Offline, a good name is usually short, easy to remember, and reflects your business in some way. It’s the same in the online world. Your domain name is how you’ll be known on the Web. Customers will have to remember it, spell it correctly, and type it into their Web browsers. (…)
- Build an Effective Store: Think of an effective offline store: it is attractive, projects the right image, and is easy for customers to find what they want. Make sure your online store has the same qualities. It should be easy to navigate, with a good search function. The design should reflect the image you’re trying to project: professional, hip, up-scale, etc. (…)
- Rent from a Reliable Landlord: You wouldn’t want your offline store to lose sales because it was frequently closed for repairs, would you? Choosing the right Web host for your site is like renting from a reputable landlord. (…)
- Spread the Word: A store on Main Street is guaranteed at least a little foot traffic. An online venture might get a few walk-ins as well. But to guarantee traffic, you have to do some marketing. (…)
- Get Paid: Just like a real store has “back-end” systems in place, an online store needs mechanisms to accept credit cards and process orders. To automate even more, you can also integrate your online store with accounting, inventory, and fulfillment systems. (…)
- Make Your Customers Happy: Successful shops have great customer service. An online store can keep its customers happy by offering lots of online information, answering inquiries promptly, shipping quickly, and providing for easy returns. (…)
- Refine and Improve: Good offline stores are constantly evaluating their performance and trying new approaches. They rearrange merchandise, design new window displays, calculate profit per square foot, and count foot traffic. Make sure you do the same for your online venture. (…)