How To Start an Online Business Guide 2017
“Most great ideas come when you’re in the shower.” Let’s face it, most ideas also never leave the bathroom. Why is that? The biggest challenge many people face is not knowing where to start. How do you launch an eCommerce business and where do you start? Well you’ve come to the right place. We have you covered!
The idea behind this document is to provide the would-be self-starter with a guide on how to start an online business guide and kick things off without losing time. Consider this a living document that will be updated with new resources and content as we see fit. This is our template for how we got started and we want to share this with you!
Let’s get to it.
1. Find a Domain Name/Hosting
Your domain name is the web address where your business can be found online. Finding an unregistered domain name today can be a challenge. Be patient–very patient–and try to think outside of the box.
You’ll also need a hosting provider for your website. A hosting provider is where your website will live 24\7. They will host your website on their servers.
Tip: Your domain name does not have to relate to or provide context for the product or service you plan to market. Think of products/services like Uber, Square, and Dropbox. Be creative and think outside the box.
SiteGround is our hosting provider and register of choice based on two things we consider near and dear to our hearts: speed and performance! We’ve tried popular services like GoDaddy.com and let’s just say we recommend you look elsewhere. We don’t settle for mediocre and neither should you. SiteGround not only provides site hosting solutions starting at $5.95 per month, but also domain registering. We like their “GrowBig” web hosting plan as it hits the sweet spot of services while being very affordable.
Let it be known that you can register a domain name with tons of web registrars (GoDaddy, Host Gator, etc) and even save yourself three or four bucks, but it’s not worth the headache to transfer the domain over to SiteGround when you want the best web hosting solution.
Step 2. Obtain a Business License
Research your local laws and consult with your tax accountant regarding what type of business license will best suite your business. Once you’re ready to apply for a license you can process your request from the comfort of your home.
Filing for a business license on LegalZoom is as simple as setting up a Netflix account.
Step 3. Setup an Email for Your Business
This is a step when many small business fail! How? Take a look at the example email address below. We’ve all received emails from small business at one time or another that looked like this:
From: [email protected]
Don’t use a personal email account for your business and make the same mistake as Billy. Register a business class email account and have your email look like this instead:
From [email protected]
Resource: G Suite for Business
The internet does not need to know that you’re a small business. Leverage the power of cloud solutions from Google for Business starting at $10 per month.
Step 4. How to Get a Custom Logo for Your Small Business
You don’t need to be an artist or a graphics designer. You have the power of the Internet and a crowdsourced group of freelance designers willing to help.
Start with a $299 design budget and expect at least 30 custom logo designs from freelance designers with a money back guarantee.
Step 5. Select a CMS for Your Website (content management system)
So what’s a CMS? A CMS is the platform that your website operates to allow you to design, build, and administer your site. If your website was a house, the CMS would be the foundation that your house sits on. There are many CMSs available to choose from. We’re not going to dive into a list of of CMS systems available, but we are going to recommend the CMS we use to build all of our sites.
With WordPress you can build any type of website from eCommerce to Blogging sites. It’s the most powerful and flexible CMS today, not to mention it powers 28% of Internet website. Need we say more?
Step 6. Select a Theme for your Site
Your WordPress site needs a theme to complement its functionality, look and feel.
With thousands of WordPress theme templates to choose from the possibilities are endless. Before deciding on a template, be sure to have a firm idea of what type of functionality your site will require and make sure the theme you select will support your business needs.
Update – This year we’ve moved away from Themeforest and over to using WordPress themes by StudioPress. These are built on the Genesis framework and are geared toward search engine optimized code and security. The results have been Ah-mazing for our clients. Oh yeah, our site is also built with StudioPress.
Step 7. Add an eCommerce solution to your site
This is how you sell your products online.
WooCommerce is the premier plugin for WordPress that will handle all of your eCommerce needs from sales, shipping, and reports, to mobile payments, and it will allow your online business to scale. We’re huge fans of WooCommerce!
We hope this list has helped you by outlining the best tools and resources available to jumpstart your new venture! Be sure to check back as we plan on updating this page.
Did we leave something out or have a comment? Please leave us a note and we’ll get back to you.
– The BlitzBoom Team