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Starting your own online business

An online business can be lucrative and cheap to set up. So let’s get started.

From its humble beginnings way back in 1989, the internet has grown and grown to become the most all-encompassing, far-reaching method of sharing information ever known. When it was first introduced, computers were about the size of a small car, the connection was slow, and you couldn’t use the telephone while you were online. But nowadays, the internet fits right in the palm of your hand, with smartphones and 4G data ensuring that the internet has become an unnoticeable yet pivotal part of most people’s days.

The internet’s revolutionary properties go further than just an on-demand way of finding out everything about anything; it’s also a great option for aspiring entrepreneurs looking not only for an alternative to a standard shop, but also a channel to reach the global market. So if you’re thinking of starting your own online business, here’s what you need to think about before you get going.

Which kind of online business do you want to run?

The term ‘online business’ applies to a number of different ventures, including e-commerce, subscription and ‘freemium’ – and depending on which type of business you want to run, you’ll need to think about which one you utilise.

E-commerce is the internet’s version of the high street shop. With an e-commerce site, you sell a product or service directly to customers, they pay online, and then you simply deliver what they’ve bought. A subscription service, on the other hand, provides information on a paid-for basis, which users sign up to access, while a ‘freemium’ site offers a basic service at no cost but allows users to opt in to pay for premium features.

Get the domain name right

Your domain name is vital to the success of your online business. After all, it’s the door through which customers will enter your site, so getting it spot on should be high on your list of priorities.

Your domain name should ideally be your business name, but with many millions of businesses and entrepreneurs out there having an online presence, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get your hands on a decent domain.

It’s handy to come up with a few variations for your domain name so that if one doesn’t work, you have a few other options as backup. Try to keep it short and memorable – after all, this is your brand, and you want customers to remember it to help with repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Design is key

One of the most fundamental aspects of your online business is the design of your website. The look and functionality of your site are both absolutely key to your success online, so it’s worth investing time, effort and money into getting it right.

You can save money by building your own site, but make sure that you understand what makes a good website before you do. Overloading pages with bright colours and flashy banners might be a way to grab attention, but it’ll also give potential customers headache enough to click that cross in the top right corner. Keep it simple with a few on-brand colours and styles, and make sure your products or services are clearly laid out with your contact details displayed prominently.

If you’d rather leave web design in the hands of the professionals, shop around for a good deal – and, most importantly, make sure that you work with someone who understands the requirements of your online business.

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