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Starting up an online business (in simple steps)

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Starting Up an
Online Business

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First published 2013 (print and electronic)
© Heather Morris 2013 (print and electronic)
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978-0-273-77474-7 (print)
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Starting Up an


Online Business

in Simple
      steps

Heather Morris
www.ebook3000.com


Starting up an online business
with confidence
Get to grips with practical computing tasks with minimal time, fuss and bother. In Simple
Steps guides guarantee immediate results. They tell you everything you need to know on
a specific application from the most essential tasks to master to every activity you’ll want
to accomplish, through to solving the most common problems you’ll encounter.

Helpful features
To build your confidence and help you start up an online business, practical hints, tips
and shortcuts feature on every page:
AlerT: Explains and provides
practical solutions to the most
commonly encountered problems

HOT Tip: Time- and effortsaving shortcuts

See AlSO: Points you

DiD yOu knOw?

to other related tasks and
information

Additional features to explore

wHAT DOeS THiS meAn?
Jargon and technical terms explained in plain English

Practical. Simple. Fast.

in Simple

steps
www.ebook3000.com


Dedication up an online business
Starting
with confidence
For Finley and Callum.

Acknowledgements

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Helpful features
Publisher acknowledgements

To build your confidence and help you start up an online business, practical hints, tips
andWe
shortcuts
feature
on every
page:
are grateful
to the
following
for permission to reproduce copyright material:
Screenshots
Pages
2, 3 (top),
3 (bottom),
8, 20, 21 (top), 21 (bottom), 96, HOT
97, 98,Tip:
100, Time101, 166,
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courtesy
of Google;
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of ipo.gov.uk homepage,
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practical
solutions
to 14:
theScreenshot
most
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shortcutsProperty Office, © Crown
copyright;
Pageencountered
17: Screenshotproblems
of www.sunfloweruk.com homepage, Courtesy of Sunflower Marketing,
commonly
Design and Communications; Page 18: Screenshot of www.custommade-uk.co.uk hompage, courtesy of
Custom M.A.D.E. Ltd; Page 22: Screenshot of www.startups.co.uk, courtesy of Crimson Publishing Ltd;
Pages 26, 31, 32, 37, 110 (top), 110 (bottom), 111, 113, 114, 115, 162: Microsoft screenshots in this book
are reprinted by permission of Microsoft Corporation; Pages 12, 27, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144 (top),
144See
(bottom),
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Amazon
UK;knOw?
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explore
co.uk homepage; courtesy of Serchen Ltd; Page 51: Screenshot of www.hmrc.gov.uk/vat/index.htm VAT
information
information screen, HM Revenue & Customs, © Crown copyright; Page 103: Screenshot of pinterest.
com/ selected products screen, courtesy of Pinterest; Page 108: Screenshot of www.electronic-payments.
co.uk compare online payment solutions screen, Courtesy of and copyright © RSTO Limited; Page 112:
Screenshot of www.cnet.co.uk/ AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition 2012 1012.0.1913 download screen, copyright
© The YGS group; Page 153: Screenshot of www.businesslink.gov.uk, homepage, © Crown copyright;
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Page wHAT
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English of www.hmrc.gov.uk/sa/rec-keepRevenue & Customs, © Crown
copyright;
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self-emp.htm ‘Record keeping (self-employed) screen, HM Revenue & Customs, © Crown copyright; Page
157: Screenshot of oft.gov.uk homepage, Office of Fair Trading, © Crown copyright; Page 159: Screenshot
of ipo.gov.uk/tm/t-find/t-find-text/ ‘Trade Mark Enquiry’ screen, Intellectual Property Office, © Crown
copyright; Page 160: Screenshot of www.ipo.gov.uk/types/copy.htm copyright information screen,
Intellectual Property Office, © Crown copyright; Page 172: Screenshot of www.financialfraudaction.org.
uk/retailer-landing.asp ‘Retailer landing page’, courtesy of Financial Fraud Action UK.

Practical. Simple. Fast.

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in Simple

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Contents at a glance
Top 10 Online Start-up Tips

4  Add email and edit
your webpage

1  Develop your business idea

● Set

● Choose
● Study

a product or service

17

the market

19

● Assess

start-up costs and projected
revenues24

● Create

a business plan

26

68

● Add

products to your categories

70

● Publish

34

an all-in-one domain and
site-building package
product descriptions

36
40

a PayPal payment

up your Quick Shopping Cart
account45
your store information and
add a logo

the order and enter
shipping information

77
79

the order as shipped

86

6  Promote your business
● Create

a special offer

● Understand

SEO

● Understand

website analytics

● Edit

47

your website template

84

93

in contact with your
customers95

● Set

your PayPal account

your orders

● Keep

3  Create a basic webpage

● Enable

74

5  Manage your orders

● Mark

37

creating a logo

● Customise

your website

● Complete

a domain name

● Consider

categories to your site

● Process

● Choose

● Prepare

61

● Add

● Monitor

2  Prepare to get your
business online
● Register

up your website email

49
53

www.ebook3000.com

96
100


7  Explore other payment
options and online security

9  Sell on Amazon
● Understand

● Consider

setting up an Internet
merchant account (IMA)

108

● Learn

about SSL security
certificates109

● Protect

your business information
on a shared computer
110

● Protect

your computer against
viruses and malware

112

8  Sell on eBay
● Understand

eBay business basics

119

● Learn

Amazon marketplace 139

about selling options

● Monitor

your seller’s account

for a Pro seller
account147

10 Understand tax and legal
obligations
● Choose

a business structure

● Register

your business with HMRC 154

● Keep

clear accounting records

● Consider

● Write

Top 10 Online Start-up
Problems Solved

an item description and
set a price

127

144

● Register

● Decide

on a pricing and listing
strategy123

141

● Use

eBay tools to promote your
products136

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business insurance

153
155
156


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Contents
Top 10 Online Start-up Tips
  1
  2
  3
  4
  5
  6
  7
  8
  9
10

Assess demand for your idea
Choose an all-in-one domain and site-building package
Consider creating a logo
Register for a PayPal account
Keep in contact with your customers
Understand SEO
Protect your business information on a shared computer
Understand eBay business basics
Understand Amazon marketplace
Understand e-commerce regulations

2
4
5
6
7
8
9
11
12
14

1  Develop your business idea
● Choose

a product or service
● Adapt your existing business
● Study the market
● Assess demand for your idea
● Analyse your business idea
● Find a supplier
● Assess start-up costs and projected revenues
● Create a business plan
● Learn about affiliate programmes

www.ebook3000.com

17
18
19
20
22
23
24
26
27


2 Prepare to get your business
online
● Check

your computer’s operating system
● Update your web browser
● Understand domain names
● Register a domain name
● Understand web hosting
● Choose an all-in-one domain and site-building package
● Prepare product descriptions
● Take photos of your products
● Consider creating a logo
● Register for a PayPal account

31
32
33
34
35
36
37
39
40
41

3  Create a basic webpage
● Set

up your Quick Shopping Cart account
● Start Quick Shopping Cart
● Edit your store information and add a logo
● Customise your website template
● Understand VAT obligations
● Add postage options to your site
● Enable your PayPal account
● Add product descriptions
● Upload product images
● Assign images to your products

45
46
47
49
51
52
53
54
56
57

4  Add email and edit your webpage
● Set

up your website email
● Assign a name to your email

61
63


● Launch

your email
● Edit your welcome message
● Add categories to your site
● Add products to your categories
● Change category page styles
● Change product page styles
● Edit and add products
● Publish your website

65
67
68
70
71
72
73
74

5  Manage your orders
● Monitor

your orders
● Process a PayPal payment
● Buy and print a shipping label
● Log payments in your store
● Assign a package to an order
● Complete the order and enter shipping information
● Send your customer a message
● Mark the order as shipped
● Manage unique or non-inventoried items
● Inventory your store items
● Issue a refund

77
79
80
81
82
84
85
86
87
88
89

6  Promote your business
● Create

a special offer
● Create a coupon code
● Keep in contact with your customers
● Understand SEO
● Define your keywords for search engines
● Add keywords to your website

93
94
95
96
97
99


● Understand

website analytics
● Use free advertising credits
● Create a Facebook page
● Use Pinterest

100
101
102
103

7 Explore other payment options
and online security
● Explore

PayPal options
● Consider setting up an Internet merchant account (IMA)
● Learn about SSL security certificates
● Protect your business information on a shared computer
● Protect your computer against viruses and malware
● Use wireless Internet connections safely
● Back up your business data

107
108
109
110
112
113
114

8  Sell on eBay
● Understand

eBay business basics
● Research completed BIN and auction listings
● Understand eBay sellers’ fees
● Decide on a pricing and listing strategy
● Create a listing
● Write a title
● Add photographs
● Write an item description and set a price
● Choose payment options
● Select postage options
● Include a returns policy
● Monitor your sales and respond to queries

119
120
122
123
124
125
126
127
129
130
131
132


● Accept

PayPal payment
● Print postage
● Use eBay tools to promote your products

134
135
136

9  Sell on Amazon
● Understand

Amazon marketplace
● Learn about selling options
● Understand what you can sell
● Sell an item as a Basic seller
● Monitor your seller’s account
● Post a sold item
● Confirm shipment
● Register for a Pro seller account
● Consider Fulfilment by Amazon

139
141
142
143
144
145
146
147
149

10 Understand tax and legal
obligations
● Choose

a business structure
● Register your business with HMRC
● Keep clear accounting records
● Consider business insurance
● Understand e-commerce regulations
● Understand trademarks
● Understand copyright obligations

153
154
155
156
157
159
160


Top 10 Online Start-up
Problems Solved
  1 The images and layout of my website aren’t displaying
properly162
  2 I want to remove the site-builder logo from my website
163
  3 I want to list a sale item without using a coupon code
164
  4 My website isn’t getting hits or is ranking low in the search
results165
  5 How do I link my social media sites to my main website?
167
  6 Can I use my business email in Outlook?
168
  7 How can I allow customers to pay over the phone?
169
  8 Can I list products on eBay through my website?
170
  9 How can I protect my business from credit card fraud?
172
10 How do I unpublish my website after I hit Publish on
Go Daddy?
173


Top 10 Online
Start-up Tips

1Assess demand for your idea

2

2Choose an all-in-one domain and
site-building package

4

3Consider creating a logo

5

4Register for a PayPal account

6

5Keep in contact with your customers

7

6Understand SEO

8

7Protect your business information on a
shared computer

9

8Understand eBay business basics

11

9Understand Amazon marketplace

12

10Understand e-commerce regulations

14


2

Tip 1: Assess demand for
your idea
You can find out how many people are searching the Internet for a specific item by
looking at keyword searches through Google’s AdWords site. For example, if you are
selling designer T-shirts, you can try a search with those keywords or words close to
them. The results will tell you how many people locally and globally have searched on
the Internet for those keywords each month. It will also give you a rough idea of market
interest in your idea.

1 Go to adwords.google.co.uk.
2 Click Get keyword ideas.

2

Alert:  If you plan on selling
only in the UK, pay particular
attention to the local search
results you receive, which may
differ from the global results.

Hot Tip:  This is not an exact way
to gauge market interest. However,
if you find your search returns no
results for your keywords, you may
need to rethink your business idea.


3 Enter a word or phrase and select a category if relevant.
4 Enter the encryption code.

3

4
5

3

5 Click Search and review the results for your keyword.


4

Tip 2: Choose an all-in-one
domain and site-building package
There are several companies that provide domain name registration, web hosting and
website-building tools all in one package. The companies listed below offer easy-to-use
website-building tools that you can use through your web browser. You won’t need to
download or buy any software and you develop a website from a selection of templates
which you can change and customise. Check to see whether or not free phone support
is offered with the package you choose.
●●

Moonfruit.com offers a browser-based website-creation tool and has a low-cost website
option from £36 per year. There is also a free website option and a free trial period.

●●

GoDaddy.com has an e-commerce site-building tool called Quick Shopping Cart.
You can register a domain name, host your site, get a business email and build your
website from £84 annually.

●●

Easily.co.uk offers
domain registration,
email, hosting and
a website-creator
package called
EasilyShop. Packages
start from £99 annually.

●●

Actinic.co.uk has an
online site-building
tool and you can also
register and host your
domain through the
site. Packages start at
£228 per year and there
is a free 30-day trial.

Alert:  If you choose a free or

Did you know?

low-cost option, you usually have
to display ads on your webpage.

If you have already registered
a domain through another
registrar, you can transfer it to
a new hosting service.


Tip 3: Consider creating a logo

●●

Make the logo fit into the business sector you are targeting (technology, fashion,
construction, etc.).

●●

Think about your target market: young people, knitting enthusiasts, gardeners, etc.
and make the design and font appealing to them.

●●

Consider how you will incorporate the colour and design into your website design.

●●

Look at what other businesses in your sector have done with their logos (but avoid
copying them).

●●

Avoid including free clip art in the logo itself as it will appear amateurish.

Style Ts
Style Ts

Style Ts
Hot Tip:  Shop around for a
small design firm. Some will offer
special deals such as free business
cards or business stationery as
part of the package.

Hot Tip:  A good logo design
will reproduce well on a variety
of media, including your website,
business cards or stationery.

5

A logo will help brand your business and make it creditable. You can use the logo on
your website as well as on any printed marketing material you use such as business
cards, packing slips or stationery. You can try to make a logo yourself but some small
design businesses will generate a logo design for you for less than £100. Bear the
following in mind when coming up with a logo idea for your business.


6

Tip 4: Register for a PayPal
account
In order to do business online, you need to have a way to receive money from your
customers. Many online shoppers already have a PayPal account and trust this method
of payment as it’s one of the best known and most widely used. It works when you
place a Buy button on your website. When customers click it, it takes them to PayPal
and a secure window to provide their payment details. All you need to register is an
email address and a credit card.
●●

Consider selecting the Website Payments Standard option. Your customers can use
their credit cards as well as their PayPal account.

●●

Read through the
details of the other
options offered by
PayPal to see what fits
your business.

●●

Use a business email
to register, not your
personal email.

see also: Chapter 7
will explore other online
payment options and
ways to conduct secure
transactions on your
website.

Alert:  You will pay a fee to

Alert:  There may be other

use PayPal. The fees vary but are
generally a percentage of your sales.

electronic payment systems that
came with your website package.
You can use those as well as offering
a PayPal option to your customers.


If you have a list of customers from either your bricks-and-mortar store or from your
online store, make sure that you keep them up to date with any changes, additions
or special offers you are promoting. You want to create repeat customers and also
encourage them to share information about you with their friends and family (your
future customers).
●●

Send a follow-up note a few weeks after a customer buys something to check they
are happy or let them know about a related product they may be interested in.

●●

Let them know about any special offers.

●●

Send information about new products.

●●

Update them
with changes
to your website
(e.g. adding
an information
section or blog).

Alert:  Don’t bombard your

Did you know?

customers with emails. Schedule a
regular email newsletter, perhaps
once or twice a month or when you
have something new in stock or run
a promotion.

If anyone asks not to receive
emails from your business
you must, by law, honour the
request and remove them
from your mailing list.

7

Tip 5: Keep in contact with
your customers


8

Tip 6: Understand SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of getting your website listed in search
engine results for specific keywords. For example, if you have an organic skincare
business, you want your website displayed near the top of the search results when a
consumer searches for ‘organic skincare’. Search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and
Bing base their rankings in part on the keywords their computers find on the millions
of websites they analyse. In fact, their computers (called crawlers, bots or spiders) trawl
through the Internet looking for websites – you don’t have to do anything to be found
by them. Some key points about SEO include the following.
●●

Find the best keywords for your business.

●●

Embed the relevant keywords within your site to get the search engines to find them.

●●

Have your site linked from other sites (called inbound links).

●●

Update and change your content often (i.e. a static site with little change in content
will rank lower in the results).

Hot Tip:  Reach out to other
businesses, blogs or websites of friends
who may have an interest in linking
your website with theirs. Inbound links
affect how your site is ranked in the
results (the more links, the better).

Did you know?
Adding a blog or an information
section to your website and
updating it frequently is a good
way to add dynamic content to
your site.


Ideally, you will have a computer in your home office exclusively dedicated to your
business. However, when you start out you may find yourself sharing this valued
resource with others in your household. Be aware that other users can inadvertently
move or even delete important files and there are steps you should take to protect
your business. You can set up a separate user account for others to use and also add a
password to protect your user account so that nobody else will access it.
Here’s how to create a new user account.

1 From the Start menu select Control Panel and then User Accounts.
2 Click Manage another account and click Create a new account.
3 Enter a user account name next to Standard user.
4 Click Create Account.
5 Click the Start menu and select Switch user from the menu.
To add a password to your user account, follow these steps.

6 Return to User Accounts and click Create a password for your account.
7 Enter your password, create a hint and click Create password.

Did you know?
If you have a Mac, you can
add or change user accounts in
System Preferences under Users
and Groups. Click the plus (+)
symbol to add a new account.

Hot Tip:  Create secure
passwords with a combination
of numbers, letters and symbols
and change them frequently.

9

Tip 7: Protect your business
information on a shared
computer


10

1
6

2

3

4

7


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