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Starting Up an
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
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Dedication up an online business Starting with confidence For Finley and Callum.
Get to grips with practical computing tasks with minimal time, fuss and bother. In Simple I would to thankimmediate the publishing team who create thisyou book, Steps guideslike guarantee results. They tellhelped you everything needincluding to know Steve on Temblett, Rob Cottee, Pasha and Viv Church. I’m to grateful be anyou’ll author in a specifi c application fromSundus the most essential tasks to master every to activity want this excellentthrough series. I’d also likethe to thank Neil Salkind for his you’ll encouragement to accomplish, to solving most common problems encounter. and for continuing to help me find such interesting projects.
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, Screenshots AlerT: Explains and provides and167: effort-
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
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
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
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
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
2Choose an all-in-one domain and site-building package
3Consider creating a logo
4Register for a PayPal account
5Keep in contact with your customers
7Protect your business information on a shared computer
8Understand eBay business basics
9Understand Amazon marketplace
10Understand e-commerce regulations
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.
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.
5 Click Search and review the results for your keyword.
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.
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.
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.
Tip 5: Keep in contact with your customers
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.
Tip 7: Protect your business information on a shared computer