Starting an online business is exciting, fun, and can be a great side hustle! With a bit of luck, success, and the right marketing, you could even turn your online business into your main source of income. However, there are several steps you’ll need to take before you launch your online business. From conducting a domain search to doing market research, here are some tips to help you get started.
Conduct a Domain Search
The first step is to come up with a great name for your website. There are currently over 9.5 million eCommerce sites online, so it’s a good idea to start your search as soon as possible using a generator like Namify.
Namify is an AI-powered domain name generator that takes into account your business type, industry, and keywords to come up with available .com domains that are short, pronounceable, and brandable. After you’ve found a few possible names using Namify’s search engine, it’s time to check their availability.
Once you have a few ideas, use a domain search tool to see if the domains are available. You’ll want to choose a .com domain, as they’re the most popular and easily recognizable.
Choose Your Web Hosting Plan
Now that you have a domain name, it’s time to choose your web hosting plan. Fortunately, web hosting plans can cost as little as $10 or $20 a year up to $100 per year. There are many different web hosting providers to choose from, such as Hostgator, Bluehost, WordPress, Wix, and lots of other options.
The type of web hosting plan you’ll need will depend on the size and scope of your online business. If you’re just starting out, a shared web hosting plan will likely be sufficient. This type of plan allows you to share server space with other websites, which keeps costs down. As your business grows, you can upgrade to a VPS (virtual private server), cloud hosting, or dedicated server plan.
Pick Your eCommerce Platform
Now it’s time to choose your eCommerce platform. This is the software that will power your online store and allow you to manage inventory, process payments, and ship orders. There are many different options to choose from, including Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, and WooCommerce.
Each platform has its own set of features, so it’s important to choose the one that’s right for your business. For example, Shopify is a great choice for businesses that want an all-in-one solution, as it includes everything from hosting to security to payments. WooCommerce, on the other hand, is a good choice for businesses that want more control over their store, as it’s a open-source platform that can be customized to your specific needs.
Do Market Research
Before you launch your online business, it’s important to do some market research. This will help you determine who your target customers are, what they’re looking for, and how to best reach them. There are many different ways to do market research, such as surveys, focus groups, and interviews.
One of the easiest ways to do market research is to simply ask your friends and family members what they would want to see in an online store. This can give you some great ideas for products, services, and marketing strategies. You can also use social media to reach a larger audience and get feedback from potential customers.
Register Your Online Business
Registering your online business is crucial to protect your personal assets, establish credibility with customers, and comply with legal requirements. If you need help figuring out where to start, read a comparison guide by SmallBusinessHQ on the legalZoom and Incfile agencies that can assist you with business registration.
Set Up Your Online Store
After you’ve followed all these steps, now it’s time to set up your online store! Remember to not skimp on domain search, market research, and other essential steps in the process. By taking the time to do things right, you’ll be setting your business up for success from the very beginning.