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Unofficial Guide to Starting a Business Online, 2nd Edition

ISBN: 978-0-471-74838-0
456 pages
January 2006
Unofficial Guide to Starting a Business Online, 2nd Edition (0471748382) cover image
The inside scoop... for when you want more than the official line!

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to capitalize on the fastest growing marketplace ever, the Web, this is the book for you. From choosing the product or service you offer to designing your website to marketing and managing your online venture, this guide gives you step-by-step guidance and helps you avoid common pitfalls. You don't have to be a computer guru or programmer, and you don't have to invest big bucks, thanks to the unbiased recommendations, practical guidance, and insider savvy this book puts at your fingertips. Updated with advice from experts, current statistics, new tips and strategies, and information about hundreds of resources, this guide gets you in business online with:

Vital Information on choosing a unique product or service and targeting a specific niche market

Insider Secrets from entrepreneurs who have launched successful online businesses

Money-Saving Techniques, including using services from Yahoo!, Microsoft, eBay, and others to create a small-business website

Time-Saving Tips for obtaining prominent listing placement on search engines and in Web directories and information portals

The Latest Trends in online advertising, marketing, and branding, plus the online auction phenomenon

Handy Checklists to help you create and operate your online business
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About the Author.


I In Business, Preparation Is Everything.

1 Making the Right Business Choices.

What’s involved with starting an online business?

Is an online-based business right for you?

How best to invest your time and money.

Which business ideas are best suited to the Web?

Defining your business idea.

Should you give up your day job?

Establishing your existing business on the Web.

Be careful what you get involved in.

E-commerce in the new millennium.

Just the facts.

2 Laying the Groundwork for Your Online Business.

Starting your business: some considerations.

Developing a business plan.

Getting help—people and software.

Elements of a business plan.

Seeking expert business advice.

Setting up an office.

Just the facts.

3 Your Online Biz’s Finances.

Benefits plans and compensation packages.

A few words about hiring employees.

Should you incorporate?

Other considerations involved with launching a business.

What needs to be done before going online?

Planning your business operations.

Setting up a merchant account.

Acquiring a merchant account: strategies from Aria Financial Corporation.

Ten strategies for obtaining a merchant account.

Financing your business.

Just the facts.

4 Planning Your Site.

Making your site look professional.

The first steps in developing your site.

Developing your site’s basic layout.

Choosing the perfect content.

Types of graphic files.

Graphics programs.

Choosing website-creation software or a turnkey e-commerce solution.

e-commerce software solutions for small online businesses.

Complete turnkey solutions for website design and operation.

eBay ProStores: another turnkey e-commerce solution.

eBay ProStores add-on services.

osCommerce: a totally free, yet powerful, website-design solution.

The scoop on copyrights.

Avoiding the most common Web design mistakes.

Using outside creative talent.

Just the facts.

II Getting Your Business Online.

5 Selecting and Registering Your Domain Name.

Understanding domain name syntax.

Choosing your domain name.

Domain parking is available: plan ahead.

Determine whether a domain name is available.

Registering your domain name is easy.

What to do if the domain name you want is taken.

Getting help registering your domain name.

Consider the costs.

Just the facts.

6 Selecting Your Host: The Ins and Outs of ISPs.

The costs associated with going online.

Services you need at prices you can afford.

A typical website hosting offer.

All-in-one turnkey solutions.

Getting technical support from your ISP.

Finding an ISP/Web-hosting service.

The computer equipment you need in-house.

Just the facts.

III An Internet Presence for Existing and New Businesses.

7 Expanding Your Existing Business into Cyberspace.

The basic steps for getting online.

How virtual and traditional businesses differ.

Creating an online presence for a traditional business.

Converting hard-copy assets into an electronic format.

What features your business could offer on the Web.

Spreading the word about your online presence.

Just the facts.

8 Fine-Tuning Your Business Before Going Online.

Research: the key to success.

Becoming a niche-marketing expert.

Identifying the needs and wants of your potential customers.

Beware of get-rich-quick schemes.

Twelve common scams.

Other online scams to watch out for.

Always pay attention to details.

Making online ordering fast, easy, and secure.

Make building customer confidence a top priority.

Post your privacy policies.

Just the facts.

9 Generating Revenues from Your Site.

Using your site to accept purchase requests.

Selling advertising space.

Membership fees.

Selling and trading online advertising space.

Affiliate programs.

A few words about Web rings.

Selling software or other downloadable goods.

Charging visitors for access to your site.

Just the facts.

IV Promoting Your Site.

10 Promotion Is the Key to Success.

The importance of promoting your online biz.

The target audience.

Promotional and advertising opportunities available online.

Internet newsgroups.

Internet mailing lists.

Why you should avoid using spam.

Paid online advertising versus free promotion.

The ins and outs of banner advertising.

Banner ad trades: the ad barter system.

Press-release distribution.

Tips for writing an effective press release.

Online chats and communities.

Taking advantage of traditional advertising.

Blogging as a promotional tool.

Podcasting as a marketing tool.

Online newsletters are excellent promotional tools.

Just the facts.

11 Search-Engine Optimization and Search Marketing Made Easy.

Internet search engines and portals.

Understanding search-engine lingo.

The Web-directory aspect of certain search engines.

Make sure your site contains meta tags.

What a meta tag looks like.

Search engines: the next millennium’s Yellow Pages.

Generate traffic with Google AdWords.

Using banner ads to boost traffic.

Tips for banner ad creation.

Utilizing price-comparison websites.

Just the facts.

V Improving and Analyzing Your Site.

12 Making Your Site Look and Sound Great.

Web browser plug-ins.

Chatting within your site.

Beware! Not everyone uses plug-ins.

Using Java applets and other graphic technologies.

Should your site use cookies?

Paying attention to download times.

Test browser compatibility.

Giving visitors something of value.

Think before you act.

Look to the future . . . wait, it’s already here!

Just the facts.

13 Analyzing Your Site.

Pre-grand opening checklist.

Determining how your site is perceived.

Soliciting comments and feedback from visitors.

Keeping your site’s content fresh.

Just the facts.

VI The Experts Speak.

14 Doing Business the eBay Way.

eBay auctions 101.

Reasons to use eBay.

Create effective product listings.

Your feedback will make or break your reputation.

Strategies for listing items for an eBay auction.

eBay spin-off businesses generate huge profits.

Establishing an eBay store.

An eBay store is scalable.

eBay ProStores: another turnkey e-commerce solution.

Just the facts.

15 E-commerce Industry Experts Share Their Knowledge and Secrets.

Sandy Bendremer, Cofounder, Galaxy Internet Services.

Rich Riley, Vice President/General Manager, Yahoo! Small Business.

Jimmy Duvall, Senior Product Manager, Yahoo! Merchant Solutions.

Jeff Vikari, Executive Director, Clickincome.com.

Troy Stevens, General Manager, Clickincome.com.

Barry Schnitt, Spokesperson, Google AdWords.

Just the facts.

16 Successful E-commerce Entrepreneurs Speak Out.

Taeyoung Oh, Founder/CEO, Louisdog.com.

Jeremy Alicandri, Founder/Owner, SimplyCheap.com.

Carole Jane Rossi, Founder/Owner, JOriginals.com.

Christian Girts, Founder/Owner, AnglersVice.com.

Scott Meyer, Founder, OnlyOneCreations.com.

Chris Gwynn, Founder/CEO, Fridgedoor.com.

Just the facts.

A Glossary.

B Resource Guide.

C You Sold It, Now Ship It.

D Important Information About Copyrights and Trademarks.


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JASON R. RICH is the author of nearly thirty books and numerous articles on career-related issues, technology, e-commerce, entertainment, and travel. He authored the first edition of The Unofficial Guide to Starting a Business Online (Wiley), which appeared on the Wall Street Journal bestseller list.
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"…a must read for any budding Richard Bransons…" ( Windows XP Made Easy, November 2006)
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