Are you thinking of setting up an online business? …. There are increasing numbers of people who are recognising the tremendous opportunity that the digital world offers to start up a business from home, without incurring the traditionally high costs of leasing and advertising.

If it succeeds, then running your own business offers great benefits, in terms of freedom and self-independence – as well as doing something that you actually enjoy.


.So here are nine points you will need to think about ….

1. Is there a niche for your online business?

Evaluate the market you are considering entering, and assess whether there may be a niche opportunity, in other words a gap between a customer need (which may be uncommon) and a lack of specialist providers. Have realistic expectations of the business performance, it’s unlikely that you will be generating many sales for some time, because it will take a while before you establish your online profile.

2. The product for your online business

Select either an existing product that know you can source and on-sell at a profit (ie. through an affiliate marketing scheme), or you might create an original product, such as an e-book that you develop yourself

3. A domain name for your online business

One of the most important considerations when setting up your online business is to find a good name.  It should be short, easy to remember and reflect what your business actually does.  Your domain name is the name by which your online customers will remember you by.  A good domain name is one that is memorable, short and easy to spell.  There are many websites around offering domain names, and prices can start for less than $12 (eg. Go Daddy)

Your domain name does not necessarily have to be the same as your business name, however from a marketing and brand perspective this would be slightly preferable. If you have not yet chosen your business name then definitely have a look at Selecting a Business Name

4. A website for your online business

Develop a website for your online business.  Do not go for a page on some affiliate site, but instead create your own website that you control.  It is easier to do than you might imagine.  Select a hosting service (there are plenty of companies on the web today offering their services).  Then get yourself a website template system – for example one of the most popular software for this is WordPress which you can download free. Or many hosting services offer free templates and website building capabilities.

However, if you are not inclined to building your own website then you can outsource this – but make sure you get several quotes because fees can vary considerably An important thing here is that if you decide to have your website built by someone else that you ensure you will be able to easily make changes yo your website in the future yourself. For example being able to upload new products or make revisions to the prices …… You definitely do not want to have to go through the website builder and have to pay them in future every time you need to upload new information online to the website.

5. You will need a secure host service provider. 

Reliability is important, so ensure you examine the “uptime guarantee” that your service provider offers.  And also enquire about the hosting providers “Back Up” and “Data Security” systems. This includes calculating how much time would be required to reinstall your online business if there was a complete infrastructure failure on the part of the hosting provider.

6. Build your customer list

This is important so that you are can regularly communicate with visitors to your site.  This will enables you to contact them regarding whatever special offer(s) you wish to promote to them.

7. A secure payment system for your online business

Carefully consider the ways in which you will handle the payments made by your customers.  If you are selling an affiliate product, then this will not be a problem as the affiliate program will handle the payments for you.  However, if you are selling your own product, then you will have to set up your own payment processing system – be it a PayPal or credit card facility.

8. Product delivery

Look at the ways in which you will arrange for goods to be delivered to your customer, if you are selling your own products.  You must look at local courier companies, as well as the postal service and find out which will be more cost effective for sending goods to customers.  Also, you will need to have established the pricing system for sending packages to your customer’s.  Most important is that you select a transport service who you know will be reliable – preferably a company who offers an online tracking system, so you can monitor status of delivery.

In summary, setting up an online business can provide you with the convenience of working from home, as well as a potentially good source of income, and I hope these eight points have provided you with useful food for thought

9. Your online presence

As a guide, it can take up to 3 or 4 months before your website will gain any real traction in search engine organic results (ie. the free listings) – so you will probably need to plan a Google adwords campaign and initially pay to be found in search engine results. for your nominated keywords (ie. the words your target group enter as search terms to find your product). But don’t worry too much – you can plan a reasonable advertising campaign with “Google adwords” with a budget of as little as $50 per week. Although Google accounts for the vast majority of online searches, don’t forget to list your website with other search engines such as Yahoo and Bing.

If you do not find a way to appear on the first page of Google, you will probably not be found by your online target market – this is the harsh reality. So, if you are going to set up a successful online business then you will need to learn about internet marketing and search engine optimisation, in order to compete effectively against other online players.  Also, take a look at SEO tips for small business – an essential read for understanding what you need to do to get your website ranking well.

  • PayPal advice on setting up your online business

  • Business registration

You will need to apply for an ABN (Australian Business Number) which you can do at the Australian Business Register

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