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How to Start an Internet Business

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When thinking about starting an internet business what are the steps that you need to take? Here are a few things to consider before embarking on an internet business startup.

Step 1: Register Your Business Name

Should you register your internet business? It will benefit you, in the long run, to register your business with a legal business name to ensure everything is legal. By doing this you will also keep other people from using your business name and benefiting from your hard work.

Do a little research on the tax benefits of being incorporated (INC) or being a limited liability corporation (LLC) versus the disadvantages and see if either of those will give you an advantage for your business. You may decide just to be a sole proprietor, to begin with. You can make changes to a different business structure later if it turns out that you grow larger than you first expected or you take on partners to share the workload.

Here in Alaska where I live all I had to do was go to the State of Alaska Business website. I filled out my application for a business license as a sole proprietor and was able to print out a copy of my registration and license on the spot.

Step 2: Consider Getting a Separate Mailing Address

Getting a second address for your business for privacy and to keep your personal and business mail separate will be beneficial in the long run. You should try to keep your business affairs separate from your personal life as much as possible.

Consider renting a mailbox from your local post office to use as your second address. Make sure you get the best size for the amount of mail you will receive. You may also have the choice to pay in 3, 6, or 12-month incremental payments.

Step 3: Open a Business Bank Account

For the same reasons you should get a separate mailbox, you should also consider opening a separate bank account for your new business. You will want to keep your personal and business expenses separate.

You can open a business bank account anywhere, but having a local branch nearby can be helpful, especially if problems arise and they can only be resolved in-person. It is nice to have a local banker that you can become familiar with should you need help with your account or any issues that come up later.

It is good to explore different merchant accounts to take credit and debit card payments.

There are several options: Traditional banks, PayPal, Stripe, etc. • • some banks may require more information about your business (including a business plan and forecasts) to grant you access to a merchant account.

Virtually anyone can apply for and get a PayPal or Stripe account (without providing the level of information a traditional bank requires), so you will be able to take payments more quickly.

Step 4: Open a New Google Account and Services

Set up a Google account to take advantage of Google services such as:

Gmail – you can set up a Gmail account using your name or your business name

Google Analytics – using your Gmail account you can set up an Analytics account so that you can oversee your business website’s traffic.

Step 5: Get Your Domain

To set up your own website you need to find a reliable web host. You need to decide on a name for your website. Perhaps you have already decided on a catchy name for your business. You can start with that name as your domain. If it is already being used then try variations of the name. There are business generator websites on the internet that can help you decide on a name for your business and ultimately for your domain name.

Here are a few domain web hosting companies. I have used both of these and was very pleased with the service, support, and ease of use:

HostGator – offers domain name registration and website hosting

Bluehost – offers domain name registration and website hosting

Wealthy Affiliate – is website hosting on steroids! Wealthy Affiliate offers domain registration, website hosting, training and a massive online networking community. I am a Wealthy Affiliate member and love it. I’m not too biased, am I?

You can register a domain name without a web host with companies like GoDaddy and Domain.com but remember you still need a website host.

Try to register a domain name that has your main topic or keyword in the domain name. Doing this will help with your site’s ranking in the search engines and be easier for prospective customers to find. It is best to register a .com, .net or .org domain name if possible. These are the most recognized domain name extensions.

Be sure your Website host provides good customer service whenever you have an issue via online chat, email or phone. I have used HostGator, BlueHost and Wealthy Affiliate. I have only listed these three because I have had personal experience with them. There are hundreds of website hosting companies online. You just need to find one that fits with your needs.

One more thing you want to do is make sure your website hosting provider has reliable uptime for your site. You cannot afford to have your website go down at a crucial moment and not be able to fulfill orders, contracts, or other business at any time. A good website host provider will be able to keep your site running at all times.

Step 6: Create Your Website and Graphics

Decide which website creation software you plan to use to make and edit Web pages. Most web hosting providers have website creation software you can use. You can also use a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, Drupal or Joomla.

Building your own website will save costs and time in the future if you learn how to effectively work with the software you decide to utilize. When adding products to your website, be sure to create cover graphics to give a nice visual representation.

When doing this, people will be more likely to click on graphics and check out the offer. Most Internet marketers provide their affiliates with graphics and sales copy to promote their products – use them in your promotion of such offers and place them appropriately on your website.

When I began building my websites I decided to go with the Wealthy Affiliate training program. The program offers an Online Entrepreneur Certification course that takes you step-by-step through the process of building your website and setting it up for marketing. Whether you want to become an affiliate marketer or another type of internet business you won’t go wrong using Wealthy Affiliate. There are hundreds of hours of training and if you can’t find something in the recorded trainings that helps you do what you need to do there is always someone else there in the community that can help you.

Step 7: Send Some Traffic to Your Site

Traffic is the lifeblood of your business because no traffic equals zero sales. Quality traffic is especially vital. There are free and paid traffic-generating methods. You can use any combination of them to get quality traffic to your site. I shared more about driving traffic to your website in my “How to Drive Traffic to a Blog for Beginners.”

Step 8: Count Your Profits and Pay Your Taxes

Don’t spend your early profits frivolously because the tax man will come knocking before you realize it. Make sure to keep good records of your expenses and your income. You will want to make sure you are able to account for everything you spent on your business so that you can have the appropriate deductions as a business owner.

Remember to have a designated work space in your home and you can use your home office as a deduction. If you do a lot of driving and meeting with clients make sure to keep up with the miles you have driven. Those miles put wear and tear on your vehicle and you get to deduct a percentage of the miles driven for your business.

Good Luck,

Pamela

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