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11 Steps to Start a Solid Web Biz by Mark Brimm - Free Business Articles

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11 Steps to Start a Solid Web Biz

Posted 12/1/2009

by Mark Brimm

Search Marketing Director & Consultant at 123interFACE.com,

Co-Author / Editor for Marcana.com's AdWords University: The Complete Guide to AdWords

 

I'm often asked about how an average joe entrepreneur can launch a small business from the web quickly and painlessly. So I put together this easy list of low-cost options for those who want to spend very little and create a business that can grow a long way. Enjoy!

 

 

 

1.

Find Your Niche

You may have heard this before. What do you love to do? What are you an expert at? Everybody is good at something or has a passion. Look around you and evaluate whether or not there is an unmet demand or whether there are others who would pay for that kind of help with whatever-it-is, and don't kill the idea with pessimism. Ruminate and ask your family and close friends for their input (just don't Tweet it all over the net before you've even begun!).

2.

Get the Right Domain & Website

MoguLITE.com is a good place to find the right domain, get a SEO-friendly, pre-optimized website and even training on how to get your services or products set up and ready for sale. This is an excellent choice for those who simply haven't a clue where to start, or who want to be sure to cover all the right bases and avoid paying too much. What could be better than having an experienced web marketing pro help you pick a cheap site design template that is SEO-friendly and has all the initial options you will need? In fact, MoguLITE.com is our sister site of ours, and they will provide help with many of the items on this very list.

3.

Create a Blog

Social media is transforming the landscape of online business. Whether you sell a product or yout time, blogs are a useful and powerful tool to act as a soapbox to share your expertise and enhance your reputation in your field. Blogs work with most social media tools available to help disseminate your message and more social media tools arrive on the scene each week, even each day. Take the time to get familiar with a blogging toolss provider like WordPress.com and discover how putting on blog on your site can impact SEO and sales leads. WordPress allows multiple blogs per account, so there is plenty of room to play around until you hit on the right design, name and url. In general, select a url that has SEO benefits. You will still be able to name the blog anything you like on top of the URL. For those who already have a siote with a service-heavy hosting plan, check out whether or not your host provides you with access to WordPress via your backend control panel.

4.

Network

Even before you have your own site, you can pick a sweet Twitter handle and start networking with potential customers and partners. Twitter has more potential for geurilla marketing just by being real and sharing quality information with those most interested in it. Facebook and other social networking tools can and often should come into play, depending upon what you provide. But don't forget the tried and true methods of reaching out with a local phone directory or google for local organizations and industry-agjacent businesses which could help your business to reach a wider audience of customers and influence.

5.

Consultants, Read Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

While you're toying with Twitter, read Trust Agents. This will show you how to use the burgeoning bevy of recent social media tools like Twitter in the most audience-friendly manner, avoid pitfalls and build goodwill and support for your business objectives right from the start. Millions of businesses and consultants are using Twitter to build a solid network of support, and so should you.

6.

Entrepreneurs, Read The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris

Not sure how to juggle your business with your personal life? You'd be surprised how many small businesses fail just because of the unexpected shock that the entrepreneurial life can have on a personal life. Timothy Ferris has experimented with the many lifestyle choices neccessary to go from sleepy company cubicle-dweller to living large on one's own terms. Don't let your business run you, and thus run you out of business. Learn from the experience of those who have gone before and take charge of your time the way successful entrepreneurs do..

7.

5. Use Analytics to Build Your Site's ROI

Google Analytics provide some of the best free intelligence available and easily plugs into AdWords and AdSense, both of which you may also likely want to explore. With so many new tools coming out each month or so, Google Analytics is a great way to educate yourself and work on getting your analytics game on. If the funds are there to hire someone, do so. Analaytics management should be low-cost generally and will add a lot of value over time to your bottom line.

8.

SEO - Get on Google Organic Top 10

SEO is a little-understood, too-often pontificated-upon subject with fewer real experts than pundits. Since you took our advice on the website, you WON'T have to start from scratch on the SEO phase. Don't go to a 1-stop shop just for convenience, the mistake about 99+% of all new site owners will make. Use a solid search engine optimization company who can provide a limited guarantee that they won't take your money and just sit on it.

 

9.

To Pay or Not to Pay...for Search Results? - The AdWords Question

Now that your business wheels are greased and humming along, it may be time to consider whether AdWords is right for your business model and budget. Most people flub this part badly and never return to AdWords, even though their business is ideal for AdWords. That'sjust as bad a mistake as over-paying for years if you consider how much profit you may beforfeiting either way. Many products and services sell themselves and just need the right ad in the right position to move product. Get yourself a good intro book if you plan to manage your own campaign. Naturally , we really belive in our own series on this topic. Our own AdWords University: The Complete Guide to AdWords is our attempt to clear a more reliable, straight-forward path for the first-time AdWords user, or the many experienced DIY campaign managers out there who would simply like a reality-check on key AdWords campaign management issues.

10.

Consider Funding Carefully

Once you have an idea about how your business is most likely to get leads, make money and create synergy, you'll very possibly decide that you need more capital. If you're in the US, check Out the Small Business Association first at www.SBA.gov. You'll find funding opportunities, tax pointers and advice on things like government contracts all in one convenient, government-funded source designed to help you succeed. If you're not a US resident, other countries and regions may often have similarly suitable recourses. Seek them out before going to a bank or piling it on a credit card. In the end, many pile it on a card or two. If doingf this, you may want to consider that yours is a largely "at-risk" type of business, and so you may want to avoid entering into debt for anything you don't yet "need".

11.

Consider accepting credit cards

This next step may seem something like an advertisement for PayPal. While in some ways it is, I'd be remiss in not mentioning here how PayPal and other similar lesser known services allow anyone to start accepting credit card payments within as little as one day, with or without an accompanying merchant account (which they also offer at $30/mo). Usually, most credit card payments can be made through PayPal's normal payment interface, but you may find at some point that you want an easy-care, no committment merchant account. PayPal doesn't hold your feet to the fire on contracts, so this is the main reason why I recommend them. I may update this last recommendation once I've had time to assess the new Square service that allows you to swipe a credit card via your smart phone.

 

This article was brought to you in part by PayPal.com, and by our sister site, MoguLITE.com, the source for expertise on reinventing oneself to do business in the social media age. MoguLITE.com provides most of the low-cost groundwork and time-tested guidance distilled by the above steps as part of the MoguLITE program for consultants and entrepreneurs (and for a ridiculously low one-time price), putting the new business owner in good stead right from the start.

 

For SEO & Pay Per Click management, you might try our other sister site, www.123interFACE.com, a national SEO & SEM company with a small town work ethic and a reputable SEO veteran at the helm.

 

Mark Brimm consults entrepreneurs and other large, medium and smaller businesses on SEO and Pay Per Click issues at 123interFACE.com, where he is Partner and Search Marketing Director.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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