11 Tips to Start an Online Business for 2011

by Jim Hague, CEO, Crystal Digital Images (www.crystaldi.com)

Some financial analysts declared that we no longer live in a bad economy.

Instead we are witnessing the emergence of a new economy, one that caters to online transactions. As a result, entrepreneurs are establishing more online businesses than any other time in history. Here’s why.

Consumers have grown accustomed to utilizing websites

The Internet revolution, armed with computers, hand-held devices, and eventually our televisions have taken away the old method of business and the way we live our lives. Once considered to be the playground of the younger generation, has evolved into a powerful business medium for all generations.

Little monetary risk involved

Creating an online business requires little start-up capital.  If one business does not work, it’s easy to pick up and start again. In fact, it’s not unusual for many entrepreneurs to operate multiple websites at once, thus creating multiple streams of income.

The resale value

The resale value of a website is not based on revenues, but by the size of the database of names and emails. Facebook generated revenues of 1.5 billion in 2010. With its nearly 600 million users Facebook’s net worth is estimated at $50 billion. Google’s revenue topped at $6 billion. The company estimated net worth is about $153 billion.

Here are 11 tips to start up a new Internet business in 2011:

  1. Create a Business PlanSome things never change. Like any business it all starts with a plan. Set goals and how to achieve them. Use the services of the Small Business Administration (SBA) for guidance or go to www.sba.gov. 
  2. Use a flow chartA flowchart is the blue print of a website (see illustration below). It is an illustration of connecting boxes and lines to define navigation and functionality.
  1. Hire a Good WebmasterThe Webmaster is the most important investment for an online business. Find a Webmaster who has worked with start ups and understands the mission of the business.
  2. Keep It SimpleDon’t overwhelm consumers with too many features, functions, and content. That’s like serving the appetizer, the main course, and desert at all once.  Add new content over time. It keeps the consumer interested and returning to the website.
  3. Collect Names and EmailThe key to a successful web business is not just search engine placement or social media. ‘Communication’ achieves success.  When new articles are published or products and services are added, inform consumers with a mass email campaign.That’s not to say that Search Engines and the Social Networking websites are to be ignored. However, without communication, the consumers will lose interest and move on to another website.


  4. Optimize for the Search EnginesAsk the Webmaster to code the site for the best search results. This takes some time, however, unless pay-per-click is utilized. It’s recommended to first exhaust all free forms of advertising on search engines ranking prior to taking out the credit card.
  5. Use Domain Names with Keywords. Search engines favor domain names with embedded keywords.  If a guy named is Jackie owns a donut shop in Cincinnati. Instead of Jackiesdonuts.com he should consider Cincinnatidonuts.com. More people search for ‘Cincinnati’ and ‘Donuts’ before they search for ‘Jackie’. 
  6. Use Videos more then TextGoogleTV is already a big hit and is expected to grow. Eventually Internet content is going to the TV. That means less reading and more watching. Use videos for special instructions and to communicate important facts about your online businesses.
  7. Blogs and Social NetworkBlogging is a powerful method of generating visits and top rankings from search engines. Viral videos can achieve the same results. Publish an article on a popular blog site such as Blogger or WordPress. If a video has been developed then upload it onto You Tube. Then inform fellow members Facebook, Twitter, Plaxo and any other social networking site with over a million registered users.

10. Use banner ads on popular websites

While a price maybe involved, advertise on a website with high volume traffic. This attracts a new audience independent of search engines and the social networking sites.

11. Regular Networking

Having an online business does not dismiss the notion of a one-on-one interaction with a prospective consumer. Create business cards, brochures, and go out and network. After shaking hands with prospective consumers, collect their business cards and add the information on your database.

Rare is a website that achieves overnight success. However, with patience, perseverance and a good marketing plan the return of investment will prove worth it.  Happy New Year!

Jim Hague

If I can answer any questions to you, email me at jimhague@hotmail.com

Visit my website at www.crystaldi.com.

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