Ecommerce Spot

5 Tips On Starting An Online Shop

5 Tips On Starting An Online Shop

Here's five tips you should keep on your TO-DO list for the startup of your online shop.

1. Build Your Knowledge of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you want your online shop to become a thriving business, one of the measures of success is getting high rankings for your web site in Yahoo and Google. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the way you do just that. If you don't know SEO, remember that your competitors do. SEO Experts are available for hire to fine-tune the aspects of your web site that will increase your rankings, but you likely cannot afford them yet. Educate yourself online about SEO -- take a look at the website for what you can do on your own.

2. Buy an Accounting Package

If you are making sales or bringing in money in any way, you must account for that money, if only to find out if you're making a profit. And there's always the tax man to worry about. Here's three affordable software packages that you can buy in this area:

- QuickBooks from Intuit
- Peachtree from Sage
- Small Business Accounting (SBA), part of Microsoft's Office line of products

3. Find and Use a Web Analytics Package

Web analytics gives you data on visits to your site: how many unique visitors, what pages of your website are visited, what keyword searches are used to find your web site, etc. You'll be able to determine your Conversion Rate, or the percentage of visitors to your web site who buy something. You want your Conversion Rate to increase over time, and Web analytics are the best way to see the direction, up or down, that this number is going. Plus, you'll want to see how the web sites of your competitors are doing. Get to know link-building, but start slow with such services as Google's AdWords. Google does offer some free analytics, but you have to ask to be invited to join the program and then wait to be invited. Some web analytics applications you might consider buying are:

- WebTrends (Small Business Edition) from NetIQ
- ClickTracks Pro from ClickTracks
- Hitbox and HBX from WebSideStory
- Alexa, a website at

4. Set Up a Security System and Data Backup

There are lots of people out on the Internet ready to steal your money and your data. You'll need both security software to protect your website and backup software to save and recover data. Norton, McAfee and Symantec all sell security software packages. Symantec, F-Secure and Carbonite all offer online and in-house backup systems.

5. Create a Marketing Plan

A marketing plan will keep you on track for what you're doing to attract customers to your website, and how you'll treat those customers once they've bought something from you. Remember that your marketing plan should be dynamic -- a plan set in concrete does you no good at all. Several action items to put in your marketing plan are:

- List your web site on Froogle, Google's free comparison-shopping search engine.
- Link your web site to a Web Ring of similar sites.
- Offer free services to visitors, and more to customers.
- Publish a blog about your industry. - Use PR Web to publish online press releases.
- Publish a periodic e-mail newsletter.

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