Sole proprietorships are the simplest of the three and are an excellent option for a single individual or a husband and wife team. To get started as a sole proprietor, there is no required paperwork. However, one of the downsides to going into business as a sole proprietor is the lack of protection from liability.
Because of this, a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation is a desirable option for many entrepreneurs. The rules and regulations of LLCs are usually more flexible and relaxed than corporations, and they require less paperwork and record-keeping. However, corporations are a wise choice for entrepreneurs who plan to bring in money from any outside stakeholders.
After an LLC or corporation has been formed, you'll need to file your new business with the appropriate state agency. A filing fee is also required.
Choose a State to Operate Out Of
Many small businesses find the most success when forming a business in the state in which they live. However, businesses who expect to create nationwide motion may have success incorporating a business in the state of Delaware or Nevada. Delaware holds a record in business incorporation, as currently half of the public and Fortune 500 companies are incorporated here. The state provides a series of advantages, especially for larger businesses, including attractive tax benefits, an extremely flexible business law or no personal income tax for non-residents. The state of Nevada has also been trying to attract more business owners by relaxing some of its incorporation rules. There is no state corporate income tax and no fees are imposed on corporate shares.
Choose a Name for Your Business Website
Now the fun part? Choosing the name of your website. Choosing a name is enjoyable and exciting, but it's much more difficult than it sounds. You may find that the business names you had your heart set on are already taken. However, taking the time to choose a creative name that stands out and attracts attention will only benefit you in the long run. Here are some tips for choosing a business name:
- Conduct a Google search to see if any similar businesses names are already taken.
- Use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website to search for trademarked names.
Select a Domain Name
Like choosing a website name? Choosing a domain name of your very own is rather exciting, but can also get discouraging if all the domain names you wanted have already been claimed. Because domain names sell so quickly, it's important to register your domain name as soon as possible after deciding on the name of your website business. Most domain names end in .com.
To ensure that your chosen domain name is available, use your Internet browser to search for your chosen domain name. If the domain is available, you can go ahead and register it by creating an online account, choosing a name, and paying an annual fee.
Choose a Host for Your Business Website
You want your new online website business to be successful, so your website host needs to be fast, secure, and reliable. If your website visitors can't get to your website because it's always down or the load time is slower than average, you'll risk losing potential customers. For this reason, it's best to choose a host that best fits your business and the specific needs of your customers.
Consider Financing Options
New entrepreneurs can set up their financing with a personal Social Security Number or by obtaining a free Federal Tax ID number from the Internal Revenue Services. Then, you'll need to set up a bank account for your business and any other payment services you may choose to use for your website, including PayPal.
Understand Tax for Your Ecommerce Website Business
If you'll be selling items on your website, you'll probably need to collect and pay for sales tax for any transactions taking place in a state where your business has a physical existence. For example, if your business has a physical location in Florida, you'll need to collect and pay sales tax for any purchases made from customers in Florida.
Additionally, new businesses should check with their city or county to see if a business license or other qualifications are needed to legally sell items online. New business procedures vary depending on the state so it's important to do your homework and review specific guidelines in your operating state.
Brainstorm Designs Before You Create a Website
Before you make your own website business, it's important to find several other sites you enjoy the appearance of and make a list of the things you like or don't like about them. Take screenshots of various web pages, save photographs of colors and images you like, watch web design webinars and decide on a color scheme for your website.
After you take the time to review other online businesses' sites, you'll have a better idea of what it is you're looking for. First impressions matter, so it's important that you give potential customers an excellent first impression. According to User Testing Blog, website users only spend an average of eight seconds on a website before leaving.
Additionally, brainstorm ideas for a company logo, tagline, or slogan. This logo can be used on your website, promotional materials, and social media accounts. If you have graphic design experience, you may be comfortable designing a logo of your own. If not, consider hiring a freelance graphic designer to create a logo for you.
Build a Business Website
Now that you know the name, domain name, and web design you're looking for in your new website, you can finally begin the process of how to make your own website business. But unless you're willing to put in the time, training, and education to learn the specifics of web development and web design, you may want to invest in hiring a web developer to create your website for you.
Remember, first impressions matter and the cost you put into hiring a professional web developer will be well worth it.
Consider SEO and Content
For SEO purposes and to boost customer engagement, it may be a good time to develop blog and website content so the content is ready to post to your website as soon as the new website is live. Plus, you'll have an abundance of fresh social media content to share when it's time to market your website business.
If you're new to SEO or writing, you may consider hiring a freelance writer or SEO professional to help you develop the most effective blog content with industry-specific keywords.
Market Your Online Website Business
One of the most important steps in taking the initiative to build your own website business is putting together a marketing and advertising plan that helps you to get your name out there. Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram are all great places to begin marketing your new website, but eventually you may wish to consider paid advertising.
Paid advertising options include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,or Pinterest ads. Google Search Ads, Google AdWords, Bing Ads, email ads, and pay-per-click ads are other ways to market your new online business.
Depending on your area of expertise, it may be helpful to write guest blogs for other relevant websites. When you include an author biography at the end of your article, you'll have a chance to link back to your own website. If website visitors like what they see in your article, they'll click on the URL to visit your website.
Gather Customer Testimonials
Once your website business has been set up and you're finally in operational mode, you can start selling products, making sales, and developing lasting customer relationships.
Once you have your first few happy customers, it will be useful to gather several customer testimonials that can be added to your website. Add them to your homepage or create a new web page specifically for sharing testimonials.
New customers love to see how other people have been touched by a company's products and services, and having a testimonials page is an excellent opportunity to share these meaningful stories with new potential clients.