Ink and Toner Cartridges: How Do I Start an Online Business from a Low Budget Home?
About a year ago I took over an existing online business from a friend of mine who sold ink, toner and other printed consumables and decided that there was a lot of potential to promote more aggressive websites via the internet. I start with about a hundred dollars or more and some customers are brought from the previous owner. One of the benefits is inheriting its website because it gives me good benchmarks of what I want and don’t want when I succeed.
Now a year later I have about ten times more customers, respectable page rankings on Google (more on this later), first page search engine ranking (SERP) on MSN with respectable SERP on Yahoo and Google still needs some work.
Even though I still have a long way to go (actually I will always have a list of more things to do), I started well and of all accounts done quite well given my limited resources. I have found that there are many free or very inexpensive resources that you can use to build and promote an online business and this is what I will convey through this series.
Although the following guidelines talk about starting an online business that sells printed consumables in Australia, you can apply them to other types of businesses and I imagine in other countries.
Why do you want to be in business & have your online business suit?: –
Often people go into business with the intention of becoming wealthy overnight and then find themselves stuck with a collapsing building that spends their lives but they have no desire to. So the question is why do you want to start a business? If your answer is like making a lot of money at a time, you need to rethink this because that won’t be enough anymore. Of course I want to make more money than I do now but it is a lifestyle that I will have when I have more money that creates my goals for the next year, five years, etc.
Personally, my desire is to create a place on the internet that people can visit and shop quietly knowing that they will get great service, expensive prices, etc. My focus is always on developing good relationships with my customers and I believe this psychology actually Affects my attitude towards how I run my business because I am constantly looking for ways to better serve my customers’ needs rather than trying to find ways to generate more profits. . I can honestly tell you that I rarely think about building my business in terms of profit, but I am trying to identify ways to improve products and services to give new customers more profit and attract new clients.
As to whether what you want to do would be suitable for having your online business, this is a trick question because I can honestly say that no matter what you do, you should definitely have a website for it! If you are unsure whether it is worth spending time and money to get your business online, you can visit http://www.nichebot.com/ type words into the box that represents possible keywords for your business and see what is in the calculated column for see how many people have used the word or words in the past 60 days. Then it’s up to you, do you want these people to come to your site as a source of additional income or are you happy to let them go to your competition.
By the way, it’s time for me to discuss the good things to be like this.
Registering your business & domain name: –
Your business name and domain name clearly need to decide on your business name and may have already done it but what might not be so obvious is to consider the name of your website BEFORE you choose a name for your business. Basically a domain name is what you call your website so for example the domain name for my website is cartridgespecialists.com.au and generally you will have your domain name ending with .com.au or .net.au and this makes you subject to Australian domain name registration laws as explained below.
If you are going to register a website that ends with .com.au or .net.au there are some rules you need to know. State state registration of Australian domain names. The domain name you ordered must have a match, acronym, or abbreviation of the business registration provided, or it must have a close and substantial connection to the domain name, so before you rush out and register a very cool business name, you only think of the value when you First check to see if the domain name has been taken or not.
You don’t have to register your expired domain name as above, you can choose to register an international domain name like .com or even use a name or place or person instead of an Australian domain or in addition. Actually this can be a smart thing to do if you are looking for as many ways as possible to protect your business name or something that you sell.
Choosing & registering a domain name – To choose a domain name you have to go somewhere like Netregistry to see what is available and as I mentioned above you will want to do this at the same time if not before registering a name for your business. There are several places that you can visit to check whether the domain name you choose is available or not. What I use is the one mentioned above but you don’t have to use it, there are many others. The value of shopping around because prices vary a bit and it makes no difference at all who you register your domain name because they all have to access their data from the same place meaning as soon as you register your domain no one else can get it even if they go to different site than the one you are using.
Use your main keywords in your domain name – If possible you should have the main keywords for your business in your domain name because that will help a little by promoting your website online and getting lots of people to come there. Keywords are something that will be discussed later in more depth but those words are used by people when they search for information on the internet using a search engine (you’ve heard about Google, right?). Whatever your business is, start thinking about the possible words that people will use to find you on the internet. For example for my business ink, toner & cartridges are the top 3 keywords used by people in my industry when searching on Google, Yahoo, etc.
Register for more than 1 year – When you register your domain name, you have to do it for at least 2 years because it will help you promote your website to search engines and it’s not expensive at all.
A sole trader, partnership, or company? This is very easy and is just a matter of going to the government department in your country that handles business and company name registration. I am not an accountant so I will not go too much into the type you should use except to say that you should not choose one of these on the basis of wanting to protect your business name, logo or something for sale that you have for business found. Trademarks and patents are designed for this and there are lawyers you should contact who specialize in the arrangement.
Expired domains I will discuss this further later, but I think you will feel it now. Now that you know a little about domain names, what do you imagine happens so people decide not to register every year or 2 years? Well they go back to the pool and become available for the next person to take but until someone else registers the domain again what about everyone (if not known as traffic) are you still trying to find that site?
That right expired domain can be a great way to get traffic to your new site immediately at a very low cost and you can replicate this as many times as you want, even if you only register in the area.
What should I do checklist
For the sake of maintaining simplicity, I assume that you have chosen to register as a sole trader (this is where most of us get started) in Victoria. Of course these numbers vary from state to state for business names and how much you pay for your domain depending on where you get it, so shop!