You've decided to start a business. You know what kind of business you want, and you know it's going to be online. Now, your question is: what's next?
To start any online business, there are three first steps to take to get things up and running:
Choose your domain name
Choosing a domain name is a critical part of any business, but especially an online business. You want to select something that tells people a little something about your business, but is easy to remember. It should be short, unique, and avoid numbers and hyphens. Think about using keywords, particularly if your preferred domain name is already taken. Play around with numerous options before you commit, in case your first few choices are taken. Do your research, as well, and make sure that what you choose isn't too similar to another, larger business (to avoid losing business to the competition).
Build your website with the user in mind
Build your website to be as user-friendly and easy to use as possible. You want a grandmother with no internet experience at all to be able to figure out how to use it. Put your logo in a prominent location near the top of the site. Make sure the site is responsive so that users aren't waiting long minutes for pages to load or scrolling side-to-side on a mobile phone. Include contact information, and provide a 'Contact Us' form if you can so that people can contact you through the site, rather than needing to call you. If you sell products, add them so people can see what you sell. Otherwise, you should list your services.
Social media and marketing
Now that you have a business name and a website, you want to start marketing yourself. Create profiles on various social media sites, and ask friends and family to like and share them. Interact with your followers, promote your goods or services, and if you're offering specials or sales, look into paid promotions to get in front of more people. Create business cards and consider paying for ad space on blogs that fit your market.
Getting an online business up and running isn't difficult, as long as you plan ahead, take it step-by-step, and make sure that you're prepared when your hard work pays off and people start contacting you for what you have to offer.