You are previewing Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies®, 3rd Edition.
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Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies®, 3rd Edition

Book Description

Conquer the online marketplace with this new version of a bestseller!

Whether you've thought of starting an online business or you're already selling online, this update to a bestseller presents invaluable advice for getting--and keeping--online customers. Covering everything from creating a business plan and building a customer-friendly site to marketing with Facebook and Twitter, this fun and friendly guide features eleven minibooks that cover online business basics, legal and accounting matters, website design, online and operating issues, Internet security, techniques for boosting sales, storefront selling, fundraising sites, niche e-commerce, and more.

  • Updated to include coverage of the latest online marketing tools, techniques, and trends

  • Includes coverage of how to use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Yelp to reach your customers as well as expanded coverage of mobile marketing

  • Explains how your location can actually bring new customers to you

  • Details ways to build a business plan that translates your ideas into a profitable enterprise

  • Shares advice for choosing software to help you manage taxes, balance sheets, and other accounting chores; using PR and advertising tools that best promote your business online, including Google AdWords; and create a website that helps your business make money

Discover why "online entrepreneurship" means more than just building a website. Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies breaks down everything the budding entrepreneur needs to know to be successful online and keep your customers coming back for more.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. About the Authors
  5. Dedication
  6. Authors' Acknowledgments
  7. Publisher's Acknowledgments
  8. Contents at a Glance
  9. Table of Contents
  10. Introduction
    1. About This Book
    2. What You're Not to Read
    3. Foolish Assumptions
    4. How This Book Is Organized
    5. Icons Used in This Book
    6. Where to Go from Here
  11. Book I: Online Business Basics
    1. Chapter 1: Starting from Scratch
      1. What Are You Waiting For? Start Your Business Now!
      2. Choosing Just the Right Business
      3. Getting Started
    2. Chapter 2: Turning Internet Dreams into Reality
      1. Thinking Like a Netrepreneur
      2. Putting Your Business Idea under the Microscope
      3. Identifying Your Market and Target Customer
      4. Competing to Win: Analyzing Your Competition
    3. Chapter 3: Getting Real: Creating a Usable Business Plan
      1. Understanding the Value of a Plan
      2. Recognizing That the Parts of the Plan Make a Whole
      3. Getting Help to Write the Plan
      4. Using a Business Plan Today, Tomorrow, and Always
    4. Chapter 4: Finding Money to Fund Your Online Start-Up
      1. Bootstrapping the Low-Cost, No-Cost Site
      2. Finding the Perfect Investor
      3. Checking Out Alternative Financing
      4. Taking a Shortcut: Purchasing an Existing Site
    5. Chapter 5: Creating Policies to Protect Your Web Site and Your Customers
      1. Taking Care of Customers
      2. Putting Policies in Place
      3. Delivering On Your Promises
    6. Chapter 6: Setting Up Shop: Everything You Need for Online Efficiency
      1. A Floor Plan for Success
      2. Must-Have Equipment
      3. Tools for Your Desktop
      4. Your Essential Software Toolkit
      5. Connectivity: Today's Internet Options and More
  12. Book II: Legal and Accounting
    1. Chapter 1: Minding the Law
      1. Keeping Your Business Legal
      2. Zoning for Business (at Home)
      3. Obtaining Business Licenses
    2. Chapter 2: Choosing the Right Foundation — from Partnerships to Corporations
      1. Strategizing for the Best Organization
      2. Operating Alone as a Sole Proprietor
      3. Sharing the Load with a Partnership
      4. Limited Liability Company (LLC)
      5. Making It Official with Incorporation
      6. Changing Your Organization As It Grows
    3. Chapter 3: The Trademark-and-Copyright Two-Step
      1. Understanding Why Trademarks and Copyrights Matter
      2. Making Your (Trade)Mark
      3. Protecting Your Investment with Copyrights
      4. Establishing Registration Yourself
      5. Retaining Professional Assistance
    4. Chapter 4: Accounting for Taxes (and Then Some)
      1. The Tax Man Cometh — Again and Again
      2. By the Numbers: Accounting Basics
      3. Choosing Software to Make Your Tasks Easy
      4. Hiring a Professional
      5. Following the Rules of Recordkeeping
  13. Book III: Web Site Design
    1. Chapter 1: What's in a (Domain) Name?
      1. Choosing Your Online Identity
      2. Registering the Perfect Name
      3. Finding Out What to Do When Somebody Gets There First
      4. All the Good Ones Are (Not!) Taken
    2. Chapter 2: Designing Customer-Friendly Sites
      1. Maximizing Performance for Profitability
      2. Looking Your Best
      3. Choosing Substance Over Style
      4. Counting on Function to Win Customers
    3. Chapter 3: Building a Site without Spending a Fortune
      1. Mapping Your Route to a Successful Site
      2. You Can Do It! Make a Build-It-Yourself Site
      3. Creating Your Site with the Pros
    4. Chapter 4: Finding the Host with the Most
      1. Differentiating between an ISP and a Host
      2. Determining What Makes the Difference for High-Performance Hosting
      3. Sorting Out Your Web Site Host Options
      4. Putting the Long-Term Contract in the Past
      5. Serving Yourself: Don't Overlook Other Server Options
    5. Chapter 5: Writing Content that Search Engines Want to See
      1. Words Are Words — Right? Wrong!
      2. Getting Ready to Write for the Web
      3. Moved to Purchase: Turning Words into Action
      4. Choosing Words that Search Engines Notice
    6. Chapter 6: Lights, Camera, Action! Taking Your Site Live
      1. Some Things to Know Before You Start Uploading
      2. Taking the Compatibility Test: Testing Screen Resolutions, Browsers, and Platforms
      3. Taking a Trial Run
      4. Three, Two, One — Take Off!
  14. Book IV: Online and Operating
    1. Chapter 1: Determining Your Revenue Model
      1. Selling Tangible Products
      2. Selling Your Professional Services
      3. Selling Information
      4. Placing Ads for Profit
      5. Establishing an Affiliate Advertising Program
      6. Putting It All Together: Multiple Revenue Streams
    2. Chapter 2: Making Money with Affiliate Programs
      1. Looking at How Affiliate Programs Work
      2. Signing Up for an Affiliate Network
      3. Avoiding Scams and Questionable Content
    3. Chapter 3: Turning Information into Profit, from e-Books to Webinars
      1. Creating Your Own Information Product
      2. Providing E-Books
      3. Creating Informational Videos for Profit
      4. Putting Together a Webinar
    4. Chapter 4: Paying with the Right Payment Options
      1. Accepting Credit Card Payments
      2. Offering Alternative Payment Options
      3. Managing the Payment Process to Protect Your Income
    5. Chapter 5: Putting the (Shopping) Cart before the Horse
      1. Not All Carts Are Created Equal
      2. Shopping Around for the Best Hosted Solution
      3. Finding Off-the-Shelf Software
      4. Designing a Cart for You
    6. Chapter 6: Taking Inventory
      1. Finding Out What's Popular by Using eBay
      2. Putting Together All Your Research
      3. Pricing Your Products
      4. Building Your Inventory
    7. Chapter 7: Fulfilling Expectations and Orders
      1. Figuring Out the Logistics of Shipping
      2. Developing an In-House Fulfillment Model
      3. Deciding to Outsource Fulfillment
      4. Shaping Up and Shipping Out
      5. Maintaining the Back End
  15. Book V: Internet Security
    1. Chapter 1: Understanding Security and Your Risks
      1. Legal Responsibility: The Merchant and the Customer
      2. Defining Your Privacy Policy
      3. Keeping Your Web Site Secure
      4. Displaying Seals of Approval
    2. Chapter 2: Developing a Security Plan
      1. Making a Plan
      2. Creating a Budget for Your Plan
      3. Finding Security Resources
    3. Chapter 3: Attacked! What to Expect from the Net-Thief
      1. Fending Off Denial-of-Service Attacks
      2. Deterring Hackers
      3. Avoiding Viruses and Other Malware
      4. Keeping Your Domain Name Safe
      5. Staying Away from E-Mail Scams
    4. Chapter 4: Securing Your Site and Your Business
      1. Protecting against Credit Card Fraud
      2. Backing Up Your Data
      3. Adding Firewalls
    5. Chapter 5: Overcoming Security Concerns in the Wireless World
      1. Understanding How a Wireless LAN Works
      2. Establishing Barriers
  16. Book VI: Boosting Sales
    1. Chapter 1: Driving Traffic, Driving Sales
      1. Calculating Your Site's Conversion Rate
      2. Figuring Out When You Get the Most Traffic
      3. Getting Customers to Notice Your Web Site
      4. Getting Customers to Buy
    2. Chapter 2: Special-Edition Public Relations for the Web
      1. Writing Reviews
      2. Becoming a Community Leader
      3. Writing Articles
    3. Chapter 3: Web Marketing at Work
      1. Developing a Marketing Strategy
      2. Gaining a Following with Social Media
      3. Reeling in Customers with Newsletters
      4. Automating Your Routine Tasks
      5. Searching for Traffic with Search Engine Advertising
      6. Marketing Your Company Offline
    4. Chapter 4: Converting Browsers to Buyers
      1. Giving Customers a Reason to Stay on Your Site
      2. Anticipating Customer Needs
      3. Organizing a Buyer-Friendly Site
      4. Keeping Your Shopping Cart Simple
      5. Avoiding Assumptions about Your Customers
      6. Encouraging Viewers to Buy
    5. Chapter 5: Analyzing and Monitoring Your Customers
      1. Tracking Trends
      2. Measuring Web Site Traffic
      3. Measuring Traffic against Activity
      4. Jam Packed: Traffic Analysis Software
      5. Collecting the Correct Information
      6. Getting to Know Your Customer Really Well
      7. Using Your Data to Understand Your Business
    6. Chapter 6: Mastering Search Engines, Optimization, and Rankings
      1. Navigating the Ins and Outs of Major Search Engines
      2. Getting Your Web Site Noticed by Search Engines
      3. Submitting Your Site to Search Engines
      4. Placing Keywords in Key Spots on Your Web Site
      5. Arranging Your Pages Strategically
      6. Watching Your Rankings
      7. Moving Up in the Rankings
  17. Book VII: Retail to E-Tail
    1. Chapter 1: Knowing When to Put Your Store Online
      1. Making the Decision to Move Your Store Online
      2. Finding the Right Time
      3. Bridging Your Offline Store with Your Online Store
      4. Making a Flawless Transition
      5. Building an Inventory
    2. Chapter 2: Understanding the Differences between In-Store and Online Customers
      1. Comparing Online and Offline Customers
      2. What Your Online Customers Expect from You
      3. Establishing Patterns
    3. Chapter 3: Window Dressing for the Online Display
      1. Creating the Right Look for Your Online Store
      2. Creating the Perfect Shopping Experience
      3. Beyond Window Shopping: Designs that Lure Traffic
    4. Chapter 4: Making In-Store Customers Loyal Online Shoppers
      1. Benefiting Customers (and Your Business) with In-Store and Online Synergy
      2. Enticing Customers to Your Online Offering
      3. Providing a Positive Shopping Experience
      4. Making Your Customer the Star
    5. Chapter 5: Expanding Close to Home with Localization and Mobile Marketing
      1. Distinguishing Between Different Types of Mobile Commerce
      2. Localizing with Ads
    6. Chapter 6: Troubleshooting the Transition to E-Tail
      1. Handling Returns in the Store from Online Sales
      2. Merging Existing Back-End Systems with Online Requirements
      3. Deciding How to Handle Integration
      4. Extending Payment Options to Virtual Customers
  18. Book VIII: Storefront Selling
    1. Chapter 1: Instant E-Commerce with Storefronts
      1. Knowing What You Want: Features
      2. Realizing What You Can Have: Cost
      3. Shopping for Storefronts
    2. Chapter 2: Mastering the Amazon
      1. Joining the Marketplace
      2. Achieving Pro Merchant Status
      3. Taking Advantage of Other Selling Opportunities with Amazon WebStores
    3. Chapter 3: Let's Hear It for Yahoo!
      1. Why Open a Yahoo! Store?
      2. Setting Up Shop
      3. Managing Your Yahoo! Services
      4. Opening Your Yahoo! Store for Business
      5. Selecting a Yahoo! Plan
      6. Breaking Down the Fees
      7. Growing with Your New Business Partner
    4. Chapter 4: Making eBay THE Way
      1. Understanding How eBay Works
      2. Getting Started on eBay
      3. Setting Up an Item for Sale
      4. Opening an eBay Store
    5. Chapter 5: New Storefronts, New Opportunities
      1. Highest Bidder Takes All with Auction Sites
      2. Making Bank with Storefronts for Handcrafted and Vintage Goods
      3. Creating Instant Products with CafePress
      4. Comparing Features to Find the Best Deal in Storefronts
  19. Book IX: Fundraising Sites
    1. Chapter 1: Raining Donations: Why Not-for-Profit Is Big Business Online
      1. Determining How Your Organization Can Benefit
      2. Convincing Your Board of Directors
    2. Chapter 2: Adding Online Moneymakers to an Existing Site
      1. Determining Which Features Your Site Can Support
      2. Adding an Auction to Your Site
      3. Soliciting Donations on Your Site
    3. Chapter 3: Getting the Donor Base to Come to You
      1. Building an Online Donor Base from Scratch
      2. Putting Together a Plan to Reach Donors
      3. Converting the Faithful
      4. Reaching Out to People Surfing for Charities
    4. Chapter 4: More Online Marketing Strategies for Nonprofits
      1. Asking for Donations
      2. Making Donating Easy
    5. Chapter 5: Legal Considerations for Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Designating Responsibility
      2. Creating Online Policies
      3. Registering Your Charity
      4. Gaining Seals of Approval
  20. Book X: Niche E-Commerce
    1. Chapter 1: Discovering Niche Markets
      1. Deciding to Sell a Niche Product
      2. Finding Your Niche
    2. Chapter 2: Identifying Niche Markets That Keep Paying: Kids, Boomers, Pets, and More
      1. Marketing to Children
      2. Understanding the Baby Boomer Market
      3. Selling the Goods for Pets' Sake
    3. Chapter 3: Blogging for profit
      1. Creating Value
      2. Making Your Blog Pay, in Dollars and Sense
      3. Choosing a Blog Platform
    4. Chapter 4: Learning to Spot and Capitalize on E-Commerce Trends
      1. Building Online Networks with Social Commerce
      2. Creating Your Own Video Channel
  21. Book XI: E-Commerce Advanced
    1. Chapter 1: Overhauling Your Business
      1. Paying Attention to the Signs
      2. Qualifying for a Makeover from Lagging Sales
      3. Knowing Where to Start
    2. Chapter 2: Redesigning to Win New Customers
      1. Updating an Outdated Look
      2. Increasing Appeal
      3. Making Your Web Site Functional
    3. Chapter 3: Expanding Products to Increase Stagnant Sales
      1. Figuring Out When to Expand Your Product Line
      2. Replacement or Expansion: The Art of Culling Your Inventory
      3. Finding New Products
    4. Chapter 4: Nurturing (and Bringing Back) Customers
      1. Figuring Out Why a Customer Left
      2. Offering Customers Incentives to Return
      3. Enticing Customers to Stay
      4. Saying “Thank You”
    5. Chapter 5: Revisiting Marketing Strategies
      1. Reviewing the Progress Report: An Annual Tradition
      2. Figuring Out What Worked and What Didn't
      3. Changing Plans for a Growing Company
      4. Finding Your Place in the Market
      5. Borrowing Strategies from Others
    6. Chapter 6: Hiring Experts to Get Business Rolling Again
      1. Bringing In the Pros
      2. Matching the Right Advisors to Your Business Needs
      3. Choosing the Right Consultant
      4. Defining the Relationship
      5. Overcoming Great Expectations and Getting Results
    7. Chapter 7: Transitioning a Small Site into Big Business
      1. Seeking Out the Next Level of Your Business
      2. Dealing with Accidental Success
      3. Purposefully Making the Next Move
  22. Index