The idea of creating an online store is appealing to many entrepreneurs. In concept, it is quite simple. The execution is time consuming and costly if you are starting from scratch. The basics should be planned out so you can take a step-by-step approach. Winging it as you go along will inevitably cause problems. Like any online business you start, you need a plan.

What you will need to get started:

Decide on a theme for your store. There are millions of items you can sell online. Think about what would be right for you. Picking products you are familiar with to some extent can make it easier when you promote these products. Check out the competition to see how some of these stores look and how they are set up.

Decide on a budget. There are costs for website hosting, or web store businesses that set up the store for you, and of course the big one – advertising. You won’t make money unless your site is visible. Since there is a lot of competition, getting ranked high in major search engines is essential to your success.

Set up a web site. There are businesses that can help you do this for varying prices. Search for web store setup and you’ll get many possibilities. The other option is to set up your own site. To do this find a hosting company by searching – web hosting – and follow the steps. Both of these options will cost money but the latter may be cheaper.

Find drop-shipping companies for the products you want to sell. Drop-shipping companies will take your orders and ship them out for you so you don’t have the hassle of stocking inventory and shipping them out yourself. You can find very reasonably priced products from anywhere in the world. You’ll want to check the reputation of the drop-shipper before you sign up with them. If they have problems, so will your customers. Look for verified drop shipping lists only.

Decide on ways to promote your store and the products in your store. Google offers product base in their web-master tools that will help your products be seen. There are many other types of advertising. Link advertising, banner ads,and PTC (not usually used for stores, but could be used for specific products) are all possibilities.

If you do a search for advertising you’ll see how many choices are out there. Read carefully what the advertisers offer. You want to know if your ad is timed for viewing. Some paid to visit offers will not tour your site.

Decide on methods of payments you will accept. You may want to set up a merchant Paypal or Google checkout account or accept personal cheques.

Set up your store policies. Decide on product return, exchange or money back options. Think about procedures you will implement for complaints and shipping issue as well.

Within all of these steps there is more steps that will come up that need to be addressed. So plan on spending quite a lot of time in preparing your site.

The easiest and best way for the new to making money online is to set up a store on ebay. You can still pick your products and set up a theme and the steps are readily available to help you. The beauty of it is that ebay already has buyers looking for items. Customers wanting to purchase can find you easily. You could also check Amazon for setting up an online store.

Note to readers:

There are new online “power mall” sites. From what I can gather, these are easy to get started in so lots of people are intrigued. However look at the numbers before you join. They may have a large membership but of those not very many are shopping because most are trying to make money.

If only a portion of members are shopping where’s the money you’re making going to come from? Other people outside the membership have to be buying from you or, like many of these kinds of businesses, a down line is needed.

This is where you end up spending money on advertising. I have seen many people advertising this type of business but haven’t read of any average or typical member who is actually making a lot of money. It may be a business for someone very good at referring, but you may want to consider the points above if you’re new to marketing.

Source by Brenda Moody