O'Reilly logo

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies, 5th Edition

Book Description

Start a successful online business—and be your own boss!

Being an online entrepreneur means more than just building a website—and this book breaks down everything you need to know to be successful. Inside, you'll get plain-English explanations and easy-to-follow instruction on online business basics, legal and accounting issues, website design, Internet security, boosting sales, e-commerce, and so much more.

While the ideas and concepts behind starting an online business are tried and true, the tools available to entrepreneurs change and evolve quickly—and often. Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies gets you up to speed on the best new tools, resources, and communities, and shows you how to best leverage them to up your chances of success.

  • Discover your niche and create a business plan
  • Design your website and storefront
  • Increase your reach and market with social media
  • Choose the best web host for your needs

If you're a budding entrepreneur with dreams of running your own online business, this book has everything you need to get started and grow your company to extraordinary heights!

Table of Contents

    1. Cover
    2. Introduction
      1. About This Book
      2. Foolish Assumptions
      3. Icons Used in This Book
      4. Beyond the Book
      5. Where to Go from Here
    3. Book 1: Start-Up Essentials
      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 Ideas into a Viable Internet Business
        1. Thinking Like an Online Entrepreneur
        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: Funding Your Online Business
        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 Website and Customers
        1. Taking Care of Customers
        2. Putting Policies in Place
        3. Delivering On Your Promises
      6. Chapter 6: Setting Up Shop: What 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
    4. Book 2: 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
        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
    5. Book 3: Website Functionality and Aesthetics
      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 for User Experience
        1. Understanding the Customer Experience
        2. Maximizing Performance for Profitability
        3. Guiding Website Traffic Flow
        4. Looking Your Best
        5. Choosing Substance Over Style
      3. Chapter 3: Building a Site Without Spending a Fortune
        1. Mapping Your Route to a Successful Site
        2. You Can Do It! Making 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 Website Host Options
        4. Putting the Long-Term Contract in the Past
        5. Serving Yourself: Don’t Overlook Other Server Options
      5. Chapter 5: Developing Content That Satisfies Visitors and Search Engines
        1. Words Are Words — Right? Wrong!
        2. Getting Ready to Write for the Web
        3. Moved to Purchase: Turning Words into Action
      6. Chapter 6: Going Beyond Beta and Launching Your Site
        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!
    6. Book 4: 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 Stand-Alone Shopping Cart Software
        4. Designing a Custom Cart
      6. Chapter 6: Taking Inventory
        1. Finding Out What’s Popular
        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
    7. Book 5: Managing Security Risks
      1. Chapter 1: Understanding Security and Your Risks
        1. Legal Responsibility: The Merchant and the Customer
        2. Defining Your Privacy Policy
        3. Keeping Your Website Secure
        4. Displaying Seals of Approval
      2. Chapter 2: Developing a Plan: Security and Business Continuity
        1. Making a Plan
        2. Creating a Budget for Your Plan
        3. Finding Security Resources
      3. Chapter 3: Spotting and Thwarting Hackers and Net-Thieves
        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
        6. Mobile Security Risks
        7. Understanding How a Wireless LAN Works
        8. Establishing Barriers
      4. Chapter 4: Locking Down Your Site and Your Business
        1. Protecting against Personal Data Loss and Credit Card Fraud
        2. Backing Up Your Data
        3. Adding Firewalls
    8. Book 6: Online Marketing Basics
      1. Chapter 1: Jump-Starting Traffic and Driving Sales
        1. Defining Key Elements for Digital Marketing Success
        2. Getting to Know Your Buyers — Really Well
        3. Calculating Your Site’s Conversion Rate
        4. Figuring Out When You Get the Most Traffic
        5. Getting Customers to Notice Your Website
        6. Getting Customers to Buy
      2. Chapter 2: Your Own 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 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 Website Traffic
        3. Analyzing Your Traffic Analysis Software
        4. Collecting the Correct Information
        5. Getting to Know Your Customer
        6. 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 Website Noticed by Search Engines
        3. Placing Keywords in Key Spots on Your Website
        4. Arranging Your Pages Strategically
        5. Submitting Your Site to Search Engines
        6. Watching Your Rankings
        7. Moving Up in the Rankings
    9. Book 7: Retail to E-Tail
      1. Chapter 1: Expanding Online to Keep and Grow Customers
        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: Managing the Differences between In-Store and Online Commerce
        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: Revving Up with Mobile Marketing, Social Media, and More
        1. Distinguishing between Different Types of Mobile Commerce
        2. Localizing with Ads
        3. Social Media Ads
        4. Alternative Ways to Boost Localized Spending
      6. Chapter 6: Troubleshooting the Transition to Online Retail
        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
    10. Book 8: E-Commerce Fundamentals
      1. Chapter 1: Starting Up with E-Commerce Functionality
        1. Knowing What You Want: Features
        2. Realizing What You Can Have: Cost
        3. Shopping for E-Commerce Solutions
      2. Chapter 2: Mastering the Amazon
        1. Joining the Marketplace
        2. Achieving Professional Seller Status
        3. Taking Advantage of Other Selling Opportunities with Amazon aStore
      3. Chapter 3: Web-ify Your Store with Shopify
        1. Why Open a Shopify Store?
        2. Setting Up Shop
        3. Managing Your Shopify Store
        4. Selecting a Plan
        5. Breaking Down the Fees
        6. 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
    11. Book 9: E-Business for the Nonprofit
      1. Chapter 1: Raining Donations: Fundamentals for Online Giving
        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: Growing an Active Donor Base: Your Virtual Community
        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: Identifying Online Marketing Strategies That Fit the Cause
        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
    12. Book 10: E-Commerce Trends and Market Opportunities
      1. Chapter 1: Discovering Niche Markets
        1. Deciding to Sell a Niche Product
        2. Finding Your Niche
      2. Chapter 2: Building Business via Social Commerce
        1. Setting the Virtual Stage for Success
        2. Using Online Socializing to Build Social Commerce
        3. Creating Your Own Video Channel
        4. Gathering, Networking, and Promoting: Online Communities
      3. Chapter 3: Evaluating the SaaS Model: Selling Software and Apps
        1. Deciding to Deliver Online Services
        2. Putting the Software in the SaaS
        3. Understanding the SaaS Model for Making Money
        4. Creating Apps for the Mobile Customer
      4. Chapter 4: Generating Opportunities through the Generations: Millennials, Boomers, and Beyond
        1. Understanding the Baby Boomer Market
        2. Figuring Out What Millennials Want and Delivering It
        3. Getting Online with the Digital Kids: Generation Z
    13. Book 11: E-Commerce Advanced
      1. Chapter 1: Mapping the Digital Buyer’s Journey
        1. Deconstructing the Path of an Online Buyer
        2. Monitoring the Flipped and Fluid Digital Sales Funnel
        3. Putting It All Together: The Buyer, the Conversion, the Channel
      2. Chapter 2: Getting Personal with Content Marketing
        1. Delivering the Goods with the Right Content Approach
        2. Developing Buyer Personas
        3. Creating Content for Storytelling and Consumption
        4. Launching the Personalization Effort Online
      3. Chapter 3: Listening to the Voice of the Customer
        1. Using VOC to Determine the Customer Experience
        2. Listening and Taking Action: Time to Redesign
        3. Increasing Appeal
        4. Making Your Website Functional
      4. Chapter 4: Overhauling an Aging Online Business
        1. Paying Attention to the Signs
        2. Qualifying for a Makeover from Lagging Sales
        3. Reengaging Customers to Spend with You, Again
        4. Knowing Where to Start
      5. Chapter 5: 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
      6. Chapter 6: 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
    14. About the Authors
    15. Advertisement Page
    16. Connect with Dummies
    17. End User License Agreement