Starting an Online Business: Common Expenses

Just like opening up a retail storefront, launching an online business needs planning and start-up capital.

The main reason why many entrepreneurs choose to start online businesses is because they commonly require less of an investment in terms of up-front and ongoing expenses compared to brick-and-mortar establishments. Though every online business has different needs, a few specific expenses will likely apply to every type.

Hosting Fees

Every year (or every few years depending on your preferences) you’re going to get a little reminder email from your hosting company that your domain registration fees are due. The domain registration expense is the equivalent of paying rent at a brick-and-mortar business and hosting fees are equivalent to paying utilities to keep your company open for business.

Creative Professionals

In order to start a successful online business you have to make some type of investment in creative professionals. Creative professionals include website designers, web architecture consultants, writers and photographers to take high-quality pictures for an online store. A web programmer, though technical in nature, can also be classified as a creative professional because he makes the site design come together and display correctly to your potential customers.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The old idiom “if you build it they will come” doesn’t quite work when it comes to starting an online business. You could have a beautifully designed site that is easy to navigate with every possible bell or whistle that the people in your target market could possibly want, but it’s useless if they can’t find your site.

SEO (search engine optimization) consultants can help you come up with a strategy to drive targeted traffic to your website and start converting some sales. It’s an investment that many online business owners make to get off the ground rather quickly.

Social Media Tools

Next to organic online searches on Google, Bing, MSN, Yahoo! and other popular search engines, social media is probably the next most common way of getting people to visit and patronize your online business. Social media is sometimes intimidating and confusing for newbies, but tools make the process simpler. Many social media apps cater to sites like Twitter and Facebook — they help you to find new followers, sort through interests and post automatically from a blog.

You might also find it valuable to simply hire someone to help you with your social media strategy. A number of consultants specialize in that type of work and can help you establish a strong presence on social media to market your online business.

Starting an online business can be a bit intimidating at times, but as long as you have the right resources lined up (along with a solid marketing plan) you could find yourself turning a profit sooner than you imagined.

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