Advice From The Front: Your Audience, Your Budget, Your E-Commerce Needs

An Internet pro shares tips for online business wannabes.
2 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Darlene Boyd, president of UniQue Hosting and Design Inc., a Web hosting company that offers domain registration as well as design and online marketing services, has this advice for aspiring Netpreneurs:

  • Have a clear idea of who your target audience is. This will help define the image you need to portray on your Web site and allow you to determine the amount of expected traffic and functionality your site will require.
  • Understand that without a clear and defined budget for advertising, you're planning to fail before you start. Besides the cost of developing, hosting and designing the site, your biggest expense will be advertising. If you understand that at least 25 to 50 percent of your costs should be spent on advertising and promoting your site, then you're sure to have a great beginning for driving traffic. Without traffic, it doesn't matter how great your Web site is if no one comes to see it.
  • Understand that to have e-commerce on your Web site, the image of a one-step deal isn't consistent with reality. It requires a business bank account, federal tax ID number, Web host, designer, shopping cart, merchant bank to process orders and possibly a gateway. The merchant banks and gateways will take one to three weeks to process your information and open your account. Be prepared and have all your information and paperwork in order to make this tedious process more successful.

Aliza Sherman is an entrepreneur and author of Cybergrrl: A Woman's Guide to the World Wide Web (Ballantine Books). She is currently working on her next book and new company.

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