by Jim Daniels,
JDD Publishing. (Editor's note: Jim Daniels was one of my heroes in the
early days, circa 1996. He passed away some time ago, but he gave the
Webmaster community much. Those who listened to him are still around).
I've always been a big "list" guy. Whether it's my daily "to do" list
monthly calendar, or a piece of scrap paper with a list of groceries, I can
put together one heckuva list.
I'm not sure if my memory is really that bad, or if they just put my mind at
ease, but lists have always served me well.
Today I'm putting my "master list-making skills" to work for online business
owners like myself. Whether you're a newcomer to the online business
world or you're already engaged in a cyberbusiness, the following list
should be on your desktop. It contains only the key items that make an
online business tick.
Take a look at any successful online business. Nearly all of them utilize
each and every item on this list. Do yourself a favor and print it. Until you
can put a check next to each item, you're missing out on a real key online
___ A real ISP.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but if you're trying to do business online,
you need unlimited, fast access to the internet. Be sure that you are able to
use a 3rd party email program (see next checklist item) with their services.
You also need an ISP that allows you to send as much email as you want.
___ A professional email program.
Are you still using AOL email for business? If so, you're missing out on lots
of features that many savvy business owners rely on daily. Things like auto
message filtering, blind carbon copying, auto-reply, multiple mailbox
pickup just to name a few. A professional email program will allow you to
utilize the low-cost e-marketing methods that are essential to your online
___ A professional Webmaster or Web design software.
A professional-looking Website is a must in order to survive online. Unless
you can learn to design a professional Website yourself, you'll need the help
of a Webmaster or at the bare minimum a design program. The easiest
route is to hire a Webmaster with experience and a proven portfolio.
___ Your own domain name.
Although it seems cruel, the bottom line is this... If your company won't
spring for a domain name at $35 a year, many potential customers will
think twice before they even click to your site, let alone buy from you.
___ A merchant account and secure credit card ordering.
To make a serious income online, you MUST have a merchant
account so that you can accept credit cards. Additionally, secure credit
card ordering must be enabled at every business site. Every product or
service you offer should display an "order" button that links to your secure
___ An online shopping cart system.
A good shopping cart system gives you control over your products and
services AND makes shopping at your site simple. Be sure to implement a
system that is easy to set up and maintain.
___ Free subscriptions.
A constant flow of current information will keep you informed. I subscribe
to over 100 free newsletters. Although I don't have time to read every
issue of every ezine, I do make a point to at least scan them for new and
important industry news and articles.
___ Proprietary products and services.
The best way to maximize profits, whether in the real world or online is to
offer at least one product or service that you own the rights to. Either
create something that the market demands or purchase exclusive rights.
___ A reseller program.
Call it what you want -- an affiliate, associate or reseller program. Your site needs one! This allows your happy customers to refer others to your
site and earn money in the process. In turn, your marketing efforts are
multiplied over and over. The reason you're seeing affiliate programs
popping up at almost every major site, is because they work!
___ Add-on products and services.
From the other end of the reseller spectrum, you should always try to offer
your customers products and services related to your own. Concentrate on
products that create residual income for your company, such as Web
hosting services or software.
___ Regularly scheduled email releases.
The best way to accomplish this is via your own email newsletter or tip
sheet. Whether you "stay in touch" weekly or monthly, the key is to do it
regularly and offer something that people will want to read!
___ Mission essential software.
Before you try to succeed at online marketing, get the right tools for the
job. There are software titles available on the internet that will do just
about any task you can imagine. Utilize the new by downloading and
sampling different tools for the task at hand. Example: If you're a Web designer, you'll need graphics programs and html editors!
___ A real-world catalog.
Do you have something you can send to interested parties who find your Website? Do you have a hard-copy catalog to send to people who
purchase a product or service from you? With many businesses being
started online, this important component is missing from their business
plan. I know first-hand, I'm designing my catalog now - almost three years
into my business venture!
Article by Jim Daniels of JDD Publishing. Jim's site has helped
1000s of regular
folks profit online. Check out their FREE "how-to" cybermarketing assistance,
software, business opportunities, manuals, Web services and more! Real money is
being made on the net -- visit http://bizWeb2000.com and get in on it... Can't get to
the Web? Subscribe to their FREE, weekly BizWeb E-Gazette: