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Starting An Online Business Basic Internet Skills And Knowledge To Get

The most basic of skills you will need for an online web presence is understanding HyperText Markup Language (HTML). This is the standard code used to create static web pages (those that don’t have content that changes on the fly). Fortunately, HTML is very easy to learn and many community colleges have quick courses on it that can get you started.

 

If you are the least bit technically savvy, you won’t have much problem picking up HTML programming, particularly because most of today’s packages don’t require you to know the ins and outs of programming.

 

Software packages like Frontpage and Dreamweaver can be learned by anyone who is familiar with Windows and other computer applications. Much of the programming is done behind the scenes while the user is only required to work on documents similar to a word processor for formatting web page articles.  These types of HTML Authoring software programs are referred to as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get), web page design programs.  For a good free WYSIWYG you can go to: http://nvudev.com/index.php

 

If you are looking to create an online store on your website, then you will need to learn how to either program links to products on other sites that have the inventory (affiliate marketing) or links to products you are shipping. You will need to use some sort of commercial online shopping cart program, like Paypal online cart options or an off-the-shelf software package that can be added to your website, if you are selling your own inventory.

 

NECESSARY TECHNICAL SKILLS

 

The skills and packages you need will be determined by the types of sales you are trying to achieve. If you are seeking affiliate sales, you don’t need any technical training other HTML. If you are seeking to sell your own products, you will have to learn how to create a shopping cart for your products or find a third-party venue who will allow you the use of their system for receiving orders online and collecting payments.

 

Once you know what it is you want to sell, you can check to see what technical skills might be needed to create your online store.

 

DIRECT INTERNET SALES

 

There are a number of people who have hobbies or create crafts who want to sell them online. Or maybe, you are a collector who wants to put your business online. The biggest obstacle for these people is that they often don’t have the technical skills to make their own website. They have two choices:

1. Use someone else’s site and give them a cut or

2. Learn how to set up their own site.

 

If they choose to use someone else’s site, like eBay or a craft consortium, no doubt they will pay to list their items. Those items may or may not sell. While there was no expense for learning how to program, there is time spent understanding how to market on eBay successfully. There are no online opportunities that don’t require some degree of technical know-how. The question is: How much do you want to learn?

 

If you decide you want your own site, you will need to either hire a web developer or you will have to learn how to program your own. Learning to program your own site can be very time consuming, if you are not technically savvy.

 

Even understanding the mechanics of how to program a website, there is a body of knowledge you will not have access to in terms of understanding how to make it search engine friendly.

 

There is a great deal to setting up an effective online store, not the least of which is attracting customers and being able to take orders, receive payment, and fulfill them quickly. In addition to this, without visitors to the site you have no sales, so if your pages are not programmed to be search engine friendly, odds are you will have difficulty attracting people to your site.

 

When you are considering doing your own site, think about hiring knowledgeable people to create it for you. This can leave more time for you to refine your marketing plan and develop your product and your market base better.

 

If, however, you choose to use a third-party to market your wares, like eBay, Amazon, or Cafepress then you don’t have to worry about building a checkout cart, setting up credit payments, or establishing a full e-commerce site. You can simply use their interface and list your products with them. This takes less initial programming efforts, but you will be charged listing and commission fees.

 

You will have to have some expertise in digital photography, to help capture the inventory you are listing for visitors to the third-party site. You will need to have a camera with at least 3 megapixels or more and the ability to upload and download pictures to your computer, which should be Internet-enabled.

 

A final option for listing your own products on your own site is Paypal. They offer a very simple to learn system for sellers using their checkout cart program and “Buy” buttons that are easily programmed into web pages using HTML code. The code is generated by their system based on values you set for your item and it can then be cut and pasted into your existing web pages. This makes it very easy to set up your pages to collect Paypal payments for orders on your site with only knowledge of HTML coding.

 

AFFILIATE MARKETING

 

If you are not selling your own products, but instead are focusing on affiliate marketing, you will still need some knowledge of HTML coding or experience with software packages like Frontpage or Dreamweaver. Both of these packages can be downloaded off the Internet for free trials to see if you feel confident using the product. NVU is freeware.

 

You can download free templates today from many sites that are easily installed on web servers, if you understand how to connect to a web host using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). This will provide you with a free design layout to use for your Internet presence, which can cut significant time off your development stage. You will need to upload these templates to your server and test them out and later tweak them by changing the HTML the way you want it.

 

If you don’t have any idea how to connect to your main server, you will not be able to upload web pages to your web site. You must have this capability if you are programming your own web pages. Both the newer versions of Dreamweaver and Frontpage have FTP capabilities. Reading the tutorials that come with these packages can help you learn how to use the feature. If you are using Frontpage, a Microsoft product, you can search their online knowledgebase for articles on how to do certain things in Frontpage or to find out whether you’ve hit a bug within the product. The knowledgebase for all Microsoft products is located at http://support.microsoft.com/search/. If you are using Dreamweaver, they have a developer’s forum for people who are learning their products at: http://www.adobe.com/devnet/dreamweaver/ .

 

If you don’t know how to upload pages to your website, you will need to look up FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and understand how it works. What you will want to do is get a training manual for your software or checkout free trial FTP programs like WS_FTP (http://www.wsftp.com/) or Coffeecup (http://www.coffeecup.com/).

 

These programs are dedicated to FTP and can help you get started learning FTP. However, they are not necessary as standalone products if you have Dreamweaver or Frontpage. If you decide to use a different HTML editor than either Dreamweaver or Frontpage, such as NVU, you may need to load a separate FTP program to get this capability.

 

Whether you are selling your own or someone else’s goods, you want to be able to market your site to attract visitors and turn those visitors into paying customers. Unlike a brick-and-mortar store, your typical advertising campaigns relying on word-of-mouth, good customer service, and walk-ins won’t work.

 

If you have no visitors, you have not word-of-mouth and then it definitely won’t matter how good your customer service is. The primary goal of any online business is to attract and retain Internet traffic and convert visitors to paying customers. This takes a whole new set of skills that can combine technology with business savvy.

 




Leon Edward is the owner and webmaster artof Internet Home Business where you'll find legitimate online business ideas , home business management and marketing information where you can even get step by step  affiliate marketing training to start your own affiliate marketing business
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