Whether you want to provide services or products, starting an online business has strong appeal. The internet has made e-commerce into a huge and profitable industry. There are many considerations to address when setting up an online business, some of which are significantly different than setting up a traditional business. Here are some things to investigate before you start building your online business.

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What’s in a Name?

While there are many technology-driven decisions related to starting an online business, there are some preliminary steps that will lay a firm foundation for your future success. Getting them in the proper sequence is important.

You may be eager to register your domain name, and that should be done as early as possible to preserve the name. It is critical, however, to do it hand-in-hand with incorporating (and naming) your business in your home state if you want your business and domain name to match. If it does not matter to you that they match, you may still want to research how you can register a trade name that does match your domain name. So, before you send payment off to a domain name registration service, you may want to be sure that the same name is also available in your state.

If you want to register the domain in the name of your new business (as compared to using your own name), you will need to have already incorporated in your state. You can do so quickly and easily by using our online incorporation service, customizable by state.

Establishing Your Website

Once you’ve registered your domain name, your next step will be to find your web host (some web experts recommend that your domain name and host providers be different entities for security measures). You will need to determine which potential host most closely matches your business needs for e-commerce such as a shopping cart, fast checkout, blog capability, and other “plugins.”

Once you’ve selected your host, you’ll begin the website design. You can accomplish this by using the templates provided by the web host, or hiring a designer to do it for you. Remember that your web site is the equivalent of a store-front location and you’ll want it to look professional and attractive, with the fastest load times possible.

Next you’ll need to work out the technical details of driving traffic to your website by focusing on internet consumer behavior. This involves search engine optimization, social media marketing, understanding website analytics and tracking tools, and utilizing website design and advertising principles.


Like any business, commerce on the internet has become highly regulated. You can consult with the Federal Trade Commission for more information. In addition, your state and city may have requirements for your online business. Of course, there are also international trade laws to be aware of.

To help you get started, we offer a free resource to help you create your own customized online terms and conditions.

It may seem like you will need to give a lot of attention to technical details in order to start an online business. But the benefits of starting an online business include the possibility of a satisfying career with convenience, flexibility, and potentially high earnings.

Get started Start Your Incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Start Your Incorporation Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.