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Internet Franchises

Thinking of starting your own Internet Business Welcome and here are a few tips for you. The most important thing in Internet is what you want to sell.

Are you planning to sell services or products

How are you going to market the services/products

How are you going to receive your payments

What technology background do you need to have

Questions.. Questions... Questions... Here are answers to these.

1. Choose what you want to sell.

2. Identify your market.

3. Conduct a feasibility study. (Example: How many pieces you need to sell to break-even). Keep in mind that a part of each transaction would be taken as commission by the Payment Gateway provider. Therefore, you pricing should take account of the commission.

4. See if the operation is sustainable in the long run.

5. Identify simpler and easier ways to publicize the product / service

6. Start with clear plan and confidence

Now you can focus on the technology aspects. You need to have an identity in the web. It starts with a domain.

1. Domain Registration

Dont be too bothered about the name. Never mind if you do not find a name that relate to the product.

Names like Amazon, Yahoo, Google, ebay, flickr to the recent YouTube have names that just sound unique. Choose a unique name that satisfies your gut feeling.

Also the extension of the domain does not matter. A .com, .net, .org, .biz all are technically the same. However, .com gives a commercial identity to your web site. Similarly, if your site is intended for a particular country, then the country domain (.in, .uk, .jp, .lk) are useful to project the identity.

You can obtain a domain paying by your credit card online using any of the popular sites:,, or numerous other reliable sites.

2. Choosing the hosting Service Provider

You could fine several hosting companies over the web easily. Choose one which has existed for a long time. Check on the following

a. The network connectivity they have

b. The technologies they support (Windows / Linux, ASP / PHP, MS-SQL / MySQL)

c. Monthly bandwidth they offer (You may not need a huge bandwidth initially. However, make sure the offered bandwidth is scalable).

d. Value added Services (Control Panels, Security Options, Payment Gateway options etc.)

e. Most importantly, the charges.

The other option is host it in your ISPs web Server.

3. Development of the Software

My suggestion would be to start small and grow over a period of time. If you wait till you complete each and every features and nice to haves, it is going to delay the whole process. Therefore, lay out what is the minimum requirement to take off. Leave the rest for the next phases. This phased approach will offload a lot stress from you.

Next important question is who will be developing the site. If you are a developer yourself, then there is no question. You may have learn & improve the skills as you go. If not, get one or two of your friends to help you out.

Choose what technologies, databases to use. Open source is fast becoming the way of life. However, if you are a Microsoft fan, then go with your instincts.

Make sure the following information is clearly stated in your web site. Else, your site would not look authentic and genuine

a. Your Contact Address, Telephone, Fax and e-mail

b. Your delivery mechanism and time frames

c. Your refund policy

d. Terms & Conditions for the User to agree before making a purchase

e. Price of each product with clear demarcation of the price and the delivery charge and other charges.

The site should also be easy to maintain in the long run. The administrator interfaces with password control should be developed to add / delete / modify product information, prices, user information etc.

4. Payment Gateway

This is the most important component of your business. Your shopping carts on check out should be linked to a reliable payment gateway. There are quite a few option starting from a merchant accounts offered by various web based gateways such as or to banks such as HSBC.

The Integration of your site to the Gateway could be done by following the instruction provided by the gateway provider.

5. SSL / Encryption

Most Payment Gateway come with SSL features to keep the customers credit card information secure. You can market your site to be a secure site based on this. Your own site need not be a SSL enabled unless you receive and store confidential information from the customers.

6. Starting it off

My suggestion is to do a soft launch of the site with limited publicity. Based on the feedback for about a month you can improve the site on ways that are possible and gear up for a grand launch with good publicity. Google Adwords may be considered for publicity.

7. Indexing and Search Engines

Apart from normal publicity, your site should be able to rank high for the products / services you sell. Most people on the web reach your sites through the search engines. Therefore, optimization of the site to come up in important search engine in an ongoing basis is essential for your success.

8. Some additional suggestions

Selling services or downloadable products online is much simpler than selling tangible products. Start with a select few products initially. Choose products which would not get damaged in transport. Choose your delivery mechanism and timeframe. Tie-up with a Courier service or normal postal service depending on the value of your products.

Beware of frauds. Get to know the kind of frauds that are possible in credit card transactions online. Get each and every user to register in the web site. Monitor each transaction for its genuineness. Have a clear dispute resolving mechanism.

When the traffic to the site reaches a certain volume, the option of earning a little bit more is available through schemes such as Google AdSense.

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