A common question I am asked when talking about starting an e-commerce business is “Didn’t the Internet bubble burst years ago, and didn’t that prove that it really isn’t possible to make money with an Internet only business? ” Well, it’s true that building a business on the Internet isn’t what it used to be. Not long ago, the first person with an idea could build a web page and own the market. If you sold a widget, you registered the domain widgets. com and anyone who wanted a widget knew where to get one. Marketing was easy. A few posts in an online discussion group, an ad in the right magazines, maybe a TV ad if the venture capitalists had given you a bunch of money, and your fortune was made. The most difficult challenges during this period were technical. Entire teams were hired to design and build web sites. Another team was hired to integrate the shopping cart. This method made many millionaires and it was so easy that people forgot it was supposed to be a business. It became the playground for anyone with a neat idea. Eventually the dot-com bubble burst and fortunes were lost.
Immediately after the dot crash, the situation quickly reversed. It became more affordable to build a web site, but because dozens or hundreds of people were selling the same widget, marketing became important. Most of the technical problems had been solved so instead of hiring teams to do the work, sites could be built on contract for just a few thousand dollars.
We are now entering the next phase of e-commerce. While there are still plenty of people making money as web designers and programmers, a single person can do most of the work in an evening and have the entire web site running in a weekend. With modern web development tools, it is possible to build a functional web site with no knowledge of html, the language most Internet pages are written in.
Many web-hosting companies are offering point-and-click web site development. Usually these sites are based on templates designed by experts and can be customized to suit your needs and preferences. With these tools, you can build an entire e-commerce solution with shopping cart in a weekend. With services such as PayPal and Google Checkout, it is possible for anyone to accept credit cards over the Internet without a merchant account.
There are several ways to make money online. The most obvious is to open an online store. I suggest you pick a small market and target it instead of selling a wide variety of merchandise. By using a drop shipper, you can open a store without even carrying any inventory.
You can also make money using Google’s Adsense program. You may have seen ads on some web pages that say “Ads by Google” under them. Every time someone clicks on one of those ads, the website owner makes money. If you can get enough visitors to your site, you can make a lot of money this way.
If you are eager to start an e-commerce business or want to incorporate e-commerce functions into your existing business, there has never been a better time to do it. Prices are lower than they have ever been and the technology makes it easier than most people believe.
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