With a lot of hard work a Web based company could be a success. It doesn't require a huge financial outlay, which may be why many people consider starting such a business [source: Quittner]. Remember, a Web based business has the same legal obligations as any other business [source: business].

Here's how to start a Web based business:

  • Choose a domain name for your site. This is the part of the name that comes before the dot com at the end. It will be exclusive to your site and no one can copy it. Find a domain name registry and go through the process of registering the name. This will include paying a fee.
  • Set up a merchant account with your bank, and make the necessary provisions to receive payments from various credit cards. You may want to set up a PayPal account as well.
  • Design your Web site, keeping your target audience in mind. If you want to do this yourself and you don't have HTML skills, consider purchasing a program specifically for designing Web pages. Otherwise consider employing a professional to design a site for you. Remember, it's very important that your site looks professional and is well organized. It shouldn't be so overloaded with information that it's hard to navigate or read. Make sure your Web site has a clear system for placing orders and making payments.
  • Choose a company with a Web hosting package. Your Internet Service Provider will offer Web hosting, but you may want to hire a specialist hosting company, which will have more in the way of e-commerce packages for new-to-the-web businesses. If you have not already done so, a good company might be able to help you register a domain name.
  • Test your Web site to make sure it's in working order and easy to navigate [source: Dun and Bradstreet].
  • Register your business with your state's secretary of state, and get any necessary licenses.
  • Obtain all the necessary tax identification numbers.