Do you have an idea for starting an online business and need help getting online? In the past, all businesses needed physical locations, but as online shopping continues to rise, many people are making successful business on the internet. All you need is a good idea, some startup money, time to get started, and you can start an online business.

If you’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, starting an online business is one of the easiest ways to get your foot in the door. And online businesses, when run well, can be extremely profitable.

Ready to get started? Here are the first steps to start an online business.

1. Start with a Really Great Idea.

Since you searched for this article, chances are that you already have an idea for your online business.

If you have a business or product idea that you think people will be interested in, confirm that with market research. You can get creative and do a little bit of online market research yourself.

Maybe you want to start an online business for some passive income, but don’t have your idea fully developed yet? That’s okay too. Start by thinking about popular products in a hobby or niche area that you’re familiar with. How can you improve on those products or create a companion product that would make the experience better?

2. Decide on a Business Name.

The name is the biggest decision to make as you work on your brand, and it’s likely the most important decision since it will set the foundation for your brand and other decisions you will make next.

After you brainstorm a list of keywords to consider (and keywords to avoid), come up with half a dozen or more business name ideas with your keywords in mind. Next, you’ll need to see which business names are available.

3. Secure a Domain Name.

You’ve decided on a business name – congrats! Now it’s time to claim your domain name.

You’ve spent so much time thoughtfully deciding on the name for your online business, and you don’t want someone else to buy it before you. Even if it may be a few months before you’re ready to start a website, that’s ok. Purchase your domain now so you know it’s safe and ready when you are.

4. Build Your Website.

For an online business, your website is everything. You need it to look good, be intuitive to navigate, and make a clear case to visitors why they should buy.  Take time to get it right, and run the finished product by some other people (ideally people in your target audience) to get feedback.

Make sure the website design matches with your overall visual branding and your website copy effectively communicates your brand positioning.

If you’re selling products, don’t forget a shopping cart function.

5. Tell the World! Create and Execute Your Marketing Plan.

Before you actually get going, you should establish your marketing plan. Every business is different and marketing isn’t one size fits all. Because you’re starting an online business, you will want to make use of a mix of content marketing, social media promotion, and paid search promotion.

If you don’t know much about online marketing to start, this may be a step to hire out. There is a learning curve to get started and some mistakes of ignorance can cause serious consequences – you wouldn’t want to find yourself facing a Google penalty due to trying an outdated SEO strategy, for instance.

Be prepared to work hard, learn as you go, and make a point of providing great customer service. Running an online business isn’t easy, but if you take the right steps and do the work, the rewards can be great.