The first thing you need to do is have a place to sell your products from. It doesn't matter what you're selling, but it does matter where you sell it from. Let me explain. When you plan to run an online business, treat it like one! You'll make much more money this way, believe me. Sure, you'll have some out of pocket expenses, but that's part of doing business. I cannot stress enough the importance of having your very own domain name and web site space.
There's a big difference between a department store and a yard sale. Think of your business as a specialized department store, and give it a place to "stand". If you try and do every single thing for free, you're business will suffer for it in the long run. You need complete control over your business. After all, you are the boss and not just the manager. That's why you need to steer clear of free web hosting sites.
Yeah, they give you your own sub-domain and a limited amount of space, but more importantly, these hosts hinder your earning ability with permanent banner ad placement and file upload limitations. Keeping everything as simple as possible will benefit you in the end and make your job a lot easier. Don't waste your time or energy. It's not worth it.
So, do yourself a big favor and pay for good web hosting. Let me add this, many web hosts are steering away from allowing certain files to be hosted on their servers. This includes .zip, .mp3, .exe, and in some cases .pdf files. Not good for an information business. Most of these web hosts who ban these types of files are offering "shared" hosting. Shared hosting is simply multiple web sites that share the same server. While this isn't a bad system, it still limits what you can do. But, if you are comfortable with that and have found a shared hosting plan that fits your specific needs with a good price, then go for it. But be sure to check their terms of service before you finalize your choice and pay.
Before you set up with a specific web host, you need a domain name. That is an easy enough task. Where you purchase your domain name is just as important as where you purchase your web space hosting. A good company to go with for domain name purchasing is GoDaddy. They've been around for a while and they have top notch customer service. Plus, their prices are affordable.
When selecting the right domain name it's a good idea for you to add at least one descriptive word pertaining to your online business. Say for instance you want to sell soccer equipment, you might choose www.waytogoalsoccer.com, or www.soccersupplier.com, or www.yoursoccersupplies.net, www.justsoccer.com, etc. The reason for adding "keyword" in your domain is that when people use search engines your site will come up more frequently. And that means more traffic, which means more sales. Plain and simple.
It doesn't matter where you buy your domain name, just that you buy one.
Now, if you're just beginning and don't really have the funds to purchase a domain name and website space, there is another way to begin if you are wishing to sell information products that can be automatically delivered by way of downloading. There is a site that does something quite unique. I know I said earlier that using a sub-domain isn't a good idea for serious online business. But, using a system like TradeBit is the exception to this.
And the reason is quite simple.
First of all, you can get a free 20 MB account, a sub-domain, web based FTP file uploading, built in shopping cart, your own affiliate program, and integrated PayPal/eBay selling plus automated product delivery. This will cut down your work load substantially. Beyond that,
they have extensive tutorials in both text and flash that help you "learn the ropes" when using their system.
Besides this, you can always use the redirect function when you purchase your domain name and have a small web hosting space. You won't need a whole bunch of space if you use
TradeBit to host your product files. And they allow you to host all the files that shared hosting companies do not. Such as .mp3, .exe, .zip, images and the like. Understand that any files you host you must have the right to sell them. But if you are a reseller, then this is not a problem.
There is really no good reason why purchasing a domain name and web space should cost you more than $30 realistically. And, if you need more file hosting space, TradeBit offers affordable solutions for this as well that you can upgrade to at any time. All in all, setting up your own online business should cost you no more than $100.
A few more things you will need before you begin are a merchant account, an eBay account if you are interested in selling there, an HTML editor for making changes to pre-designed sales kits or for creating a sales page, and an image editor for creating graphics for your sales pages and products.
There are several different places that you can pick up your own merchant account. PayPal being my top choice due to the fact that it's free. Plus, this is the payment system that TradeBit uses although they are working on adding other systems at the time of this writing. Now, for those that cannot get a PayPal account because of restrictions, you can always get a free merchant account from StormPay. It's basically the same system setup as PayPal. But, you can sign up for a free merchant account on a new system called PayDotCom. They offer PayPal and StormPay integration among others within their system, so it's a good choice. Again, opening a merchant account with PayDotCom is free.
If you have the money and can afford it, there are other merchant account systems out there too. ClickBank being the first on my list. It will cost around $50 to set this up. But don't worry, it's just a one time fee. Also, there is 2CheckOut and they offer a free shopping cart set up service.
Now that you know where you should be selling, it's time to decide on what to sell.