By Brendan Fitzpatrick
Wow.. this is such a broad question.. here are some things to think about first:
1. What am I selling?
2. Do I have a niche product?
3. Am I trying to make a living off this site or is it a hobby or something in between?
4. Am I prepared to ship?
5. How many products am I looking to sell?
6. What is my profit margin?
7. Do I have a business plan?
Once you have answers to the 7 basic questions above you can start thinking about solutions that might work for your situation. If you are selling single object for example then you will want to check out ebay.com, you should familiarize yourself with ebay.com as an e-commerce solution either way. If you have a very big object that would be too expensive to ship then you may also want to advertise it on craigslist.org, another source of local buyers.
If you are selling multiple products then there are many options for storefronts including ebay.com. If you know for sure that you will sell enough products to make it worth going with your own storefront vs. paying extra fees for hosted storefronts then you can consider open source storefronts such as oscommerce. If you’re going to make tons of money day one then you should consider a custom designed storefront but this is going to cost you a lot of money.
In order to be succesful you have to understand where your traffic is going to come from. If you have a site with no traffic and you think you’re going to pay google.com for ad space then you may be in for a rude awakening. Unless you have a real niche product(s) you will likely find enough competition where the cost of keyword advertising will significanly eat into your profit margin. For example, if you are selling loans and making $200,000 per signup then you can afford $10 per click for 1,000 (or even 10,000) click(s) per signup, but if you are selling Cabbage Patch dolls (or the hottest selling item) where you only make $20 per order then you cannot afford to pay $1 per click if it takes 40 clicks before you get an order – you’ll go broke.
Do not jump into an online business without knowing the basics of traffic, CPM, online adversiting, keyword advertising and SEO.