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What will the first few customers see for the first few days? Empty site? I am pretty sure none of my first customers are going to return back?
How does it all get started - the non technical, business side of a website?
Any experiences to share?
The short answer to your question is Brett's timeless post:
26 steps to 15k a Day [searchengineworld.com] which covers a majority of the basic issues of promoting a website.
The long answer is that there are LOTS of experiences that are shared at WW on a daily basis on how a website can succeed (as well as fail).
Here's a few more of my personal favorites, that may be of use:
If you build a beautiful classified ad site, and say to the world "Come look at it!" A few will come and take a look, see that there is nothing there and leave. They'll leave either because there is nothing there for them to buy, or because it's not worth trying to sell something where obviously no one is using the site. There's plenty of useless sites on the internet. They won't be back.
So, a few suggestions to work around this: