Here are five tips to help your company unlock the potential of selling online.

What’s the secret to taking a business online?

During the month of April, On Small Business posed that question to small-business owners, searching for the best advice for entrepreneurs starting or taking a company online.

We received dozens of responses, and what follows are some our readers’ favorites:

Commenter: Jonathan Frieden

“Use care in selecting and protecting useful domain names by registering them in all three main top-level domains, registering common misspellings of each domain name, and seeking trademark protection for the domain names or their derivatives.”

Commenter: Blabus

“The cloud has changed the way I do business. It’s flexible and it’s mobile. Starting a business on the cloud, I was able to bypass all the huge start-up costs ... Additionally, integrating tools like Google Analytics and Facebook, I get great insight into who my customers are, what they want and where they are shopping from, giving me greater visibility into how I market my products.”

C ommenter: Stukushner

“Creating a site that sells your services online requires a solid marketing plan that includes a great site design, ongoing fresh content (blogging) that is properly optimized (SEO) and hosted on a server that is backed up and protected with anti-virus. Also, e-commerce sites need to be managed. If you let the platform software or plug-ins get out-of-date, your site can become vulnerable to hackers and viruses.”

Commenter: Mike MacInnis

“Invest in good product photography. No matter how slick your Web site looks, if your product images look [bad], then people will be less inclined to buy. If you don’t own a nice camera and don’t think you can do this yourself, then I suggest hiring somebody.”

Commenter: ReputationChanger

“Secure your profiles on social media sites, seeking handles or vanity URLs that correspond with your brand name. Always start with Facebook, Twitter and Completed.com. LinkedIn is great if you have a business clientele. Even if you do not have the time to get active on all of these social networks right off the bat, it is prudent to lay a claim to these accounts before they get snatched away.”

To see all the responses, read the full story at washingtonpost.com/on-small-business.