Building an online business or moving your local business online, is essential even if you don’t know coding, email marketing, website building or promoting your business. But it’s a guarantee that it’ll pay you back in the long run.
Do you know more than 1,000 websites are created every day and more than 2000 domains are registered every day?
It’s a truth that even if you have a particularly small niche, it is possible that someone somewhere around the world may be running the same business. It is possible!
But if you have an offline store or business, it is possible that there would not be any other same business around your area or even in your city. Hence, having almost to no competition.
But it’s not possible? Where you can start the business of everything, anywhere. So you have to face competition, someone can be better than you or you can be better than other while offering the same product or service.
So what you can do now? You can move your offline business online, by offering your services or product online. Or you can build an online business, fresh and new. To generate business ideas that will help you earn monthly income or maybe help you quit your job and do it as a full-time job.
Here I have created a step-by-step guide for small business or new online business that will help you build an online business.
Steps for building an online business
Find a niche.
Before you begin anything (building an online business), it’s very important to define what your services or products are. Starting an online business does you the benefit of having access to millions of customers. No matter what you’re trying to sell, you can bet that hundreds more online retailers have a similar idea.
But the question is, what differentiates your product from other similar products? To help your product stand apart from the rest, you’ll need to find a niche.
- Let’s say you make jewelry—but so do a few million other people. What makes yours different? If one-of-a-kind jewelry (or another product) is your gig, make sure it’s truly original.
- Offer expertise in an area. Even if the product itself isn’t very unique, your expertise might be a strong selling point. If you’re selling a line of skincare products, for example, it helps if you have a degree in a field related to skin health.
- Check into the competition. Figure out what isn’t already being offered, and find a way to fill the hole with your product.
If you need to figure out a business idea, follow these simple steps and find out your niche.
Do your market research.
Now that you have a business idea, its time to dig deeper into your niche viability.
Market research aims to understand the reasons why consumers will buy from you. The basic questions you’ll try to answer with your market research include:
- Who your customers are, what they do, what they are interested in?
- Define your competitors. What are they into, how they work? Find out what’s working and what can be improved upon, from your biggest competitors. This will tell you more about how to define your branding and positing in the market.
- Next, define your targeted audience, their age, location. Who they are? What do they like? How can you tailor both your product and your website experience to appeal to your perfect shopper? Another important thing is how your targeted audience reaches to you, through which device or social media.
- Lastly, create a SWOT analysis. SWOT analysis – where SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threatening – will help you focus on developing and creating a better business plan.
List down these things and through proper research, it can help you focus on what to be done and how to improve.
Create clear and measurable goals and objectives.
A smart business person understands the inherent value of goal setting in steering a growing business in the right direction. Unfortunately, figuring out exactly what the right direction is – and the road map to get there – isn’t as much of a no-brainer.
More than 80 percent of the 300 online business owners surveyed in the recent 4th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey said that they don’t keep track of their business goals, and 77 percent have yet to achieve their goals & vision for their company.
Here’s the road map to setting online business goals.
- Determine your long-term aims.
- Create S.M.A.R.T. goals – specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, time-specific.
- Create short-term objectives
- Stay organized and focused.
- Drive creative ideas.
Build a website.
Before you build a website, register a domain name. When selecting a business name go for something short and catchy that will be easy for people to remember.
Choose the hosting which is speedy, provides the best service and customer support. That’s why I go with SiteGround.
- SiteGround gives you a free domain for a year and a free SSL certificate (which is necessary).
- 2055+ experts and users have reviewed SiteGround as the best hosting provider.
- Reliability: Your website will be available 24/7/365 without facing any downtime.
- Superfast servers: All SiteGround servers are highly optimized for speed. They are equipped with the latest hardware like SSD drives and custom software to make sure that your site is super fast.
- Top-Notch Customer Support Their customer support is fantastic, to say the least. They offer 24/7 phone, live chat, and ticket-based support.
- Multiple Server Locations They have data centers on three continents. You can choose the location you prefer during the signup.
Signup with SiteGround here.
Once you’ve got your domain name, now you’re ready for your business web design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone’s attention, otherwise, they’re gone, never to be seen again. Some important tips to keep in mind:
- Choose one or two plain fonts on a white background.
- Make your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page.
- Only use graphics, audio or video if they enhance your message.
- Include an opt-in offer so you can collect e-mail addresses.
- Make it easy to buy–no more than two clicks between potential customer and checkout.
- Your website is your online storefront, so make it customer-friendly.
Building an online business requires you to have a website, where you can simply navigate people through what you offer, what you do and how you can help them with their needs.
Create Social media accounts.
Whatever your business, whatever your venue, keeping your name in the air is key to internet success. Have a business account on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. If your business is graphically oriented, have accounts on Flickr and Tumblr as well.
If you’re starting out as new, then to stay away from being overwhelmed is to be on the less social platform. This will help you get forced and increase your audience at one or two places.
Whenever there is news of any kind – a new contract, a new page, a new entry, a new photo – cross-post it to all your social media sites. Also, make sure those sites link back to your main website, and that your website has links to all of them.
Social media is an inexpensive way to promote your website and keep new and existing customers chatting about your business. Here are some quick and easy tips for using some of the most popular social networking sites – select the one which fit best for your business (not all are necessary in beginning):
- Set up a business page on Facebook & post special offers (at least once a month) to all those who like your page.
- Ask customers to have pictures on your Facebook page that show them using their favorite products that they bought from your website.
- Use this platform to give updates about your company and connecting with your audience with some personal touch.
- Showcase creativity and images to attract more followers.
- Use Twitter to tweet interesting or unusual facts about your business or products and provide a link to that product page on your site.
- Send out short tips via Twitter on how to use your services or products.
- Follow customers and vendors as well as influential bloggers, journalists, industry analysts, and others with a large following and significant influence on your business or industry.
- Use promoted tweets and Twitter cards as inexpensive ways to advertise your products in Twitter.
- Get more visibility by tweeting pictures and videos related to you or your business to your followers.
- Set up a Pinterest profile for your business, creating one or more Pinterest boards with themes or product interests related to your business.
- Add the Pin It button to your website pages so that visitors to your website can pin, or post, product images from your site to Pinterest.
- When pinning an image to a board in Pinterest, add a short text description to provide additional information and interest.
- Pin videos to your boards. This underused Pinterest opportunity can generate lots of views and shared pins.
- Hold a pinning contest on your website by encouraging customers to pin an image of one of your products to their Pinterest boards. Offer a small prize to either a random pinner or the pin that has the most re-pins.
- Create a LinkedIn profile and add links to your website: Update your profile with new links, product reviews, books or articles that you are reading, or other information so that this information appears to all the people in your network.
- Join LinkedIn groups that may be popular with many of your customers, and frequently post questions or comments related to the products or services you offer.
- Ask your customers as well as vendors and other business associates in your network to provide a recommendation for you or your business on LinkedIn.
- Add brochures, PDFs, SlideShare and PowerPoint presentations, and videos to your profile under the Summary section to provide interesting content that anyone viewing your profile can download or share.
Use SocialPilot to schedule your social media posts.
Start a blog
Even if you don’t have expertise in blogging, you can start telling about your niche or product or service. You may think blogging is all about writing. And it can be if that’s what you want to do.
But written blog posts are just the start. You can post photos, videos, and links to other sites, repost news and other articles. Anything is game, really, as long as it relates to your niche.
What sort of content should you provide? Anything that is engaging to your prospect. How-to-topics, top-10 lists, commentary on trends in your niche, tips and tricks articles – basically, you need to provide useful content. There’s no shortage of ideas for your blog.
Here are a few successful blogging tips to make sure people can find your blog — and will keep coming back. This is key to building a following and making your blog a profitable venture.
- You need to provide useful content in an engaging way. If your blog is boring or the information can be found everywhere else, nobody will read it. Don’t hesitate to put your own personality into the blog.
- You have to post content on a regular basis. People thirst for the new, so make sure you put up articles, videos, or whatever consistently. It could one post per day or three times per week. Whatever it is, maintain the same schedule. A scattershot posting history means losing readers. At a minimum try to aim for one new post, video, or other forms of content a week.
- Be genuine. Yes, your blog is supposed to make money. But you can’t make marketing pitches all the time. Focus on useful content so that your readers come to know, like, and trust you. Then they will naturally click on your advertising or buy the products you recommend. In this era of the internet and social media, people are looking for authenticity.
Do all of this, and you’ll attract the notice of search engines like Google, which are always looking to put sites with useful, relevant content on top of the search results.
Build an email list.
When you build an opt-in list, you’re creating one of the most valuable assets of your online business. Your customers and subscribers have given you permission to send them an email. That means:
- You’re giving them something they’ve asked for.
- You’re developing lifetime relationships with them.
- The response is 100 percent measurable.
- Email marketing is cheaper and more effective than print, TV or radio because it’s highly targeted.
Anyone who visits your site and opts into your list is a very hot lead. And there’s no better tool than email for following up with those leads.
Promote your business.
Why promoting your online business is necessary? You have created a website and started writing blog posts, that should be it.
That’s not enough. There are lots of things to be done once you have created your website and blog. You cannot expect people to visit your website/blog if they don’t even know you exist.
Maybe at the beginning you don’t have many visitors on your site, so how will you attract them, or how will you reach them. Even if you have a sustainable amount of visitors but they might not create that much engagement or become your loyal customers.
That’s why promoting an online business is necessary.
If you publish blog posts, you need to make sure your post is read by most of your audience and is able to attract as many new once.
By adding sign up forms in-between these posts will help people subscribe to you and you can grow your email list.
Next, you need to promote your article through different means. Here are steps you can follow:
- Send out blog post through email
- Spread out words on social media.
- Share your content on forums and other blog sharing community.
- Make sure you tweet about it more than once.
There is a whole list we have created on how to promote your website.
You can make money in a variety of ways, that will help you build an online business.
- Google Adsense. These pay-per-click ads appear on your blog. Every time somebody clicks on an ad (which is supposed to be about a subject related to your niche), you make a few cents. Small amounts each time, but it adds up.
This is extremely hands-off. You just need to get a code from Google, place it on your website – and the ads will automatically appear on your blog. Google will only show ads that are relevant to your blog so it’s a good experience for your visitors and maximizes the number of clicks you get, meaning more income.
- Blog ad networks – You can also work with ad networks, like Blogads, and run banner ads on your blog. Same as Google Adsense ads, you place the code once on your website and when your visitors click on the ads then you get paid.
- Affiliate marketing – You know this one already. You include links to products you are promoting as an affiliate and every time somebody buys the products, you get a commission.
With a blog, you can integrate advertising with content to make it even more likely you’ll get the sale. For example, you could do a product review — which is useful content — and then include a link to buy the product under an affiliate link.
You could start a blog in less than an hour. But it takes time to make money as you build readership, and only a small percentage of those folks end up buying your products.
Conclusion on building an online business!
You are never done with building an online business, there are many things that you need to do. But these are the beginning and baby steps that are necessary for every online business to follow to succeed.
The trick with any online business is to make sure you’re in a profitable niche market. So be sure to keep an eye on trends, check out bestseller lists on sites like Amazon, and consider what people are discussing on social media.
One thing to keep in mind is that you don’t have to restrict yourself to just one of these e-commerce opportunities. Start out with one and get it going. Then add new revenue streams as you’re able. That will grow your income and ensure that you have something to fall back on should one business start going south.
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