With how technology is evolving, it isn’t surprising that many people are venturing into online business. It is easier compared to traditional business and you get to reach a larger market. However, not everyone knows how to start investing and monetizing with the help of the internet. If you are one of them, here’s a simple guide on how you can start. Read on!
- Find a niche
The first stop to starting your online business is to find a niche that you are interested in. You have to focus on a specific market that you will be able to monetize. Make sure to research and study it first before venturing. It will be a life-long investment and you can’t just change your mind about it. Remember, it is your money down the line. It should be a worthy risk.
- Know your market and the competition
You need a business that is widely demanded. Since you will be running an online business, make use of the Google Keyword Tool. It will tell you if there is enough audience who will be interested in your business. It will even give you data on the average monthly searches.
Afterwards, assess the competition. It is advisable to have a business with less competing sites. As someone who is just starting, you won’t most likely find success in an industry with high competition. Play your cards right and choose a business that is more realistic for your experience and budget.
- Register your domain name
You need to have a website and this means you need to register a domain name. Choose a domain that is professional, easy to remember and catchy. This is part of your branding and it will speak volume about your business. The most suitable extension to a domain name is .com. If it isn’t available however, you can have the newer extensions like .net, .co, or .biz. You can register a domain from one to ten years and prices may vary depending where you register your domain. Most popular domain registrars are GoDaddy, NameCheap, DreamHost and Hover.
- Choose a web host
You need to rent internet space for your website’s pages, images and other online documents. A web host is what makes your site live and available for access by your target market. Before paying for it though, consider the price, tech specs, limitations, features and add-ons, hardware, email features, control panel and user interface, scalability and tech support. Some web hosts offer more features than others depending on the price. Web hosting sites that you can check out are HostGator, BlueHost, JustHost, iPage and InMotion hosting.
- Design the site
You have two options in designing your website: hire a designer or do it yourself. Hiring a web designer would mean another expense on your list, but it will guarantee good design and having a user-friendly website. However, if you don’t have the money for this, you can always customize the website all by yourself. If you build it using WordPress, there are several themes you can choose from and there is an array of plug-ins you can install. While designing your own website is quite daunting, it is not implausible. There are many tutorials that will help you get through this, not to mention that you will have the luxury to design the site however you want it.
- Set up your online payment process
You will be having an online business and eventually, you will receive payments from customers. Choose a payment platform that is not only convenient to you but to your customers as well. One option is to have a merchant account where it is set-up through your bank and you will be able to accept credit card payments. You can also set-up a payment method with Paypal, Stripe or Dwolla. On the same note, you should consider electronic checks and bank transfer because some customers are not comfortable with debit or credit card payments.
- Sign up for email delivery service
Don’t think for one second that email marketing is dead. It will never be. In fact, it still holds a strong case for one of the most effective ways in marketing your online business and in reaching your target market. Hence, don’t forget to set-up your email delivery service. MailChimp, one of the leading email delivery providers, will help with your marketing campaign. It will let you set-up a free account and deliver emails to your potential customers. One good thing about MailChimp is its training videos that will incredibly help generate results for your email marketing.
- Don’t forget to blog
You need to write copies that sell. Blogging is an important aspect of an online business. It keeps your website alive, it tells your customers what your business is all about, and you will have something to share in social media. Keep in mind though that your articles should address the inquiries of your audience. It should give answer to their “what’s in it for me” question. With that, keep your blogs interesting and informative. It should have a compelling content that will drive readers to look forward for more write-ups from you.
- Market your business
There are several ways to market your online business. For a start, make sure that you are visible in major search engines. Develop a SEO strategy that will push your website to the top. More so, use social media to drive traffic to your website. It is also an effective way to promote your business. It is best to research on how to market your online business to get higher income. There are several blogs that will give you information on how to efficiently do it.
Online business is no easy feat. The internet constantly changes and its users always look for something new. If you want to survive, you have to be flexible. You have to continue learning and growing. And definitely, you always need to be on top of your game. Happy investing!