Twelve years ago, I started creating my own online business. By the end, I had a brand new income stream that allowed me to quit thinking about a job as I became a full-time entrepreneur. Over the past ten years, I’ve developed strategies that have helped hundreds of people build profitable online businesses. If you are wondering how to start an online business, you have come to the right place.
Unique Guide On How To Start An Online Business
There are hundreds of resources on how to start an online business. Still, most focus on the technical rather than the emotional side. This article shares the key areas you must focus on to succeed in the online world. From creating a unique product and getting the word out to how to monetize your site once you get there, I will cover all bases. I will also include tips and advice from real entrepreneurs about their experiences so that you can learn from their mistakes and success stories.
In this article, I’ll show you how to start building a successful online business, step by step.
1. Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)
There isn’t any single answer that can say what makes a business successful. But there are a few pieces to any successful business plan. One of them is a unique selling proposition (USP) or unique selling point. What is a USP? It is the reason why a consumer will choose to buy from you rather than your competitors. I’ve put USP as the first topic here, and you will understand why as you keep reading this article.
The purpose of your USP is to provide your customers reason to buy from you instead of your competitors. It should answer the question: why would my customers choose to buy from me over my competition? What is unique that will set you apart from other businesses? Suppose you have never thought about what makes your company unique. In that case, it’s probably worth putting some time into figuring out what sets you apart from your competition.
It is very crucial if you are starting a new business. If you don’t have a USP, then why would anyone else want to do business with you? Instead of trusting your new business, they would do business elsewhere they already trust. A USP is how you will distinguish yourself from your competitors when you are new. Your USP will bring a thought in their mind to take a risk and do business with you. Your USP can be anything—from a feature or a service to a personality or a marketing strategy.
When customers choose to buy from your website, they tell others that you’re the best at what you do. It’s the same thing they tell others when they recommend you.
2. Choose the Right Niche
One of the keys to building a successful online business is to choose the right niche. For some, this may be very simple: “For me, it’s about creating products and services that help people make a change in their lives.” But for others, choosing a niche can be far more challenging. Remember that if you want to create an online business you’re passionate about, you should choose a niche you enjoy. This makes your business more authentic, which will help you connect with more people.
Think about the niche you want to target. Think about what type of people you are talking to, what they look for, and what problems you want to solve. Don’t worry about whether you know everything; just get started.
You may be thinking, “I’m a doctor, so my niche is medical services.” The problem with this thinking is that you can’t take all your old products and make them into medical services. That would be a whole new product, and you would have to market the heck out of it. So instead, you should choose a niche with products already in existence that you can build upon.
3. Understand the Industry
Once you figure out the niche, it’s time to get creative. What other businesses can you find in this niche? Start brainstorming with friends and family, check social media, and read blogs to develop ideas. Make sure you’re not trying to sell something too similar to something already existing.
You are planning to be a successful online entrepreneur. So, you need to understand what works for those already making a lot of money online. This means looking at the competition, their strengths and weaknesses, and their business model. This will also help you establish your USP more prominently.
The best online businesses succeed because they understand their customers. They see the patterns of what makes people click. If you don’t see those patterns, you will not have success with your business. It takes some work to understand what makes people click. It takes some time to study what others are doing for you to get better ideas and test your own concepts. But, if you spend some time studying and analyzing others who are already successful, you’ll start to understand the best ways to make your business successful.
4. Find Your Market, Creating A Unique Product
Whether or not you choose to focus solely on product creation or focus on product creation and marketing, it’s critical to understand that your goal is to create something unique.
There are two ways to achieve this. Either find a niche and develop a product around it or create a new product that serves no specific market need. The key is to ensure that your product is uniquely different from anything else currently on the market. But, It is easier said than done.
Before we understand the next step, let’s understand the product or service you want to sell. There are two types of products or services to sell in an online business:
Selling Your Self-Created Product or Service:
In this type, you sell products or services you create or develop yourself. You have the freedom to be creative and use market research data to create unique products or services. You can set your own prices. If you can sell something you like, you can make a living from it.
You may not need to make your product from scratch. However, the product or service must be unique in some way. For example, if you sell t-shirts, don’t try to sell t-shirts that look like those you see at the mall. It will be hard to differentiate yourself. Instead, sell shirts with funny sayings, slogans, or graphics. This helps you stand out as a brand.
Next, you need to consider your target market. If you sell products or services to everyone, it might not work. Your target market should be people likely to buy your product or service. For example, you could target people who live in certain areas, have a certain income level, or are interested in a particular topic.
Selling Other People’s Products or Services:
In this type, you sell products or services you found on the Internet or a wholesaler. You are a reseller here. You find someone else’s product or service and sell it to your customers. It can be from a big brand, a local manufacturer, products from the affiliate market, or even dropshipping products from China or other countries.
This may seem easy to you, but there are many things you need to consider. If you sell other people’s products or services, you may need to follow the rules set by your seller. You may get restrictions in color, design choices, and even price.
But above all, the most important hurdle is that there might already be a few online stores selling the same products or services. They might even be pricing it competitively to leave little space for you to compete.
Suppose you were thinking about this type of product. In that case, the above paragraphs might make it look tough and discourage you. But don’t, because you can still reach the top and make your online business successful.
Guess how? By going back to our first topic in this article, Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Many get this wrong, but your USPs don’t have to be in your selling product or service. It can be many things apart from the product. Your USP can be a uniquely rewarding program, after-sales service, or outstanding customer support. The list is endless and so are the opportunities. You may not even require to compete with the price if your USPs are attractive and intriguing.
5. Set up a storefront
Now it’s time to set up a storefront that will serve as your home online. There are various ways to set up your website. Self-hosted WordPress (free), hosted WordPress, Shopify (which is similar to WordPress), or even Squarespace (for a more complex setup) are a few options. But in all cases, You will require a storefront to sell products, accept payments, and collect shipping addresses. If you choose to self-host your site, you’ll need to choose a web hosting provider that supports eCommerce functionality.
Remember this; your website is just like a brick-and-mortar store. People visit your page to purchase the things you sell. It’s essential to set up your page with the same care and attention, just as you would give a physical brick-and-mortar location.
Make sure you clearly describe what you offer on your storefront. You can do this by listing what you offer or creating a “What We Do” page. You can add a description of your products, services, or offerings in the footer of your website. For example, suppose you are selling hats. In that case, you might add the following text at the bottom of every page of your site: Hats for sale, all styles, sizes, and colors available.
You can also write about the history of your company on your About page. You could add a description on your Books page if you sell books. If you sell hats and shirts, you could add a description on your Shirts page. Add a description of your products, services, or offerings on the pages people visit to buy them.
On the technical side, make sure your website is built while keeping SEO in mind. You need to think about SEO right from this stage. We will talk about SEO later, but for now, all you need to know is that it is what brings all the organic traffic to your website in the long term. Hey, we need to think about the long-term, isn’t it?
If you know how to do this, you can do this whole step yourself. But you should know that if you mess it up, it can damage the reputation of your business. Your website is your office, business, storefront, and alternative to a brick-and-mortar store. As a web developer, I suggest you hire a professional web designer or developer to help you with this step.
I will not go in-depth on this topic for now but let me know in the comments if you want me to write about this topic in detail.
6. Test and Evaluate Your Website
Now that you have everything in the plan, you have the domain name, developed the website, and are pumped up to launch the website; let’s hit the live button, right? Not yet. My article on how to start an online business doesn’t end here as I will try to provide everything I’ve learned so far. Your website is a critical component of any online business. The last thing you need is to launch a buggy website that doesn’t work correctly.
Before going live:
- Make sure that all pages load and perform correctly.
- Ensure the contact form is working properly and that the messaging is clear.
- Test all links.
- Test the site on mobile devices, as well as on desktop computers.
The more you can test, the more confident you’ll be about your website’s performance.
A couple of tips before going live:
1. Do not go live with just a single page on the website. You must have at least 3-4 pages ready before going live.
2. Set up a Google Analytics account for your website. It’s free, and it will provide you with valuable data about the traffic on your website.
3. Find out how to make your site mobile-friendly and responsive. This is an essential step for any business in modern times.
4. Add social sharing buttons (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn).
5. Add an “About Us” page that clearly states what your company does.
6. Add a contact form.
8. Make sure you have a blog that provides valuable information to your customers. I’ll tell you why this is important in the next step.
Now that you have done everything you can to ensure your website works fine, let’s pull back the curtain and go live! Launch Your Website.
7. Build traffic
Now that your online business website is live, you have put a lot of work into it. You’ve created a killer landing page for your product or service, built an irresistible offer, and written compelling content. All that’s left is to drive traffic to it. You need to build traffic to your website if you want to get sales. But how do you get an audience to visit your page? How exactly do you do that?
The good news is that there are many ways to drive traffic to your website, most of which are free or low-cost. This section will look at some of the most common ways to build traffic to your website.
The first thing to know about getting traffic to your website is that “there is no magic bullet.” All online businesses are built on the same basic marketing and business principles: build it, and they will come. But if your website doesn’t have a lot of traffic, building it will not be easy.
Getting traffic is not a sprint. It is a marathon. In fact, you are probably starting at a running pace. But don’t let that discourage you! Just keep moving forward, one small step at a time.
There are various ways to get traffic to your newly built website:
There’s no doubt that social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are great places to promote your business. But you can also use it to help drive traffic to your site. Social media sites are full of people who visit regularly and are usually looking for something. If you can capture the attention of these people, you may just attract them to your site.
Social media marketing is a great way to drive initial customers and grow your brand if you have a new business. To make this work well, you must be active on social media. You must post regularly, engage in conversations and respond to comments and messages. If you don’t do this, you will not get the results you are looking for.
Paid Advertisement Campaigns:
You may know that Google and Facebook are the two major ad networks. These networks have become the standard method for creating advertisements and have become a massive part of how businesses market themselves.
It’s a great way to get more exposure to potential customers and help to drive conversions. These paid campaigns work best when there is a clear call to action, allowing prospects to connect with the offer easily. They’re usually focused on getting immediate response rather than long-term success. Also, paid advertisement works best if you have a reasonable budget to spend every month. While this is the best way to get traffic quickly, optimizing the ads to provide better results and increase your conversion rate requires more time.
Other than Google, the most common form of paid advertising is through ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, 7Twitter, TikTok, etc. Also, other options include banner advertisements on blogs or even Google Adwords.
But, SEO or Search Engine Optimisation is recommended if you want to think long-term (which every business should be thinking about).
Organic Traffic through Search Engine Optimization (SEO):
The best way to build traffic is to ensure your website is easy to find in search engines. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website so that it ranks higher on the search engine results pages. This is done by ensuring that the website content is relevant to the search term you are targeting.
The goal of SEO is to increase your website’s organic traffic. Why Is Organic Traffic Important? Organic traffic is what Google refers to as “real” or “natural” traffic. This traffic comes from search engine queries that you have written into the Google search box. It is important because you can then build a relationship with your customers.
Organic traffic is also more targeted than other forms of traffic, such as PPC (pay-per-click) ad campaigns. There are many benefits to having an active organic traffic strategy. It helps to build trust and authority in your business. As your site becomes more trusted and authoritative, you will see more of your products recommended by others. This is how your business becomes a brand.
Email marketing is another form of digital marketing that’s great for generating leads. You send out emails to your list about a new product or offer. You can also include call-to-action links in the email.
However, there are some risks with email marketing. One of the most significant risks is that people will just delete your email without even reading if you don’t provide a clear call to action. To get more people to read your emails, you must provide a solid call to action. Also, it takes time to build a mailing list as you are just launching your business website. So don’t expect immediate results.
Content Marketing is a great way to get more traffic to your site and get more leads when you start an online business. You create content on your blog that is helpful to your target audience. You can share it on social media. Check my 10 Reasons To Have A Blog to get an insight on how blogging helps. This is another way to build authority for your brand. You need to be an expert in your field to succeed in content marketing. That means you need to write articles and have a lot of experience. And you need to promote these articles on social media so that people can find them.
For example, if you are in the healthcare field, you can write about the “Top 5 ways to prevent heart attacks.” You can share these articles on your social media accounts. They will attract readers who want to learn more about preventing heart attacks.
If you write about topics relevant to your niche, you can get more leads and grow your business. To do this, you will need a blog. Then, you need to promote your blog posts on social media. This is important because it shows that you are an expert in your niche. No one will know about it if you don’t promote your content.
Writing, especially blogging, is an excellent means of attracting new customers, clients, fans, and followers and generating additional revenue through ad networks and affiliate programs. The key to success in writing is establishing a regular writing schedule and doing so consistently for a sustained period. Check out my article on How To Start A Blog to know more about how to do it successfully.
Videos have been a powerful tool for both inbound and outbound marketing. People are increasingly consuming more videos than any other type of content. The quality of video has increased tremendously in the past decade. As a result, video is becoming an essential part of marketing campaigns for B2B and B2C companies.
Video marketing works great for capturing attention. But for video content to be successful, you must ensure that it provides a clear value proposition. You’ll want to think about getting your customers to say yes to what you’re selling, and this starts with building trust through great content.
8. Track your results
Now that your online business is set up and you know how to run it, we can get to the next step. Tracking your results to see what is working and what is not.
People usually don’t start making money online because they don’t track their results. The problem is that many people who start trying to make money online quit too soon. They think they’ve failed because they haven’t made any money, but that’s not true. The truth is that they may not have been willing to work hard enough to succeed. Or, you may just need to work smart. How will you know this? You guessed it right by tracking your results.
You must track your sales, income, expenses, profit, and traffic to succeed. If you don’t track your results, you will never be able to know what’s working and what isn’t. You’ll never figure out what’s going wrong and what’s right. That’s why tracking your results is so important. Tracking your results also lets you see how much money you make each month. It will provide insight into where you need to be putting in more or less money to make more money.
There are various free and paid tools to help you track everything going on inside your website. You can use Google Analytics to check how many visitors you get each day, what pages they visit, and how long they stay there.
Another option for you is to use a free tool called “StatCounter.” This analytics tool has been around for a while, but it works just fine. It will also provide detailed information about how people interact with your website.
There is a tool called LuckyOrange, which helps you find out which content is performing well in terms of click-through rate and other metrics on a page. Alongside heatmaps, LuckyOrange records your visitor’s behavior and can be viewed visually. It is a very nice tool for understanding customer behavior inside your website. It is not completely free, but it is worth the money to understand what is working for your audience. They do offer a free plan to get started.
People don’t track their results because they think it’s too much work. But that’s not true. People don’t track their results because they don’t have the time to do it. If you have the time, you need to track your results. Tracking your results is the only way to know if you are making money online or not and what you need to change.
9. Stay motivated, find ways to add more value
How to start an online business successfully? With all of the tools available today, there is no reason we should not be able to start and grow an online business rapidly and successfully. However, this doesn’t come without a lot of hard work. A certain amount of time and effort is required to set up and maintain a successful web-based business.
The key to success in any venture is staying motivated. Whether starting an online business or just making it through a rough patch, motivation is key. When you spend time building your own online business, there is no reason to let anything hold you back. Once you start to take steps towards building your own online business, you will start to see results very quickly.
A simple principle that I often find people overlook when trying to build a successful online business is one of adding more value. Suppose you are starting a blog or website hoping to make some money. Still, you don’t offer anything additional or unique to your visitors. In that case, you’ll likely keep struggling to find success.
Write content for blogs or websites about more valuable things to people than products. Adding value means providing people with information, services, or products of greater value to them than what you’re selling. The better your add-value proposition is, the easier it will be to attract people who will stick around and buy from you. It will also keep your presence high in search engines.
10. Build A System, Stay Organized
The secret to building a thriving online business is to create a system. You can build a system that allows you to get the work done in a simple and structured manner. This part will show you how to go about this. It explains what a system is meant and how you can use it to set up your own online business.
What is a System? A system is a set of activities or actions that you repeat regularly. For example, if you are a web developer, you may have a system for making your website look nice. You may also have a system for managing your work (e.g., tasks, to-do lists, etc.). The main thing is that the system has some kind of routine and structure to it. This will help you to get the work done in a structured way.
You can expect to struggle with your work if you don’t have a system. This is because you won’t be able to get the work done in an organized manner. Having a system in place is important.
Conclusion: Get started now
You have made it to the end and I hope you got your answer on how to start an online business. When starting an online business, you should always be aware of the potential risks and take all necessary precautions before jumping in. There’s no point in starting a business online if you’re not willing to put in the time, effort, and resources needed to succeed. But once you have decided to start your own online business, don’t hold back. Take a chance on yourself. Get your product or service out there.
In conclusion, When starting a business online, you need to consider whether you’re prepared to work hard. There’s no such thing as “working at it” when building a profitable online business. The effort you put in is utterly proportionate to how much you’ll earn. You can easily fall into the trap of thinking that a business that takes little time, effort, or money to start can’t be successful. But that’s just not true. While time and money are essential in growing an online business, they are not the only factors.
For any business, planning and staying focused on your plans and targets is the most crucial aspect to consider when starting a new venture. It helps to know the potential pitfalls and what it takes to avoid them.
Do you need help growing your business? RankLords can be there with you in your journey of success as a Digital Marketing Partner. Schedule a free consultation: Contact Us now.