As the world continues to evolve, the technology and lifestyle of people also evolve. Everything has gone through so many changes as time goes by. Regardless of whether these changes are good or bad, they impact people’s lives. With a growing number of opportunities for everyone in various industries, it’s only right to take this chance to do something worthwhile and beneficial for everyone’s needs.
In these times, many individuals have gotten to learn the ropes of business and entrepreneurship. Owning a business allows an individual the opportunity to take control of what they need to do. And it’s worth noting that owning a business also allows them to share their skills and other knowledge with potential customers in exchange for profit.
With the advent of the digital age and the many advantages of the internet, it seemed to have made everything accessible, convenient, and efficient. Because of its constant presence in people’s lives, it only makes sense that the world of business enters the world wide web. Companies need to be up to date with the trend because it is one way to keep it afloat and profitable. And, thus, the emergence of online businesses.
Why You Should Start an Online Business
Online businesses continue to grow globally and have become so ubiquitous that almost every industry, company, and brand can be found online. And it’s only a matter of time that even small and mid-size enterprises (SME) will make their mark in the world of the internet.
However, while it does look easy to start an online business, there are several factors to consider before starting one. The beginnings of startups will always be a struggle. As mentioned, since the online business industry is growing, there is a lot of competition. It can get overwhelming to see potential competitors also out in the open. It will also be a challenge for any business owner to gain the first, initial, customers, and build a loyal following (later, it becomes easier as you get your word-to-mouth up and running).
Before diving into this endeavor, what do you need to consider and do to start an online business?
Identify Your Niche
When you want to start an online business, you may want to ask yourself what you know, which can help other people? It is easier to start in this endeavor if you can identify your specialization. Identify something related to your skills, talents, or knowledge about a particular industry, platform, product, or even a service. Because if you can identify your niche or something that you are good at, it will become more comfortable for you and even less taxing than starting on something that you have no prior knowledge or experience.
As you identify your niche or specialization, this will help you classify your target audience or market. This way, you will know what their demands are, their spending habits, and other factors that will help your business startup. It is easier to promote and sell first your product or service to customers who are interested in what you can offer.
Creating Your Brand
With your established niche and specialization, it will be easier now to create your brand. Your branding is what will be your business’s identity as you enter the online marketplace. Effective branding will help you gain potential customers as you sell your products or services. It will also set you apart from your competitors.
Decide on a Business Name
One of the first things to do when you create your brand is to decide on a name appropriate for your business. You may want to think of a name that is simple but memorable. Nothing too long or complicated or even overly unique. While you want to stand out among hundreds of other businesses with something unique, you may want to keep in mind that your business name must have a recall and something easy to remember.
Once a name has established, it will be easier to think of the next steps in building your brand. The logo, design, business profile, and even core values are other factors to plan and decide in establishing a reputable brand for your business.
Register a Domain
As the business owner, think of a domain name for your website. As much as possible, align it with your brand or service. Domain names are like the addresses for your website, allowing an individual to gain access. Sites available will let you register your domain name for a fee, though some will offer it free for at least a year. Your domain name must be unique as there are no two domains that are alike.
It’s important to mention, that having an online presence with a registered domain name, is important not only for an online business but to offline, low investment small business, as well.
Choosing and Developing a Business Model
Every business owner should have a business model if they want to start an online business. Think of it as having a blueprint or an outline for whatever plans you have for your entire business. A business model will let you see how the whole company operates. It will also allow you to study on ways how to sell your product or service effectively to your target market. There is also the matter of earning more profit for your online business as there are various ways to do it.
There are several business models out there, but you will need to decide what you think will work best for your business. Here are some examples:
E-commerce – This is one of the most popular online business platforms. Think of it as an online marketplace for various products. Some big names on this platform are Amazon, eBay, Shopify, and Alibaba. It is the most direct and straightforward way to connect to your customers.
Dropshipping – A modern eCommerce business model in which you own the storefront site, but not holding any inventory, so, on order completion by the site visitor, the item is sent from the actual item holder, which can be even overboard and far away. This integration can be manual or automatic. For a great way to start a dropshipping site with a WordPress platform, check out our review of the AliDropship dropshipping plugin review.
Affiliate Marketing – This is the usual go-to platform of bloggers that allows them to earn an income online. Through this type of model, a business or company can sell their product or service through a blog or website through a referral link.
Online courses – This usually targets those who are in the educational industry or service. But if your business provides informative content such as webinars or teaching courses, this model will work best for you.
Membership and Subscription sites – This specific business model will let the company charge its customers a recurring fee, whether monthly, annually, etc. It is useful, especially if you want to have long-term contracts with your customers, as this will secure revenue from these recurring purchases.
Freemium model or Software as a Service (SaaS) – This platform is a mixture of free and paid services. It will allow your customers to unlimited access to the basic features of the service and then charge them if they want additional and advanced functions and add-ons.
It is up to you as the business owner what sort of business model you think will suit your online business the best. It will help lay down every aspect that comprises your business, including demographics, marketing, operations, finance, and revenue. You may even want to include some research about your competitors and lay down some strategies to provide better products, services, or alternatives.
The whole planning process may seem intimidating, especially as a beginner; there are various resources available online to help you start, for example, look into this list of online business ideas.
Select Your Web-Hosting Package
You have your name, business model ready in gear. It is time to go on the internet and start your online business. Enter web hosting. Web hosting is a service that allows a user, be it an organization or business owner, to create and post a website on the internet. Various web hosts provide the technology and services that the user will need to create a website.
There are various web hosting packages provided by different web host providers. Your task here is to select among your options that will provide the service you need for your online business while also getting the value for your money. Consider the components and features that every package will offer before taking that dive. Think of it as if you are canvassing for the best one out there.
Many web host packages will offer their lowest prices, so you will need to be extra careful when choosing the right package for you and in general, avoid hosting offerings from EIG companies. You will need to be as thorough as possible to check and identify the features and add-ons your website will need. Also, keep in mind that you might need to invest in other offers that will cost more and ensure excellent performance for your website.
As for a specific hosting solution, for this site with use DreamHost, which we recommend.
Building Your Website with WordPress
WordPress offers one of the easiest ways to create your website. A considerable percentage of sites you will find WordPress powers online. Just like other web hosts, WordPress has features that are designed to be user-friendly and will not require advanced web development and design skills. They have available tools to manage your web content, has customization options and plugins you can use to start building your website.
WordPress is a good starting point for online businesses. While it started as a simple blogging site, it has expanded and developed to cater to more functions that a website will need. It just means that you can create a website for e-commerce sites, online portfolios, membership sites, auction sites, chatrooms, and many others. While the Software is free to use, you will need to pay extra for the hosting since it is self-hosted. Depending on the website’s scale, you may want to check the different hosting plans of WordPress.
Marketing Your Website
Here comes the fun part. To start gaining traction for your business, you will need to market and promote your business through your website. Once your online business is up and running, you will need to find ways to get more than just visitors to your websites. You need customers to earn income for your business.
Now, there are ways to do it. Below are some examples.
Social Media marketing – At this time, almost everyone can be found on any social media platform being glued to their phones. Social media is an effective way to gain an audience and potential customers for your business. All these social media networks will allow you to connect with these customers.
Email marketing – Sending newsletters through email is one way to keep your customers up-to-date with your products or service. With the use of a marketing automation tool, it will help you create content for your customers.
SEO – This is the process of letting your website rank highly in search engines such as Google or Bing. It is essential to optimize your content so that it will rank as one of the top results, and that way, you will gain more traffic for your website. Optimize your content while using specific keywords within your site, persuasive copywriting, and enhancing your website performance.
Paid Advertisement – You will need to have some extra budget to do this kind of promotion for your business. Various platforms will let you promote, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and even YouTube.
Online Directories – Since they cover a wide range of audiences, you may want to submit your URL or website address, and other details to these online directories. They, in turn, will store these details and incorporate this information into their data banks. Once it has registered with them, they can appear in search engines every time an individual searches for a relevant, if not similar, content.
Content Marketing – This is sharing and distributing online content, which can be done through various methods. There are infographics, video content, and even blogging. It will stimulate interest from the audience to a particular product or service.
Affiliate Marketing – it’s a process of earning a commission by promoting other people’s (or company’s) products. You find a product you like, promote it to others, and earn a piece of the profit for each sale that you make. So, as the name says, you become an affiliate of the seller.
For affiliate networks example, check out our Repixel review, which is an ad network that allows you to earn money by placing retargeting pixels on your website. ShareASale, one of the world’s leading affiliate marketers based in the USA. Fiverr affiliate program, the world’s biggest marketplace for freelancers with over 12 million users in almost 200 countries, or ClickBank, a leading digital affiliate market.
Turn Your Website Visitors into Customers
It is not enough to only attract visitors to your website to check what your product or service can offer to them. You need some sort of call to action to ensure that every visit will be at least give you something in return. Ensure that your website encourages these visitors to purchase your product or service. You may also want to add on some offers or future promos through a newsletter subscription. That way, you are at least guaranteed that they will be back for more. Also, make sure that your contact details are visible so that they can easily reach you.
You may want to add some analytics tools on your website. That way, you can determine and analyze the peak time for your website, how many visitors are coming in, what features your business is attracting interest and whatnot. It will also help you with what needs to be improved.
Every beginning of any endeavor will always be challenging. But, always keep in mind that even the most successful entrepreneur or most significant business has also started from nothing. More than determination and commitment, you will need to do your research and do your best to enhance your skills and knowledge. No one can be successful in just one night. Every step of the way is essential, so enjoy it and, at the same time, learn from it.