How to start your own business (online)
November 25, 2017 Share
Find a need and fill it.Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second. To boost your chances of success, start with a market. The trick is to find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem, but not finding many results. The internet makes this kind of market research easy:
Visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they're trying to solve.
- Do keyword research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but for which not many sites are competing.
- Check out your potential competitors by visiting their sites and taking note of what they're doing to fill the demand. Then you can use what you've learned and create a product for a market that already exists--and do it better than the competition.
Focus.When I say focus, the first thought that comes to your mind is probably “niche.” While figuring out a profitable niche is important, it’s not the end all be all. Focus means figuring out who you want to serve and how you will deliver value to that group.
It means you stop following the gurus and focus on what will help you where you are. There is an abundance of free information online, almost too much. Many entrepreneurs fall victim to information overload. I’m guessing that if you applied 10 percent of the knowledge you currently have, you would make progress building your business. Turn off the constant learning and focus on 20 percent strategies.
Design and build your website.Once you've got your market and product, and you've nailed down your selling process, now you're ready for your small-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.
Build an audience.This is where many businesses miss the mark. You put together a beautiful website with all the right plugins, widgets and opt-in boxes. You follow all the steps, but the money doesn’t come because you have no audience. There are many ways to build an audience and quickly:
- Guest post on blogs. There are tons of blogs with milions of views. Use them as your advantage.
- Get exposure from large author sites. If you can be interviewed or write for sites like Entrepreneur or the Huffington Post, you get exposure to millions of potential leads and customers. Writing for these websites builds authority, grows your social media presence and leads to sales.
Test and refine.Once you have a plan and have implemented it, study what works and what doesn’t. There is a lot of advice online, but nothing beats good old fashion testing. Try different offers, bundle various products and services, run sales from time-to-time. Once you have an offering that takes off, run it every 30 days. Refine your process and improve the parts of your plan that aren’t working. This is extremely important, at start you will probably miss some important aspect which you can develop and improve by time.
Be socialWhatever your business, whatever your venue, keeping your name in the the air is key to internet success. Have a business account on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. If your business is graphically oriented, have accounts on Flickr and Tumblr as well. 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.
Add Google AdSense advertisements to your blog or websiteGoogle’s AdSense is a revenue-sharing opportunity for small, medium and large web sites that places ads for goods and services that are relevant to the content of your site, targeted to the people who frequent your pages. In turn, you get paid a small amount when the ad is either displayed on your page, or clicked on. This is important if you have large traffic on your page but you need to think that, it sometimes is not very good and can feel confusing for consumer.
Use search engines to drive targeted buyers to your site.Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
Establish an expert reputation for yourself.People use the internet to find information. Provide that information for free to other sites, and you'll see more traffic and better search engine rankings. The secret is to always include a link to your site with each tidbit of information.
- Give away free, expert content. Create articles, videos or any other content that people will find useful. Distribute that content through online article directories or social media sites.
- Include "send to a friend" links on valuable content on your website.
- Become an active expert in industry forums and social networking sites where your target market hangs out.
Use the power of email marketing to turn visitors into buyers.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 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.