How To Start An Online Business With A Website
In this post I am going to tell you how to start an online business with a website. I have a few websites making me money in a couple of different ways, namely affiliate marketing and drop shipping. I am going to give you some tips on how to choose what business is right for you, how to get started and what you need to do to make it successful.
1. What Type Of Business Do You Want?
The first thing you need to do is decide what type of online business you want to start. But you need to decide carefully, as this is something you should want to do long term. Make a short list of what you want to get out of your business venture. For example, while I was researching my options, I came up with some prerequisites my business should have:
- It can be done from anywhere
- It should not matter what time of day I work
- It had to be worth doing with regard to earning potential
- There must be reliable information on how to do it properly (this is because whatever I was going to do, was going to be 100% new to me).
By coming up with your own list of prerequisites, you will be able to rule out certain options. This will eliminate the ones that won’t suit you.
2. Get Researching
When you have a list of prerequisites, you need to look at your options. There are quite a few ways to start an online business. There will be some options that you will be able to eliminate straight away, but some will take a little more reading in to, depending on your awareness of them. Here are some options you should look in to:
- Affiliate marketing
- Starting a social media marketing agency
- Trading stocks and shares
- Start an Ebay shop
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Using a current skill or developing one (teaching, translating, consultancy, fitness etc)
There are more options you can choose from, but the list above should get you started. There will be a lot of details that you need to know about the options you have left. The information available on the internet can be overwhelming and contradictory. Therefore, you need to choose your resources carefully.
In my experience, depending on what type of business you are looking at starting, where you get your information from differs. Avoid buying cheap eBooks, as the information will be easily found for free. There will be lots of courses available for pretty much any of the business ideas. Some will be reasonably priced, some will be very expensive. Do lots of research in to these courses before you spend any money. They will often be discounted for a limited time to make you panic buy. Obviously, you should take advantage of these discounts, but they are always extended, so don’t panic and finish your research.
There will be some training providers that are either scam artists or providing poor quality information. The usually consider themselves to be gurus, check out my guide on how to avoid these “gurus”.
You can find a lot of information about each business type for free, if you spend a lot of time trawling the internet. However, doing this is will likely end in you missing out essential steps in the process. This is why a training course is advantageous. If you can find one with a free membership without having to hand over any money at the beginning, you can get a good idea of how good it is.
3. Build A Website
You may have an idea of what you want to do, but now I am going to move on to the actual website part of an online business. This is relevant to any online business in one way or another.
Building a website isn’t too difficult, even if you have no experience. The majority of online business owners build their websites using WordPress. This is because it is very easy to use and its downloadable plugins give your website certain features and functionality with very little effort. Here are the steps open what you need to do to build a WordPress website:
- Choose a website host and choose a domain name – It is common for people to choose the cheapest host they can find. This is not always recommended, as they are usually slow and unreliable. A good option is Blue Host, as it is inexpensive and reliable.
- Set up your website – If you sign up to Blue Host, you can easily install WordPress with one click. If you choose another host, they should have something similar. If not, the chances are they are a poor website host.
- Choose a theme and personalise it – WordPress themes are what gives your website its look. There are lots to choose from and many of them are very customisable. When you choose a theme, I suggest you do a bit of research in to it. The most important thing these days is to make sure that it is responsive. This means that it will be fast and works well with mobile devices. Also look at the amount of downloads and the star ratings of the theme that you like the look of.
- Choose plugins – As I said before, plugins give your website certain features and functions. Plugins give you the ability to speed up your website, add tables, buttons, video, add eCommerce functions, block spam add security and much more. Many plugins are free, but some have “pro” versions that unlock extra features for a small payment.
If you are considering an affiliate marketing business, I suggest that you have a look at Wealthy Affiliate. This will make the process of building a website, expanding it and maintaining it much easier. Have a look at my review of Wealthy Affiliate here to learn all about it.
4. Attract Your Audience
There are a few ways to get people to visit your website. But the most popular are:
- Paying for it – By this, I mean paying for Google adverts. This will get your website to the top of people’s searches. But this is not something you should do if you are not yet earning money. It is a way of boosting traffic to an already established website.
- Social media – By building up a good social media following, by posting engaging content, you will attract traffic
- Creating great content – For businesses such as affiliate marketing or blogging, this is the best way to get traffic. By creating content that answers questions search engine users have, you attract those users for free. This content could be buyer’s guides, product reviews or tutorials.
5. Find Ways Of Making Money From Your Website
As a business, you need to make money from your audience. There are a number of ways of monetisation for a website.
- Flipping (build a website to sell it on)
- eCommerce (selling your or other people’s products)
- Affiliate links (promoting other peoples products and services in return for commission)
- Lead generation (direct traffic to another website and get paid when they fill in contact forms etc)
- Sponsored content (get paid to feature other people’s content)
- Donations (people just send you money)
- Sell digital products (music, ebooks, courses, videos etc)
- Google Adsense (place Google adverts on your website)
6. Improve Your Website
Using tools such as Google analytics and the Google Search Console, you will get a good idea of what your audience is looking for and how they behave. You will be able to see what isn’t working, so you know where to make improvements. This is a large part of the learning curve in managing and developing your website. You will also start to find any mistakes that you have made along the way, so you can fix them.
7. Become An Authority
Your aim is to become an authority in your field. By creating an informative website with quality content, it will be seen as a reliable source of information by both search engines and your audience. Your website and your brand will become trustworthy and get a good following. This is when your income will increase.
8. Build A Relationship With Your Audience
You need to engage with your audience. This is so they don’t see you as just another faceless website. Encouraging your visitors to leave comments on your website shows that it is alive and active. You need to make sure that you reply to all of these comments to build a relationship. It is also just good manners, as they have taken the time to engage with you.
Another way of building a relationship, is to start a mailing list. The visitors that take the time to sign up to you mailing list are already invested in to you and your brand. By sending them regular updates to their inbox, you can keep them interested. Send them recommendations for things they may be interested in. This will also increase your income.
How Do I Make Sure My Website Is Successful?
By working on your website every single day, you will demonstrate to search engines and to your audience that you mean business. You will reassure them that your are a good source of information and are worth paying attention to. This consistency will help with your google rankings, pushing your content closer to the top of people’s searches.
Don’t expect to become a millionaire overnight. This is a myth, it takes lots of time and effort to make your online business work.
The learning cure, your mistakes, Google algorithms, the time it takes to create content are just some of the factors that make it a slow process. But If you can cope with this, you will start to be successful eventually. It takes a long tome to make money online, but the ones that fail are the ones that give up before it starts to work for them.
As it takes so long to start making money with a website, it is easy to get disheartened. I have been very close to giving up on several occasions. But, these are the moments you need to fight through. Nobody said it was easy, but you need to take motivation from baby the steps you make. You should also get excited about the new things you try in order to build your audience.
Even if you only learn a small thing about your business each day, you are moving forward. All those little things add up to a great deal of knowledge you didn’t have before. This will help with all the things you will implement in to your business.
Many people (internet gurus) say that you should just start your business and learn as you go. I agree with this to a point, but if you are learning something from scratch, you can end up wasting a lot of time. Therefore, I recommend that you learn as much as possible before you start. This way you will reduce the amount of mistakes you will make along the way.
How To Start An Online Business With A Website
I hope you found this post useful. If you have any thoughts or questions about this subject, please leave them in the comments section below.