What Is The Best Online Business To Start With
There are several legitimate online businesses you can start that are very lucrative. However, you need to do it in the right way to give you the best chance of succeeding. In this post, I am going to answer the question of “What is the best online business to start with?”. I am going to go through how you choose the right business for you and my recommendation.
Make A List Of Prerequisites
You probably want to start an online business so you can live the lifestyle you are craving. This is why you should carefully consider what online business to start. In my opinion, we should base work around our lives, rather than the other way round. Of course, there is going to be a lot of hard work, and there will be sacrifices, but this shouldn’t stop you from doing what you want the rest of the time. Therefore, I recommend doing what I did and set out a list of prerequisites that your new business venture should fulfil.
For example, my list of prerequisites was:
- It has to be legitimate
- I want to be able to work to my own schedule
- There has to be good training resources (as I was 100% new to online business)
- It has to be worth it, regarding the amount of effort needed
- I have to enjoy it
You may have similar prerequisites, but everyone is different. But, a list like this will be able to narrow down your options to ones that suit you best.
Why I Chose Affiliate Marketing
During my research of online businesses to start with, I came across affiliate marketing. I will go in to the details shortly, but it is a content based business model, and it ticked all the boxes for my prerequisites.
My biggest thing was to be able to choose my working hours. Affiliate marketing can be done at any time, as you don’t have specific “opening hours” to stick to. The reason for wanting this flexibility was so I could enjoy myself snowboarding, mountain biking, hiking and all the other things that you can do in my local area.
The idea was to take advantage of good weather and snow conditions in the morning and then work later into the evening/night to get my jobs done. This is working out very well as you can see from my lifestyle blogs and the video below.
But, you don’t need to be an outdoor enthusiast to take advantage of this flexibility. Flexible working hours benefits people with all sorts of different commitments that are time-sensitive.
Another element of flexibility affiliate marketing gives you is that you can do it from anywhere. I have no plans to leave my home here in Morzine, but the world is an unpredictable place. If I had to move for some reason, there would be little or no impact on how my businesses works. As it is right now, I work from home, but if I fancy a change of scenery, I can work from a local café or tether my computer to my phone and work outside.
It Is A Genuine Business Model
Affiliate marketing is used by a lot of websites, from news websites to basic review websites. There are a lot of people earning a lot of money from affiliate marketing. The reason behind this is that they can earn money at any time from anyone connected to the internet. There is a lot of hard work ahead of a new affiliate marketer, but the content created now has the potential to earn money 24/7 for months or years to come.
The content you make as an affiliate marketer is always online, meaning you wake up to money in the bank from people spending money while you were in bed.
If you were to earn $30 for a product or service you have promoted, you can make a very good living from affiliate marketing. To see the earning potential this has, check out the infographic below.
As you can see, as far as earning money goes, affiliate marketing is worth the effort. Affiliate marketing sites are full of content that can make these kind of sales. Now imagine having more than one of them.
It Is Fun
The reason why affiliate marketing is fun is because you choose to work in a niche that you have a genuine interest in. For example, my first affiliate marketing website was (and still is), a mountain bike website. I get to write about and learn more about one of my main passions in life while making money from it.
What Is Affiliate Marketing?
As I said before, affiliate marketing is a content based business model. This means that you create content that promotes other people’s products and services in exchange for sales commissions. I will now explain it in more detail, using an example.
Tim is going on a big hike that will take him several days. But his tent is super heavy, so he decides that to save weight in his backpack, he should buy a lightweight tent. So, he searches online for “best lightweight backpacking tent”.
Google gives him a list of websites in the search results relevant to his search. But, your website is one of them, as you have written a review of the best lightweight backpacking tents, and Tim likes the look of your website, so he clicks on it.
After reading your review and taking into account your recommendations, Tim decides to buy one and clicks on the affiliate link you have placed in the review.
The affiliate link will seamlessly take Tim to a website that sells the tent you have recommended, from where he will buy it. The affiliate link is unique to you and the tent. When he makes his purchase, the link tracks the sale rewarding you with a percentage of the sales price. Depending on the affiliate program, you can earn anything from 1 to 75% of the sales price (usually about 5% though).
How To Build An Affiliate Marketing Business
To build an affiliate marketing business, you need to take certain steps.
Step 1 - Choose A Niche
Not all niches are profitable, so if you get this part wrong, you won’t earn any money. Therefore, you need to consider what niche you choose to work in with care.
A niche is a group of people with a similar interest. By targeting an interest, you will develop an audience. Affiliate marketing niches are typically, sports, hobbies or aspects of life. My post how to find an affiliate marketing niche goes into all the details, but in summary, your niche should:
- Be popular enough to make money from
- Not have too much competition
- Be relevant and not go out of fashion
- Not be dependant on the seasons
- Be something you enjoy
These are all important, but the last one is something you really need to make sure of. If you don’t enjoy writing about the things and topics within your niche, you are not going to do a very good job.
Step 2 - Choose A Domain Name
Your domain name will give your website visitors their first impressions. Therefore, this is also something that you need to think about properly. You can read my guide on how to choose a domain name for your business, but in short a domain name should:
- Be easy to type and say
- Be relevant to your niche
- Not already be in use
- Contain keywords relevant to your niche
- Be a .com
- Not restrict you in the future
- Not be too long
These days, choosing a domain name that isn’t in use is quite difficult. You will think you have found a great one, but then find out someone else already has it. But, if you persevere, you will find a great one that fits your business perfectly.
Step 3 - Build A Website
This step may seem daunting for some people, but it is quite easy. I will go into an easier way later on in this post, but first, I will talk about the traditional way.
Once you have decided on a domain name, you need to find a quality website host. I go into how to do this in my post what is the best host for a blog?, but in short, you need a reliable and fast website host that is well priced. I always recommend Bluehost for these reasons. Cheap hosts are not necessarily the best option as they can be unreliable and slow.
One of the considerations for choosing a host is how their website builder works. Ideally, your host should allow you to build a WordPress website with just one click. WordPress is the best platform for an affiliate website, as it is easy to use, and you don’t need to know how to code. Building a website only takes a few minutes if your host has a good builder.
After you have built your website, it is time to make it look beautiful. Luckily, WordPress makes this easy by simply installing a theme. The theme you choose determines the aesthetics of your website, and many of them are free and customisable.
It is easy to get bogged down in choosing a theme and then spending lots of time tweaking it. However, I would recommend choosing a simple theme. As your website grows, you will notice that you will need to make some changes to make it look at work better.
The biggest tip I can give you is to choose a responsive theme. Responsive themes work well with mobile devices and load up quickly, which is important as most people use the internet from their phones these days.
Step 4 - Create Quality Content
At this stage, you will have a beautiful looking website with nothing on it. So, now it is time to start populating it with quality content targeted towards your intended audience. If you just start writing blogs that you think people want to read, you need to have a lot of luck, as you are really just guessing. Therefore, before you start writing, you need to have a good understanding of what people are searching for online.
People type in their query in to search engines, and the most relevant content is presented to them in the search results. Therefore, you have to base your content around these search terms, these are known as keywords. By basing your content on keywords relevant to your niche, you will be able to attract visitors to your website organically, rather than spending money on adverts. Attracting organic traffic is more sustainable than paying for it.
To know what keywords to base your content on, you need to do some keyword research. An hour of keyword research will giver you a list of content to write that will last you months, so it is well worth doing. Check out my full guide on how to do keyword research.
When it comes to writing your content, you need to do it in a particular way. Your content needs to be engaging and relevant to your keyword. Your readers want to be informed about the subject they are looking for information on. So it needs to be as helpful as possible.
In addition to being helpful, you need to make it easy for search engines to determine what your content is about. If a search engine decides that your content is the most relevant, it will put it at the top of search results, meaning you will get more website visitors and more money. Therefore, your content needs to be SEO friendly. Making content SEO friendly isn’t difficult, but there are some things you need to learn. My SEO checklist will help you to get your content ranked as high as possible.
Examples of content you will find on an affiliate marketing website are:
- Buyer’s guides
- personal experiences
In addition to being helpful, you need to make it easy for search engines to determine what your content is about. If a search engine decides that your content is the most relevant, it will put it at the top of search results, meaning you will get more website visitors and more money. Therefore, your content needs to be SEO friendly. Making content SEO friendly isn’t difficult, but there are some thing you need to learn. My SEO checklist will help you to get your content ranked as high as possible.
Step 5 - Monetise
To make money from your website, you need to join some affiliate programs. You will be able to find affiliate programs for anything that can be bought online with a simple Google search. I go into more detail in my post what is an affiliate program and how does it work? but affiliate programs give you the affiliate links for the products you are promoting. They also track your sales so you can get paid for your efforts. A typical affiliate program for new affiliate marketers to use is Amazon, as it is easy to join, allowing you to monetise your website in minutes. However, you need to be careful with Amazon, as they have rules that you need to follow. If you break the rules, they can close your account, but you can learn all about it in my post how does affiliate marketing work with Amazon?
I recommend that you find an affiliate network, such as AWIN. These are websites that have multiple affiliate programs to join. Their main advantage is that you get paid in one lump sum from all of the programs you have joined rather than getting a little bit of cash from here and there.
When it comes to monetising your content, I recommend that you don’t monetise everything you write, as search engines don’t like it and they penalise you by making it harder for your content to rank well. A way around this is to write buyer’s guides and link to your monetised posts.
What Is It Like To Have An Affiliate Marketing Business?
I want to make sure that I give you a good idea of everything involved with starting and running an affiliate marketing business. Therefore, I am going to go through a few things you should and shouldn’t expect to happen.
Expect To Not Get Rich Overnight
By searching the internet for information of affiliate marketing, you will encounter people selling ebooks and courses that promise the secret to get rich quickly with affiliate marketing. These people are lying, as it takes a long time to make any money at all with affiliate marketing. There are a few reasons for this:
- It takes time to create quality content
- The learning curve is steep
- You will make mistakes that slow the process down
- Google makes it difficult for new websites to rank until they have proven themselves to be quality sources of information
You need to realise that the work you do now will pay off down the line. It can be soul-destroying, but affiliate marketing is a way to improve your future, not your current situation.
To show your audience and search engines that your website is alive and kicking, you need to work on it consistently. If you can, post on it every day, especially in the early days. Consistency is important for building a successful business.
You Will Get Obsessed With Stats
To monitor your website’s performance, you will sign up to Google Analytics. Google Analytics tells you all sorts of information about what your website visitors are doing. It is easy to get obsessed with the statistics, especially when you can see who is on your website in real-time.
Try to limit yourself to check your stats once per week. If you leave a tab open for your analytics, you will find yourself opening it all the time to “just check”, which is not a good use of your time.
You Will Get Excited Over Earning Pennies
My first sale was for a pair of waterproof socks, which earned me less than a dollar. But, this sale got me very excited, as I could see that I was doing something right. I didn’t start to get any significant sales for a few months, but the pennies kept me pushing and plugging away at creating content. The pennies turned in to dollars, and the more content I had on my website led to more visitors. Which in-turn increased my revenue.
I love waking up in the morning and seeing that people have spent a load of cash through my websites.
Be Prepared To Learn
There will be some skills you need to learn to be a successful affiliate marketer, such as:
- Content creation
- Website design
- Making the most out of Google Analytics
- Keyword research
None of these are complicated, but they are important to your success. By learning a little bit each day, you will build up a good understanding of how it all works, making you more efficient and productive. Your website will improve as you get more experienced, which will help with your rankings.
How To Learn About Affiliate Marketing
The online gurus that offer you the secret to success are not the way forward. I don’t think all of them are dodgy, but it is difficult to tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys these days. Check out my post how to learn affiliate marketing for free, for my recommendations. But to cut a long story short, you should check out my warts n’ all review of Wealthy Affiliate. Wealthy Affiliate is a platform that gives affiliate marketers everything they need to start and build a successful business. I started with Wealthy Affiliate and am a member to this day. I love the support, comprehensive training and business tools that make everything easier.
What Is The Best Online Businesses To Start With? - Answered!
In my opinion and experience affiliate marketing is the best online business to start with. It ticks all the boxes for me and many others, while having low startup costs.
If you have any questions or thoughts on affiliate marketing, please leave them in the comments section below.