Many people nowadays get into online marketing without knowing the ins and outs of the online world. Most of the people are lured by the easiness and vast amount of money which can be made on the internet.
Although this is true to some extent as your audience and customers can come from anywhere in the world, but when you get down to the real business it is no different than the other brick and mortar business which we find.
The customers form the main part of any business, whether online or offline. To make a business successful we have to strive hard to keep our customers happy and provide them immense value for their money.
This post is dedicated towards explaining some of the basic things which are required in starting an online business and making it successful in the long run. Although this is not an exhaustive list as each business model is unique which you can understand better only when you enter into it and implement it vigorously, this post will give you an insight into what you are expected to do for running an online business.
1. Business Idea: Before getting into any online business or work you should have a fair and detailed business idea into your mind which you are going to implement vigorously. Many people buy some ‘make money online’ product which promises to make them money when they follow a particular secret technique.
The problem with this kind of approach is most of the people who are buying that product are new to the online marketing and as such do not know anything beyond making a purchase. If you were a veteran in the online world, you would not be buying those products but instead creating and selling them. Therefore, although it is okay to purchase a particular product to learn the ropes, it is not wise to purchase each and every new product and keep changing your business model time and again. Once you decide on a particular model stick to it and keep implementing it vigorously.
2. Domain Name: A domain name is one of the essentials in today’s online world. Although you can start with a free website by either Wordress or Blogspot, eventually, you will have to purchase a domain name. People do not trust the free domain names anymore and want to see some genuineness before they spend money on it.
The domain names are quite cheap ranging from $4 to 10$ for a year’s registration, but, before buying a domain name it is better to do a basic research on the keywords which are usually entered in the search engine by the visitors.
Say for example, you are into acne treatment industry, brainstorm on the keywords which you would enter into Google to find out information on treating acne. What keywords would you put in the search bar to get best possible results? Would it be ‘How to treat acne quickly’ or ‘Permanent acne treatment’ or ‘Easy acne treatment’ ? Depending on your research you can pick a domain name with keywords which are most used.
Your domain name can be ‘www.quickacnetreatment.com’ or ‘www.permanentacnetreatment.com’ or ‘www.naturalacnetreatment.com’. They key is to include the main keyword in your domain name. You can also choose other domain name extensions like ‘.org’, ‘.net’, ‘.biz’ etc. But a ‘.com’ is perceived to be most genuine by the visitors. You can buy cheap domain names at Godaddy which is known for providing some exclusive features in domain names market.
3. Hosting Plan: Once you purchase a domain name you have to host it on the remote servers. This calls for a stable hosting provider who can be reliable and gives 99% up-time of servers. This means your website will be up and running 24/7/365. Apart from the up-time, hosting providers give scores of services which help in internet marketing.
A plan should be chosen based on the requirements of the business. If you are starting out and plan to expand in the coming days, a plan with unlimited add-on and sub-domains is preferable. The big companies chose dedicated hosting with additional features. But for the individuals an unlimited plan is sufficient. Hostgators are the best in business when it comes to hosting websites. Check out their plans here.
4. Content Creation: Every online business strives on the value they give to their visitors. A visitor will become a customer only when he finds that your website has solved some of his problems or is very informative to him.
Rich and valuable content is indispensable in today’s online world. Up till now, many unscrupulous marketers got away with providing useless content which created no value to anyone. They were only interested in making money out of the visitor by either placing advertisements or by dubiously tricking the visitor to take some action on the website.
But with the recent algorithm updates of search engines such websites have lost importance. They are pushed to the back of the list and only the ones which are providing real value are placed higher on the search engine ranking.
Your business model should give immense importance in providing value to your visitors. The content should be unique and informative to your readers. It must engage them and make them more knowledgeable about the subject. This will create trust and then generate business for many years to come. Check out Ben Shaffer’s content creation methods here.
5. Traffic Generation: Traffic is the life blood of any online business. No matter how good the product or service you are offering is, if there is no traffic you don’t make money. That’s it. In order to sustain in the online business world you will have to implement various techniques to drive traffic to your site. You can use free as well as paid traffic. Check out this post for more on traffic generation techniques.
The traffic should be targeted so that your efforts in driving the visitors to your site should not go waste. By targeted we mean, if a visitor who is interested in weight loss is driven to an acne treatment website he will just click away never to come again. You can get targeted visitors in forums and groups where like-minded people interact.
Say, for example, if there is a forum on six pack abs, you can be sure that all the members participating in that forum are interested and some are really committed in developing six pack abs. These are called targeted customers. So, if you participate in such forums and give value, chances are; they will become your customers and earn you money. This applies to almost any market in the online world. A simple way to find out such forums or groups is to type in ‘keyword + forum’ in Google. Example: ‘six pack abs forum’, ‘weight loss forum’ etc.
6. Monetization: Once your site starts getting huge amount of traffic you have to monetize it in order to earn money. In fact, the moment your site is live, you have to implement some monetization strategies to start earning money. You can place advertisements, sell affiliate products, sell your own products, give consultation services or use your website to contact the customers for some other offline service.
Depending on the business model your monetization strategies will differ. An authority site which hosts a wide variety of content will bank on the related advertisements for generating its income. Google Adsense is one of the most common strategies used by all the authority sites. When a visitor clicks on any of those advertisements, the website makes some money.
Some websites sell their own products and also affiliate products by reviewing them. They write honest reviews about other products and if it is worth recommending to the visitors they provide a unique link through which they generate a good commission.
7. Expansion Plans: The online world gives immense scope for expansion of the business and exploding your earning exponentially. Once you get a hang of online business it becomes easier to get into other similar markets and duplicate the process. In fact, many of the online business owners have become millionaires in the shortest period by replicating the business model they followed successfully for one market.
Although in the beginning you can focus on just one website, however, in the long run you should develop a business plan which can be implemented across various markets. You can also choose varied business plans to create multiple streams of income with diversified risk. So, if one stream gets exhausted, your overall financial stability is not affected.
8. Profit Appropriation: Once you start generating income online through any of the means, it becomes vital that you make use of the profits for the betterment of your long term business success. Many of the online business owners have been known to generate millions of dollars online only to be found broke again within a short period. The reason: They wasted all the money on unproductive activities and often times on substance abuse or lavish spending.
The profits generated should be properly ploughed back into the business so that in the long run your business becomes self-sustaining. In the beginning you may make use of only free traffic, but as you grow, you will have to advertise your products and services through paid advertisement. This requires you to have solid financial backup and extremely powerful shock absorbers.
The people who can sustain the ups and downs of the online business world are the ones who will eventually become successful and wealthy.
9. Building A Team: Most of the entrepreneurs make the mistake of doing all the work all by themselves. Although this is beneficial in the beginning, as it will let you learn everything from ground up, in the long run you will have to build a good team which can handle the day to day activities of your business. When you organize a good team you can then focus only on the most important things to run your business. The rest will be taken care of by your team.
A successful businessman is one who creates such a team which can work without any supervision. In fact, Richard Brandson, the owner of Virgin Group and a billionaire, says that he would call a business successful if that business ran itself without the intervention of the owner.
10. Outsourcing and Delegating: Online businesses can be run by a single entrepreneur and still be one of the giant business organizations. The key is to outsource and delegate most of the work to freelancers who may be situated in any part of the world. Many online multimillionaires have known to be best when it comes to delegating stuff they require to be done by outsourcing it to freelancers.
Although outsourcing requires some initial fee in the beginning, it will prove to be beneficial in terms of free time you get as you are relieved of the monotonous work. If you know exactly what you want, then, it becomes very easy to get the things through a freelancer whose fees will be quite cheap when you compare it with your time/money ratio. Check out George Brown’s Google Sniper which deals in depth about how outsourcing can help your business extremely along with a unique technique he uses which generates him $1547.89 a day on autopilot.
11. Authority Status And Domination: The online world is known to follow those people who have gained authority status in their chosen niche. Humans are known to oblige unconditionally to a person with authority right from the childhood. This psychological factor can be very useful to you as a businessman if you can prove your authority in the market. When you become an authority in any market, domination of that market comes naturally as all the people will look up to you for solutions to their problems.
But, when you are perceived as an authority figure, there is a great responsibility vested upon you. You have to consistently provide value to your followers and not lead them into buying or doing some stuff just for the sake of money.
12. Reciprocation: The law of reciprocation works precisely with every aspect of the universe. What you sow so shall you reap. When you have achieved greatness and wealth in your online business it is time to give back to the society and those who are still struggling to earn income online.
This can be done even when you are not so wealthy and have not yet reached your financial goals. When you take your fellowmen along with you in your journey towards financial freedom, the success tastes much sweeter. It is the appreciation and sincere testimonials which count more than the money which you make in any particular market.
Hence, these were some of the things which are to be thought of before entering into the online business arena. The people who come into the online business solely to make money will either corrupt themselves or quit the tasks when it gets difficult. In order to make money online it is essential to have a big WHY for your efforts. Spend some time in deciding why you want to get into the online business. Once you figure out the WHY, the HOW will show up quite easily.