Starting A Successful Online Business!

Making the decision to start your online business is an exciting and scary time! There’s a lot to consider and set up, we want to help you avoid making some of the most common mistakes that can hinder your success.

What's covered:

Choosing the Right Niche

If you don’t choose the right niche for your online business then it is very likely to fail. There are thousands of different niches that you can choose from but you need to check that they have the potential for you to build a successful online business around.

A lot of people will tell you that you need to follow your passions. The reason for this is that if you are passionate about something then you are more likely to enjoy developing your online business and keep going with it.

This makes sense but it is not always the best advice. If you are passionate about a niche that not many other people are interested in then your chances of making money are slim. There could be a lot of interest in your passionate niche but is money being made from it?

Two Important Questions

To determine whether a niche is a good one for your online business you need to ask two questions about it:

1. Is there demand?

2. Is it possible to make money from the niche?

If you choose a niche which has very low demand then you are going to struggle right from the start. So you need to check if your niche ideas have the necessary demand. One of the easiest ways that you can do this is to check the amount of search volume that exists for the niche.

You can use the free Google Keyword Planner to check demand. All you need is a free Google account. Think about the main keywords for your niche – what would people type into a search engine if they were looking for information about the niche?

Once you have identified these main keywords, use the Google Keyword Planner to tell you how many searches there are for it each month. You want there to be a few thousand searches at least for the main keywords. The higher the search volume the better.

If there is good search volume for your niche idea then you need to check if people are making money in it. Go to Google and use your main keywords to search. Are there ads for products and services on the first page of the search results?

If you see lots of ads then this is a good sign that people are making money from the niche. You can do another test buy using the OfferVault.com website to see what offers are available for your niche idea. If there are a number of offers then this is another good sign. There are other places you check as well such as Clickbank.com.

Go Where the Money is

If your niche ideas do not have a lot of demand or money making opportunities then don’t despair. Just go where the money is! There are niches that are guaranteed to have the necessary demand and the opportunity to make money. Here are three evergreen niches that tick all of the boxes:

1. Wealth creation – making money etc.

2. Health and fitness – weight loss etc.

3. Personal development – self improvement, relationships etc.

The demand for these niches are never likely to change. People will always want to create more wealth, be healthier and improve themselves. These are very competitive but they are great niches to be in.

Avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome

In some niches there are new product launches every single day. With the make money online niche there are usually more than one new product launched each day. All of the sales products for these product launches tell you that there training will show you that you need to use their tactics to be successful with your online business.

We are not saying that these products do not provide any value. Some of them are really good and will reveal techniques that you will be unaware of. But a lot of these products are the same thing rehashed over and over.

Wild Claims

It is hard to believe that in this day and age some of the wild claims made by these product vendors are allowed. Again the make money online niche is probably the biggest culprit with this. There are sales letters and videos that claim that you can make a fortune by using their software and there is hardly any work for you to do.

Turn your computer into an ATM is a classic claim that some of these sales pages make. This is total nonsense of course but it is surprising how many people fall for this. Getting buyer traffic to your offers in under 60 seconds is another classic wild claim. If it seems too good to be true then it probably is.

The Grass is Greener...

A lot of sales pages for new products in your niche are going to tell you that you are doing it all wrong and that your current online business will never be as successful as you want it to be. They tell you that you need to join forces with them as the grass is greener over there.

The grass is rarely greener with these programs. There are always different techniques that you can use to improve your online business but what you shouldn’t consider is changing it altogether. It doesn’t matter how powerful the copywriting is on the sales page you should stick with your current business and work on ways to increase your revenues.

Changing from one online business model to another is something that newcomers to online business tend to do a lot. They give up on one model very fast because they are not getting the results they expect. These people are always on the lookout for the next shiny object that will change their lives.

You will never have a successful online business if you keep chopping and changing all of the time. Stick with your original plan and see it through. If you have tried your best and it doesn’t deliver the results that you want then you can think about a change. Changing on the whim of a new shiny object is something that you need to avoid.

Limit Your Exposure to Shiny Objects

If you are being exposed to new shiny objects on a regular basis then cut out the source. Maybe you are a member of an online forum where this is discussed all the time. Either stop using the forum or avoid the sections that have the shiny object information.

A lot of people hear about new shiny objects via email. Unsubscribe from the lists that just keep pumping out these offers to you. They are not providing any value and just cluttering up your inbox.

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How to Choose the Right Business Model

There are several different online business models that you can choose from. It is very important that you choose the right model as you will need to work on this every day to achieve success. 

Here are some of the most common online business models:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • CPA marketing
  • Product creation
  • Your own online store
  • Amazon FBA
  • Dropshipping
  • Dropservicing
  • Freelance services
  • Self publishing

 

You need to consider a number of different factors when choosing the right online business model and we will examine those in this article. It is very important that you do not make the wrong choice here as this will be a major barrier to your success.

Do You Have Money to Invest?

Do you have a few hundred or a few thousand dollars to invest in your new online business? If you don’t then you can forget about setting up your own online store or Amazon FBA. Unless you are prepared to do all of the work creating your own product then this is probably not a good choice either.

Whatever online business model you choose you are going to need a small amount of money to pay for a domain name and web hosting and an autoresponder service for email marketing. So take a good look at your budget to see what funds you can allocate to your online business.

You could borrow money to start your online business but this is probably not a good idea. It can take some time for you to see profits and in the meantime you will have to make loan repayments. Only you can decide if borrowing money is a good idea or not.

How Much Time do you Have?

All of the online business models will require your time, but some of the models can be successful with less time than others. For example, it is relatively easy to get started with affiliate marketing and if you are short on time then you can use paid traffic sources to generate targeted traffic to your offers.

If you have a full time job that is currently paying the bills then we strongly recommend that you stick with this until the income from your online business overtakes the pay you receive from your job. Don’t put yourself under unnecessary pressure.

What Skills do you Have?

Do you have skills that you can sell for a high price by offering freelance services? Do you have a skill that you can turn into a high demand product? Perform a skills assessment to see what you can offer and determine the demand for your skills before you make a decision.

If you are a good writer or copywriter then you can make a lot of money selling your services. Bear in mind though that you will be selling your time for money and this can be really tough if you have a full time job.

Creating a training package around an in demand skill that you have could be very lucrative. You can record training videos and other resources to create a powerful package. Maybe you are an expert in a particular niche and can start a blog about this and create a YouTube channel. You can sell your own products or recommend affiliate products.

Essential Tools

Developing a successful online business is not easy despite what you may have heard. You are going to need all of the help that you can get and there are lots of tools available to assist you. Here we will look at what we consider to be the essential tools that you need for your online business.

Keyword Research Tools

A good online business always starts with good keyword research. You need to know what terms people are entering into search engines to find the information that you provide. If you have an ecommerce store then what are the terms that people use to find the products that you sell for example?

There are a number of tools available that will help you to identify the keywords that people are searching with. One of the best tools is completely free and is called the Google Keyword Planner. You just need a free Google account to access this tool.

You need to use a “seed” keyword to get things rolling with the Google Keyword Planner. So if your ecommerce store sells shoes then you can start with the term “shoes”. This is a very broad term so you might want to refine it a bit to “womens shoes” or “mens shoes” for example.

The Google Keyword Planner will not only tell you how many searches there are each month for these terms (by country) but it will also provide related keywords that you could use for your online business. You can download any keywords that you find in a CSV file or a Google sheet and save them.

There are a number of paid keyword research tools available as well. All keywords have a degree of competition and if you want to rank your pages in the search engines for free traffic then you need to know how competitive each keyword is. The Google Keyword Planner will not tell you this but others will.

Document Applications

You are going to need a word processing application and probably a spreadsheet application for your online business. There are other useful document applications too such as slide presentations.

Google Docs is totally free and has some very useful document applications. All you need is an Internet connection. If you prefer the applications to be installed on your computer then you can purchase Microsoft Office or choose one of the free application suites such as Open Office.

Autoresponder Service

Building an email list is highly recommended for your online business. Very few visitors to your website will make a purchase the first time and you can lose them forever. If you can capture their email address then you can send them emails about your business at any time.

The best way to capture emails and build an email list is to use an autoresponder service. This is a service which allows you to send an automated sequence of emails to new subscribers and a broadcast feature where you can send an email out whenever you want. You will pay monthly for an autoresponder service.

Analytics

It is essential that you know what is going on with your online business so that you can make important decisions about it. The Google Analytics package is free and very comprehensive. You can see how many visitors you are getting for your web pages, where they came from, how long they stayed and much more.

Getting Started

What do you need to start an online business? Well you will need a website to promote whatever you are selling. There are free website services available such as Weebly.com, Blogger.com and Wix.com. But we strongly recommend that you avoid these free services.

Internet users are a lot smarter than they used to be. They know that they can start a free website with Weebly for example. This is OK if you just want to blog about your life and let your friends know what you are up to.

But it is not OK for business purposes. In order to make money with your online business you will need to sell something or promote things for a commission. If people see that you have a Blogger site then they will know it is free and think that you are cheap. There is a very slim chance that they will purchase anything.

Get a Domain Name and Web Hosting

The best way to get setup with your online business is to choose a domain name and connect it with a web hosting account so that you can make your website live on the Internet. A domain name is usually available for around $10 from registrars like Namecheap.com and GoDaddy.com. You will need to renew this each year.

There are thousands of companies offering web hosting services and it can be difficult to choose the right one. Page loading speed is very important for your visitors and for the search engines like Google. So do some research and find web hosts that have the fastest servers.

Nobody will want to wait too long for your website to load. There is so much choice available they will just go elsewhere. This is a disaster for your online business so make sure that you choose a web host with fast servers.

Other things to look for with a web host include:

  • Unlimited disk space
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • The number of domain names you can use
  • Free SSL certificates
  • Malware monitoring and removal
  • One click WordPress install

When you are starting out a shared web hosting plan is fine. These are the cheapest plans as you share resources with others. As your traffic increases you can migrate to a VPS server or a dedicated server.

Install WordPress on your Domain Name

The easiest way to create your website is to use the free WordPress content management system. This is why it is important that your web host has a one click install for this (most of them do).

Once your domain name is connected to your web hosting you can then use the one click WordPress installation feature to install the platform on your domain name. You just need to provide a couple of details and then click the install button and a few seconds later your website will be ready.

The reason that we recommend WordPress is that it is so easy to use. You do not need any technical knowledge to setup WordPress or add your content to it. Change the look and feel of your website with a new theme and enhance the functionality with the numerous plugins available.

Grow Your Online Business With Paid Traffic

One of the fastest ways to grow your online business is to use paid traffic sources. The benefit of paid traffic is that it is easy to set up (usually) and you can receive new traffic very fast. Free traffic methods usually take a lot more time to generate visitors.

There are a number of paid traffic sources that you can use and we will take a look at the most common ones here. It goes without saying that you need to monitor your spend with paid traffic. You also need to check your conversion rates to see what ads are providing the best results and eliminate those that are ineffective.

Search Engine Marketing or Pay Per Click (PPC)

The major search engines such as Google and Bing provide the opportunity for you to place ads on the first page of their search results. You can also extend your reach to content publishers who run these ads.

In order to use PPC ads you will need to perform keyword research for your online business. You have to identify the most common terms that people looking for what you have to offer will enter into the search box.

Once you have a list of keywords that you want to run ads for then you will need to arrange them in groups and make bids for the top positions. You will also need to write ads following the prescribed format.

PPC ads are a very good way to get targeted traffic to your website. You can set daily budgets for your campaigns so that you do not overspend. It is also possible to run split test ads to see which ones perform the best.

You will find that it is quite a bit cheaper to run PPC campaigns using Microsoft Ads than it is Google Ads. That is because the volume of searches on Bing and Yahoo are a lot less than they are on Google.

Social Media Ads

All of the major social media platforms have ad services that you can use to promote your products and services. These are not based on search terms like PPC ads. What you can do with social media ads that you cannot do with PPC is define the audience that you want to see your ad.

Knowing your target audience is very important. What age range are your target customers? Where do they live? What are their interests? What income levels do they have? These are just a few of the questions that will help you define your target audience.

Facebook and Instagram have an insights program where you can specify all of these things. Other social platforms are following suit. You can boost your social media posts and increase your following with social media ads.

Native Ads

Native ads can be really effective as they blend in well with the rest of the content where they are displayed. Native ads can work really well for you if you sell products and services that have a wide appeal such as weight loss and exercise products, make money products etc.

You need to add an enticing image with your native ad. The image is what gets the click. Once clicked, the visitor is taken to a landing page where they can be presented with an offer or enticed to join your email list.

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Is Affiliate Marketing The Perfect Model?

Affiliate marketing is certainly one of the easiest online business models to get started with. All we recommend that you start with is a domain name, web hosting, WordPress website and an autoresponder service.

Once you have chosen your niche then you will need to find good affiliate offers to promote. If you choose a popular niche like make money online, weight loss or personal development then there will be no shortage of offers for you to choose from.

Product Reviews

You will need to decide how you will promote the affiliate offers. One of the most effective ways to do this is to create product reviews. Your review needs to be honest and point out and disadvantages of each product as well as the advantages.

A lot of people look for product reviews before they purchase a product. If you can get your review in front of these potential buyers, and your review is good, you will make affiliate commissions with this approach.

Some product reviews are harder to rank for in the search engines and YouTube search than others. If the product has a good reputation and pays a generous commission then there is likely to be a lot of competition. Do your homework here and choose the right traffic strategy.

You can test the effectiveness of your product reviews by spending a little money on paid traffic. Measure the amount of visits against the commissions you make to determine the conversion rate. The good thing about this strategy is that you can generate traffic fast and make tweaks to your reviews for higher conversions.

What Makes a Good Affiliate Offer?

First and foremost a good affiliate offer is one that converts. It is no good promoting an affiliate offer with excellent commissions if it hardly ever converts because you will not make any money. 

The best affiliate offers will have the right combination of high conversions and good commissions. Affiliate offers that have monthly recurring commissions are well worth considering. You just need to drive traffic that converts once and then you will receive commissions each month as long as the customer stays with the program.

Use reputable affiliate networks to ensure that you receive your commission payments on time. Clickbank.com has an excellent reputation for paying their affiliates for example. You do not want to put in a lot of hard work only to find that there is a delay in receiving your commissions or you don’t receive them at all.

Do You Need Approval?

With some affiliate offers you will need to be approved by the product vendor first. If you are in the make money online niche then you will find this to be the case with affiliate networks like WarriorPlus.com and JVZoo.com.

You have to make a request and tell the vendor how you will promote their products. When you are just starting out it can be tough to get approval as you do not have a track record. Start with Clickbank.com or Digistore24.com as these provide instant approval.

It is easy to start with affiliate marketing but being successful with it is not always easy. You are always likely to face competition from other affiliates and you will need convincing tactics to convert visitors into buyers. 

Marketing Your Business for Free?

Once you have setup your online business you need to spend the majority of your time marketing it. It is essential that you do all that you can to get the word out about your online business. You need to drive as much targeted visitor traffic as you can.

There are a number of free traffic methods that you can use to increase the number of visitors to your website and we will take a look at some of the most effective methods here. You need to remember that free traffic methods will require consistent effort on your part to achieve the best results.

Add Content to your Website

Adding new content to your website on a regular basis is a good way to generate free traffic. Your visitors will like the fact that you publish new content often and will come back for more. The search engines such as Google want you to publish new content regularly too and in time they will probably reward you with good rankings for some search terms.

Always publish content that is valuable on your website. Show people how to do certain things in your niche or publish a case study about something you did that achieved a good result. Quality content is always recommended. If you don’t have the time to write your content then find a good writer to outsource this to.

Social Media Profiles

You cannot ignore social media as a way to market your online business. Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world and it is very easy to create a Facebook Page and post some good content there.

The main idea is to increase the number of followers that you have on your social media profiles. Posting valuable content is a great way to do this as it is very likely to be shared and this will help to grow your following. 

You do not have to create a profile on all the social media platforms. Do your homework and identify which platforms are the best fit for your business. It can be really time consuming managing different social media accounts so only choose the ones that are likely to provide the best results for you.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Whatever type of online business you are starting it should always be your aim to get free traffic from search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. There are a number of things that you can do to provide yourself with the best chance of ranking your pages high in the search engines for specific keywords.

The first thing to do is comprehensive keyword research. You need to identify what terms people are using to search for the kind of information you provide. Then you need to optimize your content around these keywords.

Email Marketing

You will need an email autoresponder service to perform email marketing so this is nearly free! The money is in the list so make sure that you build an email list for your online business. This means that you need to capture the email address of your visitors in exchange for an incentive.

Offer your visitors a free report or guide for joining your email list. If you run an ecommerce store you could offer them a special discount. Send your email subscribers regular emails that are a mixture of value and promotional offers.

Use Video Marketing

No matter what online business you are in you can benefit from video marketing. You should create a YouTube channel for your business and add regular videos to it. YouTube is the second largest website in the world and gets billions of visitors every month.

You may not be that excited about the prospect of making videos for your online business. But it is not as difficult as you might think. The other thing that puts online business owners off of making videos is that they don’t want to show their face on camera.

Well here is a harsh reality. You need to get over showing your face on camera. It is really important that people can see who you are and videos are the best way to do that. There is no need for you to make Hollywood style videos – nobody is expecting that. But you do need some good quality equipment.

A Good Camera

HD video cameras are getting cheaper all of the time. You can find a high quality HD camera on Amazon for around $100 these days. Some smartphones and tablet devices have good quality video cameras and you could use these. But a standalone video camera is likely to produce a better result for you.

If you are going to shoot footage at your desk then invest in a good quality HD webcam. You can position these easily so that they capture your head and shoulders which is fine. Again these are not expensive and there are some good ones available from around $50.

A Good Microphone

One of the worst things that you can do is to use an inferior quality microphone with your videos. The microphones in smartphones and laptops are not the best quality. You can find a good quality USB microphone on Amazon for less than $100.

Audio quality is very important. If your viewers cannot hear you or understand what you are saying because you are using a poor quality microphone then you will lose them. So make sure that your microphone provides good audio quality.

How to Videos

Videos that show people in your niche how to overcome a problem that they are having are very popular. You can create an over the shoulder video which shows how to get the best results from a software application for example. You will need screen recording software to do this such as the free Cam Studio or Camtasia which comes at a onetime price.

Let’s say that you are promoting a product that will fix a number of issues that your niche audience has. You can create a video that shows people how to fix one of the problems and then tell them if they want to fix other problems they will need to get the training course.

Video Optimization

You need to optimize your videos so that they can be found with YouTube search. YouTube search is the largest search engine after Google. If your video is not appearing in the first few search results then you will hardly get any views. 

Use your main keyword in the title of the video and secondary keywords in the description and tags. On the first line of the video description add a link to your website or offer page. If you are not using videos for marketing your online business then you need to start today.

Take Your Business Seriously!

It is very easy to start an online business. For a few bucks you can register a domain name, get some web hosting and install a WordPress website that is free and easy to use. You can literally be ready to go in a couple of hours.

You will need to choose an online business model such as affiliate marketing and then find some good offers to promote. Add some content to your new website and drive traffic to it and you should make some money. It really doesn’t get any easier than this.

A lot of people dabble in different online businesses. If one thing does not make them the money that they want then they quickly setup another online business that they believe will. This leads to a lot of people giving up on the idea of making a success of their online business.

You need to take your Online Business Seriously

If you want your online business to be a success then stop treating it as a hobby or just something to do. Take it seriously and make an emotional investment in it. You do not need to invest a lot of money but you do need to be committed to make it work.

Despite what others may tell you it is not easy to create a successful online business. Once you have made the decision to start an online business then set a goal for it (a financial goal for example) and create a plan for its success.

You need to identify the real reason why you started your online business. This is not going to be just to provide a part time or full time income. What will this money do for you? Will it provide you with the freedom that you crave? Will it enable you to buy the things that you have always wanted?

Whatever the real reasons for starting your online business are visualize how you will feel when you have achieved your goal. Make the feelings strong and write these down. You can create a WHY statement that you read every day to provide you with the motivation necessary to carry on no matter how tough things get.

Be Prepared to Invest

There are a lot of useful tools that will help you to get the results that you desire with your online business. These are going to require an investment so be prepared to make this investment. 

If you are new to the world of online business then invest in your education as well. There are training programs available for all of the online business models. Make a commitment to be a master of your craft. Learn new techniques to improve your online business on a regular basis.

Invest in visitor traffic for your online business too. If you do not get enough visitors to your website then you will never be successful. You can start slowly and then scale this up as you start to see results and generate more revenue.

If you invested thousands of dollars in a conventional business you would take it seriously wouldn’t you? Just because you don’t need a lot of money to start an online business does not mean you shouldn’t take it seriously. In fact it is essential that you do.

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