The success story of pure online businesses like Facebook has inspired beginning entrepreneurs for starting an internet business.
It’s relatively easy to start an online business. Unfortunately, we don’t hear a lot of success stories related to online business start ups.
With that said, you’ll need to have some area of expertise at hand or an existing business to take online.
Have neither an existing business nor an expertise to take online? Don’t worry. Just take out some time to learn about businesses that work online.
Here are the 3 steps…
1. Researching Your Target Market
If you’re starting an internet business you’ll have to research your target market first.
In any niche market you research, you might come across a handful of strong competitors. However, don’t get discouraged by the number of strong players when you choose a target market.
There is always room for improvement in most services and products. Even in a market that looks saturated you can still pick a smaller, not-well-served one.
Once you have decided the market you wish to pursue, describe your idea into a simple business plan. The plan should describe the needs of your target audience, products or services you’re offerings, and your value proposition.
The business plan essentially provides a map that help guides your journey to building a successful business.
The next step involves uncovering what your potential customers are looking online through keyword research.
For that purpose, join forums where your audiences go online. Scour the conversations to understand the problems and challenges faced by your target audience. You can also ask about things that wake them up at night.
Check the keywords found from your initial research on Google. Take a look at your search results to learn about the players and their strengths and weaknesses.
Once you know the major players’ profiles, think about your offerings. How do you differentiate your product and service? Will it improve your chance to win a sizeable market share? Make sure you have the resources to back up the differentiation.
Equipped with the knowledge about your target market, you’re ready to create an online presence for your company.
2. Setting Up Your Business Website
You can start building your website with registering a domain name and renting server space.
There are two ways to pick a domain name: keyword-based and brand-based. You can register a domain that includes keywords or phrases that show your value proposition or differentiation.
Alternatively, you can also decide on a brand and register a domain based on that brand.
No matter which method you go with, make sure the name meets legal requirements so you don’t run into legal issues. Also, always retain control of your domain, especially if you pay another entity to register it for you.
After you have registered your domain, pick a reliable web hosting company. Some basic features to consider are server hard drive space, allowable data transfer, POP accounts, uptime, CGI-bin access, and access to support personnel.
The next step relates to creating content for your website. Based on your knowledge about your prospects, you can offer articles, audio and videos content that solve their problems.
If you sell products or services, simply create sales pages for each of your product and service.
3. Promoting Your Website
Website promotion starts with traffic generation. And when it comes to generating website traffic there are two options for you to consider.
For fast and immediate results consider using paid advertising like “pay per click” search engines or social media.
For steady, long-term traffic, however, aim for free search engine traffic. You can do this by creating great website content and optimizing your web pages for the search engines.
When building your website, make sure it allows you to interact with your visitors. You may want to encourage visitors to subscribe to your newsletter or RSS feed.
Alternatively, you can also write regular blog posts that attract comments from your audience. Both the two methods help you stay in touch with them, even after they have left your website.
Finally, don’t forget to check and analyze your website log reports. This discipline is a good way to learn about what works and get ideas on how to improve your service.
What to Do Next?
Good planning and diligent executions are a perfect recipe for a successful online business. Now that you know the steps, just go ahead and give shape to your idea of starting an online business and pursue it with passion.
If you want a comprehensive guide, take a look at the tutorial for starting an internet business.