Understanding and Running a Successful Online Business.
You’ve probably heard about online businesses and how people who started them from scratch got rich or are in the very enjoyable process of earning money online.
Do you want to start your own but don’t know where to start?
Well, before you jump into action, you must understand what an online business is, what makes such a business successful and how you can grow it and crush its competition. What you can accomplish is directly proportional to what you are willing to learn and act on.
However, trough niche sites and affiliate marketing, anyone can have their own internet business!
What Is an Online Business?
Also known as an e-business, an online business is an activity that takes place entirely on the Web.
When you do all your business using the Internet – regardless of the kind of services and products you’re selling – you are basically running your own online business. For example, blogs, shops, websites and even some social media accounts are all online businesses. Furthermore, eBay shops and Yahoo stores are also classified as online businesses.
Note that you don’t necessarily have to sell a product or service to qualify as an online business. If you have a blog, or a social account, that receives large amounts of traffic, you can monetize that traffic through affiliate programs or show AdSense ads. Of course, you can later start selling real products to your dedicated audience. Many business owners establish a loyal customer base and then sell products imported from all around the world: China, India, Africa and the US.
The Benefits of an Online Business
Unlike a brick-and-mortar business, a business that conducts its activity on the Internet is able to significantly cut costs on rent and staffing. You don’t need expensive headquarters and dozens of sales representatives on the Web; your website or blog is your storefront and you, along with a few select people, are all that’s needed to run a successful online store.
Online businesses are flexible and efficient when it comes to product or service delivery. You must be able to quickly provide a service to your clients, or ship a product worldwide in a matter of days. Your business can be accessed by potential customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Contrary to brick-and-mortar companies, internet stores sell products and services around the clock.
Can You Start an Online Business Without a Lot of Money?
Yes, you can!
If you are a rising entrepreneur with a lot of interesting ideas and love communicating with people and building a loyal customer base, you can start a blog using a free platform such as WordPress, Blogger or Tumblr. Each platform has its pros and cons and you can find a lot of resources on the Internet that compares the various options available.
I do this myself and I’m keen on telling you how, so read on.
If you don’t afford a stock of products, you can become an affiliate and sell products for other people; you earn a percentage of each sale. It is called affiliate marketing. After saving enough money and gathering experience, you can start selling your own products and get to keep all the profits. If you aren’t interested in selling physical products, you can sell various services online. For instance, you can offer all kinds of computer maintenance services if you are tech savvy. Note that selling software licenses as an affiliate can be a very lucrative business.
Many online e-commerce solutions make it easy for you to build a Web store and they even offer to host it for you. You can start selling products and services in a matter of hours. However, the e-commerce platform usually takes a percentage of your sales.
What Are Niche Sites?
This is where it becomes interesting…
Niche websites are online businesses that are focused on a very specific product theme or target audience. In general, niche websites sell just a few related products or services. If you can identify a niche where you don’t have much competition online, a niche site can bring you a nice income if you manage to rank #1 in Google and Bing for a few very specific terms.
A definiton of niche marketing: A portion of a market that you’ve identified as having some special characteristics and that’s worth marketing to.
If you go the niche site way, you have to build your business around specific keywords and work hard to rank as high as possible in search engines. If you pick a niche where you have experience – or you are at least passionate about the topic – then you can use your expertise and enthusiasm to succeed.
As mentioned previously, choosing a niche where you have few competitors is very important; you want to rank #1 in search engines as quickly as possible, bring large amounts of organic traffic to your site and start selling your product or service.
The Importance of SEO to Online Businesses
It doesn’t matter if you run a blog, an e-commerce website or a niche site; Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very important to all online businesses. There are two ways to get traffic – let’s refer to it as clients – to your website: paid advertising and organic search.
Paying for each and every client – yes, you still pay Google even if the clients don’t buy anything! – can be a pretty costly affair. Some internet businesses spend tens of thousands of dollars per month just to get potential clients from search engines; you probably don’t have that kind of money to throw at Google! So what can you do?
You get clients for free by ranking your website as high as possible in Google for specific keywords – people use these keywords in their queries and Google displays your website in its SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). The first three sites on the first page in Google get the lion’s share of organic traffic from the search engine.
There are many ways to optimize your site for search engines, from optimizing the pages and creating new content to building links that point back to your website. There is an entire science – and an ever-growing number of myths – behind SEO.
The truth is that by using niche sites and affiliate marketing, anyone can have their own online business. Know your products and services, understand the needs and expectations of your clients, and have outstanding customer support to crush your competition. Unfortunately, sometimes that might not be enough to succeed in the highly competitive environment that is the Internet.
To get the edge over other – possibly older and well-established – businesses in your niche, master the art of SEO and get help from people who have been in the business of affiliate marketing for years.
Curious on How to Get Started with Your Own Business?
To get one step further, I suggest you read my article conveniently called Getting Started. It tells you a bit more about niche marketing, how to start up and what to avoid when it comes to making money online.
You can also read my review of Wealthy Affiliate University which teaches you all there is to make a profitable online business from home.
My hope is that you learned what an online business is by reading this and inspired you to search for more information. If you have any other questions, don’t be afraid of posting them below. All questions are welcome. 🙂
And please share if you liked what you read.