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11 Proven Steps to Create a Successful Online Business

This post is all about what you need to start an online business. Whether you are considering starting a new business, or looking to improve the one you already have, I am going to show how to create a successful online business!

Benefits of an Online Business

Do you have a business idea in your head that has been weighing on you, but just haven’t had the time to give it a try? Are you tired of having to schedule everything around your 9-5 job and not being able to work when it suits YOU best?

Well, I’m here to tell you that starting an online business is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

There are so many opportunities for entrepreneurs these days, with more choices than ever before!

Some of the Benefits of an Online Business are:

  • You can work from anywhere
  • You don’t need a lot of start-up capital
  • It’s easy to start and maintain an online business
  • There are many free resources available for building your website or blog
  • Online businesses have low overhead costs, making them more profitable than traditional brick-and-mortar stores 
  • Your customers will be able to find you through search engines like Google and Bing

Types of Online Businesses

There are many types of online businesses you can start. For simplicity reasons, we have grouped them into the following:

  1. Blogging
  2. Freelancing
  3. Affiliate Marketing
  4. Drop shipping
  5. Ecommerce Storefronts

All of these have their own pros and cons. The basics stay the same. You have a product or service (or someone else’s) to offer to solve a problem. You use your site / page as a link between yourself and the person wanting to solve that problem.

Blogging

Some people have a hobby. Some people have a job. Some people have both. And then some of us are lucky enough to be able to call blogging our job! I’m not talking about just any kind of blog, either. I mean the ones that are monetized with ads or sponsored posts and let you work remotely from anywhere in the world on your own time schedule.

Blogging is an excellent way for anyone who loves to write to make money doing something they already love, but it’s also great for those looking for flexible hours and more control over their schedules-

if you’re self-motivated enough, blogging can be an online business!

Although many people create their blogs around their hobbies, this doesn’t have to always be the case. You could also blog about something that you want to learn. By researching content for your blog, you kill 2 proverbial birds with one stone – learn about the topic and provide content with your own unique spin that people want to know about.

Benefits of Blogging

  • It’s easy to start a blog
  • Your blog posts can be used as an online resume for potential employers
  • Blogging has helped many people make money by selling products or courses
  • You don’t need to know how to code, you just need to have a passion for blogging (and some free time)
  • You can blog about anything you want, from your favorite recipes to travel tips
  • If you’re good at writing, blogging will help you improve your skill set
  • If your blog is successful, then there’s no limit on how much income it could generate

Freelancing

Freelancing is one of the best ways to make money fast online. It allows you to work from home, set your own hours, and enjoy complete flexibility with your day-to-day life.

But what are some other benefits? Well, for starters freelancers get paid more than people who work in traditional office jobs. Freelancers also have access to clients all over the world; it doesn’t matter if you’re working on a project for someone in California or India – they can find you!

The downside of freelancing is that although you will most likely make more money per hour, you need lots of work coming in to occupy all your available time.

Types of Freelance Work Types

  • Blogging
  • Social Media Management
  • Virtual Assistant Services
  • Content Writing
  • Freelance Photography
  • Freelance Design

There are many more types of freelancing opportunities, the above are very popular. The nice thing about building an online business, is that you learn many of those skills. Blogging (article writing), Social Media Management, Sales Copies, etc. are all skills that you can market yourself as a freelancer for, once you have learnt them.

Affiliate Marketing

Have you ever seen a commercial for a product and thought, “I want to sell that?” Well, if so, then affiliate marketing is the business for you! Affiliate marketing is an online business where you find products that interest you and send traffic to them in exchange for commissions.

You can do this from your home or smartphone.

Benefits of Affiliate Marketing

  • Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to get started in an online business
  • You can use affiliate marketing to promote products that you already love and believe in
  • There are many opportunities for specialization within affiliate marketing, so it’s easy to find something that interests you
  • Affiliates earn money on commission, which means there is more incentive than with other types of businesses
  • The barrier for entry into the world of affiliate marketing is low – anyone can do it!

Ecommerce Storefronts

Starting your own online store is one of the best ways for small businesses to expand their reach and enhance their customer service. You can offer more products, better prices, and personalization that your brick-and-mortar competitor just can’t match.

So, what do you need to get started? A website or a storefront? The answer may surprise you – it doesn’t matter! An eCommerce storefront is both a website and a physical location where customers can come to find your products. How cool is that?!

Advantages of Ecommerce Storefronts

  • A storefront on the internet is more accessible to potential customers than a brick-and-mortar store
  • Marketing for an online business is easier and cheaper than marketing for a physical store
  • Customers can order products from home without having to drive anywhere
  • Ecommerce stores are great for businesses that sell items with low profit margins because they only need enough product to fill orders instead of stocking up their entire warehouse like other retailers do
  • Online stores allow you to offer free shipping on all your products if you use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) which means that even though your customer may pay more upfront, they will save money in the long run by not having any additional charges due at delivery time

Drop shipping

Drop shipping is a process where an online retailer can purchase items from a supplier and then sell them to customers without having any inventory on hand. Essentially, they “drop ship” or send the order directly to their customer’s door. 

It’s often used by retailers who want to provide low prices for their customers while still making money off each sale through third-party suppliers like Alibaba or AliExpress.

This way both the customer and retailer win!

Drop shipping simplifies many of the challenges that entrepreneurs face when starting their own eCommerce store and fulfills some of the needs of those who want more than just an online storefront.

Benefits of Drop Shipping

  • Drop shipping is a low-risk way to start an online business
  • You don’t have to invest a lot of money upfront
  • No need for warehouse space or inventory
  • Customers can order from anywhere in the world
  • It’s easy to scale up production as your orders increase

What you need to do to Start an Online Business – 11 Steps

Next, I’ll go through the steps to create an online business. The business type it will be based on is a blog. In my opinion, this is a good place to start. Reason being that you can easily integrate Affiliate Marketing or attach this to a Drop Ship or Storefront (as you will already have a flow of traffic).

Step 1: Find a niche to fill with content that will interest readers

The internet is an amazing place. It’s a platform for people to share their ideas, thoughts, and opinions with the world. Blogs are one of the most popular ways for people to express themselves on the web.

A niche blog is when you focus your entire blog around a single subject or topic.

As an example, if you take the subject of “food”, then “baking” could be a niche. If you take that a step further and choose “baking recipes for vegans” then you have a super defined niche.

This should be good, as there are a lot of vegans looking for good recipes. You can later monetize the blog by either advertising on it or selling affiliate products (food processor, air fryer used, etc.)

If you would like more information on how to choose a niche that has interest and should stand the test of time, check out this article on Researching and Finding an Evergreen Niche.

Step 2: Determine What your blog is About

What makes a blog successful? Is it the content? The design? The layout? Probably not. A blog is only as good as its readership, so to get people reading your blog, you must know what they want.

The last thing you want is to spend all that time setting up your blog, just to end up writing articles that will never be read.

First you must determine what you want to blog about. This could be a hobby or an interest.

Some tips are:

  • Determine your niche
  • Do your research to see what other blogs in your niche are doing
  • Figure out how you can make a blog that stands out from the rest of them
  • Make sure you have an engaged audience before starting a blog
  • Consider whether you want to monetize it and if so, find ways to do that without sacrificing quality content
  • Choose a platform (WordPress, Tumblr) and then start blogging!
    • You don’t need any technical skills for WordPress because it’s easy to use and has great templates
    • Tumblr is more flexible than WordPress but doesn’t offer as many features or customization options

If choosing a platform (WordPress, Tumblr, etc.) scares you, don’t worry, I’ll show you a really easy way soon.

Step 3: Choose a blog name

We’re all looking for that perfect blog name – something meaningful, memorable, and unique. And if you are anything like me, the process of choosing a name is just as difficult. Here are some tips to help you with your quest!

  • What type of business are you running and what’s your niche (determined in the previous 2 steps)?
  • Consider the URL for your blog – is it available with that name or do you need to purchase a domain name (next step)
  • Research popular names on other blogs in your industry, see if they’re taken, and then come up with some alternatives
  • Run a Google search for your desired blog title to see how many results show up
  • Find out if there are any social media accounts using that same name as yours before proceeding further
  • Once you’ve decided on a title, register the domain name so no one else can use it!

Step 4: Register your domain name

Registering a domain name for your blog is important. It’s what gives you the online presence and it’s how people will find your website. But sometimes, it can be hard to know where to register the domain from or which one is best for you.

For simplicity’s sake, you can choose a hosting site that includes a domain name (some companies are “free” for the first year). This way you don’t have to worry about filling in the details for DNS forwarding, blah blah blah.

register a domain name for online business

Personally, I use Wealthy Affiliate (who is also my hosting, support and training services, all-in-one).

Taking the risk of digressing, if you are wondering what is Wealthy Affiliate about, you can check out that article. 

The thing I like about having all my domains in one place is that it’s easier to manage and I know the service I can expect.

Looking at the previous example, if I wanted to start a blog on baking for vegans, I can do a search for domains.

Typing in “veganbaker” into the domain search bar, returns the following:

domain name availability

What that tells you is that veganbaker.com is not available. But it suggests using an apostrophe and a different domain extension (.org or .net for instance).

You can change your search by adding a 3rd part, i.e., your name or something specific or mix it up and keep on searching until you find the perfect domain name.

Regarding the apostrophe, I had my doubts when I registered my first one a while back. Since I had success with it, I’ve used an apostrophe (the – dash sign) over and over.

Regarding the domain extension, I personally prefer to use .com as a first choice.

In the case of Wealthy Affiliate, once you choose your domain, you can add it to cart and check out. The domain is then registered and after is ready to use.

Not sure if it’s still like that, but before when I used to register domain names separately, I found that a lot of the “cheaper” companies had add-ons either during or after the purchase – so beware!

Tips for choosing a company to register your domain name

Other places where you can register a domain are:

  • Namecheap
  • GoDaddy
  • DreamHost
  • HostGator
  • Hover
  • Bluehost

When it comes to registering a domain name, there are many things to consider.  There are a lot of providers out there and they all offer different features. To help you make your decision I have compiled a list of questions you can ask yourself about the provider before purchasing from them. 

  • What is their pricing?
  • How long do they allow domains to be registered for?
  • Do they have any deals or coupons available right now?
  • What else do they offer that might interest me as an online entrepreneur or business owner?
  • Are their fees upfront or monthly/yearly?
  • What do their current and former customers say (online reviews)?
  • What do these people say about upselling (privacy, email address, etc.) / customer service / ease of use, etc.?

Step 5: Create an email address for your blog

I know what you’re thinking. You’ve been using a Gmail address for years and now you want to start your blog, why would I need another email address?

Well, it turns out that having an email address specifically for your blog is a great way to make sure your subscribers know where they are going when signing up to follow your posts. It also means that every time someone reaches out about content on the site, there will be no confusion as to which contact information they should use.

So go ahead and take 5 minutes right now and set up an email account just for blogging- we promise it will save you hours of frustration in the future!

Where can you create your mail address?

For me, it’s simple. I just do it at Wealthy Affiliate (the same place that hosts my sites). It’s as simple as choosing a name, choosing the appropriate domain from the drop down and clicking on Create.

create email address for your blog

Your domain registrar (place where you registered your domain name) should be able to help with how you can create it.

What email address should you create?

My recommendation would be to create your e-mail address using the domain that you registered and your first name.

If you registered a domain name of veganbaking.com, and your first name is john, it could be john@veganbaking.com.

This way you have a personal and professional touch when communicating (like sending out subscription mails) in the future.

You should also use this email address when creating social media accounts for your site.

Step 6: Get hosting for your blog

If you’re like me, and most people these days, you’ve probably been reading more and more blogs. Blogs are a great way to stay updated on what’s going on in your industry or hobby. However, with the growth of blogging (and the increased popularity of self-hosted sites), hosting for blogs has quickly become an essential part of any blogger’s toolkit. But where do you start? Should you go with one company over another? What features should be included?

All this can be overwhelming!

Personally, I use Wealthy Affiliate to create and host my blogs. The platform they use is WordPress, so it’s easy to use and there are lots of themes and plugins to choose from.

The great news is that you can use it too! Even if you aren’t a member, they do have an option where you can try it for free – for however long you want. Only catch is that you are limited to 2 websites and can’t use all the other features, but hey… it’s still free hosting 😊

 If you want to create a website right now, simply pick a name and enter it below:

Step 7: Create your Blog

Building a website or a blog with them is ridiculously easy. There is a link below if you want to try it yourself. Again, you can try it for free (with no time limitations), so you have nothing to lose!

Create a blog

The options above are for a Free Domain (useful when testing) or a Domain you own (registered with another registrar), or you can create one (shown in Step 4).

choose a domain name for your blog

The next step is to choose a theme. A website theme is a package of files and templates that can be used to give your site a unique look. There are many different types of WordPress themes, including business websites, blogging platforms for content creators, and magazine-style sites. You can also find free WordPress themes as well as paid ones on the internet. This article will guide you through the process of finding the right one for your needs!

As you can see, there are 4,239 to choose from (and there are constantly themes added and updated).

build a free website

After choosing a theme, the only thing to do is click on “Build my website” and voila!

You now have a Blog!

It’s really that easy – all it takes is 30 seconds (depending on how long you take to choose a theme) and you have a website.

Use the above plugin to try it for yourself! Simply choose a name and create your very own website.

Website Hosting Providers

Alternatively, you could use other hosting services. There are many to choose from, some of them are:

  • HostGator
  • Bluehost
  • GoDaddy
  • NameCheap
  • DreamHost

Tips for Choosing a Website Hosting Provider

Choosing a website hosting provider can be daunting. There are so many providers to choose from and each has their own unique features, pricing schemes, and customer service policies. Here are some tips to help you:

  • Be sure to choose a reliable hosting provider that is backed by an established company
  • Determine how much bandwidth you need for your site
  • Evaluate the uptime of the hosting provider’s servers
  • Check if they offer email, database, and domain services
  • Find out what kind of customer support they offer – phone or chat options are usually more convenient than email
  • Do some research on other customers’ experiences with this particular host before signing up

Step 8: Find and install plugins to help you with SEO, social media, and analytics

A plugin is a piece of software that adds features to WordPress. Plugins help you add new functionality and customize your site in ways that the default WordPress installation can’t.

You would use plugins for things like social media integration, contact forms, galleries, or even marketing automation tools. A good time to think about using plugins is after you have an idea of what you want your website to do.

Plugins are also great because they allow users with little technical knowledge of coding languages to make changes without hiring someone who does know how. They are easy to install and don’t require any manual updates once they’re set up (nowadays most have an auto-update feature).

Plugins can be found in your WordPress control panel. To add a new one, simply click on the “Add New” button and search for your plugin (or what you would like it to do).

siterubix website plugins

As you can see above, when using SiteRubix (Wealthy Affiliate’s site builder) it comes with some plugins pre-installed.

Personally, I always remove the All-in-One SEO and replace it with Yoast SEO. Yoast (the free version is enough for most) not only has SEO suggestions, but also suggestions for your post (like readability scores).

As a bonus, when using the block editor – their FAQ block is extremely useful!

It’s not too important to install plugins right away. Install them as needed. One thing to be careful of, is not to use too many plugins. They can slow down your site and your slow site load speed will be penalized by Google.

Step 9: Install Google Analytics on the site

Google Analytics is a great way to see what your visitors are doing on your site. It’s also a great way to find out how you can improve the content of your site for future visits. By having Google Analytics installed, it will make it easier for you to know if people are visiting certain pages more than others and where they’re coming from.

You’ll be able to figure out if there’s anything that needs improvement or any new features that might need added (i.e., Facebook Like button).

You can use Google Analytics either from their site (analytics.google.com) or you can install a plugin (like Monster Insights).

Reasons to use Google Analytics

  • Google Analytics is a powerful tool for understanding how your website performs
  • The dashboard allows you to see where visitors are coming from, what they’re looking at, and how long they stay on the site
  • You can also set up goals to measure success; for example, if you want people to sign up for your newsletter or buy one of your products
  • Analyzing your data will help you make informed decisions about what content should be featured on the homepage or which pages need more attention
  • Keep an eye out for changes over time – it’s likely that some things will work well while others don’t
  • Use this information to create new strategies and test them out!
  • And finally… it’s free 😊

Step 10: Write articles that are unique, informative, and engaging

We all know that writing is an art form. It’s not easy to find the perfect words for everything, but it’s important to make sure you’re getting your message across. The most successful blogs are engaging and informative, so they’ll keep people coming back for more!

Tips for Writing Articles

There are a few different types of articles you can create. Some ideas are:

  • The top 10
  • Why you should or shouldn’t buy a certain type of product
  • What to do with your extra money when you have it
  • Ways to save on groceries
  • Reasons why you should start recycling now
  • How to make the most out of your summer vacation plans this year

No matter which type of article you are creating, the following tips should help:

  • Write a catchy blog post title that will entice readers to click on it
  • Introduce your article with a short paragraph about the topic and why you’re qualified to write about it
  • Include links where appropriate, including at the end of the article for other posts on your blog or external sources
  • Create an outline before writing so you know what points you want to cover in your article
  • Keep sentences clear and concise, avoiding jargon or complicated words
  • Proofread carefully for spelling errors, grammar mistakes, or typos

One type of article where you’ll probably make your most money from as an affiliate marketer is product (or service) review articles. Here is an article, How to Write Awesome Product Reviews that Convert, that will help you.

Step 11: Get Social!

Social media has been a major part of our lives for the past decade. It’s only natural that it would become an integral part of running an online business as well. We live in a digital world, which means we’re always connected to one another and with social media we’re able to share just about anything. 

There are many different features on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter that can help you increase your online presence and boost sales, just by sharing content or interacting with others. 

Social Media is important because it allows us to stay connected with friends, family, clients/customers through communication platforms like Facebook Messenger or via email marketing campaigns using MailChimp.

It also provides us the opportunity to take advantage of opportunities for developing new leads or clients.

The Importance of social media for your Online Business

1. Social media is a way to connect and engage with your target audience

2. It’s an opportunity for you to share your expertise with the world

3. It builds trust between you and your customer

4. You can use it as a platform for advertising, both through paid ads or organic posts that promote your products/services

5. You can use social media to show people behind-the-scenes of your workday 

6. It’s free!

Create Social Media Business Accounts

Here are some articles that will help you create social media accounts for your business. They are all filled with lessons learned, what to do and what not to do. All of them are focussed specifically for online businesses.

I have Created an Online Business – Now What?

After you have setup your Online Business and created the appropriate social media accounts, it’s time to get traffic.

Traffic in the sense of people coming to your site, hopefully finding what they are looking for and making a purchase.

The road until here has been easy (especially if you followed all the steps in this article). Getting traffic though, is a whole other story.

One way to get traffic is through organic means (search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) Unfortunately, this does take long, but you can prepare your site for it. The nice thing is that once all your work is done, if done correctly, the pay-off is HUGE!

Some articles that will help you are:

Another option is paid traffic. Either through the search engines or social media advertising. The nice thing about this option is that it’s quick. The downside is it can get very expensive.

Another option is to get traffic via the social media accounts you have setup.

Here are some articles that will help you do exactly that:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Start my Own Business Online?

Can I start my own business online? If you want to know the answer, read this blog post. You’ll learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur and how much money it will cost you. It’s a lot easier than people think!

The first thing you will need to figure out is what type of online business do you want to start. Blogging is good, if you want to make money from advertising from the traffic you generate or want to sell affiliate products.

Freelancing is good if you have a skill that people are willing to pay money for. You can also create an Ecommerce storefront or even go into Drop Shipping.

Once you know the type of business you want to start, it is time to choose your industry. All this and step-by-step guidance with tips of an example are explained in this article.

What Kind of Online Business is Most Profitable?

Ever wonder what kind of online business is the most profitable? I have been wondering this myself for a while now, so I decided to do some research on it. In my research, I found that there are many factors that play into how much profit you can make from your online business. It makes sense because different businesses have different needs and not all products sell well.

Some of the things that determine how profitable an online business will be include: time investment, product selection, marketing strategy and more!

There has also been a lot of debate about which type of internet business is best for making money–affiliate marketing or e-commerce stores?

The answer is it depends. It depends on how much traffic you can generate and what types of products / services you are marketing.

There are affiliate marketers who make a LOT of money, while others don’t. The same goes for any other type of online business.
The key is to offer something that people want… or better yet… need.

Which Type of Business is Best Online?

We’re often asked which type of business is best online. There are many options, including e-commerce, lead generation, affiliate marketing and more.

For example, if you want to start an online store for clothing items like skirts or dresses then it’s easy to find a WordPress theme that allows you to design your website with these products in mind. If instead you would like to sell leads for other businesses through your website, then there are plenty of plugins available that allow this functionality as well.

The possibilities really are endless so we can’t give one answer on what the best type of business is, but you can read this article to explore some of the types!

What are the Things I Need to Start an Online Business?

You’re excited to start your own business. You’ve got a great idea, you’re ready to take the leap, but before you do there are some things that need to happen first.

Here’s what you need to get started with an online business:
1) A domain name and hosting for your website.
2) Website design services (or DIY).
3) Content creation services like copywriting or video production.
4) Social media management service (if needed).
5) Paid advertising campaigns (optional – faster results, but more expensive).
6) An email list provider (optional – excellent for growth, conversion, and stability).

Now that we’ve covered all those necessities, go forth and make it happen!

This article explains step-by-step how you can start your own online business today.

How do I Start an Online Business from Home?

So, you want to start an online business from home – great! You’re in the right place. This article gives you advice on how to get started and what we think are some of the best ways to go about it.

We give you step-by-step instructions on what you need to Start an Online Business and provide links for more in-depth information, so stay tuned!

If this sounds like something that interests you, make sure you read it.

Final Thoughts

To help you get started, we’ve provided 11 helpful steps to create a successful online business.

They include:

Taking time to do your research and planning before launching an online venture.

Choosing the right type of internet-based business for your specific goals.

Creating social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Getting familiar with SEO (search engine optimization) basics like keyword selection and site structure.

Using Google Analytics to track web traffic data to make adjustments as needed.

Start your Online Business today – simply enter a name for your website above

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