Online business is within the reach of anyone. Technology has become incredibly advanced nowadays, and there is an abundance of online tools that make things easy at low cost. However, there are things essential to success. Below is a checklist for starting an online business.
Know Your Market – Focus on a Niche
To achieve success in a competitive online world, you will need to choose a niche that you can be an authority and to know it in and out. Research it thoroughly and have a good idea of the critical elements to succeed in that niche. And, of course, you need to have a sense of the growth and profit potential in that market niche.
Once you have a good idea of your market, the current state of the industry as well as the growth and profit potential, you need to have a good idea of the key players in that niche and their relative power with the sale of the product or service you intend to carry. Define your target customers, understand who can and will be your suppliers, and recognize who will be your key competitors.
When you are sure of your market, it is easy to come up with the right kind of services and products. While you do not need to have thorough expertise in your market, it makes sense to be equipped with some information about the market that you will tap.
Decide Your Offering – Choose Delivery Method
A post we published earlier discussed a number of ways to make money through an online business. some of these. Whichever you decide, it will surely turn out to be selling your product or service proposition or those of others.
Based on the type of your product or service offering, your delivery mechanisms will vary from a simple online service or downloadable information product to complicated techniques such as using a fulfillment agency or shipment of goods through courier. If you wish to opt for downloadable products, you may leverage companies such as Clickbank.com or E-junkie.com.
Establish Your Brand – Register Domain Name
Once you have landed on a market niche, it is now time to establish your identity or brand. In the online world, this comes down to your domain name used to identify websites/pages. Examples of domain names are google.com, homeofonlinebusiness.com, and gotravelresources.com.
A domain name is of paramount importance to an online business. It is akin to a trademark, a patent, or intellectual property. It would become your unique web address. So it would be best to have it protected to make sure that only you can use it. To do that, you need to register such a domain name for your online business with domain name registrars.
There are innumerable domain name registrars in the market, online businesses that register domain names. NameCheap.com and GoDaddy.com are a couple of well-known domain name registrars. Most of these registrars are legitimate. However, you need to make sure and confirm that the domain name registration is under your name.
Give Home to Your Business – Select a Web Host
A web host is an organization, which permits you to upload your web pages, videos, or images, among others. Examples are GoDaddy, Bluehost, iPage, HostGator, NameCheap, among others.
These businesses typically provide domain registration and offer services like storage capacity, domain-based email, server security, and uptime percentage, among others. There are some of the essential services to consider while assessing a web host service provider.
The other significant criteria to contemplate are the ability to offer response forms, host a blog, e-commerce tools, and marketing tools, as well as the availability of 24/7 customer support, which provides ease of access to your customers. And finally, you need to ensure that the web host you are choosing offers compatibility with WordPress, the free, accessible, and open-source content management system.
Many online entrepreneurs may prefer to purchase their domain name through one company while choosing another company as their web hosting service provider for valid reasons. However, there is value in selecting the same company for your domain registration, as well as your web hosting service. In addition to these key services, they may offer other value-added services to kick start a successful online business.
Give Your Website a Face – A Well-Designed One
While it may sound tough initially, it is, in fact, not as difficult. As an online business owner, you have two alternatives. You can always hire an experienced and professional web designer to design the website for you. A lot of companies offer this service. While it may be more expensive, you generally get a well-designed and professional looking website. You will also come across many online platforms where freelance professionals offer their services at very reasonable and competitive costs. Such platforms include Fiverr.com, UpWork.com, and CraigList.com.
A cheaper and more flexible option would be to create the website by yourself, particularly if you have the creative flair and like to try out things. You do not have to have a technical background nor experience. There are FREE resources you can leverage to get you going.
Be Capable to Accept Online Payments (if required)
Gone are the days when order forms were printed and sent by fax, or a check mailed to a seller. It is exceptionally critical these days that a business offers the feature to process online transactions and accept online payments through its website. These features enable the customers to get indulged in impulse shopping and get instant gratification.
A couple of popular alternatives (especially for those just starting) to accepting online payments are Stripe.com and PayPal.com. After you become slightly more advanced and take a decision to offer more advanced upsells, sales funnels, as well as, other enhanced shopping cart experiences, you can contemplate upgrading to an advanced shopping cart software such as Samcart.com, Infusionsoft.com, and 1ShoppingCart.com
Generate Online Traffic to Your Website
Your online business could be selling fantastic new products and the most incredible design. However, it may fail as a business if it does not garner enough visibility considering that there are millions of websites vying for the same attention.
To maximize your online sales, you will need to generate a massive volume of website traffic. One way of generating traffic will be through search engines. As such, your website should be registered with the three prominent search engines Google, Yahoo, and Bing. The benefit you have from this mode is that it is free – quite critical for a business that is just starting.
After this, you can also employ a whole host of strategies and techniques later, such as Email Marketing, Direct mailing, Podcasting, Video Marketing, Content Marketing, Offline marketing (e.g., billboards, promotional products, and print ads), and Online Advertising (through Google, Facebook, Twitter), among others
Monitor Your Business Growth
The availability of easy and free tools enables entrepreneurs to track who clicks when and where. Several web hosting companies provide tools to analyze your web traffic. An example of a free tool is Google Analytics that tracks the following, among others, location of clicks, popular keywords, traffic sources, and popular pages.
Starting an online business is always attractive, and the potential is enormous. The internet has made this possible, easy and within reach of anyone, anywhere in the world. Technology and the abundance of online tools services can help you launch your business fast and at a low cost. Just follow the above checklist, make a start, and you will be on your way to success. If you need help in purchasing and registering your domain name, have a reliable web host, and gain the necessary training and support along the way, check out a resource that you can try out for FREE!