Online Business Tips
Online business was already big and getting bigger when the Covid-19 pandemic caused more and more people to start going online for more and more purchases.
This means there has never been a better time to own an online business than right now. For a quick start, you can go to Start an Online business for Free to learn how to get going with no financial commitment.
As for any business decision, you can always choose between buying an existing business or building a new one up from scratch. For buying an existing business, this is similar to the bricks and mortar world, in that it's generally not cheap. But for building up a new one, the cost difference is enormous. Expensive in the bricks and mortar world, ridiculously cheap in the online world.
If you want to own an online business, either by buying one or building one, these 6 online business tips will sure help.
You might also like to read Passive Income Stream Ideas.
1. Buy from a Reputable Dealer
If you want to buy an existing online business, you have to be particularly careful to avoid scams. You should only buy from a reputable dealer.
One of the best-known is Flippa. Here you will find all sorts of online businesses for sale, many of them making thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per month, but also with owners looking for 6 and 7 figures as a purchase price.
Flippa uses an Escrow system for the purchase, so that the buyer's money is deposited in an independent bank account, assuring the seller that the buyer is genuine but is not released until all the conditions of sale, including deliverables, have been met. Deliverables would include transfer of the domain name and website to the purchaser's choice of host, the email list of customers and prospects, social media accounts, any product stock (physical and downloadable) lead generation items and so on.
I would not recommend purchasing an online business to anyone not already experienced with the online world.
Another way you can use Flippa is to understand what sort of businesses are valuable and why. After all, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to create such an online business, build it up and sell it for a nice profit!
The remainder of this article will assume that you will create your own online business.
2. Understand That You Need a Website
Although social media can play a big part in getting traffic for your new business, the fact is that you must have a website for it. You can't build an online business on other people's platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram or YouTube. You are then dependent on these platforms and don't have a business that you own.
Here are the steps to getting your online business started:
- Choose your niche. This is what your online business is going to be all about. It could be anything from stamp collecting to caring for pets to a physical product such as golf clubs, but it will be something you are interested in or already knowledgeable or even passionate about. Obviously it also needs to be something you can make money from.
- Register a domain name. The domain name will reflect the business and will have a dot com extension.
- Decide on your business model. In the online business space, the most popular models are affiliate marketing, drop shipping and selling your own product. I will look at each of these models in this article.
- Build a website based on the domain name and structured to suit the business model.
3. Choose Your Niche
Your niche is what your online business will be all about, so choose it wisely. But avoid "paralysis by analysis.
If you are having trouble getting past this stage, you are welcome to contact me below this article and we can work it out together.
You can keep your options open by choosing a broad niche and then drilling down into one or more specialized categories within the niche.
For example, your niche could be fitness, leaving you open to promote yoga, weight loss, home gym equipment, home workouts, high-intensity interval training and so on.
Continuing with this example, you could decide to build your tightly-focused business around just one of these, such as yoga or you could build your business around the broader fitness niche and write articles and sell products in each of the sub-categories.
Which direction you take will determine your choice of domain name.
4. Get Your Domain Name
Your domain name is important (though not as much as it used to be).
Your domain name is your online address and you will probably have it for as long as your business exists, so it's totally identifiable with your "brand" and it's important from that sense. You wouldn't want to be stuck with a domain name that you hate or that's simply irrelevant, would you?
The reason that it's less important is that, as the search engines become better at delivering websites that are most relevant to a query, people have become less likely to enter a domain name that they've memorized and much more likely to enter a search term and see what comes up.
This has made the use of keywords and the art of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) much more relevant to your online business than having a domain name that is an exact match to your niche. In any case, domain names that are an exact match to a niche have long gone and are no longer available. Here are some rules you should follow when registering your domain name:
- Your domain name should be related to your niche. Consider adding words like "your" and "best" and "journey" to core niche words to come up with something unique, but still relevant. For example, in the weight loss niche, which is extraordinarily popular/competitive you could try something like yourweightlossjourney.com.
- Don't pay for a premium domain name. With a bit of imagination, you can come up with something similar that's still available.
- Always try for a .com domain name.
- Don't use hyphens between the words.
- Use real words, not made up or miss-spelt ones. It might have worked for google.com but that's an exception.
- Subject to the above, make it as short as you can.
One of the best domain name registrars is NameCheap.
5. Decide on Your Business Model
There are several business models that you can choose from and they can affect the type of website you build.
The most common are
- Affiliate Marketing
- Own Product
This is the easiest business model to get started with. With affiliate marketing, you use your website to promote products in your niche that are supplied by an independent vendor. If a sale is made to a prospect sent to the vendor's website through your link, you are paid a commission on the sale. This is usually a percentage of the price and can vary from 10 to 20% for physical products to 70 to 100% for digital products. The average is around 50% so it can be a highly lucrative income stream for a successful affiliate marketer.
The best affiliate marketing training on the internet is available from Wealthy Affiliate and I have a special going at the moment where if you join up under my link, you will have the opportunity for me to help you with niche selection, domain name registration and even build your first website for you. Just click on Wealthy Affiliate to take advantage of this special offer.
eCommerce is essentially the exchange of physical goods for money, with the product being both ordered and paid for online. In other words, regular commerce, but conducted through the internet. Amazon is the perfect example of an eCommerce store. But since we can't all be Amazon, I'm going to focus on the sub-set of eCommerce called dropshipping.
With dropshipping, you promote physical products on your website at a retail price. Products that you can order from a vendor at a wholesale price. The vendor will dropship the product, which simply means that they will invoice you but deliver directly to your customer.
As you can see, this directly parallels a bricks and mortar business where you buy at wholesale and sell at retail, except that the vendor is supplying the customer direct.
The advantages of this model are that:
- you don't hold any inventory
- you get paid by the customer before you have to pay the supplier and
- you can add the customer's details to your mailing list as a buyer.
The disadvantage is that you are totally dependent on the supplier for the quality and deliverability of the product, but as far as the customer is concerned, you are the supplier and have to wear any issues. This may involve a much higher level of involvement than affiliate marketing.
Also, the website complexity level is much higher, requiring an eCommerce plugin such as WooCommerce to control the ordering and order tracking process. In addition to a Payment Processor.
Creating your own product can be a frightening thought, but it doesn't have to be. Particularly if you are looking for something to give away as a Lead Generation.
Welcome to the wonderful world of PLR (Private Label Rights).
PLR is something, such as an eBook, a video, a PowerPoint presentation, an audio or a package combining all of these, that has been prepared by a PLR marketer and sold multiple times. It is sold with rights that allow you to claim it as your own, modify it in any way you want and resell it or give it away. You need to check what the specific rights are for any specific product.
The thing is if you can find a good PLR product in your niche, it can give you a great starting point for creating your own product. Especially as PLR is normally very cheap for what you get.
As an example, take a look at my website Dog Master Training. On the Home page, the visitor can download two free books, How to Train Your Puppy and Cats & Kittens 101. The latter is PLR, but I created a new cover for it showing my business partner on this site as the author, I reformatted the text inside and generally tidied it up. I think it cost me $7.00.
I'll do a separate article on the right way to use PLR and the trusted suppliers I use and how to find your own.
6. Build Your Website
If your domain name was your street address, your website is your shop front.
It has to be a lot of things.
It needs to look good, load fast, have great navigation and be fit for purpose.
Your visitors should want to spend some time there browsing, knowing that they'll find stuff they are interested in and, who knows, the very thing they are looking for and are wanting to buy.
A "bounce" is when someone visits your website and leaves without doing anything else. They don't visit any other blog posts or pages and they don't click on any of your menu items. They don't navigate your site at all. They just... leave. The last thing you want for your site is a high bounce rate. There are tools for measuring this.
I've mentioned Wealthy Affiliate before and I'm going to mention it again.
Because as well as providing the best Affiliate Marketing training available and making you feel a part of a huge network of other helpful members, they provide a web hosting platform and training to build your website. But it's still the step that many people struggle with.
Don't fret - I've got you covered!
If you'd like a site like
or any of my other 20 online businesses, click on Wealthy Affiliate and learn how you can qualify to get me to build your first website for you.