Starting up an online business is not very difficult. In fact, it is easy. The real challenge may be in deciding what business to start, and how to get your business up and running online as quickly as possible.
To help you I will be discussing the very first questions you need to answer and then the five basic steps you need to take when starting up an online business.
So, before you venture into the online world, there are two things you need to know. One what it is you have to offer and two whether there a need for what you are going to offer.
Once you have your answers, it’s time to get started. You will want to scope out your competitors to see what they are doing.
When you know what you are up against, you will be in a better position to take a different approach to serving your audience.
Now that you have this knowledge here are the first steps you need to take to start your online business:
- Pick a domain
- Choose web hosting
- Build and optimize your website
- Get visitors to your offer
- Track and analyze your website performance
Now we will look at each of these steps one at a time:
Choose A Domain for Your Online Business
The very first and most important step you will take when starting up an online business is choosing a Domain. A Domain is your name on the Internet. It is what people type into the search box to find your website.
According to Namecheap the if you cannot get a .com extension, choose one that suits your business or its location. My advice is to go for .com if at all possible. It’s what’s most popular among users.
Although you may want to incorporate a keyword in your domain name take into consideration how Google feels about keyword stuffing.
Also don’t want to be too niche specific when you pick your name as this could pose a problem when you are ready grow and expand your business.
There are a few things to take into consideration when choosing your domain. Your top priority is user experience.
You want to choose a name that makes things easy for your user.
Keep the name short and simple. This makes it easier not just to type the name in but easy to remember.
Get Web Hosting for Your Online Business
The next step is to get webhosting for your business.
I know costs may play an important role when starting up new business online, but webhosting is one area where you you do not want to allow cost to dictate your choice.
Here are some options you will come across when your look for web hosting services. I will try to explain what they are:
Shared Servers: This means that a a number of websites are hosted on the same server.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
One advantage is that the cost is usually cheaper. This makes it attractive for start ups and small online businesses.
Another advantage is that if your website is small and doesn’t get a lot or traffic shared service maybe all you need for the time being.
Shared web hosting does have disadvantages. For one thing because there are other websites on the server, you site may experience slow loading time.
The amount of space you get may also be limited. And if there is a problem with other websites, you site maybe be affected.
Dedicated Server. In the case of a dedicated server your website is the only one hosted on the server.
So you eliminate the problems related to a shared server.
These are some important things to look out for when choosing a web hosting provider for your online business.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hosting on a Dedicated Server
In the case of a Dedicated Server your website is the only one hosted on the server. So, you eliminate the problems related to a shared server.
For one thing because your website is hosted on it’s own server, your have complete control. Therefore, your website does not have to compete with others.
Loading speed and uptime is usually 100 percent. And your site won’t be affected by security issues affecting other sites. And customer support is always readily available.
The downside is increased cost. However, the advantages compensate for the higher cost if you have a lot of traffic going to your site. And also, if you have a large website that requires more storage space.
Check Out These Tools to Help You Start Your Business
Now It's Time to Start Building Your Online Business
How that you have your domain and web hosting needs taken care of, it’s time to start building you website.
If you are anything like me, you probably think that all that’s involved in starting up an online business is building a beautiful shiny website. There’s a lot more involved.
To do this you need a content management system (CMS) that will management the functionality of your site.
There are a number of content management systems (CMS) out there. Among them are WordPress, Drupal, Wix, and Squarespace.
The system you choose may be dependent on the type of online business you engage in.
For example, most bloggers, course creators and marketers use WordPress. In fact, according to w3techs.com 37.8 percent of websites on the Internet as of 2020 run on WordPress.
Other the other hand systems such as Wix, Drupal, Weebly, or Squarespace maybe more desirable if your business is an online store, or you are a professional or a freelancer.
The main difference is ease of use. If you are adventurous and want to spend some time learning how websites function you may be willing to invest that time in building a WordPress website.
If on the other hand you just want to customize some templates and get your website up and running you may want to consider some of the other options.
The drag and drop templates they offer are easy to use and you see exactly what your site will look like.
In any case you can always find professionals to do the work for you at very economical cost on places such as Fiverr.com and Upwork.com.
Get Traffic to Your Online Business
Now that your website is up and running, you need to give you online business fuel. This is fuel is in the form of website traffic.
There are two ways to get traffic to your business. One is by means of paid traffic and the other is free or organic traffic.
Paid traffic is fast traffic and depending on the source you use it can be costly. On the other hand, organic traffic is free but it takes work and time to see results.
Whichever you choose is up to you. The bottom line is you need traffic.
Popular sources of paid traffic include, Pay per click (PPC) advertising, Facebook ads, Banner advertising, and Influencer marketing to name a few.
Some sources of Free traffic are content creation such as blogging and video making, search traffic, Social Media posts, forums and communities.
Whichever traffic source you choose to start with, the key is to learn how it works and develop your own strategies to get the best results for your business.
Track and Analyze Your Business Performance
our online business is up and running. But how is it really doing?
There is are a number of tools you can track data and analyze campaign performances. A number of these are free tools. The one that immediately comes to mind is Google Analytics.
Linking a Google Analytics account to your website will allow you to monitor the behavior of your website visitors. You can see where they land on your site, what they are looking at, how much time they spend and more.
Another great tool is Facebook tracking. Facebook allows you to create a pixel -small bit of code- that you place on your website. This collects visitor data similar to Google analytics.
With Facebook tracking pixel you can really define your visitors and create a custom audience that you can remarket to them later.
Integrate a Capture Mechanism
Once you have these tools connected to your website, you also want to implement some form of capture mechanism. This will enable you to collect data from individuals you visit your business.
A capture mechanism usually is a form that you place on your site. This form offers the visitor an incentive to give you their data-mostly name and email address.
When you collect the website visitor data, you store it in an autoresponder. An autoresponder is really a huge database.
Having an autoresponder lets you quickly and easily build an email list that you can use to communicate with website visitors on a more personal level.
The are a number of other tracking software out there that allows you to easily automate tracking the performance of your online business.
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In a nutshell these are the first five steps you need to take to get your online business up and running.
- Choose a domain name that’s short, simple, and easy to remember. If at all possible, get a name with a dot com extension and try to include a key. However, don’t be too niche specific.
- Get web hosting for your business. Become familiar with the different features that are provided by hosting services. Determine your immediate needs but at the same time do not allow cost to be a major factor in your choice. Think long-term
- Choose a content management system (CMS) to build your run your website. The type of business you have may play a role in the system you choose.
- Utilize available tools to track the performance of your business This will enable to you make adjustments quickly and easily when needed.
- Collect website visitor’s data to that you can communicate with them to build brand long-term relationship and brand loyalty.
Now that you implemented the 5 steps for your online business and you are happy with its performance, it is time to start scaling.
Let me know if this article was useful ow whether there is something else that I should have covered.