Digital boom, online revolution, internet revolution or whatever you want to name it, has produced more millionaires and billionaires in last few decades than the whole history of mankind. Even Industrial revolution which started in 1770 did not produce so many rich people in such a short span of time.
In fact, Industrial revolution divided the masses by creating middle and upper class while Internet leveled the field by giving equal level of opportunity in every hand. Now you have all the world’s resources and information at the click of your mouse.
Before Internet, It used to cost a lot of money, time and resources to start a business. Say, you wanted to start a company. Then you needed lot of money and talent to succeed. With Internet, you can earn money online siting at home as there are millions of avenues for making money online.
In this guide, I will detail the basics of starting an online business. Either you want to start an e-commerce store or an SEO company providing SEO services. I started my company without any investment except my time and dedication and now it is one of the most respected SEO companies in world.
Step by step Guide on starting an Online Business:
1) Book a domain: Domain is your address or post box on Internet. It is your business identity. So choose a domain name wisely. Want to know how to buy a domain? You can buy domain from hundreds of websites like Godaddy, Namecheap, Bigrock etc. Visit any of these websites and type the name you want to register on the search box. Below is the diagram of the box. If you want to target global audience, you can buy .com, .net , .org or any domains gTLD ( generic Top level domain). You can use the following list for reference.
|aero||The air transport industry.|
|asia||Companies, organizations and individuals in the Asia-Pacific region|
|com||Commercial organizations, but unrestricted|
|edu||Post-secondary educational establishments|
|gov||U.S. government entities at the federal, state, and local levels|
|info||Informational sites, but unrestricted|
|int||International organizations established by treaty|
|mil||The U.S. military|
|mobi||Sites catering to mobile devices|
|name||Families and individuals|
|net||Originally for network infrastructures, now unrestricted|
|org||Originally for organizations not clearly falling within the other gTLDs, now unrestricted|
|tel||Services involving connections between the telephone network and the Internet|
|travel||Travel agents, airlines, hoteliers, tourism bureaus, etc.|
|شبكة||Network, web in Arabic|
|游戏||Game in Chinese|
|онлайн||Cyrillic transliteration of online|
|сайт||Cyrillic transliteration of site meaning website in Russian and Ukrainian |
If you are a regional business then you can buy country code top-level domain (ccTLD). Say your based in Canada then yo can buy www.MyBusiness.ca or if you are trying to open an online business in Australia then you can buy www.MyBusiness.com.au. Refer the list of country code top-level domain (ccTLD) here.
You can buy a domain at very low rates but premium domains are very costly. I would advise you to buy a cheap domain instead of paying huge sum of money for just a domain name if that is not highly popular.
When I was thinking of starting a company, I decided to buy www.seocorporation.com but some domain broker has already bought that domanin and he was asking $1,000 for it so I bought www.seocorporation.net in just $12 instead of .com. I did not have enough money at that time so I went with .Net.
Your success in life depends on your courage to act, on your dreams. nothing in this world can achieve you from achieving your aim if you want something from every pore of your heart. So, don’t think too much, buy a domain of your choice and get started today.
Step 2: How to Start an Online Business
After you have registered a domain, you need to host it now. There are thousands of hosting companies. You need to be very careful in choosing a hosting company. Some of the trusted names are Hostgator, Godaddy, Bigrock etc. But there are thousands of others. Talk to them about their pricing and services and choose one of them. Make sure that they provide 99..99% uptime for your website because you don’t to loss business due to down website.
While choosing a domain host provider, stay away from bad neighborhood:
1. You can choose a shared hosting as that costs very less but make sure that there is no harmful website in the neighborhood. What I mean is, when you buy a shared a hosting there can be thousands of websites hosted on same server/up. If your website is hosted along with porn, gamble sites then It will harm you in the long run. So be very careful from the beginning.
2.Choose ip of the country which you are targeting. If your target audience is based in the US then buy a hosting based in the US instead of the UK or any other country because It will affect your rankings as well as websites’ speed.
After you have chosen a hosting company you need to choose an experienced web design company. Some of the crucial steps for choosing a web design company are as follow:
1) Check out their website and talk to them or send them an email. Watch their response time. But keep holidays in mind. Talk to their representatives and discuss your requirements and find out their opinion.
2) Check out their portfolio. Are they creative? Are they using latest technology? Now a day, responsive websites are in huge demand as responsive sites open quite easily in all kind of devices be it desktop, laptop, smartphones, tablets etc. Otherwise, you will need to spend lots of money on getting a mobile version of your desktop websites. Besides, make sure that your website is compatible with every browser. Some of the most popular browsers are Google Chrome, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, Safari etc
3) Compare prices. I will tell you a story. When I started my own SEO company, I did not have much experience in web design and development so I contacted a web design company based in Los Angeles. They talked to me for hours to understand my requirements and then asked $30,000 for a website of 30 pages!!! I did some research and found another web design company in India which cost less than $500 instead of $30,000 thus saving me $25,000!! The Indian company even designed a logo for me in the same price. Later on we started our web design services and have designed more than 500 websites till now. We are proud to have worked on some very big and complex projects of Governments and NGOs at very low prices too. Later on, I realized that most of the web agencies based in the USA, UK secretly outsource all their work to designers and programmers in India or Philippines. Now we have more than 15 big agencies as our reseling partners who resell our services at higher prices!!
Put some meat ( content) on your website:
After you have designed and developed your website you need to put content on it. If you have enough time then you can write content by yourself or hire a content writing company.
Make sure you or they do enough research in your niche before writing. Write from the prospect of a reader. Provide useful information but don’t ignore search engines as well. Let me explain: First you want reader coming to your website and when they visit you want them to convert into customers. To get free traffic through search engines, you need to write high-quality content and place keywords in strategic places like caption, subheadings, paragraphs) etc.
If you want to know how to write SEO friendly articles which rank high in search engines like Google then read one of the dedicated posts on the subject here.
Before hiring a content writing company, ask for sample write-ups, prices and delivery period. If you find them satisfactory, go ahead and hire them. If you want to see sample prices for content writing then you can click here.
Now after your website is live and running. You need traffic to your website. Let me explain how to get traffic to your website. There are dozens of conventional ways of getting traffic to your website.
But to succeed online in a big way, you can keep on finding new and innovative ways to attract traffic.
1) Social Media promotion: Create a profile of your business on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. If you are starting something related to fashion, jewelry etc then I would recommend creating a profile on sites like Pinterest and Flickr too. Spread the word about your business to your friends and acquaintances. Since It is a common tendency that people like to follow brands so you can buy some Facebook likes or Twitter followers for very cheap from Fiverr.com. This will make you look like a strong brand in the eyes of people who don’t know about your business. The mantra is “Fake it till you make it.”
2) Start sharing knowledge through blogs and articles: Do research and produce high quality content for your audience. If you can write high-quality content on a consistent basis then I can bet that you will get thousands of unique visitors in a day in some time. Blogging can help you look like an expert and help you get lots of leads and traffic. I wrote blog sometime back which explained the correlation between frequency of blogging and number of leads. I would strongly recommend you to read this blog if you want to get leads through blogs with infographics.
3) Search Engine Optimization: Optimize your website for search engine. There are hundreds of ebooks available which can teach you about on-page and off page optimization. I am planning to write an ebook soon. Meanwhile you can refer this SEO guide for reference.
4) Pay per Click Advertisement: If SEO is the cheapest way of getting traffic then PPC advertisement is the fastest way of getting traffic. You can set up and run your ad in minutes and you just need to pay for each click. Get started with PPC ads now.
Some important resources for people who want to start an online business.