Everyday people sit and wonder how to start an internet business with guaranteed success. When starting an internet business, many people think that it’s just as easy as setting up a website and selling a product. Don’t get me wrong those are essential parts of the puzzle, but it takes much more work to get targeted website traffic and make your first sale.
10 Steps to Start an Internet Business
Setting up a business can be a very confusing and an overwhelming task to take on alone. So below I have compiled my list of ten steps to help you get started. I also know there are people who require a more hands-on approach to starting a business. Because of this, here’s a list of online MBA programs that will give you the knowledge necessary to deal with the day to day difficulties sure to come your way in starting your business.
This is a long article, so sit back grab a cup of coffee and jump right in.
1. Get Your Mind Right
Everyday people dream about one day being their own boss, setting their own hours, making tons of money and living the life they have always dreamed of. They like the idea of working at home in their pajamas and making 3 or 4 times their current salary.
But is starting a home business right for you? Lets find out.
There are a few questions you must ask yourself before you even consider trying to build a successful online business.
Do you really want to really want to work at home? Sure lounging around in your pjs all day while you rake in the dough sounds cool? As a free lance web designer I know how it much fun it is to work from home, but at the same time I know how difficult it can be to stay motivated.
At home there are dozens of distractions – tv, the dishes you left in the sink last night or even your pet who needs constant affection and attention. Are you willing to get up everyday without the pressure of your boss breathing down your neck? Are you willing to spend days, months and maybe even years investing time and effort without seeing any immediate results? Are you willing to learn and try new things without being asked? Can you motivate yourself for months and years to come when it seems that no one really believes it can work?
If you answered yes, then you are ready to move on. Self determination the first step in starting an internet business, because many times there will be little motivation to keep going. This will be an adventure you are most likely taking by yourself and you will need the ability to push yourself ahead.
Think of your first six months as your training period, similar to college. In the first six months you will be concentrating on building a foundation, so don’t expect to see large amounts of money flowing in until you have educated yourself.
2. Find Mentors
Starting an internet business online sounds like great idea that could be extremely profitable if done the correctly. But with all the wrong and confusing information online you can become easily frustrated. Just Google “how to start an internet business” and no doubt, you will find sites online trying to sell you everything under the sun.
So before you shell out unnecessary amounts of money buying products you dont need find a mentor. It’s best to find one or two people who are knowledgeable how to build a business online and can guide you through the process. These don’t have to be the most exciting or richest people you can find, they just need the ability to give you rock solid information on starting a business online. You want to get results, not a bunch of hype, so stick with teachers who can show you step-by-step what to do.
These can people you already know, individuals you have met online and just another website you respect which gives honest FREE information. Don’t spend any money on products until you have a firm understanding of what you need to do. As you become more experienced you will quickly determine which people are genuine and which people are full of it.
3. The Idea
To build a successful online business you will need to have clear goals, a business plan and a solid idea. Finding the perfect business idea isn’t always easy. The best way to start searching for a business idea is to list all the topics you are passionate or reasonably knowledgeable about.
Passion is a key factor in finding a business idea but being knowledgeable isn’t. Starting a home business takes time and you will have plenty of time to learn about your specific topic and become an expert.
If you decide to choose a topic you know little or nothing about, make sure to choose a topic that can be very profitable by doing a bit of keyword research. Keyword research will help you determine which topics have most earning potential.
Regardless of what business idea you choose, just be sure to keep it simple. This is one of the biggest mistakes an entrepreneur looking to start an internet business can make. Do not try and reinvent the wheel.
A great way to start making money online is with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you help promote a product, owned by another company, and they send you a commission based on the sales generated by your website. People tend to think that since there are so many people into affiliate marketing, they have to try to come up with some revolutionary product in order to generate a solid income online, but you don’t. In reality, affiliate marketing is so popular because people are making millions promoting other products everyday. It’s no different than selling Mary Kay, Avon or used cars.
4. Domain Names
The next step in starting an internet business is the website creation process which begins with registering a domain name. Most people spend pay careful attention to finding the perfect domain – which is great, but at the same time they don’t realize the impact of their choice. One of the most basic principles of how to start an intenet business in determining your branding.
It’s great to have a cool sounding domain name but you should also search for a domain name that has purpose, and in business that means makes money. Let me explain by using an example in the window cleaning business niche.
Steve the window cleaning man has a passion for cleaning windows and he has a good idea for a website on how to start a window cleaning business. He wants to show people the steps to owning a successful window cleaning business, so like most people, he has spent days thinking of clever and catchy names for his website. He comes up with “SqeakyCleanSteve.com”. It’s has a nice nice ring to to it, right?
The problem is that it will take a lot of advertising and a great deal of effort to gain traffic. Why? Because Steve didn’t do any keyword research.
Keyword research should be used to come up with a domain name related to topics people actually search for online. In Steve’s case, this would be ‘how to start a window cleaning business’. So after some keyword research he finds that ‘how to start a window cleaning business’ gets of 8,000 searches per day and has very little competition, he decides to register the domain “StevesWindowCleaningBusiness.com”. Not as catchy and the first option, but effective nonetheless.
Now Steve can still buy “SqeakyCleanSteve.com”, in addition to another other domain names he likes, but he will focus on “StevesWindowCleaningBusiness.com” to drive traffic and have the other domains redirected to this website.
The main point is that if you are selling a product, it’s best to use keyword research when searching for a good domain name. If your marketing strategy includes branding yourself, then you’ll obviously want to get a domain name that includes your name, but that should be your only criteria when making the final decision.
It’s also best to register your domain name at the same place you purchase hosting, it will make it easier to manage your account and renewal fees. So move on to the next step.
5. Select a Web Hosting Provider
The next step in the web creation process is to select a reputable web hosting provider. To do this, you decide to research the internet for the best prices and packages that the top web hosting providers are offering and narrowed down your list of options. So how do you know which option to select?
Well lets first start with making sure you understand why you need hosting in the first place. A web host rents you space on their servers for you to store your HTML files that will be seen on the web.
Typically a hosting provider will offer a set of standard features with their basic plan – unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space, unlimited databases, 24 hour customer services and unlimited domains. Additionally, you should also look for cPanel (a user-friendly admin panel), Fantistico (a one-click website builder which installs WordPress, Joomla, etc.), free tracking tools, supports PHP, free e-Commerce shopping cart solutions and FTP uploading services.
Many hosts try to trick new customers into buying expensive packages, when it really doesn’t need to be pricey at all. I recommend using Hostgator, where you can sign up today for only $5 bucks a month. It’s hard to beat a price like that.
Why Do I Like Love Hostgator?
Well it’s simple. They offer a very comprehensive solution built especially for beginners.
- Free Setup – many hosting providers will charge you a fee to just create your account and Hostgator doesn’t!
- 24/7 Customer Service – all of Hostgator’s hosting plans includes state-of-the-art hosting plans come complete with FREE 24/7 technical support (Premium Support via Phone, Live Chat, and Ticket System via Email).
- 4,500 Free Website Templates – a quick and easy online website builder which helps you build a personal or professional looking site. All you do is select a design template and then add your text and pictures. No software or programming experience necessary.
- $100 Google AdWords Credit – With Google AdWords, a web site can be advertised across the Google network to get real targeted traffic today. HostGator clients can get a $100 coupon for Google AdWords® for free.
- 1-Click Installs with Fantastico – Over 50 already installed web applications like WordPress, Joomla, e-commerce, photo galleries, message boards/forums, project management, social networking, portals counters and much more!
- Still not convinced? Well read more about why I love Hostgator’s hosting service.
The Best Free Hostgator Discount Coupon Code
Not only is Hostgator the best hosting provider on the planet, but if you use the discount coupon code ‘BrandBuild’ your first month will be only $1. You can’t beat that. One dollar hosting? Plus they give you a 45-day money back guarantee! To top it off, this Hostgator discount coupon code is that it NEVER expires!
6. Design a Website
The next step in starting an online business is building your first website. The thought of actually building your first wesite can make many entrepeurs nervous and the biggest obstacle on their journey to success.
Almost all web hosting companies are famous for taking your order, setting up your account, sending you a welcome email then leaving you to figure out what to do next. At Hostgator that’s not going to happen. They Online offer a FREE support portal with over 500+ Video Tutorials and 680+ Help Articles. It’s perfect for newbies!
In addition to the tutorials and help articles, at anytime you can visit Hostgator and click the chat button at the top right of the site and ask them any question about how to get started. They are the most helpful customer service team around and I’ve never had to wait more than a few second for a chat operator to assist me.
7. Marketing and Search Engines
To make your online business more effective, generate more traffic, reach more people and increase sales you will need to consider online marketing as a tool to help build your web presence.
There are various online marketing strategies available and you shouldn’t hesitate trying them all.
- Link Building - Your websites popularity is judged how many other sites are linking to your site. So link building is the process by which you get other sites to link to yours. A good way to build links is by guest posting for another website or writing articles for websites such as Squidoo, Hubpages and EzineArticles. These sites allow you to place links back to your website in the content you submit.
- Building an Email List - Encourage people to sign up with their email address for a weekly newsletter to receive exclusive deals, coupons or updates about your product. These subscribers can be a source a income in the future. You will have direct access to people who are interested in what you are selling, and with this info you can sell them additional products in the future.
- Social Media Marketing – Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook have drastically changed the online marketing game. There is no other way to reach thousands (if not millions) of people interested in your product in one place, like using social media marketing. Use this to our advantage. Sign up, encourage visitors to follow you on other social networking sites in order to keep them informed of your products and website happenings.
- Research Your Keywords – Keyword research is important because you want make sure you are targeting the correct terms people are searching for in search engines (ie., Google and Yahoo). Keywords play a major role in online advertising. In fact it’s one of the most important factors in making sure your on business succeeds.
- Search Engine Optimization – Search engine optimization basically means using your keywords in specific areas on your website so that search engine crawlers can understand what our website is about. You always want to make sure keywords are sprinkled throughout your content, used in pages titles, and alternative text for images and in your web browsers title bar. Optimizing our website means making it more visible which will increase your visitors.
8. Building a Customer Base
Always be there for your customers because they are the life blood of your online business. Make sure to provide them with a way to contact you if they have any questions or concerns about your product. Place a link to the ‘contact us’ page prominently on your website to encourage visitors to send feedback. You may also want to add a mailing address, phone number and even a online chat option for your customers.
9. Legal Matters
Even though earning money online seems like a bit unreal, since many times you will never have a face-to-face interaction with your visitors the same laws apply. Decide the legal entity of your business. Do you want to organize your business as a LLC or and a sole proprietor, or just remain an individual?
If you are working with a partner, you will want to formalize an operation agreement that covers all the basic rules and regulations of your joint venture. If you are entering into a partnership, this is even more important. You want to make sure everyone’s rights and responsibilities are clearly spelled out.
Create a strategic business plan, which is the blueprint and backbone for your business. This document will clearly define how your business will run and make a profit. This document will also make it easier for you to receive financial funding from a bank.
10. Account and Taxes
Everyone pays taxes, and so will you and your business. This money isn’t free and the government definitely wants their cut. You will have to get a firm understanding of how much income tax, employment tax, sales tax and any other state taxes you will be required to local governments. If you business fails to pay taxes to monies earned, you as the owner wil be held responsible.
6 Keys To Starting a Successful Internet Business
Starting an internet business can be a huge task, but to be successful online you should keep in mind a few key concepts to ensure you will become profitable.
1. Stay Positive. Having a good attitude is important no matter if you are starting a business online or offline. A positive attitude will influence how to look at problems and how you resolve them. And trust me, you will definitely run into your fair share of problems.
2. Believe You Will Succeed. In order to be successful online you must believe in yourself, because many times no one else will. You need to be optimistic and stay motivated because if you believe you cant, then you won’t.
3. Prepare for Failure. It’s inevitable that not all of your internet businesses will be profitable. But to become successful you need to embrace your failures, learn from your mistakes so you won’t make the same ones again.
4. Strong Motivation is a Necessity. There will be days when you will be unsure about your choices, but you must go on. Motivation comes from within and it will help you push past days when you feel like you’re wasting your time.
5. Make Your Plans and Stick to Them. Create a set of plans and goals, that are reasonable and work everyday to completing them. Make your goals small but attainable and you will achieve great things.
6. Just Do It! Do it Now! It takes time to absorb all the new information you will be learning about how to start an internet business. It’s good to be prepared, but you need to start implementing today! You can spend hours, days and months learning new techniques, but it means nothing until you have actually put these methods into action.
Internet Business Scams to Avoid
Be careful, there is a lot of junk online that can send you to the poor house very quickly. Don’t fall for:
- promises that a company can get you ranked #1 in Google
- promises that a company can get you leads for your particular product
- promises that a company can optimize your website to convert website traffic into sales
You name it and the offer is out there. The difficulty in starting an internet business is not knowing which opportunities are good or pure crap. So do yourself a favor just assume everything you see online is crap. If you want to see if a program, company or opportunity is reputable just type the name into Google followed by ‘reviews’.
example: Site Build It Reviews
You will no doubt get a mixed bag of reviews, some of which will be good and some bad. Read through them all. Weigh your options, talk to your mentor and keep your money in your wallet!
Always try to remember that the reason you decided to start an internet business was to finally work towards living the life you have always dreamed of. The life you want to give your kids and family. There will be road blocks in the way, but press on, follow these rules, watch out for scams, stay motivated and you will reach your goals sooner that you think.