Do you know what the best thing about starting an online business in 2017 is?
It won’t cost you much to start & it could provide you with a 6 figure income once you know exactly how to start an online business.
Let’s face it, it’s not too hard to start a free blog and slap on some content loaded with your affiliate links, however I wouldn’t expect to earn the sort of money you really dream of with that strategy.
So if you don’t want to waste your time making chump change, let’s see how to start an online business in 2017 that has the potential to grow and gain credibility in its own right.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin
8 Steps To Starting An Online Business In 2017
1. Research a Profitable Niche Or Topic
It always seems that all the good ideas have been taken which makes choosing the ideal niche for your business even more difficult.
So before rushing out and buying software or fancy WordPress themes for your new site you need to decide on the niche you are going to attack.
It’s important because it determines the route your business is going to follow and if it hasn’t been researched properly you could be wasting an awful lot of time and money on a fruitless idea.
But don’t worry, there are still tons of profitable ideas out there and if you really want this to work, it will.
a. Unless you have an innovative & new Snapchat or Uber type idea forget about coming up with a brand new concept.
Rather take an existing idea or system and make it even better.
An example of this is Tesla motors, a company that knew that people wanted better, so they gave them something better and Elon Musk’s company is doing rather well I have to say.
On the other hand the Segway, on the face of it, seemed like a revolutionary idea that would change the way people “walked” or moved around shopping centres or sidewalks.
Well, guess what?
They’re banned from many from the sidewalks of many states in the USA and in Europe – so much for that idea.
b. Don’t try and be everything to everyone – it’s better to specialise
By specialising, you’re able to narrow your niche down which allows you to provide a quality service or product to your target market.
ProTip: To give you an idea of the tons of sub-niches you can choose from in the photography niche, for example, visit Amazon.com and check the hierarchy within the categories and menus.
How To Discover Micro-Niches Within Niches
- Another effective niche finder method, of discovering smaller niches within your topic of interest, is to go to Google and type “keyword” + “forums” into the search engine.
- So if I type in “basketball”, as my keyword, the results will give me tons of basketball forums.
- Click on a few and you’ll see that they’re normally split up into different sections which you can click on to drill down for even more niches and you’ll see things like Basketball Socks, Basketball Tips, Basketball Confidence, College Basketball and so on.
You can do this for any topic that you’re interested in and knowledgeable about.
3 Important benefits of specialising in a micro-niche are;
- You tend to become seen as an expert in your field and build trust with your audience
- Less competition in a smaller niche so you can rise to the top of the Google SERPS (Search Engine Ranking Pages) quicker for your chosen keywords
- Sales will be easier as the trust builds with your site visitors
Decided On Your Niche?
Lastly whatever niche you eventually decide on there’s just 3 things left to do…
- Own it
- Dominate it
- Give value to make people love your work on it by writing awesome content, advice and information that keeps them coming back for me
Once you’ve started impressing your target market Google will pick up on this and reward you with higher search engine rankings which will explode your traffic and revenue.
Pro Tip: Here’s An Easy Way To Evaluate Your Niche & Find The Best Keywords To Rank For In Google…
Check It Out Here »
2. Keyword Research
Keyword research goes hand in hand with niche research but as it forms such a huge part of “how to start an online business” I thought it best to give it its own section.
3 Goals of your keyword research is not only finding a seed keyword, but also identifying related keywords, that…
- Have an acceptable amount of interest
- Have low competition
- Can get you on the first page of Google (if not the top spot)
Free Keyword Tools
- One of the most popular is Google’s Keyword Tool which you would think would be the best one of the lot, however it doesn’t always provide you with all the keyword options that you’d expect it to.
Also you’ll need to sign up for an Adwords account, which is also free, in order to use the keyword tool.
- Another popular tool is Wordtracker’s Keyword Tool which gives you some decent results for the free option but you’ll have to buy the premium version which is obviously better
Another way to gauge the popularity of a niche is to use Google Trends which shows you what keyword terms are hot right now.
Seeing that most keywords are entered into Google’s search engine you can rest assured that the data shown in Google trends is pretty accurate.
Finally, remember this if you’re getting despondent by finding that all the best keywords & keyword phrases have too much competition.
Almost 25% of the searches done on Google every single day are brand new.
This means that 1 in 4 search queries have never been entered into the Google search engine before, which means that there are still massive opportunities for everyone to get the right keywords to propel them to the top of the search engines in their respective niches.
Also don’t forget Wikipedia – type your topic in, scroll down the page and take a look at all the different sections there will be for your topic which you could consider as micro niches.
Pro Tip: For Accurate & Profitable Keyword Research the Best Internet Marketers Use This Keyword Tool…
Check It Out Here »
3. Domain Name and Web Hosting
I know the days of EMD’s (Exact Match Domain) are pretty much done but to have a keyword rich domain based on your niche still holds some weight when it comes to getting organic traffic or optimizing your site for the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages)
It also helps to choose a catchy and memorable name that comes off the tongue easily.
Choosing your web hosting company is a crucial step in starting an online business.
There are some really cheap and nasty web hosting companies trying to get you to part with your dollars for what seems on the face of it a fantastic offer with all the bells & whistles can often turn into a nightmare.
Ask me, I’ve been there.
When I first started out I signed up with one of these dodgy hosts and everything was just dandy in the beginning until one day I couldn’t access my control panel, only to find out that my site had been wiped from the face of the net.
It took me a great deal of time, stress and effort to get things restored with a reputable host (Hostgator) but I’m busy transferring all my sites to Bluehost.com who I believe deliver the best service without a doubt.
If you want to go the free route you can sign up with a free blogging platform like blogger.com who’ll take care of your domain name as well but it will look something like this: http://www.mynewinternetbusiness.blogspot.com
I think you’ll agree that it isn’t memorable or professional.
Furthermore developing and growing a business on a free platform is very risky as you not only have to abide by their TOS (terms Of Service), but they can change their terms at the drop of hat.
For example, imagine your business is developed around making revenue from online advertising and suddenly your free host announces that they are no longer allowing advertising on any of their users’ sites.
This could destroy your business and reduce your efforts to zero.
So, whilst it’s tempting to “try it out” with a free set up my advice is to definitely go the paid route – it’ll serve you will and avoid much stress up ahead.
You can get one of the best hosting accounts for just $3.95 a month with Bluehost.com who will give you all the tools & support you’ll need and domain names are very reasonably priced as well.
4. Blog Or Website Setup
I would recommend setting up a blog, which is really a website for all intents & purposes, rather than designing & coding a fresh website in html, css, php and all the rest.
Setting up a WordPress blog is just so much easier and takes care of all the coding as well as providing a whole host of effective functionality that you would have to source for yourself if you choose to go the html website route from scratch.
Many of the popular sites you see on the net are set up on WordPress platform as is this one.
So with that out of the way all you need to do is login to your web hosting account’s cPanel (or similar) and with a few clicks you can have your WordPress blog set up on your domain.
10 Steps To Installing your WordPress Blog with Bluehost
Bluehost makes it very easy to install third party scripts to your hosting account which makes it very easy to use Marketplace to install WordPress (amoungst other useful scripts) to the root of your site or to a subdirectory.
- Log in to your Bluehost cPanel account.
- Find the Website section and select Install WordPress.
- Click the Install button.
- Choose the domain name to install it to. In the field next to the domain, you can enter a subfolder such as ‘blog’ or leave it blank if you want the site’s main page to be the blog.
- If necessary, you can edit the email address, username and password for the new WordPress installation. Click “advanced options” and you can change those settings.
- Record your username and password as you’ll need it in a few moments to login to your WordPress dashboard in a few moments.
- Read through the license and service agreements and check the boxes.
- Select the Install Now button.
- Once it’s installed you can open a new browser window, type in your domain name (www.mydomain.com/wp-admin.php) and login to your admin section with your user name and password.
- Familiarise yourself with the admin dashboard and start setting it up, optimising and customising it.
10 Things To Do To Configure and Optimise Blog Effectively
Once that’s done you can start by optimising it for search engines and improved functionality
- Change The Title, Tagline, Time zone and Favicon through your Theme options
- Configure the Reading Settings – In the “Reading” option of “Settings”, down the left hand side, choose either a static page or your latest posts as your front page display.
- Change Your Permalink Structure (in the “Permalinks” option of “Settings”) – WordPress’ default permalink structure is not very Google friendly so you need to change it to something like this: http://www.mydomain.com/sample-post/
- Install Your Premium Theme Or Select a Free Responsive Theme – Do this in the “Themes” option of “Appearance” in the left hand side menu
- Delete Unused Plugins and Themes – Once you’ve installed your chosen theme and plugins, you should delete all unused plugins & themes as they take up space and slow your site down.
- Install A SEO WordPress Plugin – SEO by Yoast is one of the best free ones which you’ll be able to locate through your plugins page.
- Optimise Your Blog For Social Sharing – This will bring you stacks of extra traffic if you make it easy for site visitors to share your content by having social sharing buttons on your site which you can do by installing the appropriate plugin.
- Install Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools
- Schedule Regular Backups
- Install Plugins such as Google sitemaps (unless you install Yoast as it includes sitemap functionality), a cache plugin (W3 Total Cache), anti-spam (Aksimet).
To earn an income that’s truly passive it’s important to keep in mind that your business needs to be designed in such a way that it can run effectively on autopilot.
This means taking advantage of existing systems of automation that allow for visitors to sign up for email newsletters and have them sent out timeously, systems to handle payment transactions securely and natural growth to flourish without needing a real-time presence as you would require in a traditional bricks & mortar type of business.
a. Email – for email subscribers’ details to be captured into a database and pre-designed series of emails to be sent to each subscriber at certain intervals after each one has signed up, would require a professional autoresponder such as Aweber.
This is one of the key cornerstones to any successful online enterprise – without building and managing your list of email subscribers you’ll never reach the giddy heights those 6 or 7 figure incomes.
b. Payment transactions – if your online business is going to concentrate on generating it’s income from affiliate marketing then your payments will be handles securely & promptly by the affiliate networks themselves so you won’t have to worry about anything there.
If you’re planning to marketing your own goods and services you could use PayPal which is a popular, secure & reliable way of handling your transactions or some other shopping cart software.
There are more innovative ways to automate your online business which you’ll come across but the important thing is to be aware of it when structuring your business plan from the outset.
The bottom line is that your presence and time should not be needed for transactions to occur & money to made.
For your blog to sniff any sort of success you need to post content that rocks, in other words write copy that sells.
An awesome post should be one in which each sentence that your reader reads makes them want to read the next one.
So as each sentence, or paragraph, entices the reader on to the next one, so the whole post gets devoured ending up with your reader clicking on the offer and making a purchase.
If you can make that happen with your post, then you’ve cracked the formula to making money online.
Anyway let’s get going with writing posts that go viral…
10 Requirements To Crafting an Awesome Blog Post
- Make the introduction dramatic, captivating, memorable
- Know your audience.
- Know your product inside out.
- Nail the headline and post sub-headings that grab your readers’ attention.
- Write plainly, in the language of your audience and structure your post so that it’s readable – huge blocks of text aren’t.
- Research some more.
- Write great bullet lists.
- Craft an enticing offer.
- Include a strong call to action.
As I mentioned above, each sentence needs to encourage the reader to go to the next, all starting with the headline.
If your headline’s a non-starter it’s unlikely your site visitor’s going to bother going any further to find whether things improve in the post.
So you need a headline that grabs the readers attention which you can base on some of these tried and tested successful headline methods.
If you’ve had enough of the “How To…” and “10 Ways To…” try some of these proven headlines.
10 Effective Ways To Write Headlines
- Who Else Wants… (Who Else Wants To Make Money With This Easy Method)
- Little Known Ways To… (Little Known Ways To Burn Fat Quickly)
- How Would You Like To… (How Would You Like To Make $500 Today)
- Here’s a Quick Way To… (Here’s a Quick Way To Earn An Extra $100 Every Day)
- Now You Can…and Do/Have… (Now You Can Quit Your Day Job and Have Even More Money
- What Everyone Should Know About… (What Everyone Should Know About Investing Their Money For Healthy Returns)
- This Idea Could… (This Idea Could Change Your Life)
- Do You Want To Discover… (Do You Want To Discover An Easy Way To Remove Spots)
- Discover the Secrets To… (Discover the Secrets To Making Money With a Blog Network)
- Here’s a Method That Is Helping… (Here’s a Method That Is Helping Bloggers Earn More Money Online)
Once you’ve got your headline nailed you need to start writing one killer sentence after another.
Not easy I know, in fact I doubt if there are many bloggers who manage to do this successfully.
While you’re trying to get this right please bear in mind that hammering out these great paragraphs they also need to be written well.
Good writing is not just about writing about the features and benefits of your product whilst leading your reader down to the conclusion where your call to action lies in wait.
It’s also about writing a captivating story that grabs your reader’s trust and attention ultimately converting them from a prospect into a buyer.
Get this right and you’ll be well on your way to making truckloads of cash with many disciples waiting in anticipation for your next article.
7. Build Your Email List
For an online business to be able to maximise its potential and profits, it needs to capture its site visitors details.
The reason for this is in order to establish a relationship with your audience and the easiest & most effective way of doing this is with an autoresponder
An autoresponder is a program that sends out a series of pre-written email marketing messages, in sequence, to your subscribers.
An autoresponder, such as Aweber, also collects your site visitors details through an opt in form that you’ll have displayed on your site to entice your visitors to sign up for your newsletter or series of tutorials.
Once they’ve completed the double opt in process they’ll start receiving the marketing emails that you would’ve loaded in your autoresponder program.
Besides it being an essential part of your online business, the great thing with an autoresponder is that it never misses a deadline or gets tired of sending out well crafted emails that your subscribers are dying to receive.
3 Questions To Ask Yourself About Having An Autoresponder
- Do you have an autoresponder set up to capture your site visitors’ details & respond with a series of email messages right now?
- If so, does it have awesome content that’s going to turn your subscribers into massive fans or they going to be unscribing in their droves?
- Do you have the right balance of the number of email messages in your sequence, or do you think you could extend it for longer and deliver even more value (or will it be too much and bore your subscribers into unsubscribing)?
Imagine you have a 10 part email marketing series which needs to go be sent out a week apart to each subscriber no matter when they signed up.
This would be almost impossible to do manually but with a decent autoresponder it works automatically…
Subscriber signup -> double opt in confirmation -> subscriber receives welcome email immediately -> marketing emails sent out at pre-determined intervals for each subscriber – all done automatically without any input from you.
So the idea is for the autoresponder to create a memorable experience for your first subscriber and the same experience for your 10,000th subscriber.
You can rest assured that it will continue to deliver your best content, in the best possible order and frequency, to every new subscriber that signs up through your autoresonder program for as long as you have it running.
If you think you can get the most out of your online business without having an autoresponder I’m afraid you’ll be missing a massive opportunity of building your client base and having them come back to your site to buy stuff time and again.
Autoresponders Make a Good Case For Your Business
You can use your autoresponder to educate & warm up your subscribers to encourage them to make that purchase or perform a certain action for your benefit.
With your email marketing messages you have the ideal platform to explore the pain and problems they’re facing in your niche and illustrate how much better things could be for them if they take advantage of your offerings.
Once you’ve got the trust of your audience it’s easy for them to accept your view point and go through that final hoop to making the purchase.
If your subscribers are hesitant your follow up emails will eventually convince them to take the final step.
So you can see, without being able to communicate with your subscribers you’ll probably lose contact with 90% of the visitors you ever get to your site but with an autoresponder you get to capture their details and you’re able to communicate in a good way with them & establish a mutually beneficial relationship.
Your eMail Sequence Could Look Like This…
Here’s an example of the structure your sequence of pre-loaded emails could take
- Day 1: eMail 1 – Special gift (could be a Pdf report with affiliate links) for subscribing
- Day 2: eMail 2 – Something with value (in the form of a report or link to report on your site)
- Day 4: eMail 3 – More value as above with affiliate links
- Day 7: eMail 4 – Poll or feedback (invaluable information for you)
- Day 11: eMail 5 – Poll Results & a thank you to those who participated + Bonus Offer
- Day 14: eMail 6 – Freebie (Report/eBook) – Introduction
- Day 16: eMail 7 – Freebie – Endorse benefits of gift
- Day 17: eMail 8 – Freebie – Don’t forget about the gift coming up
- Day 18: eMail 9 – Freebie – Last day before it’s released
- Day 18: eMail 10 – Freebie – last reminder to download it tomorrow
- Day 20: eMail 11 – Freebie – Final special report or eBook (with affiliate links)
Obviously this structure won’t work for any niche but you could probably adapt it to suit your product for maximum effect.
No things start to get interesting as this is what it’s all about – making money.
There are many ways to make money from your blog but the 2 most popular ways are..
- Affiliate Marketing
Google’s Adsense program is one of the most popular ways of getting instant revenue from your site.
Every time one of your site visitors click on the ads that Google serves up on your site, from the code you would’ve copied & pasted into your Quick Adsense plugin, you get a portion of the advertising revenue.
The amount of money the publisher, you in this case, gets from the advertiser is split between Google and you and depends on the popularity of your site as well as the niche.
Insurance themed sites will probably get more Adsense revenue per click than a recipe site.
5 Sites are reputed to earn between $500,000 to $1,500,000 per month in Adsense revenue;
- Mashable (News and Technology)
- WikiHow (Online Guides)
- eHow (Online Guides)
- Digital Point (News and Technology)
- Tech Crunch (Technology)
Read more on making money with Adsense here »
Affiliate marketing is a real gift to online marketers as it is way for you to sell other people’s products & services for a commission without getting involved in the admin or delivery or any of the messy stuff.
The beauty of being an affiliate is that you don’t have to invest time & money into developing a product that you aren’t even sure will sale – you just choose high converting products in your niche and sell those and usually get around 75% of the selling price in commission.
Plus, you can literally make millions by using some smart affiliate marketing strategies for any of the quality products with high conversion rates in your chosen niche.
This is how you can do it…
12 Rules For Affiliate Marketing Success
- First impressions – The first impression your site has on a new visitor is massive and sets the tone for how long they stay on your site and whether they’ll even make a purchase or return.
- Creativity is everything – To be successful with affiliate marketing you need to be creative and differentiate yourself from the crowd
- Describe the product – Don’t just litter your page with affiliate links, rather give a good account of how a certain product can solve the prospect’s problem and include the link in there.
- Analytics – You need to analise data including your website traffic to sales to positioning of graphics & calls to action on your web pages.
- Users – Test and measure user behavior
- Browsers – Check which web browsers convert the best
- Devices – Check whether desktop, notepad or mobile is best for your product and optimise accordingly
- Demographics – Which demographics are buying your product so you can concentrate your efforts on that target that market
- Landing pages – Test and optimize your landing pages to maximise sales
- Products – Choose quality products that convert well and ones that you are totally familiar with.
- Disclosure – I think it’s a good idea to disclose that you could be earning a commission if a sale results from your prospect going through a link on your site.
- Resource page – Have a page of useful resources and include your affiliate links where appropriate & you’ll be surprised at how many sales you generate from this.
Want a Proven Affiliate Blueprint?
Take a look at how Mark Ling made millions using this step-by-step affiliate blueprint (aff link included) »