How to Start an Online Business

Author · Modified on 5 May, 2022

Online businesses have been booming in recent years. The Covid-19 pandemic may have been a world healthcare disaster, but one thing it did show was the strength of the online business community. It is estimated that the percentage of business conducted online increased 27.9% at the height of the pandemic in 2020 alone.

It is estimated that there are currently 9.1 million online retailers in the world, and 2.5 million of these are based out of the United States.

An online business can be anything from e-commerce, to an online SaaS business, or even selling digital marketing services. The business world is surely moving towards becoming dominated by our access to the internet, and with some common sense and useful tips, anyone could really start their own online venture.




1. Identify a Gap in the Market


The most common mistake that people make when starting their own business online is brainstorming the product first, and evaluating their market second.

To boost your chances of your business being successful, the thing to do is to spend some time evaluating and exploring the market first, and then designing a product which fulfils a need that is not currently being satisfied.

However, it is important to have some patience! It could take weeks or even months to review your market, but by doing so thoroughly, you’ll only increase your chances of having success.


How to Evaluate your Target Market


There are three easy ways for you to evaluate your market before launching your business.

  1. Visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they’re trying to solve.
  2. Do some keyword research on different search engines to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but don’t have a ton of competition with other sites.
  3. Check out your potential competitors by visiting their sites and taking note of what they’re doing to fill the demand. You can then use what you’ve learned and create a product for a market that already exists – and do it better than the competition!


2. Design and Build an Appealing Website


Once you’ve got your market and product, and you’ve nailed down your selling process, now you’re ready for your small-business web design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone’s attention – otherwise, they’re gone and moved on!

There are many platforms that make the website-building process very easy. You can build a website on Shopify in a weekend just by playing around with it or following YouTube video tutorials. Other platform options, like Wix, BigCommerce or WooCommerce are all easy to use and can be effective in helping you build an eye-catching website. The important thing is to do your research before selecting one.

Some tips to keep in mind when designing your website are:

  • Choose one or two plain fonts on a plain background.
  • Make your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page.
  • Make sure to use attractive graphics, audio and videos, but only if they enhance your message or product.
  • You want it to be as straightforward as possible – if you’re selling a product, make sure the purchasing process is no more than 2-clicks.
  • Include an opt-in offer when you enter the website as this is an easy way to consensually collect e-mail addresses.

Your website is your online storefront, so make sure it is customer-friendly!




3. Start to Acquire Traffic


People believe that once you have a website, people will just show up. That never happens. You need to be in front of people when they are actively looking for your product online. But that’s easier said than done. There are hundreds of different ways to get traffic to your new website, but to stick to the core concepts there are two main drivers of traffic: organic traffic and paid traffic.


Organic Traffic


Organic traffic is considered to be more of the natural growth method. For instance, if you’re online business is selling fitness equipment, using organic traffic, people can find your website naturally by searching on Google for a term like “Best Fitness Equipment”.

Organic traffic is free and you should start from day one to work on creating helpful content like blog posts to educate people  about which fitness equipment to buy, and why.

When you write an exceptional piece of content, the search engines like Google will eventually reward you for your helpful content by moving your website further up the search engine rankings. However, this can take months to achieve. Organic traffic is free but it does take time to pay off.


Paid Traffic


Paid traffic is when you pay Google or Facebook to place ads in front of people that are online, hoping to attract them to your site. However, paid traffic, like anything, is a skill you’ll need to master to achieve success, otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot of money and have nothing to show for it.

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