How to Start an Online Business

Disclaimer: There may be affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you sign up for a free trial or purchase through the links, but there is no extra cost to you.

This is the start of a new series that you asked for. From your emails and survey answers, you wanted to learn more about entrepreneurship, making money online and starting an online business. The most interest was in blog affiliate marketing and eCommerce, so this first series will be about making money online by starting an online business in blog affiliate marketing.

If you’re not sure what affiliate marketing is, check out the post on affiliate marketing that goes into the details.

But first, congratulations on deciding to take the incredible leap into entrepreneurship!

By making that choice, you have successfully taken the first step in creating a wonderful life for yourself that does not involve a 9 to 5 job. You get to work for yourself, make your own rules, and do what you love all in one shot. If you have already jumped to the next goal and decided to start an online business, then you can also tack on workplace freedom as well.

Having your own online business is flat out awesome, but it is not going to be as easy as establishing a website and assuming it will take off in popularity. You need to be in it for the long haul and work hard to get it up and running as efficiently and effectively as possible. You may have heard the term passive income, but there’s not much that’s passive in the beginning. The passive comes later.

If you are just starting out and not quite sure where to begin, I’m here to help you succeed and establish online competitive dominance.

By following my innovative series of step-by-step guides to start an online business, you will understand how to leverage your strengths and achieve optimal online business growth.

Why Choose an Online Business

We live in such a heightened digital world today where more and more people prefer online shopping convenience than ever before. Think about it; it is much easier for someone to click “add to cart” than to drive all the way to the store, pick out their items, and drive all the way back home.

Because of this global demand, even businesses that have physical locations still make efforts to have an online presence due to its importance in increasing sales, reputation loyal customers. If you plan on solely running your business online, then you can expect to gain quite a bit of benefits, such as:

  • Reaching more targeted customers and build stronger working relationships
  • Easier showcasing of your products and/or services
  • You get to network with other successful entrepreneurs
  • It Is cheap to get started and can be extremely profitable
  • You control your income
  • You can work from anywhere that has an internet connection
  • You get to express creativity and take pride in what you do

Keep in mind that I would not be responsible if I told you that starting an online business is all butterflies and rainbows.

Disadvantages of this route include market saturation, customer service challenges, and creditably. The good thing is that you can combat each of these “negative” elements by establishing a strong business brand and trustworthy online presence. One of the easiest ways to build that trust and traffic is by being an avid blogger.

Starting Your Blog

Blogging is a vital part in building website traffic and creating a reliable name for yourself and your business. It may not gain you a million viewers overnight, but staying proactive with it will lead to some pretty sustainable outcomes when you start gaining traction by Google. What is even more impressive is this could be another revenue stream for you as well if you start affiliate marketing. But before we get to that, you must first create your blog.

Below is a general overview of the steps. I’ll type out more in-depth guides and how I setup my sites.

Step One – Find Your Niche

First and foremost, find your niche.

If you plan to create a separate landing page on your business website, then you may want to stick to the same theme as what you are selling. For example, if your online business is selling a teeth whitening kit, you should focus your blog around that.

Nonetheless, make sure whatever it is you are going to be blogging about is something you are knowledgeable about and can write about long-term. Passion about the niche can help, but it’s not a necessity. If you have a passion for money, that would be more than enough passion!

If you can nail down a niche, the rest of the blogging process will go much smoother.

Step Two – Establish Your Business Basics

This is essentially your business plan. This is the time when you know what your niche is, and now you need to create your business characteristics.

From your brand name, logo, business policies, contact information, terms of use, disclosure information, disclaimers, and any other pertinent aspects that you want to establish should be done now.

Choosing your brand name – this can be fun and frustrating at the same time. Take as much time as you need to come up with your name because it will be the first step in marketing your business and establishing your brand. Make it unique, memorable, and ensure it coincides with your overall business theme.

We will look at domain names and social media platforms to lock down for your brand name. Never too early to lock those down, so they’re ready when you need them.

Eventually, when your website is ready, you will implement this into your site in their designated spots.

Step Three – Choose a Platform

The next thing you will want to do is choose your blog platform. Popular platforms include WordPress and Squarespace.

WordPress is the most utilized platform to date (about 455 million websites) and it’s FREE! They do have a Paid version if you use wordpress.com for web hosting your site, but I like to get my own web hosting in the next step as the pricing ends up cheaper overall and for more features.

For those who don’t want to mess with web hosts and WordPress, can go with a platform like Squarespace. They offer website templates and a platform that is easier for less technically-inclined people, but it does come at a higher cost, about 60-100%+.

WordPress isn’t that hard to use and I like that I have more control too. I’ll show you how easy it is to use in future lessons and do it with Bluehost as our web host of choice.

Step Four – Choose Your Web Host

Since WordPress requires web hosting, you will want to decide on what type of hosting and what host to go with. A couple of popular options are shared hosting provider Bluehost and VPS hosting provider DigitalOcean. Both those options will easily install WordPress, either automatically or with one-click installation.

Shared hosting is good for those who are just starting out. Once you have more traffic and get more comfortable with running your sites, VPS hosting will provide more flexibility and value for your money. VPS hosting provides more value for the money too. But as this series is geared more for those who are setting up their online business for the first time, we’ll be using Bluehost as the example.

You will need to select your plan. Generally, you will have a few of options to choose from. The basic package should be fine for a traditional website, but there will be additional features like domain privacy that you will want. I’ll point you to what gives you the most value for your money and privacy.

Once you have entered in all the necessary account information and have your website ready to become customized, you will want to install WordPress. Since we will go with Bluehost as the web host, then WordPress will be automatically installed for you. It will have the basic theme implemented, but you can certainly change that around. It is your website after all!

Step Five – Design Your Blog

This is probably the part that you have looked forward to. You get to design your site exactly the way you want and develop your brand. There are endless amounts of templates and plugins, both paid and free, that you can use to get started quickly.

Just make sure that your site is easy to navigate, clean, and resembles what your business is and stands for.

This is also the time where you will want to create your business policy and contact landing pages and paste in the write-ups you did earlier in the process.

Step Six – Publish your First Post

By this point, your website is up and running, and now needs to be filled with blogging content. This is where the hard work begins, diligently posting each day or week to increase traffic and boost SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

As a first post, you can make it an introductory one if you wish, introducing yourself and your business to the world. Or, you can get right into your cornerstone content, then that is perfectly fine too.

Before posting anything, review your content and ensure that it is high quality and SEO rich so you can create a solid online foundation and increase your rankings to grow organic traffic.

Step Seven – Market Yourself

Marketing is the heart of growing any business. Even if you understand SEO and know how to amplify your content to show up in search engines, you will want to take it a step further and market yourself.

Use social media marketing platforms, paid advertising (Google and Facebook ads) and email marketing strategies (such as ConvertKit and MailerLite) to maximize your online business potential and gain traffic.

Step Eight – Choose an Affiliate Program

A fantastic thing about an online business is that you can make money blogging with affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is when you advertise something from a vendor using a particular link. When someone clicks on that link inside your blog post and/or purchases what you are promoting, then you get a commission from it.

Affiliate marketing is an excellent route to get more revenue on top of your primary business, but keep in mind that it does require a bit of thought. Going back to the teeth whitening business, if you sell home whitening kits, you will probably not want an affiliate program regarding parenting or animal care. It would not make any sense.

Pick a program that reflects and compliments your niche business to get the best results. Some great diverse programs include Amazon Associates, Commission Junction and ClickBank. All you have to do is sign up, search for relevant affiliate links, and implement those links within your blog posts. Your readers will read your posts, click on your links, and then boom; you make money.

Remember, the more traffic you have, the better this process will work, meaning pay attention to the quality of your content and market yourself like crazy.

Conclusion

Yes, being an entrepreneur and creating your own online business can be scary.

However, what is even more terrifying is doing the same 9 to 5 “golden handcuff” job you dread for the next 30, 40, or 50 years of your life.

If routine and complacency are not in your DNA code, then it is time to break away. Take the chance at doing what you love and remember that there are helpful resource guides all over the internet, such as this one, aimed to help you succeed.

If you are ready to take your online business to the next level with blogging and affiliate marketing, then follow the guides, learn SEO, be creative, and establish a brand identity for yourself.

You will begin to see all your hard work pay off in no time.

Here’s a video from popular YouTuber Gillian Perkins on How to Start an Online Business:

How to Start an Online Business in 2020

Keep the recap below near you for reference as you follow along:

What are 7 Benefits to Starting an Online Business?

These are just 7 of the main benefits to starting an online business.

1. Reach targeted customers and build strong relationships
2. Easily showcase your products and/or services
3. Network with other successful entrepreneurs
4. Cheaper to start and larger profit margins
5. Control your income
6. Work anywhere with an internet connection
7. Be creative and be proud

What are the 8 Steps to Starting Your Own Online Business – Blog Affiliate Marketing?

Creating a blog for affiliate marketing is not difficult and can be setup in less than 24 hours. Follow these 8 steps to get up and running quickly:

1. Find Your Blog Niche
2. Setup Business Basics – Pick your Brand Name
3. Choose your Website Platform
4. Setup the Blog Domain, Web Host and WordPress
5. Design your Blog
6. Publish your First Post
7. Market yourself
8. Choose an Affiliate Program

If you haven’t yet, check out the other parts of this series on being an Entrepreneur and starting an online business: