How To Start an Online Business (in 8 Easy Steps)

If you're ready to earn your first dollar online then you've landed on the perfect place as in this fresh blog post I'm going to share with you how to start an online business in just simple eight steps.

The internet is changing everything so fast that what trends today may not work at all tomorrow.

But there are some basic principles for starting an online business and make it successful that is not going to change ever.

The only thing is that you need to stick to these steps in order to grow your online business steadily.

There are tons of ways of making online with the power of the internet but you don't necessarily need to walk on all the paths.

How To Start an Online Business (Step-by-Step)?

Launching your own online business from scratch could be easy or difficult for you depending upon whether You've any prior experience or not.

Earlier, I had already talked about how to start an online business with no money as a teenager but in this post, I'm going to talk about starting a real profitable business online no matter what Your age is.

I recommend you to follow all the steps that I'm going to show you here, do your research well and prepare a solid marketing plan before you get started.

Execute this sequence of steps, don't skip out on the essentials and I see no reason You'll fail at your online business.

Are you ready to take an in charge of your destiny and launch your own online business from scratch?

Here are the proven steps that you can follow in order to start a successful online business from nothing.

  1. Come up with an excellent idea
  2. Pick up the profitable niche & keywords
  3. Purchase a domain, hosting & build your website
  4. Create the best content on your site
  5. Drive the targeted traffic to your website
  6. Build an audience of like-minded people
  7. Leverage the power of email marketing
  8. Monetize your site

There are endless examples of the people who've built their online business from nothing by simply following the steps above.

As I said, the trends may change but the basic principles of starting an online business will stay here forever.

Now, let me explain all these steps in detail and help you understand how to start an online business even if You're a beginner and have no technical expertise.

Related: 50 (Proven) Online Business Ideas For Beginners

Step 1: Brainstorm Online Business Ideas

How To Start an Online Business in 8 Easy Steps - Brainstorm the ideas

Every business no matter whether online or offline starts with a great idea.

Before you look at what you want to do, think about what you're trying to achieve.

Ideas are the starting point for building your online business and will help you choose the path that you want to be on.

Have you got a general idea about the type of online business you want to start?

For example, a blog on a particular topic, an e-commerce store, YouTube channel, online course, etc.

It's completely okay if you have no idea in your mind at all in the beginning. It doesn't mean that you can't launch your own online business.

Here are the few tips to come with some good ideas about starting an online business.

  • Gather as much information as you can about the business in general
  • Discover if You're interested in a specific industry, let's say health and fitness, fashion, football, playing guitar, cooking, etc
  • Filter down your interests and come up with one particular niche that You're passionate about
  • Make Google and YouTube your good friends to research more information about a specific niche that you can talk about
  • Read the blogs, join the forums and try to understand what kind of issues the people are discussing
  • Try to understand how you can help people get rid of those problems using your skills
  • Research the products online that can fix those problems

These steps should help you come up with a few ideas about what kind of online business you want to start in a particular niche.

Step 2: Find Profitable Keywords For Your Online Business

How To Start an Online Business in 8 Easy Steps - Do The Keyword Research

Most of the people who don't know how to start an online business make the biggest mistake of looking for a product first and not the market.

It's very crucial to understand how many people are actually looking for a solution to the problem that You're planning to offer.

Starting with a market rather than the product will boost your chances of success.

The keyword research will help you understand how many people worldwide or in a particular location are searching for that solution.

There are so many free and premium tools available on the internet that makes this kind of market research very easy.

If you are just getting started it's always preferable to use Google Keyword Planner which is free to use.

Another good keyword research tool is UberSuggest which is now owned by the successful entrepreneur Neil Patel.

Once Your online business starts generating the revenues You can go for the paid keyword research tools like LongTailPro, KWFnder, KeywordTool.io, etc.

Here are the few ways of doing the keyword research for your online business.

  • Come up with the keyword ideas that have a lot of search volume but a very less number of competitors
  • Create the list of the potential keywords that you want to build your online business around
  • Visit your competitors' website and observe how they're solving the problems of the people in your niche
  • Check for the current and the future trends of your keywords using the tools like Google trends or Yahoo trends
  • Learn from your competitors and strive for providing a better solution to your customers

This way you'll able to get more insights into what the people are actually looking for and give you a more clear picture about how you want to build your online business.

Step 3: Build Your Website

How To Start an Online Business in 8 Easy Steps - Do The Keyword Research - Build your Website

For most of the newbies and aspiring entrepreneurs, creating the website is the scariest stuff.

But in reality, it's easier than you think.

Find below the three important steps in order to create a website for your online business.

1. Register a Domain

Registering a domain name is the first step to build an online business.

I'd personally prefer to go for something short and catchy that people can remember easily.

You can even register a domain with your name.

Head over to the domain registrars like NameCheap.com, GoDaddy or BlueHost to see if for the domain name that You're looking for is available.

2. Purchase the Hosting

Simply registering a domain name doesn't serve the purpose of building a website.

You must host your domain in order to launch a real business online.

There are many types of hosting available like shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting, etc.

If you are new and launching your online business for the first time, go for the shared hosting plan from the reputed hosting providers.

Because it's costs very less (less than $5 per month) and provides enough tools to manage your website.

Furthermore, a few hosting providers like BlueHost also offers a free domain name along with your hosting package.

In that case, you won't have to pay for extra for registering a domain name.

Once you purchase the hosting plan of your choice, You're ready to launch your own website.

3. Create the Website

Nowadays it's easier than ever to build a website with powerful website builder platforms like WordPress.

You'll not need any programming or technical skills in order to create and operate a WordPress powered website.

Today, almost all the hosting platforms offer an in-built WordPress integration and you can install it literally within two minutes!

Next, select the theme that represents your business and install some important plugins and You're ready to rock!

Here're the few things that you need to keep in mind while creating your own website.

  • Choose the website theme that is clean yet able to grab your visitor's attention
  • Select the layout that is simple to navigate
  • Use the graphics elements like images and videos moderately so that the webpage load faster
  • Use only those extra plugins that you need
  • Make it readable and customer-friendly

Follow these three steps to launch your website from scratch which is the crucial step for making the real money online.

Step 4: Create Awesome Content

How To Start an Online Business in 8 Easy Steps - Do The Keyword Research - Create the awesome content

Now that You've built your website the next step is to fill it with the helpful content that the people are looking for.

Make sure you talk about something that you have the knowledge about and write in a manner that looks professional.

Put the best out of you by trying the catchy headlines, in-depth explanation, bullet points, headings, graphics elements, videoes, etc.

In short, strive to create the content that will persuade your visitors to buy the products on your recommendations.

There's a proven sales copy formula that takes visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive to the moment they make a purchase:

Follow this proven formula that will make your visitors go through the purchase process.

  • Write the compelling and catchy headlines
  • Try to establish your credibility as a problem solver
  • Think like a customer while you're writing the content
  • Ask for the feedback from your visitors by email, phone or the comments area on the website
  • Support your claims by adding the real testimonials from the people who have tried the product
  • Talk about each aspect of the product like, what kind of problems it solves, how the solution works, its pros and cons, etc
  • Create a sales funnel (An opt-in-form and a thank you page) to grab your customers' email addresses
  • Offer them some free stuff in exchange for their email address, for example, a free eBook, video or coupon code
  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Add the call to action buttons like "Add To Cart", "Buy Now" or "Get Instant Access"
  • Create the video review of the product You're trying

The idea here is to represent your solution in a unique way that can help your visitor get rid of the problem quickly.

Step 5: Drive the Targeted Traffic

How To Start an Online Business in 8 Easy Steps -Drive the Targeted Traffic

You have invested your hours and dollars into creating a stunning website, and You're patiently waiting to taste the fruits of your hard work.

  • Your website is sort of a bad investment unless it's generating the profits for You
  • Maybe you're already getting the traffic but what about the conversions (or the sales)?
  • You thought that your website will start making the money for but Your visitors are bouncing back quickly

That happens when the people visiting your website aren't targeted.

No matter if You're in the right niche and promoting the most trending product, You're not going to see any sales if you are not driving the targeted traffic to your website.

It's as though your business does not exist.

Only 10 visitors who are willing to buy are a way better than 500 visitors who have no interest in what You're offering.

They will land on your site and bounce back immediately without taking any actions.

So the real question is, how you can drive the targeted traffic to your website?

Here are a few ways you can drive those people to your website who're really willing to buy something from you.

  • Identify your target customers and direct all your marketing efforts towards grabbing the attention of them
  • Focus on only those people who are anxious and most likely to be to buy from you
  • Learn the SEO tactics to drive free traffic from search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo
  • Target the search keywords that are most relevant to your content
  • Create the PPC advertising campaigns on Google, Facebook or Bing for your targeted keywords if your budget allows
  • Put an opt-in form on your website to get the email address of your website visitors
  • Send the autoresponders (or a series of automated emails) to your target customers after they subscribe to your email list

The focus here is to drive the customers to your website who are really interested in buying something that You're offering.

Step 6: Build an Audience

How To Start an Online Business in 8 Easy Steps - Build an Audience

What will make your online business a true success?

It's your audience.

Every entrepreneur who has created a successful online business will know that it's never a walk in the parking process.

You need to pay constant attention and work hard to get your online business off the ground and make it profitable.

If you have your own audience who believes in You and have trust in what you offer, then it won't take you more time to convince them to buy something from you.

But, how can you build an audience who trusts you?

Well, for that You'll have to put a significant amount of work and pay close attention to your customers' demands.

Follow these few tips to build the audience that looks forward to what you have to offer.

  • Add the compelling content to your site or blog that attracts a specific audience
  • Try to target the people in a single niche, that way Your website has more chances of becoming an authority in that niche
  • Nurture and grow your audience by engaging more with them by replying them to comments and emails
  • Create your social profiles on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest
  • Try to be active by posting the regular free content on at least one of the social media platforms
  • Create a YouTube channel as early as possible and upload the videos regularly
  • Don't' make the sales pitch everywhere, rather offer free and useful tips to your readers and subscribers
  • Join the platforms like Quora, LinkedIn, and Reddit and try to establish your expert reputation

When you have your own audience who trusts you and are willing to buy from You, You'll end up saving a lot of money in marketing the products that you want to promote.

Step 7: Leverage The Power of Email Marketing

How To Start an Online Business in 8 Easy Steps - Leverate the power of email marketing

When you are building an email list of your visitors, You're creating one of the most valuable assets for your online business.

No matter whether you are making a 0$ per month or a million a month, You should consider adding the email marketing to your marketing arsenal.

It's always better to start it as early as possible to start building an audience of your own.

The email marketing is more cost-effective than other marketing channels like print media, TV ads or radio ads.

It has the power to turn your website visitor into a customer.

With email automation, you can promote multiple products to your subscribers.

Once Your subscriber shares his or her email address they give you the permission to send them emails.

Now You can give them something that they are looking for and develop a lifetime relationship with them.

Simply follow these steps to implement the email automation to your website.

  • Put an opt-in form on your website that asks for an email address of your visitor
  • Offer something for free like an eBook, a coupon code, a free video, a lesson in exchange for the email address
  • Sign up for email automation tools like GetResponse, Aweber, ConvertKit, SendLane, etc.
  • Create the autoresponder email series that will be sent out to your email lists over a period of time
  • Put your affiliate links in the emails so that when someone buys from the email You earn a commission
  • Send the email broadcasts intermittently to multiply your sales
  • Keep your email list clean by removing the inactive people from your list

Remember, any visitor who likes your content and opts in to your list is hot lead and there's no better tool than email automation for following up with those leads.

Step 8: Monetize Your Site

How To Start an Online Business in 8 Easy Steps - Monetize your site

What's the point of having everything that we just discussed if you don't monetize your website?

There are arguably tons of ways for monetizing your website, but there are a few core monetization methods that are enough for you to generate a consistent stream of income.

Here they are.

1. Google Adsense

Google AdSense is the most commonly used monetization strategy for websites and blogs.

It's a revenue sharing program that offers a good opportunity to earn money online for small, medium and large websites.

Google will place the ads that are targeted to the people who frequently visit the website for goods and services that are relevant to the content of your blog or website.

In return, you get paid a small amount when someone clicks on the ad.

2. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate Marketing is the most popular way of monetizing your website and has the power to skyrocket your revenues for your online business.

The best part is most of the affiliate programs in almost all the niches are free to join.

There are many top-rated affiliate networks that you can like the Amazon Associates Program, ClickBank, ShareASale, CJ, etc.

Sign up for the affiliate network, choose the program that you would like to promote, grab the affiliate link and start promoting it on your website.

For example, let's say You're running a blog that talks about bodybuilding. You should easily sell the relevant products in that niche like bodybuilding supplements, weight loss guides, etc.

You'll earn the commission whenever someone buys from the vendor's website through your affiliate link.

Don't know how to start affiliate marketing? Click here to know about my number #1 recommended affiliate marketing training course.

3. Banner Ads

You'll need an insane amount of traffic in order to make the real money from Google Adsense.

However, if your website is new and gets less amount of traffic you should consider putting the banner ads on your website.

Banner advertising is also referred to as display advertising because of the visual nature of banner ads.

There are many banner advertising marketplaces online that you can sign up for to find the advertisers in your niche.

BuySellAds is a popular marketplace for the publishers and advertisers that offer to trade for banner ad spots on the websites.

The cost of the ad is usually calculated by cost per thousand impressions (or CPM) formula.

That means you will earn a certain amount when the ad banner is displayed a thousand times on your website. (e.g. $5 per 1000 impressions)

The banner ad can take the visitor from the host website to the advertiser’s website or a specific landing page.

Make sure that you find the advertisers in your niche to catch the attention of your visitors.

4. Sell Online Courses

Are you expert at something?

Why not create your own online course and sell it to your potential audience who already trusts You?

Develop a course on the subject that You're expert at that is intuitive, helpful and offers so much value to your customers.

Focus all your energy into creating such a useful course and it will bring in more money on autopilot for you.

There are many platforms online where you can create your own online courses like Udemy, teachable, SkillShare, etc.

Courses work best when it comes to some specialized skills like web design and development, graphic design, digital marketing, SEO, video marketing, photography, and so on.

But it doesn't mean they're limited to these categories, You'll always find an audience even in a very small niche.

Don't know how to create an awesome course that people love to enroll? Join Chris Kyle's Launch Academy program to launch your own online course from scratch.

5. Sell Digital Products

Creating and selling your own digital products is another great way to profit from your blog.

Digital products can be in any form, for example, video guides, PDF guides, software components, SaaS and others.

The beauty of the digital products is that they can be delivered by email or a secure membership are inside your website.

Unlike the physical goods, You won't have to worry about the shipping, logistics, and returns.

Think of creating a digital product that is in harmony with your content and solves a specific problem for your visitors.

Host free webinars to market your product and blast the emails to your subscribers to generate massive sales.

Consider adding the supporting knowledge base of the text and video tutorials that explain how your product works.

Want to create your first digital product but don't know how to do it?

Head over to the funnel builder platforms like ClikFunnels or Kyvio and launch your first digital product online.

Conclusion

It's time for me to share my final thoughts over how to start an online business from scratch.

To summarize everything, the steps that I mentioned right from coming up with a great idea till monetizing your website are very important in order to launch a successful online business.

  • Start with what you have, then do what's necessary and eventually You would have been doing that seems impossible!
  • Building a legitimate online business may take a lot of hard work and time, so be patient and keep taking the actions along your journey
  • Like any other offline business, in order to start a successful business online, You'll have to make the small investments over time
  • Therefore, once you start generating the profits from your online business, you should consider reinvesting some money to buy the necessary tools to multiply your profits

Always remember that it is a business and treat it as a business, not as a hobby.

You'll fail at times, rather than quitting take your lessons and keep moving forward.

Do you have a question, feedback or anything to share regarding building a successful online business?

Feel free to ask in the comment below and I'd be happy to answer. 🙂


About the author 

Hardik Raval

Hardik is passionate about helping people launch their own online business. He loves to talk about online business ideas, affiliate marketing tools, tips and other sources of residual income available on the internet.


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  1. Thanks for sharing useful post helpful post. I will be returning here more frequently. Much appreciated for taking as much time as necessary to impart this stunning post to us. Simultaneously all of the posts on your blog are having instructive and significant substance. By and by a debt of gratitude is in order for putting out such substance.

  2. Thanks Hardik for some really great tips and ideas as well as a step by step process, that I think will be very valuable for me. I particularly value you advice on identifying markets before products. To be honest IO think that this where I have been going wrong.  I think that you may have just prevented me from doing a lot of work for nothing as I now don’t think the products that I thought were of value to me have a market worth my effort.

    Thanks

    Hamish

    1. Hey Hamish,

      Thanks for reading the post, I’m glad that you found it useful.

      I feel that little bit of effort in identifying the right market shows us the right path to be on for the rest of the journey.

      I am sure you know that in the world of online businesses, it’s called a “niche research”.

      It’s the foundation step when it comes to launching any form of online business.

      For example, somebody who is a fitness training and wants to launch an online business.

      For that person, it makes sense to start a blog or a store where he or she can promote the fitness related information and products.

      If that person ever tries to sell the car accessories, there are 99% chances that he or she will fail.

      There are many ways of identifying the right market for yourself.

      All we have to do is to take a pen and a piece of paper and write down everything that we love or good at.

      Next, start a brainstorming session and compile at least 8 to 10 different areas of interest.

      Then coming up with a maximum one subject or area that we are confident about.

      And that’s the ideal market or niche for yourself.

      Finding the right market is just the beginning of the journey and there are many more steps involved in launching a profitable online business.

      The ideal niche could be different for everybody.

      For example, a person x is making good money in a relationship niche doesn’t mean that the person Y will also achieve the same level of success in that area.

      Likewise, if one person is successful in offering financial advice, it doesn’t mean that everyone else can become an expert financial advisor.

      There are countless examples of such stories and initially one should focus on figuring out the right audience and market or himself or herself.

      Once we do that, we are already ahead of many people who could not.

      Best regards,
      Hardik

  3. It amazes me to see a well detailed article about anything and this one is just as complete and possible, touching every aspect of starting an online business. A couple of things gets in the way when trying to start an online business and the first is what niche to pick. Left to me, I have a hard time making that decision but your tips make it very easy a decision to make. Another issue faced is getting traffic to your site and that’s is when the idea of search engines comes into play. Thanks for sharing 

    1. Hey Benson,

      Thanks for dropping a comment and sharing your feedback.

      Rightly said, one of the toughest jobs is to choose the right niche for your online business.

      And unfortunately, it’s the foundation step in building a business from scratch.

      If you get this step right in the beginning probably you saved you a lot of time that would have otherwise be consumed in trying out different things.

      Even I’m not an exception, I landed into the niche of my choice after trying out as many as seven wrong ones, lol 😛

      But that’s not something I should take pride in, maybe I made a lot more mistakes than others.

      At the same time, it cost me the years of my time and obviously more money.

      I highly recommend spending some more time initially to do comprehensive research to choose the right niche.

      Anyone who wants to start an online business with no prior experience should not mind spending some time selecting profitable research for himself/herself.

      It not only saves your time and money but also shows you the clear path to success that you must be taking.

      Once you are on the right niche, you could easily focus on the next set of steps, for example, setting up the website, creating the content, getting the traffic, building the audience, etc.

      I am not saying that those steps are easier than choosing the niche but if you are in the right niche, you are less likely to get distracted on the way and focus on the actions.

      Starting an online business is no means easy and one needs to take consistent actions over the years to achieve the desired success.

      From my own experience, I can say that the struggle is real.

      The ones who take those struggles as challenges and try to overcome them are the ones who achieve true success.

      Those who are here for quick success with some sort of shortcuts don’t survive long.

      Thanks,
      Hardik Raval

  4. This is perfect here and I am quite delighted that you have shared such a post here. Any rookie or beginner affiliate marketer would see the essence of this post. It is really a massive post and can help anyone get started from the scratch. I love every bit of information here shared. Thank you so much. Well! I agree with most things here and I will like to put them into practice.

    1. Thanks for sharing your feedback on the post.

      I get immense pleasure in sharing as much information as I can on a topic essentially online marketing.

      I struggled a lot in learning the different skills that are needed in launching a profitable online business.

      I learned about different aspects of online business in pieces as I could afford to buy the reputable courses when I got started.

      Because of that whenever I write on any subject, I try to compile as many details as possible to give more value to the readers.

      There are many forms of online business like a blog, social media marketing, digital marketing, eCommerce so on and so forth.

      But the basic principles that drive a successful online business remains the same.

      Once you master that process, probably you have already won the battle or at least have become competitive.

      Launching any type of online business is no different than starting a business offline and requires the same level of passion and commitment.

      After all, you get the results based on the value offered to the potential customers.

      Best regards,
      Hardik Raval

  5. Cool advice, this is how you REALLY build a business and its not overnight.

    In trying times like these, people need a real legitimate way to earn some money for months and even years to come. The “hard” part would be not being able to afford the tools you need, or embedding things into your website like an auto responder disruptive ads for news letter. Or knowing your audience exactly.

    It can be challenging but nevertheless, worth it

  6. Especially during this covid19 period, learning to make money is essential. I am thinking if investing into affiliate marketing and thanks for providing details on it. This is really great to see and thank you for sharing this with us all. Thumbs up to you and I really appreciate the procedure of building a successful business online. Thanks

  7. Hey thanks for this article”How to start an online business” it will be of great help to many out there. So many persons wants to venture into online business but starting is always the issue, trust me how one starts is very important. It’s as important as maintaining the business and I think these steps listed here are great to start up an online business.

    kudos to you.

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A FREE Step-by-Step Blueprint To Build Your Own Profitable Online Business From Scratch..!

A FREE Step-by-Step Blueprint To Build a 6-Figure Online Business From Nothing.!