This article will tell you about the things you’ll need to build an online business. There are a lot of misconceptions around the online business world so I want to give you some clarity so you can start on the right path. If you want to know how to build a business online, you might already have researched a bit and most likely be confused because nobody really seems to give you a checklist of things to cover.
So that’s exactly what we’re going to do here. Here are six things you’ll need in order to build a real business online that will make money and that will give you the freedom you’re looking for.
You’ll Need a Long Term Commitment
Let’s get this out of the way first. Just because the internet made building businesses fast and cost-efficient doesn’t mean that it’ll make it quick. What I mean by that is: Don’t expect that you’ll have success immediately just because you built a website. It doesn’t work that way. Just with a traditional business, you’ll have to work on building your reputation, trust, a customer case and have people coming back for more because they’re satisfied with what you offer.
A long term commitment means that you’ll stick to whatever it is you’ll decide to do. Stick to it for a couple years and keep doing the work. We’ll cover what that is, but please understand that building a business requires you to do the work long enough to be able to have success.
You’ll Need to Fulfill a Need / Solve a Problem
There’s a saying that goes like this: Every problem is a company that hasn’t been built yet. While we can have a philosophical discussion about whether that’s 100% true or not, it makes one point clear: If you don’t solve a need, you don’t have a reason why anybody should be interested in what you have to offer.
In the past, companies tried to create a need to solve it afterwards. Nowadays luckily we don’t have to do that anymore. All we need to do is to keep our eyes open and have a look around. Or rather, understand what problems people are dealing with on a regular basis.
What are people doing on the internet all day? They’re looking for something. They’re looking for connection with other people, they’re looking for information that they don’t have, they’re looking at funny videos. The question is always why do they do that?
People are looking for other people that are like them because they may have a hard time finding people who’re interested in the same thing they are in the offline world. People are looking for information they don’t have because they’re trying to solve a problem they haven’t dealt with before and may not know anybody that has. They’re looking at funny videos to get distracted from they’re everyday lives and to alleviate their stress.
The why gives us an insight to the problem they’re dealing with. Through the internet we can give people the information that they’re looking for. That’s why we’re not in the industrial age anymore but in the information age. And we can use the information we have to help other people and in turn, make money from it.
So, make sure you solve a problem with your business. If you don’t know yet what that can be, that’s alright! It’ll get clearer in the next section.
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You’ll Need Customers you can Target (a Niche)
Every business needs customers. And when you look at customers of a company you’ll notice that they usually have some things in common. That can be a common interest, a common age, a common preferance, a common gender etc. That’s what we mean when we talk about a niche. I wrote a whole article of what a niche is and why it’s important so be sure to check it out if you don’t know what I’m talking about here.
To find a niche that suits you, think about interests that you enjoy personally. That’s because you’ll spend some time in the future to serve that niche and create content around it and it’s better to spend your time with something that you enjoy rather than a trend that you might want to exploit simply because you think you could make some money from it. Stick to the long term mindset.
A broad niche can be something like gardening, surfing, chess, making money online, trains, skin care, fitness etc.
After you found your broad niche, try to “niche down”. That means to find a more specific subset inside that niche that suits you. Everybody’s talking about the broad stuff. There may already be thousands of well established gardening blogs out there, but if you can find a smaller niche inside of the gardening niche, than you can talk more specifically about that.
That gives you a competitive advantage because the people that are particularly interested in that will be more happy to come over to you. So for example that could be keeping your lawn tidy or how to build a rose garden.
In surfing it might be the best surf spots in France or technological advancement in surf equipment (I’m making something up right now but you get the idea).
So after you found that niche and “niched down”, you’ll want to think about what kind of people are interested in that topic. What are they like? How old are they? Where do they search for information? What kinds of social media do they frequent? What questions are they asking? That way you’ll get a clearer picture of who you’re talking to.
You’ll Need an Online Presence
Now that you know what niche you’re in, who’s your target group and what problem you’re solving (most likely lack of information), you’ll now need a place to serve your potential customers. That’s your online presence. In traditional (or brick and mortar) businesses, that’s their shop or their office.
People would need to know where to find your company in order to get your service or buy your goods. To buy flowers in a flower shop, the customers need to know where that flower shop is located.
In the online world, that’s your online presence. Most likely that’ll be your own website. But it could be a number of things, like:
- a Facebook Page
- a social media account (Instagram, Twitter, TikTok etc.)
- a Medium Blog
- a YouTube channel
- an email marketing list
I’ll always advise you to build your own website because it’s like your own piece of real estate, it’s brandable, it’s great for search engines and you’ll have total control over it.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. are generally difficult to find through the internet and in order to get found you’ll generally have to rely on other people sharing your content. Also, what will happen to your business when the social media website you use goes out of business or won’t be used anymore due to other competitors taking over the market? Just look at how MySpace got replaced by facebook or how facebook now tries to keep up with TikTok.
It’s way better to have your own website that people can find in search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. People are searching all the time and you can be the trusted resource they come back to in order to get high quality information. The same goes for a YouTube channel as YouTube works like a search engine, obviously because it’s owned by Google.
You can always build a social media page afterwards to promote your website and it’s content.
You’ll Need Content
I refered to content in the sections before, so let’s talk a little more in detail about it. “Content is King” is what people say. And that’s because if you have no content, there’s nothing for people to consume. Content Marketing has been around for ages and it’s always worked it’s magic. Just think of the Guinness World Records.
That’s content marketing done by Guinness. Or the Pirelli calendars, or the Red Bull sports teams and their extreme sport events, Apple’s events where they present their new products. It’s all content, it’s not pure advertisement but it’s something for people to enjoy or ways to get information.
That’s what you’ll want to do and when building your own online business, you’ll spend your time mostly with generating new content (talking about your niche). That can be YouTube videos or articles that people can find when they’re searching for information on the internet or even Instagram images, videos or reels, TikTok videos, Tweet Threads etc.
The thing with content on the social media platforms again is that there’s so much new content produced on these websites every minute that your content often will only be visible for a short amount of time until it’s considered “old” and will not be shown to people anymore. Then you’ll be forced to create new content in order to keep the traffic coming.
That’s different with blog articles and YouTube videos because as you create your body of content, it’ll be found my more people through search, it’ll gain more authority, other websites may link to your articles or videos and even more people will find your content. So you’ll gain more exposure as time passes instead of lose exposure.
Okay, enough about that, you get the idea. The question arises:
How do you Produce Content and What Will you Write About?
In order to answer that question, think back to your niche and target group. We’ll want to know what they’re interested in. If you chose a niche that you’re passionate about or interested in, you’ll most likely find lots of things to talk about easily because it’s what you wanted to know when you started out as well.
My advice is to go to websites like quora.com and search for your niche and you’ll find a lot of questions that are asked about the topic.
Find questions that people are asking online and answer them on your website.
Another way to find ideas is to go to google.com and type in the name of your niche or different topics inside the niche and then start writing a letter afterwards, or write a question word like “What”, “Why”, “How” etc. before it. That way Google will show you different queries that people search for regularly.
Then, there’s keyword research. When building content you’ll want to answer questions that get asked regularly but don’t hove too many competition on the internet. So you can use keyword research tools like Jaaxy.com and search for a keyword or keyphrase around your niche and you’ll get the information of how many times the term gets searched for per month (Avg) and how many search results there are that target the exact keyword (QSR).
You should generally aim to find keywords that have an Avg rating of more than 50 and a QSR that’s under 100 so you won’t have as much competition. That way you’re website will get ranked better under that keyword and you’ll get more traffic.
You’ll Need Traffic
We already touched on the topic of traffic in the content part. That’s because content leads to traffic. Like with our flower shop, you’ll have your shop set up in a street that has a lot of people passing by. That way they can see what you have to offer and may want to come inside and might buy some flowers.
It’s the same online. Quality content will lead to traffic, people visiting your website. And once they are on your website, they might also have a look at what you have to offer.
Up until now you don’t yet have a real offer, you’re just giving out information – content marketing, right?
You’ll Need a Vehicle (Something you can Make Money from)
Now, once we have the people on our website, we want to have something of value to offer to them. That could be your own product or someone elses product that you recommend because you use it personally, you or someone you know had a great experience with it or you’re doing a review about the product or comparing it to another product.
I refer to that as a vehicle because it takes you where you want to go.
So – if you have your own products you can mention them inside your content. If you don’t that’s fine too because you can leverage something called Affiliate Marketing. If you don’t know what that is – I wrote a whole article about it so go an check that out.
Basically it means that you get paid a commission whenever someone buys a product due to your recommendation, through a link that you provided. These products can be physical products or virtual products like online courses, paid newsletters, apps or online softwares or services.
So once you decided on a niche and which problems to solve for a target group you start to research and to product content around it. That leads to traffic on your online presence like a website or a YouTube channel on which you can then recommend your own or other people’s products. That way people can find you, trust you and buy from you.
Obviously, you’ll want to retain your customers afterwards to keep them coming back. You could for example start an email list. But that’s another topic. If you’re interested in that, check out my tutorial on how to build an email list for free.
That’s it for today! I’m very interested in your opinion. Did this article help you to get more clarity on the topic? If you have any questions please write a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer and help you out!
To your success,