Ever since the dotcom boom of the mid-1990s, thousands of businesses have moved their operations online, and for a very good reason. For the first time ever, businesses and individuals all around the world can interact and trade without ever having to travel. As a result, online businesses have not only added billions of dollars to the global economy, but have also allowed new entrepreneurs to start their first ventures with very little overhead.
Although there are many types of online business, most can fall into only a few categories; all of which are relatively easy to get involved in with the right planning.
One of the easiest ways to get started in the world of online business is to start a blog. What makes a blog so easy to start up and maintain is that no matter what you write about, there will almost always be people interested in what you’re saying. Writing engaging and informative content about the things that interest you, however, is only half the battle: The other half is making – and keeping – your blog lucrative. The two major components of doing so is generating targeted traffic and hosting advertisements on the blog.
Most blogs usually rely on search engine marketing (SEM) to generate their traffic, which is essentially optimizing your pages – a practice known as search engine optimization (SEO) – so that they will rank well in search engines. Doing so requires finding keywords that are relevant to your content, have low competition, and receive a decent amount of searches for month. Keyword research like this can be performed with various free keyword tools available online, such as Google AdWords Keywords Tool.
Once you’ve found the right keywords, the next step is to naturally incorporate them into your content. Also be sure to include your keywords into the title and header tags of your blog, and if you want to get a little more technical, the “keywords” tag of each page’s Meta data.
Keywords, however, aren’t the only component of promotion: The other half is getting people to link to your blog as well. Doing so not only spreads the word, but will also help you rank higher in the search engines. Whenever someone links to your blog, Google views this as a “vote up” for your website.
The second major component of a successful blog is making it lucrative. The best way to do this is by selling advertising space, which can be arranged through various advertisers. The next best way is to incorporate affiliate links into blog posts, which will be discussed in greater detail in the next section.
When it comes to physically creating a blog, free plugins such as WordPress offer easy-to-use and free solutions. You can also learn to code yourself and build your own blog or hire a developer to make one for you.
There are many businesses – such as Amazon – that have affiliate programs. Most affiliate programs involve the business giving you a special link to a particular product. When an individual buys that product through the same link, the business will usually give you a commission that’s a certain percentage of the sales price.
Although many people have made money through affiliate programs, the chance of a program providing you with a full-time income is very slim. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not an excellent way to supplement your income: Most affiliate marketers incorporate affiliate links into their blogs. For example, if you’re blogging about power tools and one of your posts is about electric drills, you might recommend a particular model by posting an affiliate link.
Starting an Online Business
If you’re selling a certain product or are very good at a particular service, establishing an e-commerce presence is an excellent way to make it lucrative. While your ideas and plans are half the battle, most of the essential components of starting and operating an online business involve legal matters. While these will vary between states, the Small Business Administration (SBA) can provide you with all of the information you’ll need to successfully launch your first online business.
JR Olson knows the power of blogging while trying to get a business going. He blogs for ASEOHosting who can help entrepreneurs learn keywords that will work with them instead of against them.