Starting A Website Business – Essential Steps You Need To Know
Is it your dream to have your own source of income, work for yourself and be answerable to no-one but yourself?
That dream can become a reality by gaining the knowledge of Starting a Website Business.
With the progression of the internet, there is no better time or place to start the ball rolling than here and now.
The Internet provides you with a ready-made audience of millions of people searching for anything and everything.
It is the largest shop window in the world.
Attracting these surfers to your business isn’t rocket science if you know where to start and how to build out your business with a strategy that works for thousands upon thousands of Online Business owners already.
The first thing to impress upon you is that every successful Online Business owner has a passion for what they are doing and because of the passion they have for their business, the work they put into it every day becomes a pleasure rather than a chore.
But there are essential points that you need to be aware of if you want to make a success out of your venture.
What’s your passion?
So when you are thinking about starting your Online Business, try to come up with something that you have infinite knowledge about or at least can write about with some passion.
Coming up with a subject isn’t always that easy, so get yourself a piece of paper and a pen and write down all the subjects that you have a great interest in, those things that you can’t wait for your free time to come around so that you can pursue them.
It may surprise you how many come to mind.
No matter how obscure your passion/interest may be there is a market out there to be tapped into.
As an example here is a list of just 100 ideas that I came up with when Choosing A Niche, it will give you some idea of how far fetched some niches can be.
Once you have settled on the “Topic” of your business, you going to have to get yourself a Domain Name for your website.
Although you haven’t built your website yet it is handy to have the address already in place.
A Domain name is the address of your website for the search engines to index.
Basically, when choosing a Domain Name, think of an easy to remember name, that is no more than say 5 words so as to keep it simple, and reflects what your business is all about.
Obviously, there are Domain Names that consist of one word but these are branded names and unless you can come up with a one-word brand name like Amazon, Google, Pinterest etc have done, then to let the searching public know who you are and what you are about, keep it as simple and explanatory as possible.
Your Domain Name is an easy to remember IP address, which is a set of numbers used by Domain Name Servers to identify a certain website.
So when you want to connect to a website. instead of having to remember a series of numbers, you just have to remember the name of the website and DNS does the rest.
Which makes choosing your Domain Name extra important.
Domain Names are bought and registered from a reputable Domain Registrar of which there is a shed load on the internet, but once bought and registered there is no going back.
Make sure that the name you register is exactly what you want, check the spelling and avoid typos.
If you make a mistake there is nothing you can do about it except buy and register another one.
You are probably looking at around $15 a year to buy a Domain Name and which is renewable annually.
You have a choice of different extensions to the Domain Name.
The most popular by far is the .com version but other popular ones are .org, .net and .info.
The reason .com is so popular is the belief that it represents a true website, that is not always the case but if you have a .com extension it is probably going to be more valuable than a lot of other extensions.
These are two types of Top Level Domains, gTLD and ccTLD.
20 gTLD generic domains and consist of the 4 already mentioned .com, .org, .net and .info.
Plus 3 that are restricted, .biz,(for Businesses) .name,( for Individuals) and .pro ( for credentialled professionals).
Then 13 that are sponsored, these are companies or organizations pertaining to ethnic communities, professional groups, and geographical location
The ccTLD’s are country coded extensions.
Every country has its own country specific extension. .co.uk, .us, .de, .fr, .ca. etc.
There are around 248 ccTLD’s of which you can check out here as supplied by Wikipedia
There are now hundreds of extensions in use. In or around 2015 there was a reorganisation of the Domain Name structure and extensions like .baby, .auto, .church, .diet, .fishing, .gay, .health, just to name a few emerged as registerable Domains.
Don’t get stressed about choosing your Domain Name it isn’t a big deal, keep it simple to the point and try for the best extension you can get, even if it means playing around with the words a little.
So now that you have your Domain sorted, it’s time to get down to the business of building a website, and because it isn’t as straightforward as grabbing a website builder, putting some text and maybe images on it, publishing it and then sitting back and waiting for the money to start rolling in, I am going to break it down into sections.
First and foremost the main frame of a website is where all the back office stuff goes on, the bits and pieces to enable you to build a professional looking site.
There are many to choose from if you type website builder into your search bar, personally I use SiteRubix, just because I believe it to be one of the best on the market.
You can try it out here for free, just see how quick you can have your own website up and running all ready to go.
The most popular Content Management System is WordPress.
Almost 30% of all websites are built using this platform and SiteRubix uses WordPress.
Making Your Website SEO Friendly.
SEO = Search Engine Optimisation.
This is going to be an important part of either your website succeeding or not.
But here in this snippet, we are going to get your website SEO ready, which is going to help the search engines actually find your site and crawl it. ( I cover important SEO strategies later).
Luckily there isn’t a lot of work to do in this department, because we use a plugin called All In One SEO, and that little piece of magic does all the back office work for us.
Depending on which Site Builder you use, you may have the good fortune of actually having this plugin already installed on your dashboard, as it is with SiteRubix.
If not then it is as easy as pie to install.
Pop over to the dashboard of WordPress and scroll down to Plugins.
Once open, towards the top, you will see “Add new”, in the search bar type All In One SEO and different plugins will be displayed, the one you are looking for will be the first one you see, you’ll know it is the one because of the vast amounts of downloads.
To date over 1 million sites have downloaded AIO which tells you that it must be highly thought of.
Click install and then Activate.
So now you have AIO installed just go to General Settings and the only part you need to worry about is HomePage Settings.
The two sections that need to be updated.
The Home Title and Home Description.
This is the TITLE of your website, don’t get this confused with the URL or Domain name, they are two different entities.
It may be that your title is the same as your site URL, but in most cases, you are going to come up with a different heading for your site than your Domain name.
For example, your Domain name could be “acanineworld .com” but the title of your site could be “Giving your dog the best life you can”.
Fill in your Home Page Title trying to keep it under 60 characters long, this ensures that the search engines show the whole line and not part of the Title leaving you with …… at the end.
If you have a short Home Title add a bit more enticing text that is going to get the surfer wondering and hopefully enough to click on your article.
Your Home Description is going to tell the surfer what your website is all about, but also the benefit they are going to get from visiting your website.
Don’t write a book here as you only have around 160 characters to play with, without again, getting cut off.
Once done scroll down to the bottom and update options.
You will see other settings as you scroll down but no need to worry about those at this time.
Ok that’s it, you now have a mainframe that is totally ready for Starting A Website Business
And so to the nitty-gritty of how to create a business from that website.
Pages and Posts.
When you start to build out your website, you are going to encounter pages and posts.
So what is the difference?
Whereas a post is part of your daily routine of writing articles around unique keywords and will become part of your “Blog Roll”. A post can be put into categories, be added to your sidebar as “Recent Posts”
A blogroll is a list of your most recent posts and are listed in date order so that the freshest post shows first on your website. This helps to keep your website fresh and up to date.
There are times when you have a really informative post and want that to be seen first as people visit your site.
This can be done by making the post “Sticky”, which means it will always be the first post shown.
When visitors come to your site, there are two ways that you can set your home page to show what visitors see first as they visit your site.
This is normally done via your theme settings and can be found under “Home Page Settings”.
Setting to a “Static Page” means that you can set the home page to always show a certain page or post as people come to your website, or set to a “Blogroll” will display snippets of your most recent posts in date order, with any sticky posts showing first.
Whether your Home page should be a Static page or Blogroll is purely personal and depending on the topic or niche it is up to you to go with what you feel is the best option.
You have the main frame of your website built and set up for the Search Engines to quite easily find it for indexing.
Now is the time to start putting the structure of your site in place by adding content for your visitors to read, and the first thing that you need to do is tell your readers who you are and what your intentions are in building this website.
This is going to be your About Me page.
An important aspect of being successful with an Online Business is building up trust with your readers.
So start your journey with an About Me page, and give your audience some personal information like where you originate from a brief career outline and why you have decided to join the millions of people investing in an online business.
Then go on to explain what your site is all about, and how you intend to help people with your chosen niche.
This is a formality more than anything and it is just a document stating your use of peoples personal data that you may collect.
It fulfills a legal requirement to protect a customer or client’s privacy. It is very much a standardized document and can be obtained online from many sites.
Now is the time to start adding the meat and gravy of your site, this is the part you have so far been working towards, writing unique captivating content relevant to your niche.
The content that you write on your website is going to be the one main thing that is going to get your article ranked within the search engines and higher rankings = higher conversions.
Every article you write will have a unique Keyword, of which I will cover further down.
Readability is going to be one of the main factors for readers staying on your site, and will also create a good User eXperience.
Make your content readable.
- Always use small paragraphs
- Separate different ideas on the same post with H3 of H4 Heading tabs
- Only use Black or dark grey text on a white background.
- Try to use conversational speech as you would when chatting to friends socially.
- Start your post with a captivating headline, get them excited to read your article.
- Use relevant images within your post to break up the monotony of a page full of text.
The first thing to remember when creating a website is that you are primarily out to help people ANSWER their queries.
The best place you are going to get organic traffic is through the search engines, and the search engines are in the business of giving surfers the best possible answer to the query searched.
Organic traffic is the best possible traffic you can get, as it is actual people searching for answers on the subject your post is about.
Therefore with a click through from Google to your site has a greater prospect of conversion to a sale.
Getting surfers to find your work is a whole different ball game.
Want to Know Why?
You have got to be virtually psychic to know what people are typing into the search bar to find their answer.
But the phrases they type are the key to showing relevant answers in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), and getting your post onto page 1 of the SERPs.
Knowing what the surfer was typing into a search bar to find what they were looking for used to be quite simple.
Back in the day, you could type in women’s shoes and up would pop some websites that sold women’s shoes.
Now if you type in women’s shoes today, you have in the region of 3,140,000,000 results to choose from.
Ok so google doesn’t show all 3,140,000,000 results in their search sequence, they now skittle it down to the most relevant results, and to find the most relevant results you need to place your keyword within ” “, this will give you exact keyword results.
As you can see there are now 211 search results for “Women’s Shoes”.
This is going to be the total websites you are competing with.
Even so competing against 211 search results isn’t going to be easy and you need some sort of way to get in amongst the top searches that appear on page 1 to have any chance of survival.
The key here is to narrow down your niche topic to a specific description.
Sticking with women’s shoes, let’s say your niche is “Women’s Shoes” but they are “Red” shoes.
Notice the difference in actual websites competing for “Red Women’s Shoes”
My point here is that by just adding one word to your targeted keyword reduces the competition significantly.
Again finding those golden nuggets of low competition keywords is still going to be a shot in the dark
But there is a way.
Luckily enough you have a great device at your disposal called a Keyword Research Tool and there are plenty of them around.
Personally, I use and recommend a tool called Jaaxy, I use it for all my research and it has very rarely let me down.
Just enter a keyword(in this case Women’s shoes) and let Jaaxy find you a selection of keywords and their average traffic gained each month and the number of websites competing for that keyword.
The numbers you should be looking for are Average search 100 and above and Competition(QSR) below 100.
As you can see Jaaxy has found some really useful Keywords.
This search has also given you some very valuable blog ideas to add to your website.
Images are an important feature that should be factored into your blog posts.
They serve two purposes.
1. They break up long sections of plain text.
2. They give your post a more user-friendly outlook (people love pictures).
Adding media to a post/page isn’t just about placing a nice image on a page and thinking that will do.
Search engines do not have the capacity of crawling images they depend on the information that is attached to the image.
Therefore it is essential that you tell the crawl bots what the image is all about by using the “Alt Text” box in the Attachment details to the side of the media library.
Not only does this help the search engines but also the partially sighted visitors that use screen readers, these screen readers will be able to tell the viewer what the image is, thus giving a better user experience. So describe the image as it truly is.
If you can use a keyword or part of, all the better as Image search can produce traffic.
For example, if someone searches for “Public Domain Images” there’s every chance that this image I have used will show up in the Images section of the search.
I mentioned above about readers staying on your site. This has a couple of reasons and obviously the first being that they like your site and want to learn more.
But another important reason is that Google sees the amount of time a surfer spends on a particular site as beneficial, meaning that they assume that your site has some very valid information and therefore is relevant to the surfer’s query.
A unique way of keeping your readers engaged is by sending them to another post/page that is relevant to the topic you are writing about.
This enables them to navigate around your site, gaining more valuable information.
It is also important for the search engine bots to do the same, giving you more ranking juice.
Internal links should comprise of a keyphrase leading to more information about that phrase.
Above you will notice that I have used the phrase “Choosing a Niche“, by clicking that link highlighted in blue I send you to a post that shows you multiple ideas for choosing a niche.
This is internal linking, you are linking to another article within your own website to give more information.
You should try to add 3/4 internal links per article, this isn’t set in stone but a number to aim for.
Google loves the fact that you are giving their customers the most information as possible on the given topic.
Linking to outside authoritative websites is showing the search engines that you are writing with the reader in mind and giving the best information in answer to their query.
An example of this is the section above about Domain names, I talk about Country coded TLD extensions and point you towards Wikipedia for more information, this is an external link and gives more authoritative information on the subject.
Again there’s no need to overindulge in this practice but if you can add 1 or 2 external links, then it will do your SEO a whole lot of good.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
The definition of Search Engine Optimisation is basically to get your website into such a position so that Google and the other big search engines will rank your site so as giving you free advertising.
But it doesn’t come that easy, there are rules that must be obeyed and certain criteria that need to be adhered to stand any chance of gaining a place on the coveted page 1 slot.
The value gained by ranking at the highest level possible in Google cannot be ignored, it can mean the make or break for any website.
The ranking system that Google has in place for ranking purposes consist of over 200 algorithms, and although only Google knows every single one, there are some very important factors that are common knowledge and should not be ignored.
So What Are The Main Ranking Issues Google Looks For?
Website design…. probably not a major ranking factor but a clean looking site with plenty of white space, a site that is not cluttered with adverts and nonsense that has nothing to do with your niche.
This is going to cause a viewer to quickly hit the back button giving your site a high bounce rate, which in turn tells the search engines that your site is deemed not relevant to users, therefore, it will not be placed in a position to be found easily.
Accessibility…. you’ve probably experienced a blank page when you search for something on the net, “Oops something went wrong, we can’t access this website”, how frustrating is that?
Keep your site in good working order, weekly checks even daily checks to make sure that your site can be reached when a surfer clicks a link is so important in letting Google know that everything is in good working order.
Usability… How easy is it for your visitors to find what they are looking for on your site?
When a visitor clicks on the heading tag in the SERPs they need to know that they are being directed to exactly the answer they have searched for.
If they get to your site and then have to go searching for the answer they want, they are going to be very frustrated and click away never to return.
Your site should have an easy to follow navigational process in place so that viewers are not left floundering as to where to find the article they are looking for.
These are just the start of what you should be aiming for on your site and it all comes down to a good:
User experience… here’s what Google had to say about user experience back in 2014:
QUOTE: “At Google we are aiming to provide a great user experience on any device, we’re making a big push to ensure the search results we deliver reflect this principle.”
User experience in Google’s eyes is giving their customers, surfers of the internet, complete and proper answers to the customer’s query set out in an easy to find environment without having to navigate around being sold something at every corner.
They want content that is unique, totally explanatory and not a sales pitch.
Now that you have your website clean looking, an easy to follow menu and virtually advert free, let’s talk about getting your pages and posts ranking as high as possible.
This is probably one of the most important pieces of information for increasing visibility and click through rate.
Your Title Tag is going to be unique for each and every page/post that you create.
Title Tags tell the search engines and surfers exactly what your page/post is all about, therefore make them as explanatory as possible in as fewer words as possible. You will only have 55/60 characters to use which will include spaces.
The reason that it could be 55 or it could be 60 is that it all depends on the letters you use. A w or W will take up more room than an i or I.
Going beyond these numbers will cause your Title to be cut off and Google replaces the ending with ellipses (…).
While Title Tags can be important in enticing the surfer to click on your page/post, Meta Descriptions hold that exact importance.
It is not good practice to come up with an enticing Title only to be let down by a description that is both sparse and not relevant to your article.
Your Meta Description is going to be the make or break point as to whether a surfer feels that your article is going to answer their query.
Using your keywords/phrases within your description is going to be very beneficial.
Search engines will highlight in bold any keywords and or part thereof in the SERPs, which also draws the surfer’s eyes to the important words of your article.
Make your description so compelling that a surfer wants to click on it.
So now we come to the interesting part.
Hopefully, you have before you start thinking about monetizing your site, you have added some content so that when you apply to Affiliate companies they see more than just a skeleton website.
There really is no point in trying to join Affiliate partnerships if you haven’t got any substance on your site, you will only get rejected as they will think that you will not portray their products in a right and proper manner.
There are different ways that you can earn money from your website, from Advertising, selling your own product, an Email list but Affiliate Marketing is probably the easiest and can incorporate most other ways anyway.
Affiliate marketing is all about advertising another companies products on your website and gaining a commission from sales that materialise from viewers clicking on your link.
With every Affiliate company that you join, you will be you will be given a unique ID code that will be automatically embedded in the coding for every individual item that you advertise.
This is how the companies keep track of the sales that you make and subsequently any payouts.
You have a choice of many Affiliate Marketing Programs, some of the main players are:
- Commission Junction
But if you want to look for others just type into the search bar, your niche + Affiliate Programs.
There will be many options including the ones already mentioned, but also private companies that run their own Affiliations.
Whichever way you choose, to make your business profitable you are going to need people coming to your site and seeing what you have to offer.
You are going to need Traffic.
Getting A Website Noticed
Getting traffic to your website is the difference between succeeding and failing.
Sounds pretty obvious really, no traffic = no sales, no sales = no money.
There are two ways of gaining traffic, Free Traffic and Paid Traffic.
Some Free Traffic Ways:
Search Engine Optimization
This is probably the most targeted of all methods, as the surfer has typed in a keyword that is relevant to your niche and therefore is towards the end of the cycle of purchase.
So this is where your Keyword research abilities come into play. The better the keyword/phrase you can come up with, the better chance you have of surfers finding your work.
Then you are relying on the Search Engines liking your articles enough to rank them high enough to be seen on the first page of the SERPs.
The only way you are going to achieve this is by the content you write. Clear, Precise, Unique and Informative content is what wins the race.
But the best advice I can give you is that your website should be designed to Inform and not sell.
A great example of this would be a review site, where you are informing the reader about the good and bad points of a particular item and then image linking or text linking to, in your opinion the best option.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media is the here and now, it is probably the most powerful media in the world, so jumping on the bandwagon is a must, but it comes with precautions.
Most Social Media platforms do not allow blatant advertising unless you are paying for it. It is classed as spam and can very quickly get your account suspended and even deleted.
Your SM account should be used to entice viewers back to your website in the form of sharing your content on these platforms.
Youtube is the second most powerful search engine there is.
Videos will rank very well in the SERPs with the proper optimisation, and they also stand out visually. They are a great way of actually connecting with your audience 1 on 1 and very good traffic producers.
Email marketing is actually quite simple when broken down. It works like this:
First of all, you request their permission to join your mailing list by offering something in exchange (newsletter, guide, etc).
Then once they share their email address and name with you, you then have permission to offer them information and ultimately marketing promotions.
Not only do you have the opportunity to connect to this person once, as long as you keep a good standing relationship with them you can continue contacting them over and over again.
If you can write high-quality unique content then Guest blogging is going to be a really good way of increasing your exposure and gaining targeted traffic back to your website.
When contacting other webmasters within your niche make sure that your expertise shows well in your writing, it is grammatically correct and includes valuable links to other authoritative sites.
When finishing up your post, include your name and if possible (If the site you are posting to allows) add a simple bio and link to own site.
If you are fairly new to Guest blogging, it would be advisable to steer clear of authoritative sites until you have some good experience.
Contact sites that are within your niche and explain your interest in writing a blog for them.
Mention that you are in the same Niche market and give them some idea of your expertise.
Tell them the subject that you would like to write about and also place a link back to your site so as to give them some idea of your writing skills.
Then with any luck, they will like your style and offer you a chance of guest blogging on their site.
Some Paid Traffic Ways:
It goes without saying that the huge global audience that Facebook has gives it the major platform for advertising.
Facebook Ads give you micro-targeting features that will get your ad in front of the exact audience you want.
When you are setting a budget for your advertising this is a great feature to have.
There are a few different ad types and ways of targeting your audience, so it may be best to study How to get started with Facebook Ads first.
Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising.
Here you will set up a PPC campaign with any of the top search engines and have your advert placed in prominent positions so as to attract people to click on your advert. The positioning depends on the budget you set.
Again there are different types of ads available and depending on how much you are willing to spend will denote the exposure you get. This is how PPC works.
This is to do with buying into some else’s email list.
Basically, you find someone that has a large enough email list within your niche and then “Rent” their list to send out your advert.
Normally there are different variables for price structures depending on the results you are looking for.
You can have a fixed price where you are guaranteed a certain amount of clicks, you can choose a pay per click option, or pay every time your ad is opened, or even just pay for a conversion or sale.
You can find out more about Solo Ads in this article.
Native ads are like chameleons, they blend into the background of the article on which they are presented.
Blatant advertising is beginning to wain as more and more people just totally ignore them or even worse click of off a site because they are bombarded by pop-ups.
With Native ads, you don’t even realise they are ads until you click on them. This is a very subtle way of getting your message across.
Here are some good examples and workings of Native Ads
It’s common knowledge that Youtube is the second most popular search engine only outranked by its owners Google.
So what better way of getting traction to your website than by producing a video advert and placing it on your Youtube channel.
There are several video making software programs on the internet, that are quite simple to use and do produce a highly professional finish.
Personally, I use Screencast o Matic but others include Biteable for animated videos, Movavi Oberlo , and many others.
Choosing one is going to be of your own personal choice whichever you feel comfortable using, but using video advertising is definitely worth a look.
Building a Website Business isn’t going to happen overnight, it takes a lot of hard work and determination to succeed.
Don’t expect to see any results from all your hard work for at least 3-6 months, at which time you should start to see some traffic visiting your website.
When you get that far, don’t think that you have made it and start to take it easy. That is the time that you should put your foot firmly on the gas pedal and keep pushing forward.
Treat your website like a business and your business will treat you well.
If you are at all interested in finding out how I got into the Online World you can visit my profile at Wealthy Affiliate