There is a proven sequence of steps you can follow to guarantee your success when you're starting a small business online. I've seen thousands of people start and grow successful businesses by doing the following:-
1. Find a need and fill it.
2. Design and build an easy-to-use website.
3. Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
4. Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
Step 1: Start a business that fills a need.
Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second.
To boost your chances of success, start with a market. The trick is to find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem, but not finding many results. The internet makes this kind of market research easy:-
- Visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they're trying to solve.
- Do keyword research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but don't have a ton of competition with other sites.
- Check out your potential competitors by visiting their sites and taking note of what they're doing to fill the demand. Then you can use what you've learned and create a product for a market that already exists -- and do it better than the competition.
Step 2: Design and build your website.
Once you've got your market and product, and you've nailed down your selling process, now you're ready for your small-business web design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone's attention -- otherwise, they're gone, never to be seen again. Some important tips to keep in mind:
- Choose one or two plain fonts on a white background.
- Make your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page.
- Only use graphics, audio or video if they enhance your message.
- Include an opt-in offer so you can collect e-mail addresses.
- Your website is your online storefront, so make it customer-friendly.
Step 3: Use search engines to drive targeted buyers to your site.
Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
Step 5: Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
People use the internet to find information. Provide that information for free to other sites, and you'll see more traffic and better search engine rankings. The secret is to always include a link to your site with each tidbit of information.
- Give away free, expert content. Create articles, videos or any other content that people will find useful. Distribute that content through online article directories or social media sites.
- Include "send to a friend" links on valuable content on your website.
- Become an active expert in industry forums and social networking sites where your target market hangs out.