You’ve read the success stories, skimmed through hours of interviews, TED talks, and podcasts. Now, you’re finally ready to get your hands dirty and start an online business!
Making money online is 100% possible, regardless of whoever and wherever you are. Virtually all the knowledge and skills you need to build such an empire lies on the Internet -tools, seasoned freelancers who can help as needed, etc- so it makes getting started in this day and age easier than it ever was.
Just by searching ‘how to create an online business’ will bring you hundreds of thousands of articles, videos, online courses, and more!
That’s great and all – but it can be overwhelming.
So let’s clear up the fog a little with this no-bullshit, easy peasy lemon squeezy guide that anyone can use to get started with a profitable online business.
1. Selecting a domain and host for your site
Choosing the name of your business and buying your domain name is something you’d want to do simultaneously. This would save you the headache of coming up with something awesome -just to find out that it’s not available.
You can quickly check availability and buy domains from sites like GoDaddy, BlueHost, Namecheap, and plenty more.
On average, you can get started with a domain name for under $10/year. This, of course, depends on the domain extensions (.com, .club, .me) and the like.
If you ever hit a wall with naming your business and website, here are some clever ways to come up with on you won’t regret.
Next, let’s talk about website hosts!
This is something that allows your site to be displayed on the Internet.
Basically, a host is responsible for renting out space on a server where your site will ‘live’. This means it handles everything from how fast your site’s going to be loaded, space that you can store your documents and media files, and web support if there are any technical issues along the way.
Most web hosts charge on a monthly basis. You’ll find hundreds of them with a quick Google search, but hosts like BlueHost, SiteGround, and WPX Hosting are excellent ones to start with as a beginner.
Both BlueHost and SiteGround charge $3.95 a month for hosting one site.
HUSTLR Pro Tip: Opting for a platform like BlueHost lets you choose a free domain name there and then itself when you subscribe to their monthly hosting plans!
2. Developing your website
After getting all your behind the scenes stuff done, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to design and develop the interface of your website.
Are you going to opt for a full content management system like WordPress? Or start off with an easier website builder like Wix and Squarespace? Or maybe you want to go straight ahead with creating an online e-commerce store through Shopify?
It’s very important to hone down on exactly what you’re expecting from your site. If you’re working on:
· WordPress – Powerful SEO options using plugins like Yoast, etc. Works best for content-heavy websites that want better rankings on search engines.
· Wix/Squarespace – Beautifully designed templates all ready to download. Easy-to-use drag and drop website builder that allows absolute beginners to start off with.
· Shopify/WooCommerce – Includes all the tools you need to start and promote your products through a well-oiled e-commerce store.
Starting on WordPress (minus possible themes, hosting, and plugins) is completely free. Other website builders like Wix, Shopify, etc., however, require a monthly fee of anywhere upwards $20/month. If you do choose to go with them, though, you can skip out on hosting fees since they’d be doing that automatically for you!
HUSTLR Pro Tip: If you need a website that’s heavy on customization and features, you do need some level of coding experience. Either way -it’s always an option to get some outside help for this if you just want to be focused on growing and marketing your business.
3. Monetizing your website
Many people think that making money through a website is about luck – which couldn’t be further from the truth!
It’s also not impossible.
The two primary ways of making passive income through your website are from:
· Affiliate marketing
Becoming an affiliate marketer is all about promoting a retailer for a percentage commission when an impression/click/sale is made. Essentially, you could promote your affiliate retailer in the form of blog posts, email marketing, social media, videos, etc. Pros? It’s crazy easy to start out with, and there are hundreds of thousands of brands out there who have some sort of affiliate marketing. Cons? Won’t work as well until you build your authority up and get more people to trust your recommendations. Wealthy Affiliates is an all-inclusive service that provides training, tools, and other resources to (currently about 1.5 million!) affiliate marketers and would give you everything you need to start off with earning this way.
· Selling ad spaces
You can also start monetizing the traffic that comes onto your page by basically “renting” out space on your website for other brands to advertise their stuff. Once a viewer either clicks, buys from the brand, signs up for a subscription, etc and was redirected from your site, then boom! You automatically get paid. For better results at the end of the day, you can use Google AdSense to effectively target relevant web visitors.
With dropshipping, you make your money by playing the middleman. Essentially, you would sell products from a supplier for a profit margin from the actual manufacturer’s price! This also means that you don’t have to keep an inventory of anything that you’re selling -but rather automate the orders you receive from your website straight to your suppliers. We recommend Shopify for starting out with this practice. You can even use tools like Salehoo to find thousands of suppliers, wholesalers, and manufacturers that consistently deliver on their promise of high-quality, affordable products across thousands of niches.
HUSTLR Pro Tip: To start bringing in traffic and $$$, you should also be investing a little time and effort into boosting your website’s SEO. Start keyword researching to kick things off, and then angle any blog content towards using them throughout your post to rank higher in search engines! Wordtracker is a pretty affordable research tool if you’re on a budget.
See? That wasn’t so bad.
At the end of it all, it’s just important to start somewhere. You’ll never find us doubting the power of a good online business course or webinar -but you have to jump in at some point! If you are serious about opening your own business, you should also not forget about the legal measures of its opening – for this, you need to register LLC (Limited liability company) you can use some of these best LLC services here.
Even if you can’t get all of this done overnight, start with something as simple as buying your domain. Pick up the pieces as you go, figure out what third-party tools work for you and what doesn’t, dip your toes into the insanely big world of dropshipping, or affiliate marketing -but remember to persevere through it all!
Jesslyn has been a senior content strategist and writer for personal finance and side hustles for the past 4 years. She believes in the power of an idea and breaking the rules whenever necessary. Above all, balance is everything. When she’s not writing up a mad scramble, she leans towards wine bars and yoga studios on the weekends.