Tech genius and Apple founder, Steve Jobs once said, “There is a quantum leap between a great idea and a marketable product.” He was emphasizing this to his creative team to get them to think about how to take a great idea and move it from concept to production, keeping in mind all of the elements of a successful product.
This process, he said, included many different components and factors, each which must be considered carefully to take a great idea to market. Some of these components include UX (user experience), UI (user interface), and critical features of the product that appeal to people. The usability of products was essential to Jobs, just as it should be to us. He also stressed doing research on what people want first, then creating a product that matches those needs.
Starting a new online business is easy. The hard part is launching an online store that will be successful. As entrepreneurs, we all know that there is nothing guaranteed in the world, especially when we are talking about the online world.
Factors Moving Us Toward Change
AI and machine learning have infiltrated the workplace, offering even more new challenges to the budding entrepreneur. Virtual online businesses are the way to go to compete with the coming storm, but where do you start when you prepare to launch a business?
To help you do this, we scoured the web to focus on the 7 top steps that it takes to create a business that has the best chance for success.
7 Steps to Launching a Successful Online Business
The following steps are designed to help you make the decisions you need to make to create a business that is likely to succeed. Look over all of them and decide how you will do this to turn your idea into a marketable idea that sells!
Choosing the Right Niche Focus
Choosing the right focus is important. But first, think about whether you have any focus at all. One of the most common mistakes made by online business owners today is that they try to be all things to all people and they fail to focus on a niche market. When you make this mistake, you will have a hard time pulling in people from your target audience because it will be difficult to match up specific needs with your keywords and content.
Instead of trying to do too much too soon, focus on one specific element and expand on it. Think about what you are the best at and create a series of ideas and products from that area of strength. Hobbies, interests, and areas in which you have the most knowledge are the best places to start.
Picking a Great Domain Name
Your domain name should reflect your brand name, first and foremost. This is one of the most important things to remember because people will try to find your brand using your brandname.com if they do not know your URL. Choose a domain that is easy to remember and one that best describes what you do within your online business.
To get started with this process, head over to a site like LCN and perform a quick domain search for your name. If the name you want is available, perfect! If not, then you might need to go with a .net or a .org, or simply get a little more creative with the process.
Here are a few domain name pointers and tips to help with the process.
- Make sure your domain name is easy to spell and remember
- Stay away from using numbers or dashes
- Dot com domain names are the best, then followed by Net or Org
- If your personal name is available, definitely secure it now
- Get creative with your domain name, but not too creative
Follow these simple tips and you should have no problem coming up with a great domain name for your site.
Going Live with Your Site and Web Hosting
Once you have chosen your niche area and domain, you’ll need to think about which web hosting plan you want to use. You have a lot of choices these days. You can choose a cheap plan like bluehost.com that offers web hosting for as low as $4.95, or you can spend a bit more with a company like webs.com and spend around $16.99 per month for the enhanced package.
Either way, make sure the hosting plan and server you choose offers the tools and technology you need to grow your business in the way you want to. If you plan to create a lot of video or podcasts for your site, you should look for multimedia features when you choose a web server and make sure it can handle the load of uploading and check the video quality.
You may also want to expand your web package to include more bandwidth and storage space unless you plan to embed your content from YouTube or other third-party sites.
Publishing Your First Content
Before you publish your first content, think about what your focus is and imagine your target audience. Remember that you do not have to sell to “everyone,” just your target audience. Imagine these people in your mind. Think about their needs, their problems, their desires, and their fears. Then think about how you can solve their problem.
Use blogging, video and podcasting content, and web copy that addresses the specific wants, needs, and issues that affect your audience. Then show them how you will be able to solve these issues for them better than your competition.
Brainstorm ideas when you plan your articles or blog topics and keep a list that you can use and repurpose as you need it to address the changing needs of customers.
In addition to going live with your first site content, also be sure to avoid these common WordPress mistakes.
Establishing Your Brand on Social Media
Social media is still one of the best ways to promote your brand. Create a business page and start collecting followers, based on some of your friends’ lists from your personal page, as well as email marketing lists and other sources. Facebook and Twitter both have paid ads that you can use to promote your brand.
Developing an online presence using social media is critical to the development of your online reputation. If you don’t have the time to manage your social media pages, you may want to outsource this task to a seasoned social media manager. You need to post weekly to show visitors you are busy and offering fresh content. You also need to watch what others post and handle negative comments so that it does not harm your reputation.
Planning Your Content Monetization and Lead Generation
If you want your site to make money in other ways than from product sales, you’ll need to monetize it using a variety of methods. Some of the most common ones are described below.
- Affiliate Marketing: Using other people’s products to make commissions to bring in more revenue and traffic to your site. This is a great way to get started on digital product sales if you are a digital product entrepreneur but do not yet have many products that you have created yet.
- Google Adsense ads: You can make money by displaying Google Adsense ads on your site. Google does this automatically when you sign up and say that you wish to place ads on your site. You’ll receive a percentage of every click once it accumulates over the course of a month. You should look for products that sell well but ones that are relevant to your niche area and business.
- Email Marketing: Use email marketing tools or create your lists from scratch based on customer sign ups. Then choose a time each week to send out information to those who have subscribed to your newsletter to offer them new products and services. This should help with your leads generation to get new customers and increase your ROI.
The exciting thing about each of the monetization and lead generation methods, is that there are so many different programs and solutions to choose from. For example, there are thousands of affiliate marketing programs available, that allow site owners to partner up with big name brands like Nike, Groupon, Amazon, Microsoft and more… just with a few clicks of a button.
Improve Your Site with SEO and Paid Traffic Methods
There is an ongoing argument about whether you should use SEO or paid traffic methods for your online business website. The answer is “both.” SEO (search engine optimization) helps create long-lasting natural results that occur over a long period, while paid traffic helps you get traffic immediately. To learn more about this and how it affects WordPress users and their sites, click here.
If you are a new business site, it is vital to start making money and getting customers fast so use the paid methods like Google Adwords, Facebook ads, and other paid ad methods first. Then add SEO as you get time. Creating fresh, original content for blogs, videos, podcasts, and other digital assets is the best way to improve your impact on SEO. But it does take time to build up, and you should consider this an ongoing effort.
Using SEO (keywords and other aspects) in all of your content is the best rule of thumb. That way, you’ll always know that you are improving your SEO impact with every piece you put out.
Planning what you want to do before you launch your site is essential to the success of your online business. The more you can do upfront to improve your brand, the better results you will get as your business grows.
Taking action at every step of the process is the most important thing you can do. Continuing maintenance is important. Just like a farmer who plants the seeds and hopes for a crop, online business owners plant the seeds of content and water it with continued SEO and promotion techniques.
Finally, once you’re ready to launch, hype it up! You should start to hype up the coming of your online site at least six months before the actual launch of your site so that people will be excited about it before you’re ready to unveil it.
Then, like Steve Jobs when he introduced the iPod in 2003, you can come out on the stage and say, “Just imagine what we are going to do for the world!”