7 steps to building an online business – The big picture

build an online business

When I first started with building my business online, I had to learn many things in bits and pieces and because of that; my business was progressing very slowly. There was so much information out there and so many things to learn that I literally drowned from information overload.

I often wished that someone would give me a step by step process so that I knew what to do first, and then what to do next.

So recently when one lady reached out to me asking me to show her how to make money online, I decided that I would use my blog to provide information and tips on how to start an online business based on my personal experience.

For today’s post, I would like give an overview of the steps I used to build my own niche sites.

By the way, I am talking about information products and not physical products.

My seven step process.

These are the 7 steps that I use.

Step 1: Market research
Step 2: Create content or product or look for affiliate products.
Step3: Set up auto responder
Step 4: Set up website
Step 5: Drive targeted traffic
Step 6: Build a list
Step 7: Offer relevant products and make money

Step 1: Market Research

market researchThe objective of market research is to identify a profitable niche. This means finding a topic that has already has people who are already spending money online. This is the most important step when you are starting out. Nothing can be worse than spending tons and tons of your time and money creating content or product for your niche only to find out later that people in that niche do not like to spend money buying information products.

If you have read my eBook “Stumbling my way to success”, you will know that I made this mistake on my first venture online. I had chosen a niche that was so specific that there were hardly any customers online. It was doing fine offline, but it wasn’t appropriate for a solely online business.

So what makes a good niche?

These are the four questions I ask myself:

1. Are there always offers to promote in your niche?
2. Are customers in this niche known to buy?
3. Can you market to this niche online in a profitable way?
4. Do you like this niche?

Some examples of popular hungry market are:

Love & relationships.
Weight Loss
Personal development.

These niches are very competitive. But that’s where all the money is. These markets are competitive for a reason. However, there are many sub niches within these niches that you still can partake in and make money.

The key thing is to do your research and get targeted keywords.

Your goal with market research is to dig deep within the broad category and find one sub niche that is not too competitive but has demand.

Of course, you do not need to stick only to the above niches.

For example, if you are in the health and fitness niche, you do not want to target the entire industry itself. Instead, you may want to look at one area like body weight exercises for working moms.

Step 2: Create your product or content

create productAfter you have identified the sub-niche that you will be working on, it is time for you to find products in your selected niche to promote or create your own product. You also need to get the content for the blog created.

Before you actually rush in to create any content, you will need to some research within this niche to find out what are the common problems that people in that niche are having. What issues are they constantly struggling with?

Make a list of the problems and issues that they are facing.

You may wonder how you know what the problems are if you are totally new to the niche or where do you go to do your research.

Here are a few tips:

1.  Participate in forums related to your niche and see what questions and topics that the forum members are asking.
2.  Join social media groups in that niche.
3.  Check up the questions regarding your niche on Yahoo Answers
4.  Check out the sales letter of the information products in that niche.
5.  Check out other similar blogs.

Remember, the goal in this step is to find out what problems people in this niche have and offer the solution to their problems.


Step3: Set up your auto responder

autoresponderAn auto responder is a third party service that allows you to pre-write a sequence of emails that you can send out at specific times automatically after you have set it up.

In this step, you will create your irresistible offer (also known as a lead magnet) which you can offer to your blog visitors in exchange for their email address.

You will use your auto-responder to create the opt-in form and store the email addresses that you are going to collect in a data base.

Aweber and GetReponse are two commonly used autoresponder service.

Step 4: Set up website

set up websiteHaving created your content and getting your own information product created, you need a place on the Internet to market your product and content. For that you will need a website and you need a web server to host your website.

I use Hostgator for all my domain hosting.

And I use WordPress as my content management system.

If all this is new to you, you  may want to hire a web designer to help you out. There are many information on the Internet if you want to learn to do it yourself. YouTube  is also another great place to look for information on how to setup a website.


Step 5: Drive targeted traffic to your blog

targetted trafficYou will need to do work to drive traffic to your website. People do not just show up at your website just because you have set it up. You need to make your website discoverable.

For that, you need to start driving traffic to your blog after you have all the auto-responder sequence up.

There are many ways to drive traffic.

The traffic source can be broadly categorised as free traffic or paid traffic.
In free traffic, visitors come to your blog on their own accord. They could have clicked on a link in a FaceBook post that you have made, or they could have found your website via a search engine.

The other way of getting traffic is through paid advertisement, like placing a banner advertisement or through solo ads.

There are merits for both methods, but I will save the discussion for a future post.

Step 6: Build a list

Build a list Now that your website is up and running, you will need a means to capture the email addresses of the people visiting your blog into a database. This data base of email addresses is also known as a list.

You can use your an opt-in form for your readers to sign in to get a free report or subscribe to your newsletter.

After you have obtained the email address, you need to send regular emails to your subscribers to build relationship with your list.

Send them an email whenever you add a new blog posts or inform them about a new product.

You would also be building a relationship with your list by providing value to your list via the email sequence that you have set up in the auto-responder. Get your subscribers to know, like and trust you.

You should also try to understand what problems and issues that your subscribers are facing using social media and then offer products that you know can help them solve their problems.

Step 7. Offer products and make money.


make money online

The final step is of course to make money when your subscribers buy the product that you recommend. If you have done a good job in building relationship with your list such that they get to know you, like you and trust you, they are likely to buy the products that you have recommended to them.

I have given you a summary of the steps involved in the business. By the way, I have created an infographics about the 7 steps that I have mentioned.

You can download it with the link below (To save to your PC, right click and select save as).

7 steps for building an online business

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