First, let me make clear we are talking about how to start an online business versus how to build a website. So I won't go into the technical details here of keyword searches and registering a domain name and finding a 'host' The 'technical details' come AFTER you understand the process I'm about to show you.
This process is based on the facts of how the Internet really works. Contrary to common belief, most people searching the net are not idly surfing around at random; they have specific goals in mind.
In fact, most people on the 'net are looking for two things:
1) Information about a specific topic; and
2) Something they want to buy.
So, to attract people to your site, you have to give them one or both of those things! And, since people want specific information or products, you need to pick a specific theme or topic for your site, right from the start.
Think about that for a second; if you want to create a site that attracts interest (and therefore generates traffic), you had better start out with a theme or topic that interests a lot of people! You will have a lot greater chance of attracting a lot of traffic, if a lot of people are searching for the specific information or product your site provides!
This is known as identifying your 'niche'. This too is a structured process we won't go into here in this introductory article. Lets assume you have done your research and picked your niche, that a lot of people are interested in. Here's where the four-step process to start an online business begins.
Step One in the process is to create content that will bring in the visitors. Again, there is a well-defined way to research the content you should have and organize and present it to attract visitors. This involves keyword research and the use of meta-tags to let the search engines know what your site is all about.
Don't worry right now if you don't know what those things are. Just understand that the first step to start an online business is to create valuable content.
Next, your content should be structured to presell the visitors to your site. Preselling (as opposed to selling) means that you strive to create a relationship with your visitors by providing them useful, valuable information that demonstrates your experience or expertise in the niche you have chosen. Preselling is Step Two in the process to start an online business.
Why do this? Because people like to buy things from people they know and like and respect!
My site is all about farming and gardening. People searching on those topics are likely to find me. BUT, let's say your 'niche' is all about bricks. (I know, it's an unlikely example, but bear with me).
You just love bricks of all kinds and sizes; you love to build things with bricks - brick patios, brick barbecues, brick retaining walls, brick garden paths; nothin' but bricks!
So you fill your site up with all kinds of information about bricks; e.g. how to build with bricks,what kind of bricks to buy, the best places to buy bricks, pictures of brick construction projects - whatever.
Now if you have structured that content right (tiers, meta-tags, etc) then when people are searching for information about 'bricks' on the internet, they will find your site. And they will find out that you sure know a lot about bricks! This is the traffic you are looking for. Traffic is Step Three.
Step Four - Monetize. The final step to successfully start an online business is figuring out how you benefit from this traffic i.e. how do you monetize those visitors? The short answer is, in any one (or more) of about 37 different possible ways. Here's a short list, based on my 'bricks' example:
Of course, this is a somewhat unusual choice, but you get the idea; once people believe you know what you are talking about when it comes to your topic, they are more likely to listen to your recommendations to buy stuff. Monetization is Step Four (the FUN one) in how to start an online business.
This whole process is referred to as CTPM - Content-> Presell-> Traffic-> Monetization - and it is a process that has allowed hundreds of thousands of 'ordinary' people to start an online business successfully.
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