There is no “your” with out “you”. The first step is to identify where you will fit into the mix of your online business. What are your strengths and weaknesses. What is your plan to convert your weaknesses into strengths? Amazon.com started with a perceived weakness that people would not buy books without physically thumbing through them first in the book store. The plan that Jeff Bezos built into his online business Amazon.com was focused on world-class service. This perceived weakness was quickly converted into a strength that now is the standard of online retail sales covering products from #2 pencils to solar panels.
How will you position yourself in the market? How should you? In my analysis of the #IBCT I noticed a few popular methods of the most successful online businesses. I review the best of each in the categories below plus I add what works for me. These are some of the most successful online business models and obviously have already been proven effective. Look at the leaders in your niche to see how they are managing their online business. DO NOT COPY their work this will hurt you more than it will help you. Your goal is to learn from their methods, how do they build connections with people what are they doing to create buzz. This is how you should represent your business, choose a structure and stay with it.
Online Business to promote Individual Service.
Chris Brogan is a blogger but he is also a professional speaker in high demand. I’d have to ask him how most people hear about him, is it from the books, speaking events or the website? Have you ever “found” awesome new music and then someone tells you they’ve been around for years? chrisbrogan.com is like that. What has made this website popular is his unique point of view on how we got to where we are now; and where we are going in the world of technology and business trends.
This is the best example I have found of building your online business around an individual as the service. This would work great for public speakers, attorneys, personal trainers, professional athletes, models, performers, public personalities, dj’s, vj’s, models, actors, therapists, etc. In this online business the host and the product are the same. The biggest advantage is there is no way anyone can successfully copy you. I would recommend anyone going into business as themselves use this method as it resonates most with people.
Online Business to promote Online Business.
The Drudge Report has proven to be a huge success created by Matt Drudge it is the best example of business to promote business. This is why ideas are so valuable. The genius of this website is not what Matt writes it’s what he posts and links to, I’m sure he writes some of those eye catching headlines though. The conversation that he has started since this website launched has been controversial and eye catching but never boring. He uses AdSense ads and a few affiliate links and that’s it. The whole point of the website is the business and the point of the business is the website.
Use this method when your idea is an information based offering for people to use frequently. People are thirsty for new quality content and news is all about the latest, that’s another reason drudgereport.com works. Your online business must include a plan for what you will offer people that they feel like they need. Remember people don’t log on to the Internet to buy stuff they log on to get information. How much time do you spend online shopping for stuff? Compare that with how much time you spend searching for info. Use this online business method if you are planning to be a one stop shop for unique quality info on your topic. This would work great for Bloggers, Hair design news, music gossip, jobs review, etc.
This is also an effective method for websites designed to only sell one specific product. Opt in skin is a great example of this.
Online Business to promote Offline Business.
justcreative.com is a good example of this. The owner Jacob Cass is a very talented graphic designer and uses the website as his means to connect with potential customers. Coolest innovation I like is his trademark of JUST™ he uses it in phrases to make his point more effective. The JUST idea ties into his point of view on technology. He’s got tons of people on his blog posting comments using this phrase, a real genius concept.
*Do not continue past this step until you are sure about the following questions:
Who does your website represent? Who are you, online? Why are you building a website? What is your primary objective?
Getting to the money. Think in your mind how much money you want to make from your online business annually. Now think about how much money, time and effort it should cost to accomplish this, now double this number. Is this amount too much for your taste? If so do not move forward with it because you will likely quit. Its like anything else you will get out what you put in so don’t expect overnight mushroom cloud success that doesn’t really happen it only appears to. You will be successful online if you simply apply yourself, learn from your experiments and repeat.
Once you have your identity you need to know how you plan on making your money. Your online business should bring money to you not take money away. The most important thing to remember is this basic concept. Don’t loose focus on exactly how you are going to get paid. You have to invest time and some money into your online business. You need to make money; this is non-negotiable. Your domain registration costs are the first money’s that your website should earn. Let it pay for itself, this is an important first goal. Your website can’t make money until it first coveres its costs to exits. When you launch your website know how much you have invested to date and how much it needs to make to break even. Make a big deal about it when you finally earn enough to cover these costs, now your online business is self sufficient and has momentum.
Identify how your website will make money:
1. Affiliate. This is where you promote already proven and successful products and make a commission when people buy products using your link. I think this is a great way to get started earning money online because you can do it with only an email address. I recommend clickbank and amazon’s affliate program they are by far the best. The offer plenty of great products and are outstanding in service. If you don’t make money its not their fault. Also consider direct affiliate programs in your niche that may have their own affiliate program.
2. Google Adsense. Google has been making mega bucks for a very long time using a very basic business model, they sell ads on websites. Its very simple people buy advertisements with Google on a pay per click basis, this means they are charged when someone actually clicks on their ad. The webpage that is serving that Google ad makes a commission paid by Google when the visitor clicks. The first transaction is in Adwords when a customer decides to advertise using Google The Second transaction is when a visitor clicks on the published ad on a website using adsense. Its really cool and extremely useful if you know how to do it. Learn more about google adsense. There are alternatives to adsense media.net is an example.
*Adsense is the easiest way to earn money at the beginning. You won’t make a bunch but you can set a goal to pay for your domain costs and then your monthly hosting fees. Those pennies and nickels can add up quick, trust me. Remember in order to make one thousand dollars you have to first make one dollar, which is one hundred pennies.
3. Selling your products or services. This step will take the longest because you have to actually develop your product. If it is a service then you may need to design how you will offer it and the terms. Regardless you should eventually build your own products. Its where you will make highest margin of profit and have the most control. The same reason the supermarket always has their brand of groceries. You can optimize this with Clickbank.com because you have the built in ability to offer your product to affiliates so now other people are trying to sell your product for you. Its a cool feeling when you get feedback from someone who wants to sell your product as an affiliate.
Identify your online business with a keyword or phrase.
- Use the Google keyword tool to research the value and the popularity of the keyword.
- Search Google for the keyword that you want to rank #1 for.
- Analyze the existing URL that is #1 for the term.
- Don’t try to compete if the resulting site is too popular. Choose another keyword if their page rank is 4 or higher or they have too many back-links. It will be to time consuming and expensive to get the results you want quickly and to overtake their position.
- Choose a primary, secondary and long tail keywords. Example. Primary Keyword Your Online. Long tail keyword: Your Online Business Plan.
My advise on choosing Keywords:
- Select your keyword first. Use Google keyword tool and also review market trends like searchenginewatch.com.
- Use your primary keyword as your domain name.
- Create Google/Yahoo/MSN etc accounts and social media accounts with Digg, stumble, upon, etc
Identify your online business with a domain name.
- Use your primary keyword as your domain name.
- Get a domain name that is short enough people could remember it even if they heard it said once on the radio.
- Use a domain name that ranks for a decent value using google adwords keyword tool. Make sure the term has at least 50k monthly searches.
- Register the unique tag for Google, twitter, etc this can grow the reach of your brand.
- Go with .com if you can then .net. I chose youronline.biz because of the idea of your online business. This was my intention.
- If you have the budget buy all the root level domains and use them as your top level wholly owned web 2.0 sites. Basically put them at the top of the list of your secondary sites. Buy all the open domains if you have funds available .info, .cc, .co, what ever if you have the budget buy em.
Identify your online business as a brand.
- Brand your online business as your domain name.
- Get a nice logo created that re-emphasizes this connection. Use this logo everywhere, social media, forum profiles, etc. Try to get the domain name build into the logo. example FamousBloggers.net Please don’t make this step harder than it needs to be keep it simple. Don’t have money to pay for a logo design? Use a text as your logo like an acronym
- Build a resource box featuring one or two sentences about how cool your website is, include a picture of your logo and a link back to your website. Use this resource box whenever you post on any other websites. Update it periodically. Keep it fresh.
Why do you need an Identity Online?
Legendary Blogger +Darren Rowse recently dropped this GEM of advise on GOOGLE+:
7 Questions People Ask When They Arrive on your Blog for the First Time:
- What is it about? – Topic
- What’s in it for me? – Benefits
- Who are you? – Credibility
- Why should I care? – Relevance
- Is Anyone Else Here? – Social Proof
- Why Should I Come Back? – Anticipation
- How Do I Connect? – Retention
- What Should I Do Next? – Retention and/or Conversion [Bonus item]
His website problogger.net was one of the finalists from the inaugural #IBCT 2012. Your online business plan must include a response to these legitimate concerns. Thanks Darren for sharing this excellent advice, I told you I would write about this, it’s too important for success.