Are you tired of working in the rat race and producing wonderful ideas for other people? Well why not take the plunge and develop your own on-line business, it’s easier and cheaper than you think.
Staring an online business can seem a pretty daunting task, but for anyone who has already started working for other businesses or writing for blog sites, it is quite an easy step to take.
An online business doesn’t even have to have its own products. Many people start by entering the field of affiliate marketing as a way to either monetise their own blog or step into the online business world for the first time.
Online Business Ideas
If developing your own on-line business is a step you are interested in taking, then the first stage is obviously to decide what kind of business you are interested in setting up.
Affiliate marketing involves developing content to persuade customers to buy products on another website. In return for the sales, you gain a commission.
Affiliate marketing is often referred to as Niche Marketing, because here you establish a website that focuses on a small sector of the market, known as a niche.
To give a few examples of niche types – a broad market area would be animals but a niche market idea would be – bird spotting or keeping pet birds. Or you might have an interest in fashion, where a niche area could be children’s clothes.
In other words you are looking to capture a very small and specialised target audience, one that will see you as an expert because your niche is so specific.
How to Determine a Suitable Niche?
One of the biggest challenges that bloggers face is finding a niche that suits them. Many people, when they think of developing an online businesses, focus on making money.
Which niche will bring in the most money?
But really the question needs to be more focused on the person behind the website.
Which niche will be the easiest to develop content for and promote?
What Interests You ?
The best way to invest time and energy into a project is to develop a passionate interest in the topic. This also applies to building an on-line business.
Niche sites tend to focus on one of four areas,
- providing information on hobbies that people enjoy,
- solving problems that people have asked questions about,
- blogging and providing information on topics of interest
- websites that respond to new markets and current trends.
Niche sites within groups 1 and 2 (Hobbies and Problems) tend to be the biggest areas for businesses, so within these four groups which area are you most interested in producing content and selling products in?
Online businesses require a lot of time an effort, and therefore whatever niche has been chosen, it has to be one that you are prepared to spend a lot of time researching and writing about.
Are There Products to Sell?
Once you have decided on a niche area the next stage is to check whether there are products to sell and also decide who to sell them to. For example some sites sell products to other businesses, whilst others focus on directly selling to customers and yet other sites do both.
One of the biggest selling sites is Amazon, which practically sells everything, so this is often a good place to start and look for the types of product available within your chosen niche.
This video from wealthy affiliate business owner Kyle, demonstrates other techniques on how to choose a niche. He explains in detail that there are opportunities to make money in almost every niche. So selecting the products is not your first priority, but choosing a niche area is.
Google Trends for Niche Ideas
One tool that I sometimes use for looking at potential niche areas is Google Trends. This tool allows me to see how the trend in searches in Google has changed, over the last 10 years.
From this I can see whether my chosen topic is a popular subject, whether interest is increasing or whether the market is actually shrinking and less interest is being shown.
In the example below I typed in ‘how to lose weight’ as a possible niche area that I am interested in, the results are shown in blue. I then added another search ‘dieting’ and the results are shown in red.
This is an interesting graph because it shows that there has been a marked increase in interest in the topic of losing weight over the years, but little change in people searching for dieting. As a niche topic it appears that ‘losing weight’ is good, but I would need to look at a range of alternatives to dieting such as exercise, healthy living approaches and lifestyle changes, since people don’t seem that interested in searching for dieting products.
Another positive thing about the google trend site is that it also shows where the interest in your niche subject is mainly coming from. In this graph the biggest markets for losing weight include Mauritius, South Africa and Ireland
This information can again guide my choice and see where I need to target products. It can also influence which affiliate programmes would work best for this niche, depending on which area of the world I wanted to target as my audience.
The Make Money Niche
One of the niche areas that many people are interested in is the ‘Make Money Online Niche‘. This is probably because it is their first area of interest and many people have already tried several schemes and therefore have a lot of opinions and experiences.
As regular readers on this site are aware I am also a member of Wealthy Affiliate and contribute to the discussion forums and training on that site. Within that programme there is a specific affiliate training programme targeted at people interested in the Make Money Niche.
This programme is known as the affiliate bootcamp, which you can see from this screenshot of a page within Wealthy Affiliate University, where the bootcamp has been circled in red.
As a free member to Wealthy Affiliate you have access to the first module of training in the Bootcamp, as premium member you have access to the entire 6 module course.
Even if you are not entirely sure of which niche to choose the advantage of the bootcamp training is that it follows a specific niche, so the learning can then be applied to other related areas.
There is also a separate training programme for other niches, which is the Online Entrepreneur Programme.
Benefits of the Online Courses at Wealthy Affiliate.
The reason that I work so closely with wealthy affiliate is because it offers one of the best introductory on-line business courses that I know, and it doesn’t make sense for me to replicate material here that can be accessed through their programme.
So what exactly are the benefits of the courses, well they say it better than I would.
I do however offer additional mentoring to any members that sign up to wealthy affiliate through any of my links, because through the WA platform there is the capacity to private message and receive personal support from any member and this means that I can be easily contacted through this system.
Building Your Business WebSite
Once you have decided upon a niche the next stage is to set up a website and make the business ‘live’.
The only free website building and hosting site that I would recommend is siterubix because it also offers a paid version of the service as well, so the site is reliable and operates professionally. Many bloggers will not host on free sites as they are unstable and don’t have the resources to invest in maintaining their operations.
As a business ideally, you need to be self hosted and have your own domain name. If you are new to website design then finding a company that will build your site and provide technical support is also a must. Most blogging and internet marketing sites use WordPress as their choice, since this is the largest and most reliable platform.
Siterubix offers all these options and you can even purchase your own domain name through their new domain service.
Learning the Skills of Affiliate Business
Once your website has been developed it is simply a matter of time and effort to produce articles, reviews, videos and other forms of content to promote the products you want to sell.
In the early stages of affiliate marketing you don’t need to worry about shopping carts, warehouse storage or shipments. You simply link the customer to the company site that is selling the product and when they click through you will be credited with the referral.
As you become more experienced you can add other forms of revenue, such as advertising onto your site. Eventually you might be interested in developing your own technology products. All of this can be attained by simply following a course of training such as the Bootcamp Course and building up content on your site.
One of the skills you will need to learn in affiliate marketing is how to produce content. This can be written, video, podcasts or other forms of material whatever works best for you.
The content is aimed at potential customers who will find your site through either social media sites you have or through search engines.
Learning the skills to get your pages and articles shown by Google is one area of study that will be learnt, and which you can read more about in this article What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)?
Other Articles of Interest on Affiliate Marketing
Building a business is hard work but it isn’t that difficult, especially not when the right support is available through sites such as this one and the wealthy affiliate site.
Everything you learn from these two resources has been tried and tested and is constantly being updated and researched. This means it can be trusted advice and you can simply focus on developing the type of business you have always dreamed of.
There are a number of other articles on this site that may be of interest to anyone looking to start an online business, these are.
I hope you enjoyed the content on this site, if so please feel free to share it on any social media site that you use and if you have any other suggestions linked to this topic please leave a comment below and I will respond to you as soon as possible.