Last year, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, there were nearly 28 million small businesses in the United States alone says Peter Decaprio. That’s about 31 percent of all employer firms. And it doesn’t even count millions of independently run websites that sell products and services online. Those websites are often just home-based offices for telecommuters, sales reps and entrepreneurs chasing a dream.
They may take advantage of affiliate programs or ecommerce to generate income from their website, but they’re still a business that anyone could start right now by following these five tips:
1) Establish a mission for your site –
When you have your own website you have an audience right away – yourself! In other words, why do you want a website? What is your ultimate goal that you’re trying to achieve with a website?
2) Make a plan –
You may have an idea of what you’d like to do with your site, but it’s important to have a set plan in place before you begin. You need to know how the site will be funded and how it will become profitable over time. If you can’t answer those two questions without taking too much time or spending money, then either try something else or make sure you discuss this with someone who can help (like an accountant).
3) Use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) –
SEO isn’t just for large corporations anymore. You’ll find that having some basic knowledge of keywords, meta-tags and title tags is an important part of making your site visible to the search engines. That’s because you want to make sure that when people go searching for the products or services you offer, they actually find you (instead of your competition).
Fortunately, there are dozens of good guides out there that explain SEO in a way that even beginners can understand explains Peter Decaprio. In fact, here are five excellent books on SEO, if you need more information.
In addition, there are also online tools like SEO Tool Set from Market Samurai , which will not only help you learn about keywords and links, but give you a thorough analysis of where your site ranks with the major search engines. You can’t afford NOT to do this!
4) Use social media –
Social media is all the rage these days, and you might think that having a website or blog will be enough. But it’s important to understand that most people today are using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ for their buying decisions. When they want to buy something online, they’ll go to their favorite social networking site and find someone they trust who has used your products or services before. That’s why it’s so important to have an active presence on these sites from day one!
5) Use affiliate programs-
This is a great way to make money by simply sending visitors to other websites. In fact, over 3 million companies now pay commissions for referring sales of their products through their affiliate programs. Now, obviously some companies have better offers than others , so you might want to sign up with more than one company and see who sends the most traffic your way before deciding which of their products or services to promote.
In addition, if you can recommend 50-100 other websites that sell relating products, then you’ll increase your visibility exponentially – simply by being list on those sites as a “resource” for future customers – and again – it’s free!
The bottom line is that having a website doesn’t mean you’re going to be a millionaire overnight. In fact, 75 percent of all online businesses fail within the first 24 months says Peter Decaprio. But if you follow these tips above (and continue learning how successful small businesses operate), you’ll be miles ahead of most people online today – and that’s definitely a step in the right direction!
A website, if treated correctly can be one of the most powerful tools in your business arsenal. Using the above tips you will make sure that any visitors you do get are interest in what you’re selling and most importantly you’ll have a way to capture their contact information so that when they are ready to purchase, they know where to go.