Get Started Fast with these 10 Quick Steps
Now you should know by now if you have read any of my posts that this is not a get rich quick scheme. But some folks just like things laid out in a 1 – 2 – 3 format, so I have outlined 10 “down and dirty” steps to get you rolling with your online business.
You may not be able to complete these 10 steps within the next 30 minutes, but I can assure you that you will have a much better understanding of the path that lies before you when you are done reading this article. Trust me when I tell you that this is the path forward. If you want to live a laptop lifestyle and control your own financial future, you must follow these ten steps toward starting your own online business.
Step 1: Building the Foundation for a Smooth Start
Get Prepared – Gain a basic knowledge of Affiliate Marketing. This is very simply accomplished by reading a few of the recommended articles we have listed here on Niche Website Newbies.
When you have a chance you can read the following post: “What is Affiliate Marketing?”
In general, Affiliate Marketing is just as the name describes. Thousands of retailers have who have affiliate programs that allow you or anyone else to sell their products for a commission. I recommend that you do some research prior to jumping into anything and make sure that Affiliate Marketing is right for you.
Understand the Process – Learn how the “Make Money Online” process works. Like always we have you covered here, but in my opinion, it never hurts to check around. My only caution is that you understand what a scam looks like, because there are plenty of them out there, so be aware.
Want to learn more about Making Money Online Scams?
Find out if Making Money Online is even possible: “Can I Make Money Online?”
Check out my Number One Training Program Recommendation
Keep reading, because we show you how to get all three.
Step 2: Select a Topic for your Website
Choose a Niche – Remeber the definition we gave you for the word Niche? “Denoting or relating to products, services, or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.”
So with this in mind, jot down a few of the things that interest you. You do not need to overthink this step, if you enjoy the topic then that is a good niche for you, perhaps it’s a hobby, or perhaps it’s your profession, like “landscaping”. I have seen niche websites about golf and about nursing, I’ve seen them about model trains and I’ve even seen them about portable toilets.
The point is, you can create a niche website on just about any topic. The key aspect that we, as Niche Website Newbies, want to remember is that we should select a topic that is of interested to us. This will help to keep us engaged as we work through the more difficult early stages of our online business development.
If you stuck for a niche topic, Check out a few niche ideas here: “The Big List of Niche Ideas”
Step 3: Build Your Website
It’s time to Open up the store – And you thought picking a niche was hard. Folks, let me tell you a little secret about these past two steps… Do not get yourself all caught up in picking a niche or picking a domain name, it’s just not that important.
I’ll see if I can make this quick, you are going to spend a good bit of time creating content for your website, so your niche should be something you enjoy. And here is an ADVANCED TIP, it’s best if your niche includes products that sell for more than $100 each. I’m just letting you know that you will make more money selling fewer products at a higher commission, than you will selling more products at a lower commission.
But I digress, As I mentioned it is very easy to “fall in love” with your niche when you are building your first website and I don’t blame you, you should be very enthusiastic early on. Later as you become more experienced and as your business grows, you will learn that “business is business” and may even decide to sell that “beloved” website — Just Sayin’
Intro to Web Hosting and Domain Names (Clicking on links will take you to new page)
(Note: Most Registrars will give you a free Domain Name discount when you buy hosting)
Once you have selected your domain name, you will need to purchase the “rights” to the name. Once you have done that you will own that name and no one else can use it, as long as you keep paying for it. Domain names cost about $12 per year.
You can purchase a domain name through any of several Registrars, some of the more popular one’s are GoDaddy, Host Gator, Domain.com and my favorite Name Cheap. Why is NameCheap my favorite? Well, they are a couple of dollars cheaper than GoDaddy and I am accustomed to their control panel. I will give you instructions for directing your name from either Registrar so feel free to choose which ever your prefer.
And now that you have a domain name, you are going to need some hosting. Once again, we will discuss hosting in much greater detail, but understand that a hosting company, and all of the Domain Name Registrars above are hosting companies, will sell you space on one of their servers for you website. The process is called Website Hosting.
I recommend that you use the WordPress platform for your website, so when selecting a hosting plan, look for WordPress Hosting. The rest is pretty straight forward, although you will also want to purchase email and an SSL Certificate.
Step 4: Research your Niche
Where do Your Customers Hang Out? – Regardless of whether you are the foremost expert or not, you may want to do a little research for you particular niche. Researching your niche will offer two immediate rewards. The first will be an increased knowledge of your specific niche and the later will be ideas for blog posts. Whether you are scanning the internet or relaxing at your favorite Barnes and Nobles with a hot latte from Starbucks, you can get a ton of ideas for new posts.
The second reward will be learning where the people, who are likely to be your visitors, hang out. In other words are there groups on Social Media or on the internet in Chat Groups where you might be able to communicate your new website and gain some new visitors. Social Media is a very popular method of gaining traffic, you will learn this later.
Get a jump on the Competition – While you are in research mode, you might as well check out what your competition is doing. Take a look at some competing websites and if there is anything that they are doing that you like, perhaps you can duplicate or do something similar. I should take this time to warn you that duplicating content is not acceptable and will get you quickly penalized by Search Engines, so please do not copy anyone’s content. But it doesn’t hurt to look around, get some new ideas for additional blog posts, you will learn later that content is never ending, so the more ideas the better.
Step 5: Establish the Framework for SEO (Add Links)
If you haven’t already, you may want to take a quick look at Wealthy Affiliate. The STARTER Membership for WA is free and they have a tremendous 10 lesson tutorial for getting your website started. But no rush to do that, just keep it in mind, if nothing else the first 10 lessons are free, so check them out if you can.
Your website will need to meet certain criteria to rank well in Search Engines. We discuss exactly how to set yourself up properly in the post entitled: “What is SEO?”, Check it out.
Let’s just touch on a few details regarding your website and SEO, first your site will need to be “FAST” per industry standards and this can be done easily by optimizing your images and keeping plugins to a minimum. Additionally, your website should have a basic structure. Just think of the website as a book with chapters and a table of contents, if the table of contents and chapters all make sense then so will your website.
When you read through “What is Search Engine Optimization?” or any of the other references we provide, you will learn that your website should have both internal and external links. The internal links help visitors to navigate your website, just like the one above at the beginning of this paragraph.
Again we are covering the 10 Quick Steps to Getting Started here in this article, so please feel free to read more detail in the linked pages.
Step 6: Keywords & Content
The never ending flow of information – Step 6 of creating an online business includes two of the more important topics you will deal with, Keywords and Content. I guess it’s best to discuss content creation first, so that is what we are going to do.
In order to attract visitors, you are going to need to create valuable content that solves the readers problems. Most people who are searching the internet are looking for answers, so it is your job to provide them with the answers concerning your specific niche.
A large portion of the work that you will need to complete as you grow your inline business is creating content. If you follow the proven guidelines that this website outlines, you will be expected to create anywhere from 2 to 5 keyword rich posts per week. Each post should include 1000 to 2000 words and might initially take 4 hours each to complete.
Learn to Create Keyword Rich Content here: Creating Keyword Rich Content for a Niche Website
Make a List and Check it Twice – I’m not sure why I stole that line from a Christmas song, but instead of checking the list twice, you should create two lists. The first will be a list of “keywords”, you should know what keywords are by now, but if not, they are search words, terms or phrases that people will use to search for your website. Initially I would create a list of about 50 keywords or phrases that relate to your niche.
Then I would create a second list containing article topics that explain the many different aspects of your niche. Explain the history, the various benefits, how to find the best and what the future holds for what ever it is that you have selected as your niche. For example if your niche is Golf, then you can (as mentioned above) discuss the following:
- The history of Golf
- The Health Benefits of Golf
- The Best Way to Learn Golf
- The Equipment use to Play Golf
- The Best Places to Play Golf… And so on… And so on…
The next step, now that we have created our two lists, will be to incorporate the keywords we listed into the content that we are creating. You do not need to repeat the keywords throughout your articles, you will be just fine, simply placing the words two to three times throughout the article.
Step 7: Creating Your First Pages and Posts
During the early stages of creating your website, you will be publishing several standard Pages. Beyond that the majority of your articles will be published as a Post. So let’s take a quick look at the differences between Pages and Post.
Posts are better for “blog style” content such as your articles and are listed in a reverse chronological order (most recent content on top). And by their nature posts will be listed on the blog page of WordPress. Additionally, posts add the ability for visitors to “comment” on the article. This have multiple benefits from an SEO perspective, first it increases the word count for the page. When someone comments they will add to your content and then of course when you respond, you will again be adding more content to the page. Also, when people comment on your posts, Google views that as “interaction” or “engagement” and Google loves direct visitor engagement.
An Advanced Benefits regarding Posts –As mentioned before, WordPress posts are published with specific time and date stamps which makes them perfect for syndication through RSS feeds. This allows your readers to be notified of the most recent post update via RSS feeds.
Step 8: Establish a Presence on Social Media
Honestly, most Newbies have never thought about Social Media in this way, at least I hadn’t until I learned how to drive traffic to my website. By now, we should all understand that the cheapest method of driving traffic is through organic search engine clicks, but catching up quickly is Social Media traffic. The only caution when dealing in a Social Media presence is the ever tempting paid services the big Social Media sites will push.
It is very simple to get started with Social Media, typically it only requires opening an account or using an existing account. I would not recommend using your personal account and the Social Media sites have all made it easy to managed pages.
Facebook allows you to add managed pages that work very much like your personal page. The Facebook Managed Pages allow you to add profile pictures and enter basic information about your business and of course post to your timeline. You can add photos and encourage people to like and join your page. Just like search engines to an extent, Social Media works on popularity so the more people interact with you page, the more people that like and join your page, the more exposure you will get on Facebook.
Pinterest is slightly different and is a very visual Social Media Platform. I must admit, I never had a “personal” Pinterest account, so I was not concerned about that, however you will want to sign up for a Pinterest Business Account to promote your website. Once you create your account, Pinterest will guide you toward setting up relevant boards and then pins. By relevant, I mean relevant to your niche and to your customers / visitors.
As you set up your Boards, you will want to use the keywords that you identified in Step 6. Pinterest works very much like a Search Engine and people will search for specific information. Being active on Pinterest is important so follow others and work on the following:
- Apply for Rich Pins for your website or blog.
- Grow your Pinterest following.
- Get to the relevant group boards.
- Use catchy, engaging images.
- Pin consistently.
With respect to driving traffic, I personally stick with Facebook and Pinterest. However, most of the Social Media platforms can be a great form of driving visitors to your website, including Twitter, Linked In, Instagram and Tumbler.
Step 9: Rinse and Repeat
Once you have established the format for your website and started to create content, your mission is clear, repeat steps 1 through 8. Search engines will want to see that you are providing valuable and current information on your website. The addition of relevant information will increase the number of potential keywords on your website and give your site more potential to rank with search engines.
Step 10: Selecting Affiliates and Monetizing Your Website
By now you should have a pretty firm idea of which Affiliate Programs you are going to target. Of course these program should fit within your niche and should enhance your niche website. Keep in mind that this is your brand, your website and your customers; You do not want anything to reflect negatively on your brand. So use caution when selecting Affiliate Programs, select only those that are reputable and operate ethically.
As newbies, we tend to gravitate toward the bigger and easier Affiliate Programs, the largest of which is Amazon. Amazon does have an amazing program and I highly recommend that you start with them, but I completely understand if you have someone else in mind. Additionally, there are several factors you will want to use to evaluate your Affiliate Programs:
Affiliate Program Requirements – I can tell you that a lot of Newbies struggle with this factor. Every Affiliate Program has requirements and of course some are more advanced than others, but you will need to meet those requirements in order to be accepted as an Associate and to remain an Associate. Affiliate requirements include but are not limited to website traffic, specific number of sales during a probationary period and the absence of pages under construction.
Affiliate programs such as Amazon and Walmart are fairly easy to get approved for, but the requirements for use are strict and you will want to understand them thoroughly. Failure to follow the rules can get you booted from the program and no one wants to put in 6 months of hard work to get booted by your primary Affiliate.
Duration of Affiliate Cookie – This is an interesting topic and one that many Niche Website Newbies are not familiar with, but when someone click on YOUR Affiliate Link, you will essentially own that customer for a period of time. This is accomplished by the Affiliate placing a “cookie” on the customers computer and if the customer returns to the Affiliates website within the allotted “cookie” time, that customer is still yours.
OK, so let’s explain that a little better: If someone visits your website and clicks on your Affiliate Link to Amazon a cookie will be placed on the visitors computer. And if that visitor goes to bed and wakes up the next morning and buys something on Amazon, you will get credit for that sale. It does not matter what the customer buys, you will get the commission. So let’s say your website is about “Fishing rods” and the customer wakes up and buys a TV, you get commission on the TV.
This is known as an “Affiliate Cookie” and they can vary dramatically in duration. For example, Amazon’s cookie is 24 hours, which is one of the shortest in the industry, but they’re Amazon so enough said. Cookie can be 48 hours or 2 weeks, it all depends on the Affiliate Program, so make sure you know about the cookie duration.
Link Variety and Appearance – So the process is quite simple. The Affiliate Program will provide you with a link to their website and their products. These links will come in many forms, some will be text links and others will be full banner ads, but each will have a code within the link that identifies you as the Associate. This is how the Affiliate Program keeps track of your sales.
It should be important to you that these links fit well with your websites overall scheme. Nothing should be more important to you than the look and feel of your own website, so if an Affiliate link makes your website look bad, you should find another way. Generally, you will be able to incorporate most Affiliates into your site without much trouble, but your site is number one.