The First Steps to Starting a Business Online

man at computer Starting a Business Online

Starting a Business on the Internet is not difficult, not expensive, and the personal and financial rewards of owning an online business can be incredible.

The real question is “Can you afford not to get started?”

Starting your own internet business could:

  • Bring in extra cash
  • Keep you busy during retirement
  • Provide an income even with disabilities
  • Pay your way through college
  • Give you the income to live the lifestyle of your dreams

This post will show you the first steps to getting your own website on the internet which will be the backbone of your internet business.

When you understand what’s involved in getting your first website rolling, you will be set to learn how to use it to make money.

How Would You Start A Business On The Internet?

  1. Choose a business model
  2. Select a niche
  3. Purchase a domain name
  4. Secure a hosting plan for your website
  5. Pick a WordPress theme suitable for your business
graph explaining how many people are shopping online

1. Choosing a Business Model

It’s hard to ignore the fact that E-Commerce has changed the way we buy and sell forever. Not to mention that it’s still changing lives every day.

Almost anyone with access to a computer and the internet has the capability to start making money online.

You could start with any business model but you’ll learn all things internet with affiliate marketing while starting the earning process.


When it comes to a simple to use business model, Adsense probably gets the prize. All you need for Adsense is a website with content and Google will put ads relevant to your website on your post and pages. Each time someone clicks the ads, Google will pay you anywhere from a few cents to a dollar or so. A website with traffic makes this work.

Affiliate Marketing

I am convinced that affiliate marketing is where every beginner should start out with an online business. Almost every product manufacturer selling products in traditional stores and malls is looking for someone with a website to advertise their product online. You generally choose a niche, build content around these products and link readers to someone else’s sales page. When they buy from your link, you get paid.

Amazon Affiliate Program

This is affiliate marketing on a large scale. Amazon is the biggest store in the world and growing constantly. With thousands and thousands of products to promote for Amazon, it’s possible to build small websites around one product, or a network of sites around many products. Amazon affiliate program is easy to get started with and has made many millionaires.


Dropshipping may sound like affiliate marketing at first, but it’s a method partnering with wholesale providers that stock there own inventory. You might be the middle person between someone like Sears and the product manufacturer. You would transfer orders from your site to the manufacturer who ships Sears products directly to customers.

Info Products 

The online shopping explosion started out with info products and they still carry the day on the web: Especially for people with businesses online. This business model includes selling Ebooks, Kindle books, video courses about every imaginable thing under the sun. All it takes is enough knowledge to share, your own blog, and a website to start teaching people your skills. You’ll discover many more online business models online — as you delve more into affiliate marketing.

2. Solving Problems in a Niche

As an Internet Marketer, or just having your own blog, the word “niche” will be as much a part of your vocabulary as breakfast or water.

When you hear the word spoken, it can either be “Knee-sh” or “nich”. Either seems to be correct and is always spelled niche.

What is a niche?

Well, there must be a million post on the subject, but let me boil it down for you.

When it comes to the internet, a niche is a topic:  Plain and simple.

A niche could be medicine, doctors, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, tall people, skinny people, lose weight, find gold, and into infinity.

Each of those are topics, aren’t they?

Niche topics for online businesses are focused

triangle graph explaining how to narrow a niche topic down

But because we’re talking about you starting an online business advertising products to solve problems, those niches are too broad.

They’re too broad for you to approach with any accuracy. And accuracy is important in any business.

We want to get all the way down to a micro-niche for better accuracy and profitability.

For instance, I would never open a snowmobile dealership in Louisiana and expect it to flourish.

When you go into business online, you want to accurately target a select group of people with a common interest: With common problems to solve.

The more select, or narrow, the niche — the better your chances of success.

Online Businesses target problems 

That brings us to a variation of the definition of a niche online.

A niche is a select group of people, with common interests and problems to solve — who are willing to spend money to solve them.

One example of this could be cookware? There are thousands and thousands of people each day searching the web with the term “cookware”.

But the topic of cookware is too large for a good niche.

We want to “niche this topic down” to a more select group of people who we know are searching the web for particular products within the topic of cookware.

Stainless steel cookware, convection cookware, or glass cookware would narrow that broad topic of cookware down to a more select group of people.

A smaller group of people who already know what kind of cookware they are shopping for, right?

And it would be a niche with people willing to spend money to solve their problems.

Beginners may think bigger niches are better?

As a beginner, I assumed that targeting cookware, in general, would be more profitable because there would be more searchers?

As it turns out trying to target such a large group of searches is basically impossible and fruitless. First of all we don’t know what these people are looking for. This term could also cover every single item involved in cooking, which is many.

Next is that the competition is so great that we could never get our business noticed on the web?

But things like Stainless steel cookware, convection cookware, or glass cookware have plenty of searches each month on the web, and much less competition.

Internet Businesses look for buyers

And these people have already narrowed down their own wants and needs:

And are closer to buying something online.

This is known as niching down to find a niche that we can get our business known on the web for.

When you’re itching to get into business it’s easy to think you would waste time doing research, and skip over finding a profitable niche.

All profitable businesses spend time researching

The real waste of time is skipping this research step.

The best time you could spend would be learning about profitable niches, of which there are many.

I see many people trying to open an internet marketing business with no idea what they will market or to whom.

That’s like going to town and buying a building without knowing what business you will go into?

Deciding on a niche is doing the research and deciding what business you would like to open before you get too deep.

3. Domain Names Name Your Business

After you’ve done your research and settled on a niche to get involved with, it’s time to:

Choose a domain name.

A domain name is the name in the address bar of your computer when you go to any website.

My domain name is

There are two ways to think about choosing your domain name.

2 types of domain names for your business:

1. Niche identifiers

A name alerting people and search engines to the purpose of your website with your domain name. Maybe something like This is known as an exact match domain.

2. Branded Domains

A branded domain name may or may not have to do with your product. A branded domain name brands your business and makes it easier to include multiple products on one website.  Names like,, and could be examples of branded domain names.

A domain name that targets your product like an exact match domain name can wind up limiting your business when it comes to expanding into different sub-niches.

With it’s more difficult to sell add on items like serving ware, utensils, mixing bowls and other items these shoppers my want?

On the other hand domain names don’t really have to have anything at all to do with your product, or even make sense.

Coming up with domain names for your business

There are many free domain name generators online to help you get creative and find something memorable and short which is the usual goal.

All it takes is a Google search for domain generators, and you can waste days coming up with a good name.

What you really want from your new business name is:

  • Short
  • Memorable

Like most things website-related, I recommend paying attention to how other business name and/or brand themselves.

Where do you get a domain name?

You buy domain names from domain registrars and there are thousands of them online.

They are going to cost from free at some hosting providers all the way to $16 at some registrars: With everything in between.

You actually buy the same domain name each year. As long as you have it, you’ll need to renew it from 1 to 8 years at the time.

Here are a few domain registrars that I recommend:


Like your niche, it’s wise to think this process through so that you don’t wind up with a website on a domain name that you don’t like.

You can’t change your domain name on a website, so to change you’ll need to purchase another and mover your files.

Wait, somebody has the domain name I want?

Did you get that right? Not only are there people who wanted to use your favorite domain name for their website, but there are also people buying up domain names to resell.

Even though you may think every good domain name is already taken, there are still plenty to go around.

You may need to get creative and use the free domain name generators to help you, but you’ll find one you like.

What extension should my domain have?

The word on the street is still that you should do all in your power to get an extension for your domain in this order:

  1. .com
  2. .net
  3. .org
  4. .info

Choose any keyword and do a google search for it. Now look down through the first page results, you’ll see that .com dominates the results.

On the first page is where you want to be, a domain extension is not the biggest factor in arriving there, but it sure doesn’t hurt.

Always try for .com extensions first, but if that doesn’t work out, move down the list.

4. Hosting your website to the internet

Hosting is a more expensive decision you’ll need to make about your online business and an important one.

Owning a domain name is nothing without someone to serve it to the Internet, and that’s what hosting providers do for you.

Hosting Providers are an important business decision

Hosting packages come from a few dollars a month to hundreds of dollars a month, so there’s a wide range of services, and quality to choose from. One warning I can give you about hosting is that you can find free hosting alternatives, but they will not help your business at all.

Most popular free hosting platforms will not let you use them for business purposes at all. But there’s something else involved:

A large portion of any niche sites depends on ranking on the first page of search results for your product and niche keywords.

Free hosting makes your business hard to find

While you’re searching down through the Google search results looking at domain extensions we talked about earlier — look to see if you notice any subdomain sites.

Free hosting means sub domains— and they look like this:

One popular free hosting platform is (not to be confused with

Your free website hosting there would look like this:

You will rarely see these sites ranking in the search engine results, and they will close your website if you use it for your Internet Business.

You want your domain name to look like this:

If you intend to be in business and make money, you must assume you will have business expenses, and hosting is one of them.

Where to purchase the best hosting plan

Most hosting providers will have several options available, but as a beginner and maybe for a long time going forward, you need shared hosting.

You want to do business with a well-known and reputable hosting company that offers:

  • Great uptime
  • Great service and support with your native language
  • Great speed

Those are the most important qualities to look for before you purchase hosting. One well-known host is GoDaddy, and I WOULD NOT recommend them to anyone at all, for a variety of reasons.

Some popular host providers that I could recommend in this order are:


When I choose a hosting provider I always look for these important features:

  • English speaking people to answer the call when I need help
  • My website to be available on the web at all times with little to no downtime
  • My website must load fast. If my website pages are slow to load, neither my readers nor the search engines will think very highly of me.

Now that you have your domain name and a hosting provider set up, the next step is WordPress and a theme.

5. WordPress themes

Most of the hosting solutions and all of the ones I suggested earlier will provide 1 click installation of the WordPress platform.  The WordPress platform is exactly what you need, so don’t be duped into something else by web ads.

WordPress the Most Popular Website Theme Platform

WordPress is waaaay the most popular platform to build websites on and that’s for a lot of great reasons. One being that it’s completely free, but even more important is that it’s constantly updated to stay up with the ever changing needs of the internet.

Not to mention pure ease of use!

With your one-click installation, you will now be able to see your website online, with the generic free theme that comes on it.

WordPress has thousands of free and premium themes

You will immediately have access to thousands of free WordPress themes, right from your website back end.

And adding and changes themes in WordPress is as easy as clicking a button!

Let me explain the front and back ends of your website before we go on, though.

The front end is what you see on any website on the web. The back end of your website consists of the WordPress editor. This is where you will be able to actually create your website pages.

You’ll have your own user name and password to access this area, and no one else will ever see your editor without your permission.

It’s in the editor that you will be able to change you’re your theme which is the look and feel of your website online.

WordPress Premium Themes save time

I mentioned free themes, which is a great place to start out as a beginner, but there are also thousands of premium WordPress themes available for your new online business.

Great premium WordPress themes can be purchased for as little as $39.

I prefer purchasing premium themes for my own websites simply because they’re already set up to look just like I want it, without me spending a lot of time on them.

And most premium themes these days come with loads of point and click customizations to help me make it my own.

Not all free or premium themes are good for business

Even though the web is overrun with places to buy premium themes, no everybody builds a good theme to purchase, and not everybody keeps their themes updated. And both of those are important.

If you choose to go with a premium theme why not find a theme that’s free from bloat. Bloated code causes your theme to load too slowly, and speed is a factor in both user appreciation, and search engine rankings.

Next, your theme will need to be updated regularly by the makers, and many premium themes for sales are made, sold and forgotten. You don’t want that for your business.

Here are the best places to find premium themes:

  • Elegant Themes
  • Theme Forrest
  • ColorLib
  • StudioPress

Most all themes now will be mobile responsive, but just to be on the safe side, check before you purchase.

The image below is proof enough that Mobile responsive themes are a must for starting a business on the internet.

Building Internet businesses is still in its infancy as the web pushes into more and more lives. The generations to come will depend more heavily on the internet than we can imagine.

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