Your First Steps
Toward Online Business
If you haven’t read «Starting Online Business (Home or Elsewhere)», you may want to start there before reading this page.
This page assumes you have performed your necessary due diligence concerning any business start-up. For example, develop a budget, put together a business plan, taken care of any insurance or legal needs, etc. You’ll find plenty of articles dealing with those sorts of issues.
Here are the beginning steps you need to take, more or less in order.
1. Determine Your Niche
Once you decide what kind of business you’re going to begin initially (retail, service, affiliate or advertising), you need to determine your niche. Internet commerce is niche driven. You may eventually expand your niche or branch into other related niches, but in the beginning you must think narrowly rather than broadly.
«Horses» is too broad a concept. «Horse riding» is a niche. «Horse riding attire» might be a good niche. «Inexpensive horse riding attire» is better.
2. Do Keyword Research
A keyword is something that a person might type into a search engine in order to find websites that are related to that term. Most keywords are actually key phrases (keyphrases) rather than single words.
There are free places on the web where you can search for keywords related to your niche. There are other places where you can search for a membership fee. There is excellent research software that you can buy. There are companies, including mine, that do keyword research for a fee. Your choice will depend upon your budget. I provide more information about all of these options elsewhere.
Here are a dozen of the keywords that I found (out of hundreds) for the example niche, «inexpensive horse riding attire:»
- English tack
- Equestrian tack
- Horse riding clothing
- Inexpensive horse riding attire
- Riding apparel
- Riding boots
- Riding helmet
- Riding saddle
- Riding saddles
- Riding tack
- Tack shop
- Western tack
3. Do Traffic vs. Competition Research
Now you need to see if the market size is sufficient for you to succeed in your niche. Further, you need to see how many web sites are competing with you and how good that competition is.
Again, there are free places on the web, fee web sites and companies that will do this for you.
First check the amount of traffic. I found that there are 6600 searches a month for one good keyword in my example, 2400 searches a month for another, etc. The others look good collectively, and I’m only using 12 of the many possible keywords that people might use and that I would check if I were going into this niche (which I’m not).
Bottom line: Traffic looks good.
The competition, on the other hand is plentiful. There are lots of other sites that are apparently in this niche. I know that by typing one of my keywords into any search engine—preferably google. However, the fact that there are lots of competitors should not, necessarily, scare you away from your niche.
In fact, when I look at the sites that are near the top of google’s search results, I think that I could do a good job of putting together better content and, eventually, get more traffic than they do. And you’ll be able to do that too, if you pay careful attention to things you learn here—articles that are constantly being added, our reports, etc.
4. Make Your Decision!
Once you have done the first three steps, you are ready to decide whether this is the niche for you. If it meets your standards, move on to the articles we have about your business model (retail, service, affiliate marketing or advertising).
If your research indicates that you have not chosen a good niche, go through the same three steps with the next niche. You might want to start the process with three possible niches, compare your results, and make your decision concerning which (if any) is best for you.