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Small Business Tips

How to Start a Small Online Business

Do you have a great business concept, but don’t know where to begin? Consider minimizing risk and proving your ideas work by starting a small online business.

The consumer turn toward using search engines to find products or services has opened opportunities for businesses to have a broad reach while reducing initial investment.

You might try your luck on online marketplaces, like Amazon or eBay. Working with an established platform means you can get your goods to market faster. No hosting service or domain purchase needed.

However, platforms charge commission fees, which means you’ll be receiving less money for your sales, or having to charge customers more.

An online business of your own, on the other hand, leaves you a much bigger chunk of your revenue.

It also provides flexible customization, access to customer data, and better control of how you reach your target audience, which you can use for your business’ growth.

Starting a website for your business is the first step. You’ll need an easy-to-use feature-rich website builder, like Zyro, to make the process hassle-free and cost-effective.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps on how to start a small online business of your own. From determining your niche to publishing your website and promoting your goods to the public.

Reasons to start an online business

Before we start, let’s see why you should start an online business.

1. It’s relatively inexpensive

Compared to conventional stores, setting up an online business is a lot less of a financial burden.

You don’t have to spend money on rent and other expenses, like water, electricity or store employees, as traditional brick and mortar businesses do.

Instead, you can invest money back into expanding your business, and marketing for your website.

To create a website, you only need to purchase a domain name and hosting services. With Zyro, you’ll get both in one plan, plus access to an array of website templates. No hidden fees or extra costs.

2. You can explore a variety of business ideas

Online businesses are super flexible and versatile, and there’s a huge number of ventures you might choose to explore:

  • Handmade business owner — if you make handmade products, or know how, you might choose to sell them on your website, or an online marketplace like Etsy or eBay.
  • Social media managing — with the right experience, you can provide social media management services to clients from the comfort of your own home.
  • Affiliate marketing — you could earn money from promoting other merchant’s products and services on your website.
  • Business coaching — a budding business guru? Offer coaching and consulting to business owners.
  • Freelance writing — offer your writing services to website, business or blog owners.
  • Remote tutor — share your skills and teach students remotely through video meetings and remote assignments.
  • SEO consultant — once you’ve nailed your own, why not help other website owners improve their website’s SEO?
  • App developer — use your coding knowledge to build an app for your clients or to sell.
  • Video ad creator — create video ads for clients who want to advertise their products on YouTube or other social platforms

3. Online businesses offer you more freedom

When it comes to freedom, an online business offers two distinctive benefits.

Firstly, you are your own boss. You have full control of the schedule. No need to work eight hours a day.

You choose the best time to manage your business, or better, let automatic systems do the work for you.

Secondly, you can access and manage the business no matter where you are.

As long as your laptop is by your side and there’s internet access, the location won’t be much of a problem.

Travel the world, and fund it through your website.

4. Your website is available 24/7

Unless your hosting service or online marketplace faces problems, your store will be online all day, every day.

This means your customers can purchase products, or inquire about services anytime they want.

The automatic system for orders and payments also make it easier for customers to process their purchases.

How to start an online business?

Normally, starting a website for an online business is quite a long process. But with Zyro, it is made easier and simpler. Let’s learn how to start a small online business.

Step 1: Find your niche in the market

Like most websites, yours should have a niche that serves a specific need in the market.

This is important for two reasons.

First, it enables you to research your specific target customer’s needs. This can help you understand what products to offer that meet your customer’s needs.

Secondly, a niche makes your marketing more straightforward. You don’t have to worry about following the general trends as it only focuses on a specific fragment of the market.

You can choose what niche works for you best with a little bit of market research.

To start, perform online searches on your target market or customers.

See whether your products and services offer solutions to problems that people are experiencing. You can use online communities, such as Reddit or Quora, to figure out how high the demand might be.

Then, conduct research on your competitors. The simplest way is by entering niche keywords into search engines and checking how they perform online.

More results mean two things: high demand and a greater number of competitors. You want to avoid this type of niche as it doesn’t leave enough room for a smaller business to stand out.

Conversely, a small number of searches mean low interest in the niche. Striking a balance between demand and competition is key.

Step 2: Choose your domain name

After finding your niche, it’s time to pick a domain name for your site.

The most obvious choice is to simply use the name of your business.

You might use an alternative, though, if your business name is hard to spell or long to type. Consider using your business name’s abbreviation like the Internet Movie Database does (imdb.com).

Keep it short and easy-to-read. After all, that’s what your customers use to find you online.

Try to come up with a domain name that, at least, contains one keyword from your chosen niche.

This will help your website perform better in search engines results, as your URL is relevant to search queries. Avoid numbers and hyphens make your URL unnecessarily harder to spell.

For a local small business like yours, it’s better to use a geographic domain extension, such as .us, .uk, or .eu, to stand out on local search queries.

To simplify your search try Zyro’s domain name generator and get some suggestions to start you off with ideas.

Zyro's domain name generator

Our AI-powered generator is ready to help find the perfect domain name for your website. Just type in keywords related to your niche and, in no time, you’ll have a number of great suggestions to choose from.

Step 3: Create your Zyro account

After picking a domain name, it is time to create your website with Zyro. For this, you’ll need to sign up for an account.

The process is simple: enter your details, follow the on-screen instructions, and you’re all set.

It’ll take less than a minute. Choose from the three plans available – Free or Zyro Basic and Unleashed.

The free plan offers the basic features you’ll need for a fully-functioning site, such as mobile-optimized templates, customization options, and an SSL certificate.

For better online business experience, we recommend Zyro Unleashed.

You’ll get all the features from the Free plan, plus increased storage, a custom domain for free and no Zyro ads present on your site.

To register your domain, use the Zyro Domains page. Type in your chosen domain name and secure it before someone else does.

Step 4: Design your website

Now that you’ve set up the account, it’s time to design your website.

Zyro provides dozens of free-to-use, responsive, designer-made templates for your online business.

The templates are easily customizable thanks to Zyro’s intuitive drag-and-drop editing system. No coding required.

You’ll likely find a template tailored to your business’s niche — from fashion to bakery.

Take the ‘Fashion Pop-up Store’ template as an example.

Zyro's free template of pop-up store

It is a template specifically designed for a fashion pop-up store. The clean interface helps display your products as the very center of attention.

You can add a ‘Featured Products’ section to bring forward the most loved products from your store. So, next time customers come to your store, they’ll be encouraged to check the items out.

Let’s see another template, ‘Bakery’.

Zyro's free template design for a bakery

This is the template for an online bakery business. You can use its ‘Menu’ section to show your customers the products you sell and their prices.

Zyro's bakery business template menu example

Make sure to consider these elements for your online store to improve user experience:

  • Ecommerce integrations automate the update of your inventory and display it in real-time.
  • Payment processors manage the entire transaction processes on your website.
  • Easy navigation menus simplify the shopping experience with convenient navigation.
  • Good UX design make it easy to go from browsing your store to finalizing the order.

Step 5: Add content and products

You are ready to add products and content to your website.

The best way to sell your products online is to use visuals that back up your product’s benefits, and show it in an appealing light. Videos work great for this.

According to statistics, 85% of people will be more likely to buy a product after watching a video about it. Therefore, producing high-quality videos for your website is a great investment.

Content can be video, text or image based. Many online businesses use their content for marketing, and so should you.

Design content in a way that increases conversion rate, but don’t forget to make sure it aligns with your niche and products.

To simplify the content making process, use Zyro’s content generator. It’s an AI-powered tool that helps you generate SEO friendly content for your website.

Zyro's AI content generator example and login page

It works in three simple steps:

  • Insert a few sentences to describe your content.
  • Adjust the settings, to set the category, purpose, and depth.
  • Generate the content and display it on your online store.

Remember — cluttering your website with too many images and text is not useful.

Use Zyro’s free image library to avoid messiness, and choose only the best images and text to display.

A clean interface is far less confusing and makes for a better user experience.

Step 6: Focus on SEO to attract traffic

There’s no point building a small business website if there’s no one visiting it.

While Zyro is SEO friendly from day one, you should aim to attract even more traffic.

With the right approach and tools, you can make sure your website will rank higher on the search engine results pages.

There are many SEO practices that you can implement, like adding keywords in the right places, avoiding keyword stuffing, optimizing images with descriptive alt text, and optimizing your internal linking structure.

You can use the following tools to make your SEO implementation data-driven and effective:

  • Moz — provides insights into your online business’ performance on local search, and ranks you against competitors.
  • Ubersuggest — shows potential keywords within your niche along with their monthly search volumes.
  • Google PageSpeed Insight — checks your site’s speed on all devices while providing valuable insights for improvement.

Step 7: Start promoting your online business

Now that you’re ready to start selling, the final step is to promote your online business.

Social media promotion is an easy and cost-effective place to start. Upload product images on Facebook or Instagram, tweet about them on Twitter — it’s all free of charge.

You can use paid advertising tools to reach a larger audience.

Social media isn’t only a place to promote your business. It’s also a tool that connects you with your customers. You can directly ask for opinions on your products, or offer your own recommendations.

For video-focused promotion, you can count on YouTube.

Create an account and regularly upload videos of your products. Ask YouTube personalities to help promote your business, or try Youtube ads.

YouTube’s Find My Audience tool helps find people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.

Now you have you know

Recap

Starting a small online business requires a much smaller initial investment compared to a physical store.

It’ll be always available, allow you to manage the business more flexibly and efficiently, and the initial set-up is much easier. Let’s recap how to start a small online business:

  • Determine your niche through market research. Pick a fitting domain name that is memorable and easy to type. Then, proceed to build your online business site with Zyro.
  • Create your Zyro account, and register your domain name. After that, you can start with the design.
  • Choose a template that best matches your business’s niche and products. Integrate some useful elements for better user experience, such as eCommerce integrations, payment processors, easy navigation menus, and good UX design.

To finish, fill your website with content and products and promote it online — either through social media or video promotion on Youtube.