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7 Steps to Start and Grow a Successful Online Business

For some time now, you’ve been thinking about starting an online business. In this article, I will walk you through everything you need to know to speed up the process.

The truth is, starting a business can be daunting, especially if you are a complete beginner. Too much going on and if you lose focus, you might end up regretting down the line.

You don’t want that to happen to you, right?

I don’t either. And that is why I have compiled this guide to act as a road map to starting an online business you’ve always dreamed about.

Here, I will take you from finding that elusive business idea to the point you are ready to make your first sale.

Let’s get right into it, shall we?

  1. Find a need and fill it

As an entrepreneur, your primary call is to solve people’s problems. It is not about the money, well, most of us think it is but it isn’t.

You should think about what problems exist in your environment that can you can adequately solve.

The mistake people like you, who are just starting always make is trying to find the product first and then look for the market second.

Don’t do that.

Do this instead:

Find a group of people looking for a solution to a problem, but not getting enough solutions.

How can you do that?

  • Join online forums and look at the type of questions people ask as well as problems they are looking for solutions
  • Use keyword research tools to identify popular keywords with less competition
  • Spy on the competition, not to copy, but be inspired. Look at what they are doing to fulfill the market need

Go back and use what you’ve learned to create a solution. And remember, you are curating it for the existing market, so make sure it is better than the competition.

  1. Use copywriting to sell

Copywriting is a technique used to move a person from a potential customer to a paying customer. You do that using only words, and that is the coolest thing about copywriting.

Here is how to do that:

  • Use a compelling headline to attract their attention
  • Describe the problem your product or service tries to solve
  • Show them why you are the right person to solve that problem (establish credibility)
  • Compile testimonials from your existing customers. If you don’t have any, invite beta-testers.
  • Introduce the product and discuss how it works to solve the problem (benefits)
  • Give an offer
  • Give out irresistible guarantee
  • Push them to commit by creating urgency
  • Eat that frog (ask for the sale)

That is how you write an effective sales copy. And throughout the copy, make sure you are making it what’s in it for the customer.

No one cares about you until you show you care about them.

So, you have moved from identifying a solution to a problem faced by the existing market, to creating a sales copy to push the solution.

What’s next?

  1. Create a website

Time to get serious with your online business.

It is time to create a beautiful website. But remember, you don’t have much time to waste wondering what to do here. We have a free website builder you can use to create a beautiful website within minutes.

One more thing:

You have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention once they land on your website, otherwise, they are out and you may never see them again.

For this reason, here are some few tips to consider:

  • Make the website navigation and design clear and simple. Avoid unnecessary clutter
  • Only add audio or videos if they help you sell, other than that, avoid them because they are a distraction
  • Add email opt-ins to collect email addresses (offer something for free in exchange for an email address)
  • Simplify the checkout process. The shorter, the better

Read this article to learn more about creating your website.

  1. Leverage search engines to drive traffic

There are two ways to dry traffic to your new website and make sales. One, through SEO (search engine optimization). This is a free way to drive targeted traffic by positioning your website to attract specific people. One downside is that it takes time for it to yield results. But that doesn’t mean it is useless.

The second option is PPC (pay per click) advertising. Here, you are paying Google to show your website to people who are searching for a specific solution. This is done by targeting certain keywords.

To do this, think about your target audience, what terms do they use when searching for solutions your product or service solve?

For example:

If you are selling weight loss supplements, people searching for weight loss products search for things like weight loss products. Go ahead and target that keyword.

  1. Build a reputation

Next thing is to establish yourself as the go-to person in your niche. You do that by building a solid reputation and positioning yourself as an expert.

How?

  • Write free content, courses, training, and articles about your niche
  • Join industry forums and start contributing to arising questions you can solve
  • Encourage your readers to share the content with their friends.
  1. Take advantage of email marketing

Remember the opt-in you added above?

It will be collecting emails from your potential customers. Your job is to build a solid relationship with them through a series of emails.

Do not sell anything to them unless absolutely relevant. First focus on establishing a mutual relationship, then only mention your products when it makes sense to do so.

  • Send emails once or twice per week. Too much and you are annoying, too little and they will forget you
  • Offer training through emails
  • Use catchy headlines to increase open rates

Email marketing is the cheapest way to grow a business.

  1. Increase profits by offering to recommend more products

Do you know the best time to make more money?

When someone has just bought something from you. That’s right. She is showing you that she trusts you and that is why she bought from you.

You can reciprocate that by offering more products you think can help them even further. And that is how you make more sales.

Warning:

Do not be pushy.

Final thoughts on starting an online business

If you want to start and grow an online business, these are the steps you need to follow. But if you have an established business, review these steps and see where you need to improve.

Guidelines to Creating a Successful Website

It is likely that you will need a website in the course of your life. If you are reading this, that time could be now.

Most people who are not familiar with websites usually start without a clear goal, or look at the website as the end goal itself. This should not be the case because a website should be a tool to help you achieve a specific goal. You therefore need to plan diligently and ensure that you have a formula for success, and the parameters that will define that success.

Once you have established that you really need a website, here are the specific things to consider.

Start with an Objective

A website for the sake of a website is likely a waste of resources. One needs to clearly define the end goal so that everything will be designed to fit that end goal

The objective could be raising awareness about your brand, creating publicity about your products, selling online, sharing useful information, creating a community or even protecting your brand online.

Once you have that information you are better placed to decide what will work for you, and it will inform the type of content that you are going to create.

Your cutomers are online. DO yuo have a website to reach them??
Most people are online and having a website is the best way to reach them

Prepare your content 

One of the most important steps is preparing content that can go into your website. Remember that you are the person who is best placed to provide the relevant content that you need, even before you seek external help.

What kind of content do you need to prepare?

First, think about all the information about your business or the entity that needs a website and put it into writing. Any bit of information that you think somebody should know ought to be written down.  From there, go ahead and search online to see what similar businesses and competitors have put online.

The second part involves the more technical work such as identifying keywords that you want your website to rank on and organizing your content in a way that is appealing to both people and search engines. If you are not familiar with this, get an expert to help you with this. Most web designers can also help you with this.

It is important to have this content ready before you engage someone to develop your website. This is because you are the best placed to know what you need, and when you engage a third party it will be about enhancing what you already have and covering the gaps.

Get a Domain Name and Hosting Service

You definitely will need a domain name and web hosting service. This can also serve as your email service.

There are many web hosting and email service provider you can choose from, and I will leave this for you to decide. If you need help with this, kindly contact us through our chat platform at the bottom of the page.

Get a good web designer

From there you need to have a web designer or a developer who will make your website become a reality.

You need someone who will help you present your content in an appealing way and make it presentable on the web. It is a similar thing to painting a house and working on the landscape to make a piece of real estate look attractive.

This is where you will determine what content appears on specific location of the website, as well as getting good graphics to accompany your content. A web developer should use their expertise to present the content the way it is designed, and this is quite a hard task that take time.

Publicize your Website

Once the website is ready, it is necessary to publicize the content and put a word out there.  What is the purpose of having a website that no one knows about?

There are several ways to achieve this.

Start with listing the website in directories, and adding it to your social media pages. Let your clients know about it and put it in all your publications and branding materials.

You could also consider promoting it using online ads. This would help put the word out there but in most cases it may not be necessary. With time, you will see your site start to show on search engines.

Keep it alive with content

A good website is alive, and need regular content and working on to keep it relevant. How can one achieve this?

For a website, you need to keep adding content that your users might need. This is because no one will keep coming back to see the old content. The best way to do that is to have regular posts, and you can consider having a blog section where you will be sharing this content.

Try to keep up with trend and any new information that could be useful for your website. If you cannot do this yourself, you can consider getting someone to do this for you.

Best Domain Name Generators: Top 5 Free Tools in 2020

Do you want the best domain name but stuck and don’t know how to get it? In this article, you will learn about a hustle free way of generating websites’ names without many headaches. We are talking about the best domain name generators.

What is a domain name generator?

The domain name generator is a very important tool that helps you generate hundreds of website name ideas. All you have to do is input a seed keyword, hit generate, and you are good to go.

As you already know, a domain name is like a brand. And you will be stuck with it for a very long time. As such, it should be short, catchy, easy to remember, and most importantly, should be available.

What does that mean?

You see, today more than ever, people are registering website names in thousands per day. As a result, there is a high chance that your website name if not already taken, will be very soon.

How does the website name generator work?

Say you want your website to include words like ‘car’, ‘fast’, ‘luxury.’ Well, you could create a combination of the three words and end up with a domain name like www.CarFastLuxury.com

Can you see what is wrong with such a name?

First of all, it is long and not memorable.

Second, it carries no meaning at all. Just generic.

So what do you do?

That is where the domain name generator comes in. Just feed it with the keywords you already have and let the search begin. Once you do that, you also specify whether you want a .com, .co.za, .org, or .net extension. It all depends on your needs.

Once you feed the necessary ingredients, the generator algorithm goes into search mode, combining the keywords, adding a suffix or a prefix here, and so on.

When it is done, your job is to pick the one you like from the list.

Here are some tips you should follow to make sure that you actually pick the right website name for you.

  • Pick the shorter domain name – they are easy to type and remember
  • Consider the domain extension – there are popular ones like .com, .net, and .org. But think about your line of business. For example, if your business will serve users from ZA, go with the co.za domain name. If you are an online store, .store extension could be the best
  • Go with the most catchy names – easy to remember because they actually stick on the mind
  • Avoid ones with hyphens and numbers – such names will cause you problems

Having said that, here are 5 best domain name generators you can try them now.

5 best domain name generators

  1. BizNameWiz

domain-name-generators-biz-name-wiz

I consider it one of the best domain name generators.

All you have to do is enter the keyword and hit generate. Once you get the results, you can filter them based on the industry, specify the character count (remember we said the best website name should be 6-14 characters long), and also adjust to get one word or two-words domain name

  1. NameCheap

best domain name generators

NameCheap allows you to generate website names for free, thanks to its Beast Mode tool.

Once you are on their website, click on Beast Mode, and then add up to 5000 keywords, select preferred TLD (extensions), pick the category, and specify if you want to see the unavailable ones.

  1. Shopify Business Name Generator

best domain name generators

Shopify is an e-commerce site. But what you don’t know is that they have a very powerful business name generator available free of charge.

Although it may sound like you are looking for a business name, this tool actually gives you domain name suggestions, thus making to our list of best domain name generators you can try.

  1. NameBoy

nameboy-best-domain-name-generator

Nameboy calls themselves the best domain name generator. It is easy to see why.

It is the oldest and most popular domain name generator in the world. Here, you can search for new business name ideas and get the website name instantly (before someone else does).

  1. Lean Domain Search

leandomainsearch

Lean Domain Search is a great tool you can use to come up with website ideas in seconds.

Just type the keyword into the search box and have a ton of ideas within no time.

Final thoughts

I have given you 5 best domain name generators. These aren’t all of them, but they should help you pick the best website name. And once you do, come back and start registering the website name.

Do You Really Need a Website?

Everything is going digital in South Africa and for you to survive online you need to have a website!

That has been the story over and over, especially since the outbreak of Covid-19. Consequently, everyone is rushing to set up their online shop, to share their recipes online and to give an opinion on how the world will be post Covid-19.

But is that the whole truth? Is it necessary for one to have a website in South Africa today? Isn’t social media enough?

What Matters

For a start, one needs to understand that the need for a website is similar to the need for a physical presence. You will have walk in clients, referrals, repeat visitors, accidental visitors, and of course associated bills

The major difference is that a website has no geographical barriers, although that has a limitation on its own. Whereas you can

Here are a few things to consider:

Would you benefit from increased publicity?

If you think you can benefit from increased online presence, then you need a website. A well done website is able to attract visitors from all the corners of the internet and make your brand more prominent.

This is useful for businesses and brands that would thrive with increased publicity. If you are running a village coffee shop that does not need to be known by anyone else except the current clients, you may not need a website.

Do you need to consolidate your content on social media?

You might be using social media already, but that is not good enough if you are in it for a long term. Having a website ensures that your content is consolidated in one place, and you do not risk losing it in case you lose access to your social media account.

It is also a central place where users can find, as opposed to many social media accounts which keep evolving. Yesterday it was Facebook and today it is Tiktok.

Do you have information that you need to share?

In the information age, having information worth sharing is a golden opportunity. This could be in the form of a blog, telling people about your products, sharing information for fun or even curating information that people need to know.

All these would be best done in the form of a website. It is also important that you find a way of sharing and publicizing this content so that it can get readers.

Can you sell online?

If you are selling goods and services that can be offered online, it is important to have a website. This is because you increase your potential reach and get more customers. Already, South Africa has millions of people online and having a website will help you target that.

When considering selling online, one thing that is needed is to figure out the logistics part because you will still need to do the delivery services. For this you can partner with the various delivery service providers that are present in your location.

Do you have the skill and expertise?

The question of skills is not a very strong point today. While creating a website is a complex affair, recent development in content management systems and website builders have made it easy for any person to come up with a website.

If you possess enough skills to effectively use social media and applications such as powerpoint, then you should be good enough to use the available tools to create your own website.

However, advanced features and making a top notch professional website may require one to have professional developers helping with your website. This could include functions like integrating payments and effective Search Engine Optimization.

Are your competitors online?

If your competitors are online, you have no business being offline. You need at least to match their web presence for you to keep up with them, and even outdo them if you are to stay ahead. This calls for you to constantly review their strategies and figure out what to do in order not to be out-competed.

What Next?

If you are convinced that you need a website, here are the steps that you need to take.

  1. Decide on a domain name that you can use for your online presence
  2. Find a suitable web hosting service provider who will host your website and emails.
  3. Create the content for your website. This includes the necessary information, the images and everything you need to include.
  4. Start building your website, or get a web developer to do it for you.
  5. Once you have your website ready, start publicizing it.

Free Domain Registration in South Africa: How To Get it in 2020

Domain names are a critical part of our connected world today. Any resource that is on the internet needs a domain name to be accessible. In South Africa alone, there are over 1 million domain names that are registered and active, while hundreds continue to be registered every day. How, then, can one acquire a free domain registration in South Africa?

Free Domain and Hosting

While a domain name refers to an address that is used to locate a resource in the cloud, hosting refers to the actual space that the resource is stored. The resource could be a website, emails or any other online files.

Talking of hosting, it could be a shared hosting, virtual machine or a dedicated server somewhere in the cloud.

These two are the main requirements for getting online, and there are hundreds of companies providing this service in South Africa.

Of course, all of them do it at a fee, but sometimes you just get lucky and land yourself a sweet deal that is nearly free.

Is it possible to get free Domain and Hosting in South Africa?

free domain registration in south africa

Where can one land free domain registration in South Africa?

Well, even in the cloud there is no free lunch.

This means that you have to pay for these services. However, you can still hack a free domain hosting, but with limited control.

Look at the following sites, it is the closest you can get free domain registration in South Africa and hosting.

  1. Using WordPress, BlogSpot and Wix

WordPress.com can allow you to host a website for free using a subdomain on WordPress.com. Such a subdomain will be something like example.wordpress.com.

The disadvantage with this approach is that you cannot use your own domain name such as a .co.za domain, unless you are willing to pay some money for it which is expensive.

In that case, you are better off using a paid hosting service.

  1. Using a host who gives either a free hosting or a free domain

Here is the thing, you cannot win both in this world.

Let me explain.

You cannot get a free domain and free hosting.

But you can get at least getting one for free.

How?

There are several web hosting companies here in South Africa who offer one of those services for free. You pay for one, you get the other one as part of the package.

However, note that you are not actually getting anything for ‘free’, just that the price of the free one is included in the other.

Just pay for hosting

All of our web hosting packages come with a free .co.za domain name. It is free to register only if you purchase a hosting plan. And it doesn’t stop there. You also get:

  • Email service tools for free
  • SEO resources to help you rank faster
  • Database management resources
  • Online marketing tools to jumpstart your business
  • Web security tools so you can sleep rest assured your site is safe

So what are you waiting for?

Get a hosting package now and register a domain in South Africa ASAP.

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