The internet is one of the most invaluable tools in the world today and plays a significant role in changing the dynamics of conducting business. Today’s techno-driven society uses the internet to fuel opportunities for full-time parents, remote workers, and avid travelers who work on the go, as well as shoppers for an increasingly wide range of products. If you have a digital business idea designed to capitalize on the increasing potential represented by these consumer opportunities, recognize you need the same level of hard work and effort as setting up a physical business. Although the capital investments and overhead involved in operating an online business make these options more attractive, you must invest a considerable amount of resources to build a strong online presence. Below are ten types of online businesses offering real potential to generate ideas as you ponder starting an online business either to supplement your income or as a full-time business.
10 types of online business to start
1. Lead generation
A lead generation business allows you to source potential clients on behalf of other companies. We often think of lead generation occurring within your website but many companies pay other websites to generate leads for them.
Today, lead generation is a key performance metric for businesses interested in obtaining customers with a genuine interest in their products. Companies are willing to pay for a good lead to prospective customers due to the potential advantage of increased conversion rates. You can set up a website that specifically focuses on collecting and analyzing the data of people interested in certain products and services and pass the information to your clients.
The first step in running a lead generation type of online business is creating relationships with brands willing to pay for leads. You then place ads for these branded products and redirect customers to your landing site where they will fill in their details to get more information regarding the product. These leads then go to the brand in exchange for payment.
2. E-commerce Website
Among the most lucrative of the options for starting an online business we discuss are e-commerce websites.
The ease of accessibility of e-commerce stores means the global accessibility of online stores grew tremendously over the years. An e-commerce store allows customers to shop for goods and services online through digital transactions on their phones, PCs, and tablets. Once your store is up and running, your focus shifts to driving traffic to your website through effective marketing campaigns then converting those visitors through a great user experience.
A top tip in running a profitable e-commerce website involves targeting a particular type of customer with products selected with their tastes, needs, and desires in mind. Once you have initial success, feel free to move into ancillary products and markets that take advantage of the distribution channel you already built. Think about how Amazon started as an online bookstore catering to readers who wanted the world at their fingertips, then expanded to other products that shared the same logistics system to reduce distribution costs/ product.
3. Affiliate marketing
Another popular type of online business involves affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing works by providing customers with information about products and embedding links within the copy. When readers click on the link and buy a product from the e-commerce site, they pay you based on the prevailing schedule. Your goal is to drive traffic to a merchant’s website through an affiliate link and earn your revenues based on your marketing performance and commission offered.
The first step in affiliate marketing is to find partners. Some companies, like Amazon, operate their own affiliate programs while other companies operate through third parties, like CJ Affiliate. Brands are increasingly selective about the firms in their affiliate programs to reduce the costs associated with managing the program. Hence, you may need to demonstrate your ability to sell their products to sign up for the affiliate program or to remain in the program. In choosing programs, think about your visitors and products that interest them.
4. SaaS Business
SaaS, which stands for software as a service, is a business model for customers to purchase software online through subscriptions. An online SaaS business is ideal if you are knowledgeable about coding and software development as you will be able to develop software and sell them on your website. In the beginning, concentrate on fixing bugs and troubleshooting software to ensure the software runs smoothly. That makes this type of online business the most challenging and the return takes much longer to show up.
Among the business models we discuss, this type of business requires the most effort and skill (or money to hire developers). Use caution as you both create a product and market it as the payback time can take a long time.
If you have a creative mindset, blogging is a great way to share your creative and informative ideas. With a blog, you attract a loyal readership over time that helps with growing your website.
Building a highly profitable blog requires you to generate regular high-quality, and informative content to keep your readers coming back. You must also carve a niche to reduce competition and serve an audience often ignored by other bloggers.
Interserver is a web hosting platform that allows you to host your blog at an affordable price, although many other web hosting companies offer similar platforms. This one satisfies all your requirements by providing easy-to-understand themes, tools, and plugins that help you make an attractive blogging website. If you need step-by-step directions to create a blogging website, I created this handy ebook that walks you through the process.
Monetizing your blog by selling advertising (ie. using affiliate links or links to Google Ads, formerly Adwords), charging a small monthly subscription (or a large fee if your site is very popular such as stock newsletters that help investors), or selling products on your website. As a matter of fact, most e-commerce sites contain a blog to attract new visitors.
6. Creating and selling stock photos
If you have a passion for photography, creating and producing images for sale to stock agencies and businesses that purchase the rights to use these images is a profitable niche for an online venture. Create a private website where you publish the photos and only invite your customers to download and publish the photos. You are able to earn a set amount once the photos are purchased. A top tip in this niche is to have an open eye on the business and social trends to respond to market dynamics.
7. Social shopping marketplace
Create a platform on your website that acts as a search engine for buyers to get offers relating to certain products. Such offers consist of multiple items sold by different independent sellers. Sellers can communicate with buyers through visually attractive stacks on the website. They get immediate feedback from customers regarding the products.
8. SEO or another consultant
SEO is the most widely used tool by online businesses for growth. Becoming an SEO consultant involves optimizing website content to ensure the website ranks high on search engines for increased traffic and sales.
Due to the level of competition in this niche, you can create a website where you conduct keyword searches optimal in headlines, descriptions, and articles. With industrial experience in SEO concepts including authority, link building, and search engine spiders, you can offer consultancy services for different companies.
In fact, building a website for any type of consulting practice makes sense if you have a specialization in an area that justifies charging clients, such as marketing, cybersecurity, business analytics, or another business area.
9. Online dating expert
Online dating gained popularity in the last decade with an estimated 50 million users on Tinder in 2019. With the growing audience for online dating, you can create a website that allows people to meet their match, although you need vast numbers of users to fuel these matches, so this strategy isn’t for the faint of heart. Your website should include tips and advice on online dating, as well as tools for matches to communicate with each other in a safe space.
10. Online travel guru
If you are an avid traveler, you might leverage your experiences to start a travel business. With the growing demand for travel information, focus on sharing information about specific types of travel with your audience including traveling to a specific area, business travels, and backpacking.
With a travel site, you can also share the experience of other customers and engage your target audience by building a community where users help each other. Once you have considerable traffic on your website, you can partner with host agencies where you earn a commission for flight and accommodation recommendations.
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