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The 4 Essentials of Online Business Ownership

Aug 17, 2007
It's true that running an online business takes time, energy, effort, and consistent action, but when you separate out the elements of what it takes to become an online business success, it's really easier than it looks. When most people consider starting a business online, they are intimidated by the online gurus already out there who started their businesses from the beginning of all internet time. Yes, there is a learning curve if you hope to be successful, but if you concentrate on the following four essential pieces of the online business puzzle, you can expect to see positive results over time:

The first essential element is that you need to grow and maintain a responsive list of customers that you can communicate with regularly. In the online business world, this means having a newsletter that your website visitors can sign up to from your website. How do you create a newsletter? Some programs that you join may offer a series of pre-written email messages that go out to your subscribers. Of course you can and should create your own messages to supplement those by sending broadcast messages to your entire list. If you want to create your own, you may want to provide a year's worth of messages that go out maybe every other day. You don't have to do this all at once, you can write a little bit each day, and add each new message to your autoresponder. An autoresponder is a handy device that sends out your pre-written messages to your list on a regular basis without you having to do a thing. This is a huge time-saver, so you should definitely invest in an autoresponder service if it doesn't come with the program you have joined.

When you have a newsletter and an autoresponder to send your messages automatically, you have to think about how you are going to get people to subscribe to your email list. It isn't usually as easy as placing a popup onto your site where visitors can type in their names and email addresses. Most people don't want their inboxes to be packed with emails from different newsletter lists, so people are very selective after a while about whose list to join. Why would they want to sign up for yours in particular? You have to tell them why by giving them a very good reason to join. Usually this means offering a free report, an ebook, or offering a short e-course that will tell them something they really want to know that they can't easily get someplace else. Popups on your site that allow people to type in their names and email addresses are effective, but not if there are no incentives attached. Even more effective is creating an opt-in page filled with incentives for joining your list, and circulating this on the traffic exchanges to get new signups.

The second essential element of online business ownership is generating traffic to your site and to your sign-up forms so that you can build your list. There are many ways to generate traffic. One of the main ways is to use traffic exchanges where you type in an advert and link to your site that gets viewed by others who are surfing the traffic exchanges for opportunities or credits. In a traffic exchange, you don't really want to display a complex website that has a lot of information on it. Most people surfing traffic exchanges either won't read long and drawn out information pages, but will be on the site long enough to take a quick glance at a short page that gives them a quick and easy way to sign up for your newsletter. If you choose the best traffic exchanges, you can expect to get signups from this method.

Another effective way to generate traffic is to write articles and distribute them around the net with an article submitter software and/or service. When you write articles full of good quality content and keywords, the search engines will visit your site often. Also, your author bio-box at the end of the article will have your website or newsletter signup information on it so that people can sign up right from the links there after reading your article and visit your site by clicking the links you provide. The more traffic you get to your site, the better chance you have of growing your opt-in list of subscribers.

The third essential element of online business success is owning and maintaining a blog, which is also another great way to get traffic to your site. All you have to do is setup a free blog account in a matter of minutes, and then start writing in it as you would in a journal. You can post your thoughts and opinions, provide special reports on products or services, or post your own or other people's articles. Blog content is like article content. The more you have on your site, the better your search engine rankings, and the more people who will visit your site. When you ping your blog, you send information to the search engines that your site has new content, so every time you update your blog, you ping it, and the search engine spiders will come running. It's a good idea to put your links at the bottom of your blogs as well, make comments on other people's blogs, and leave your links there. The more links you have pointing back to your site, the more traffic you will get, and the more traffic you have, the more potential signups and eventual paying customers you will have.

The fourth element of online business ownership is adding to, updating, and maintaining your website. By this I mean that the internet is always changing. Methods of generating traffic are both static and dynamic. You must continue to learn and grow with the changes in what search engines are looking for when it comes to quality content. One minute banner advertising is popular and the next minute, it's text ads. Changing your site around and adding new advertisements and fresh content keeps your site new and exciting for your visitors. When you make changes, communicate those changes to your list, and let people know that you have their best interests in mind.
About the Author
Liane Bate owns a Plugin Profit Site web business, is a member of Success University, and the IAHBE.
Learn more about online business success and optimizing your site
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