• Written by Fred Wilson

Just like Julie Andrews said in that classic musical; the Sound of Music, “let’s start at the very beginning because it’s a very good place to start” and a truer word could never be spoken about anywhere other than the online business world.

For starters, our title “starting an online business in Australia” could be seen as something of a misnomer.

This is because apart from your own input, your online business is going to be based, well, online and that means everywhere and anywhere. It all starts with creating that online presence and for that, you are going to need a website.

Laying your online business foundation - websites

One of the most important things that you are likely to learn whilst setting up an online business is how to make mistakes and probably plenty of them. There is a mountain of “helpful” advice to be found on the internet about websites and SEO but a sizable proportion of it is aimed at moving your money into someone else’s bank account. That doesn’t mean to say that there isn’t a huge online community of like-minded individuals who can contribute with oodles of helpful and more importantly, free advice.

Making your website work for you

Creating new websites and making them do the things an online business needs them to do, such as selling products or services and turning them into money is now within the grasp of virtually anyone. Platforms such as Wordpress and others offer free “out of the box” templates that utilise a plethora of free software (plugins) for virtually every website function you may need. The trick, however, is getting those websites seen by those potential buyers in the first place and there are basically only two ways to make that happen. You either pay for advertising or make clever use of SEO (search engine optimisation), whether that’s learning it yourself or using services like Clickthrough.

Marketing and SEO

If you are planning to set up an online business without spending a single dollar you are reading the wrong article and you may have already fallen for all the internet hype that tells you it can be done. In the final analysis, online business is exactly that; a business. Like any other business, your online enterprise needs to be marketed and that will take time, effort, and at least some money. Where you choose to apply those three aforementioned resources is also likely to have a knock-on effect on your levels of success.

While marketing through advertising will always only be as good as whatever advertising campaigns you are ruining at the time, SEO, on the other hand, continues to reap results on an ongoing basis long after it has been initiated.

With that in mind, while it may represent something of a “delayed gratification” model when done right, SEO can provide the best ROI (return on investment) in the long run.

Testing, testing, and yet more testing

If you are fortunate enough to hit the target first time out and actually make more than you spend you will be in a position to congratulate yourself on being the exception to the rule. Every single online business is unique and different products require different marketing tactics.

You should be prepared to systematically test several different ads and a variety of approaches to your SEO campaign to discovering which aspects reap the maximum results.

Taking the long view and being prepared to make and learn from those mistakes we mentioned at the beginning will provide the valuable data that you can utilise to develop your online business in a controlled and scalable way.

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The Viw Magazine

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