The growth of the internet has created a new kind of entrepreneur. Today, with just a laptop and an internet connection, you can practically start a new business with minimal cost. Starting an online business can be as simple as setting up on an existing e-commerce platform to registering a domain and taking care of your business your own way.

You don’t need a fancy qualification to start, manage, and grow a successful online business. As simple as that may sound, you need a workable plan of action to get started and implement the right strategies to attract and retain customers.

What should I sell online?

This is probably one of the biggest questions for a lot of people when they decide to launch an online business. To increase your chances of success, it pays to find out if there is a need you can fill in the market. This cannot be overemphasized: find a need and fill it. Do a simple research and find out problems you can solve, and get to work as soon as possible. Visit industry forums, check out key questions on Quora, go to Reddit and do a keyword research.

And of course, use Google to do a major keyword search to find what people are looking for but for which, not many companies or sites are providing solutions. You can even check out competitor sites, and take note of what they are not doing and fill the demand. With all that information, create a new product that solves a problem, or solve an existing problem but make it better than the competition.

Design and create a user-friendly website

Once you know exactly what you want to sell online, and have put together a process for selling the product, now you are ready to create a customer and mobile-friendly website to get started. Many websites are built with little focus on the customer.

Build a website with your customer needs at the center of the strategy. Building a website doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. If you are selling products, you’ll probably need a website that can handle e-commerce transactions and order fulfillment without customer issues.

Create a free website with Wix

Wix allows you to build an e-commerce site the easy way. It’s a simple process for creating even a robust site for selling anything. Once you sign up and create an account, you will be able to pick a website template of your choice.

Wix has a huge range of mobile optimised templates you can use for your specific needs. Their free website templates can help you get started without professional web design experience. And the best part of the website design process for beginners is that you click and edit any part of your website to suit your brand.  Their drag and drop editor is simply flawless. There is no coding involved in the process. It’s all visual-based to make it easier for you to complete your website design process without wasting time.

If you want to use a custom domain, Wix allows you to register your domain and quickly.  A custom domain helps you stand out and look professional. Make sure it fits your brand, is easy to remember.  And most importantly for better customer experience, Wix allows you to create a website that looks great on any device.

When you are done creating your awesome site, Wix provides you with all the professional tools to manage your business online.

Using a business email for your domain is an important step towards establishing a great business brand. The Wix G Suite Mailbox allows you to create custom email addresses to manage different sections of your business. Example, you can create or for different purposes to stay in touch with customers and partners.

If you intend to send out email newsletters, The Wix ShoutOut is an incredible and beautiful tool send custom messages, discount codes, product updates, special offers to your visitors to increase engagement. You can also use it to track and measure email performance to better serve your customers. Don’t forget to use the Wix SEO Wizard to help you improve your site’s rankings. Improving the pages of your site is the most important way to promote your business and attract more targeted traffic.

What to do when your site is live

At the stage, you know what you selling, you’ve built a great site and are ready for business. But starting and running an online business doesn’t end there. Now the real work begins to build a stable business poised for growth.

Start blogging immediately

Business blogging has proven to be one of the best and cheapest ways (compared to pay-per-click) to attract and retain the right customers. Through blogging, you can provide educational information and resources for free to your prospective customers. You will also get better search traffic and rankings. Create text, video, images, and if you can audio content people will find useful. You can distribute the content on your social sites, directories, and even industry blogs. It’s the best way to establish authority in your niche.

HubSpot and Kissmetrics, both marketing companies, consistently create amazing content to educate their customers. They are now considered thought leaders in their industry. You can build your company’s online presence in so many ways. The important thing is to explore, measure and stick to what works for you, and do more of what works for your business.

Experiment with different content to see what resonates with your customers– don’t keep doing the same thing if it doesn’t convert. Vary your content and do more of what converts. And, by all means necessary, be social. If your target audience is on social sites. Use them to your advantage.

Don’t neglect Search engine optimization

Once you are live and selling, invest in search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure your target market can find your site easily on search engines. SEO is core to your site’s long-term visibility. Pay-per-click advertising is a popular option if you have a marketing budget. It allows you to get immediate traffic.

And PPC can also help you find the best keywords that send traffic to your site. The PPC approach to marketing helps you find and distribute the right keywords throughout your site (through marketing messages and business blog), which will help your rankings in the organic search results.

Keep an eye on industry trends

The worst thing for any business is to miss out on customers expect. Stay on top of your industry trends to stay relevant as you grow. The online world is constantly evolving. You don’t want to miss out on anything that could make a huge difference for your business.

Stay consistent

The principles of starting, managing and growing an online business haven’t fundamentally changed, but there are better approaches every year. If you’re just starting out, be persistent, don’t give when you come across challenges. Always review your processes and do more of what’s working. Your efforts will pay off in the end if you are solving a real problem.