How to Start Your Online Business

A Step by Step Guide

What is a Niche

A niche by definition is: denoting or relating to products, services,
or interests that appeal to a small, specialized section of the population.

What is a Niche? I like to think of a niche as “a group of people” looking for something specific. But for now we will go the traditional route.

Think of something you love, something your passionate about. An interest that you like perusing. When your done reading this post, walk away from your computer and let your mind brainstorm.

I find I think clearer in the most unlikely places. The shower, sitting on my deck, taking a drive, even watching TV. Keep a pen and paper handy and write them down. Don’t limit yourself, you will narrow the list down later. After you have a few ideas on your list, narrow it down to say 3 ideas.

Need help to find a niche? Jaaxy, a free keyword search platform can help. After signing up for free, on the top right is “Brainstorm”. Just put an idea in and it will help you find a niche that relates to your idea. You can check it out right here.

These 3 ideas you have written down, are you passionate about them? Do you have enough interest in these ideas to build your Online Business with? Your going to building pages of content around your niche, so make sure it is something your not going to get bored doing.

Don’t become a member of the “Online failure rate

My typical Website has between 20+ pages. As I go along and visitors ask questions, I find I may need to add another. My point here is its a lot of writing, so it should be something your going to love doing.

Some people wanting to build an online business, already know what kind of business or products they want to sell. Some build there own products and want to have a Website online so they can sell their products on.

Lets take “Wooden Spice Racks” as an example

If you for example, build wooden spice racks and wants an online store. That’s a good niche, but lets examine it a bit further, since there are thousands of spice racks available to the public.

The spice racks you build, are they counter top, hanging or do they go in a cabinet? If they go in a cabinet, do they attach to the door or sit on the shelf? Are they raw wood, stained, painted or antiqued? Are they stationary or have a lazy Susan? What size spice jars will fit on them?

What I am trying to point out is there is a lot more thought you have to put in to define a focused niche. A lot more then you might think from the start. Just Google “wooden spice racks” and then click on images and take a look, there are thousands of them.

Building an affiliate business around your niche

If your not building your own products, you may want to build an Affiliate Business. That’s the most common sites online today. What are you going to be selling on your affiliate site?

Whatever the product you decide you want to promote on your affiliate website, do you have enough interest to write pages of content about it? Your content, with keywords included, is what is going to get you traffic (visitors).

Lets say your interest is pets and you want to have an online pet store. That’s a good start, but just think of all the pets that people have. From ant farms to dogs, there are hundreds of pets. What one are you going to focus on? What one will be your Niche?

Lets say you pick cats. There are hundreds of items just for them. All the different foods, flea protection, beds, treats, collars, leashes, toys, scratch pads, etc. There are thousands of cat toys alone.

You have to narrow it down or you’ll make the same mistake I made when I first started 25 years ago. Having a 10 page site full of ad’s and external links attached will not make it in the “online business world“.

Focus on a narrow niche, specialize in it, make your site unique with interesting content and images. Have some interactive pages where your visitors can post pictures of their cats and add little stories to it.

Maybe a problem/solution page where people can comment on bad behaviors, and others can post what they did to stop it. Get your visitors involved and they will come back again and again to see what’s new. 

Lets say you want to have a site that sells golf clubs. Its a good niche but too broad. There are drivers, putters, wedges, irons, and then different brands, titlist, Callaway, ping, etc. Each brand of golf club sells many drivers alone.

Callaway drivers might be a good focused niche. They probably have 5-10 different drivers alone, maybe more. But having review pages would be a good way to build this site. Even if you are selling Callaway drivers, whatever driver your comparing it too you could have a link on them to sell them as well. Don’t leave money on the table.

If your focus from the start
is all about making money, you’ll be hard pressed to find success. If you focus on helping people, the money will come. There are NO get rich quick schemes in the online business world. A successful online business takes time and patience, but will pay off if you truly help people.

Know who your target customers are. Listen to them and offer honest and good solution to their problem. There is an old saying for starting a business, “find a need and fill it”. This is still true and people are in need of information.

I have posted somewhere on my site a quote from the movie Wall Street, where Michael Douglas playing Gordon Gekko says, “Information is the most valuable commodity I know”. This is true. Offer information and your site will be successful.

Now that you have your idea, research it. Go to Google or Bing, whatever your favorite search engine is, and type in your idea. Take a look at the listings that come up. Go to a few of the sites and take some notes.

These sites are going to be your competition online. Look at how their website is laid out. Check the products there selling, their pricing and most importantly, the content they are writing. 

When your doing this, type in your idea in different ways. Lets say your niche is Mouse Pads. You should then search, Custom Mouse Pads, Mouse Pads, Computer Mouse Pads, Personalized Mouse Pads. There is probably close to a hundred ways to search this one niche.

Pay attention to Google’s suggestions. When you start to type into Google your idea, it will have a drop down list of their suggestions. When I first typed in mouse, it showed 9 different suggestions. Mouse pictures, traps, pad, clipart, spider, etc. These terms are history of what people searched for online and some might be great keywords.

 Once you have done some research, you’ll want to take your idea to a Keyword Search Engine and do some searches there to aid in creating a business name. Below is the results of a keyword search for mouse pads.

Read more about doing keyword searches. [ Read More ]

I can see from the above screen shot, mouse pads are very competitive. The best keyword phrase is “mouse pads amazon”, which if you had an affiliate website and were promoting some Amazon mouse pads, it would be a good page title.

Your online business name

You want your name to reflect what your business is all about, and have a keyword in it as well. Your name is your identity online. Although your domain name is not as important as your page titles and your content, it must reflect what your business is all about. [Read More

Want to do some free keyword searches on your idea? 
Free keyword search


Hope you found this information useful in narrowing down your niche. 
All my best to your business success.

PS: Please leave a comment if you have a minute….Thanks


  1. Tabsmark says:

    Hi there

    The break down of what a niche is was most helpful! Narrowing it down is essential. I found lots of tips to make use of. Thanks so much. Great website!

    • Tabsmark,
      Your very welcome. I’m glad you found the information useful. Its amazing to me how small a niche can get when you really start to think of it. And to be successful, you do have to narrow it down to a very focused niche.
      All my best to your success,

  2. greg says:

    Hello Doug,
    Really like the information on your site. My niche is golf and I think I want to build a site based on selling golf balls.
    Do you have any suggestions as to how I find or choose a website name?
    Also, does it really take 3-4 months before you have business?
    Thanks for all the great information. Greg

    • Greg, First of all, yes it can take 3-4 month and in some cases more depending how good your content and keywords are, page titles and your marketing.
      As far as a website name, go to a keyword search platform, (I have a free one listed on my site), and do some searches on, golf balls, best golf balls, beast price on golf balls, etc. Find a name that suits your niche.
      Your site name is not going to be as important as your page titles, but it should be relevant and relate to the business.
      All my best, Doug

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