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How to Build an Online Business From Scratch in 8 Months

Building a successful business is tough right? Usually, you have to be prepared to pour in considerable sums of money to get started and most sources will tell you, you won’t see any returns until year two and three.

What if I told you, with just approximately 8 months of effort and with practically zero or little money you can build a website that attracts 50k unique visitors per month that you could then monetise through the sale of the blog or through a paid product or service relevant to the contents of your blog, and you can do it just by blogging?

Keep reading…

The Goal

  • Create a very simple blog. This can be done with very little effort. 
  • Write between 500-700 word articles each day.
  • Build links to your site.
  • Publish and share your content.
  • Get to 50k visitors per month and or 1k new email subscriptions per month.
  • Sell the blog or find a way to monetise your audience.
  • Generate affiliate income

This is not just some outrageous claim, for over a decade I’ve seen many online businesses achieve wild success through the grind of producing high-value content that consistently spreads throughout the web and thus dominating their space.

Like with most things the process is simple but requires one to be systematic and deliberate with their approach. Here are the steps and prerequisites to achieving this goal.

You have to be passionate

Pick a market that you’re extremely passionate about otherwise you will burn out, get bored and lose gas. You will need to love it so much that, that’s all you want to do for the rest of your life. I didn’t say it will be easy, so don’t do it if you don’t come armed with passion.

Pick a big enough market

You’ve heard it before, “pick a small niche and dominate it”. True, it is easier and quicker to dominate a small niche but it’s much harder to monetise as the market share is small. This is disgraceful but I forget the name of a successful serial entrepreneur who said, it takes the same amount of time and energy to build a business whether it’s a small or large market, so why not make more money and expend your energy on the bigger market.

You can check how difficult it is to rank in a particular vertical by comparing how many backlinks the competition has vs how much estimated volume of traffic they receive. 

You can also you use Google Trends which will maps out how popular a particular search term is over time. 

Start with a blog

Blogging is the easiest and cheapest way of getting initial traction. Ok, you can speed things up by paying a tonne for traffic and then work hard to convert those visitors into paying customers but the point of this article is to demonstrate how you can build a business with next to no money. Paid traffic is expensive and in most cases you’ll need surplus amounts of money at your disposal.

Why blogging? The audience is the most valuable asset there is. Most people believe a business should make money from day one, I believe once you spend time and effort building the audience you can start to think about monetisation in many different ways subsequently. The hardest part is building the audience. Once you have the eyeballs, you can continue offering them different things to make money in different ways.

Set aside 3 hours a day to write

You will need to set aside at least 3 hours a day to create your blog posts. You will get faster over time but you must expect to invest at least that amount of time to research topics, write and publish your posts.

If you’re thinking, “three hours, I can’t do that”, Let me tell you… If you can’t invest that kind of time, it’s pretty much a none starter. You can outsource the writing but even then you will need to invest the time to provide the topics to write about and proofread.

The truth is, everybody has 3 hours a day that you’re probably wasting watching Netflix, scrolling through Instagram or doing other kinds of unproductive things. If you’re passionate about something, you have to put in the time and energy, Period.

Outsourcing Content

You can farm out the writing but typically those people that are writing for you are not going to be as passionate as you are and therefore the quality won’t come off the same. Also the truth is that most writers are dog shit. 

A good writer will cost you between £100-£200 per post. For an amazing writer, who can write in-depth 5000-word articles could cost you around £500 per post.

Your blog posts should sound conversational

Most people suck at blogging because their blog posts sound like an essay. Blogging is social, it needs to be conversational.

Keep it short and sweet

Your blog post should be organised into small paragraphs. Don’t write sentences that go on for more than 5-7 lines. With so much content out there, we’re constantly fighting for attention. Don’t lose the battle early by droning on and losing the reader.

Focus on the headline

David Ogilvy, the godfather of advertising said, “for every dollar you spend on advertising, 80 cents should go into the headline”.

If you hook someone with a great headline, even if your content is sub-standard, you will get traffic. Of course, Ideally you should have an amazing headline and post, but my point is you should spend a lot of time perfecting the headline.

If you’re not good at writing headlines, google “copyblogger headline formula” and you’ll get templates that work for any industry or go to https://www.portent.com/tools/title-maker, a fantastic tool which through a formula provides you with fantastic suggestions based on the terms you enter.

Use subheadings

Split your article into easily digestible subheadings. It makes it actionable and most people scan the whole page before they start to read. It also allows people to pick where they want to read from.

Don’t assume that your readers will want to read everything from top to bottom!

Use good imagery

I don’t need to tell you that strong imagery can help grab attention. Most blog posts contain really poor and sometimes irrelevant imagery. You can get ahead easily by using carefully selected hard-hitting imagery. I tend to add the blog title in the image.

Use plain language

Dumb your vocabulary down. Don’t use words that forces people to use a dictionary to understand the definitions to. You don’t want to talk above people, you want to have a simple conversation.

Be edgy

Figure out how you can be edgy in your space. Go to buzzsumo.com and type in keywords and phrases within your space. It will give you a feel for what the landscape looks like.

Buzzsumo is a great tool to analyse what content performs best for any topic or competitor. Once you know what’s being done already you can spend the time figuring out how you could shake things up.

Write about things so much better than what’s out there, write something that no-one would dare to copy. Always be better.

Be actionable 

You should be able to send your blog post to someone and be confident that they can take action from it. If they can’t take action, then that means you’ve done a poor job.

Refine your blog posts

Top tip: when your blog posts starts to perform better, remember to update them and make them even better. If you have an email list, email your list and inform them that you have updated your post. Once updated, share them again on social media. You won’t get the same amount of lift as you previously did, but typically you might get between 70-80% lift again.

Publish and share

There are a tonne of free ways in which you can promote your posts for example, start building an email list and market your posts to them, post on sites like Medium, swap ads with other sites, join relevant facebook groups and contribute, submit answers to Quora and of course share on social media to name a few strategies. 

Build backlinks

Backlinks remain one of the most prominent factors in contributing to how well your website is ranked in search engines. A backlink strategy should therefore be at the forefront of your operation.

You can use sites like ahrefs.com or moz.com/link-explorer to explore how many backlinks your competitors have to get a feel for how many you will need to achieve.

Here is a simple yet effective Link outreach script you can use to increase the chances of people linking back to you.

“Hey [name], I have to say, I’m a huge fan of yours. So much so that I even linked out to you in my latest blog post. Feel free to check it out. [link].

Cheers,
Mamo.
p.s. if shared it, it would totally rock my day!”

Monetise

Once you’ve hit 50k visitors per month or when your email list is growing by 1k subscribers per month, the blog will be worth a substantial sum of money to someone in that space. 

If your niche is small but high value, for example the legal sector, you can start to think about monetisation when you reach 5-10k monthly visitors because one customer could be worth £100k or one lead could be worth several thousands.

You could generate an income sooner by joining affiliate programs. Simply put, affiliate income is when you get paid commission on a sale that’s derived from a link on your blog of a product that is for sale on another site (for example Amazon).

They are easy to sign up to and earn you a commission every time someone clicks on the affiliate link and ends up buying that product.

Conclusion

To summarise, you can start a business from scratch and in just 8 months create a blog that generates 50k visitors per month which you can either sell to prospective buyers or monetise the audience yourself. 

Every business requires time and effort but following a well-trodden strategy can make your journey a lot more straightforward. 

I’m putting my money where my mouth is, I’m applying the above principles my self in a very tough sector going up against people who do this for a living!

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About the author

Mamo has been in the Online Marketing space since 2005, has a background in Software Engineering, User Experience Design and has a deep understanding of the principles of Digital Marketing.

He founded his first company at age 17 and has been instrumental in launching over 300 website builds and executing 100’s of successful marketing campaigns generating millions in revenue.