business from scratch“What would you do if you were starting completely from scratch online?”

That’s a question that gets asked a lot.  And it’s an understandable question because there are SO MANY ways you can get an internet business up and running.

You could focus on social media.  You could become a PPC expert.  You could pursue affiliates.

And that’s just on the traffic side. 

What about for what you sell?

You could run an advertising based site using systems such as Adsense.  You could set up an ecommerce store selling virtually any type of products you could imagine.  You could become a consultant or coach. Or you could sell information products.

It’s all these options that cause someone to be paralyzed.  There are too many choices to make starting up.

So what would I do if I was starting out from scratch today?

Personally I’d start off by being an affiliate.  That’s how I’d monetize my traffic.  My goal would be to create information products long-term but I’d rather limit the skills I have to learn all at once by focusing on making some money as an affiliate first.    

There is a lot of learn to run a successful internet business.

Everyone makes it sound so easy.  Just hit this button, and money comes out.

But I have yet to find the “money” button on my computer. 

Instead you have to learn multiple skills all at once when getting started.

Luckily these skills are a whole lot easier to learn today than when I started (but the unlimited choice actually makes choosing these skills more difficult).

Your Web Host

There’s all kinds of hosting available such as free hosting, shared hosting, virtual private servers, and even dedicated servers. 

Let’s make it simple.  You don’t want to build your entire business relying on anyone else’s free service – this includes,, and even Facebook pages.  Having all of those can be beneficial to you, but you want to control your business.

As a beginner you don’t need anything that’s overwhelming for you right now.  Later on down the road once you have the traffic (and the income that comes with it) you might end up with your own dedicated server.  For now you simply need basic shared low cost hosting:

Your Website

For your website, I’d focus on a WordPress type of site.  You could pay someone else to create a nice design for you, but then you can manage it on your own.

Way too many beginners get held hostage by their designer.  A WordPress site gets past this problem, because you’re able to edit it on your own.  If your web design “disappears” you can still manage the site without all the technical skills.

You can even have sales pages, optin pages, and even membership pages all designed in WordPress using Profitstheme (and you likely can get up to speed and create many of these yourself):

Your Message

My initial goal on this site would be to produce quality information on my subject which I can use to promote the affiliate programs I choose.  Do your keyword research to find out what people are looking for along with looking at the other sites in your market.

My goal here is to produce my own “radio show” by mixing in my personality along with the information I share.  Nobody just wants “pure content” anymore.  You need to mix it in with your own personal stories, your sense of humor, and your point of view. 

In other words, make it your message. 

Basic keyword research can be done for free over at the Google keyword tool:

Your List

Concentrate on building your own opt-in email list from day one.  This is your income source. A lot of people have proclaimed the “Death of Email” but it continues to be the profit driver in the businesses I work with. 

Discovering how important the list was to my income was my first big breakthrough.  And it is still true today.  For someone starting out, I’d recommend to get started off right by building opt-in forms into your website, as popovers on blog sites, etc.

Your Income

Build a relationship with your list, and only promote products you would be willing to stand behind.  They could be products from Clickbank, Commission Junction, Amazon, etc.  There are thousands of affiliate programs you could take advantage of depending on what market you choose to go into.

As you provide content to your list and your blog, mix in promotions for related products and services. 

Then as your traffic and your list grows over time, consider expanding into other forms of monetization such as selling advertising, creating your own products, or even consulting.  But get your feet wet with the basics in affiliate promotions first. 

Note: The links above are affiliate links.  All links are products I have purchased and paid for myself.

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Terry Dean
Terry Dean

Terry Dean has been in full-time internet business since 1996 and has helped thousands of entrepreneurs get started online through his articles and products. He lives in Ocala, Florida with his wife and 2 dogs. Find out more about how his step-by-step courses can help you today.