10 Best Online Business Ideas You Can Start Today

There are many ways you can go online and make money with your computer, and within each way you can go online and make money with your computer, there are countless subcategories you can explore to find just the right approach for you.

The problem that most people fail at in their failed attempts to make money online is not that they are unable to find a suitable approach…but that they fail to realize that making money online is about more than just settling on an approach that works best for you.

In this article, we will introduce you to ten different ways to make money online. Some of these businesses will require more work than others. Some of these businesses will pay off faster than others, while others will have a higher ceiling. 

However, all of these online business ideas have one thing in common: they are all easy to set up, easy to get started, and easy to make money if you are willing to put in the necessary work to get things going!

10 Best Online Business Ideas

Are you looking for some good small business ideas? Find out which one is most profitable by browsing the following list.

  • E-Commerce Store
  • Affiliate Marketing: Goods
  • Affiliate Marketing: Information Products
  • Earn Money Blogging: Ads
  • Earn Money Blogging: Lead Generation
  • Manage Social Media Profiles
  • WordPress Consulting And Design
  • Freelance Writing
  • Internet Research Firm
  • Become A Business Service Provider

1. E-Commerce Store

Sure, you know about websites where you can go to do your shopping. You’ve probably made your fair share of purchases from Amazon, or even from sites such as Best Buy. But did you realize that you have probably also made purchases from sites being run by someone who never touches or deals with any of the products themselves? 

With an e-commerce store, you can basically pick a category of products (the category can be broad or small, and can include lots of items or a select few in a very specific niche), and you can set up a website on which people can do their shopping. 

Although you will, obviously, not receive a large chunk of the profits from each sale made through your website (after all, your website is essentially functioning as nothing more than a platform on which people can make purchases of someone else’s products), you will also have to do very little work to make the money you will be making (specifically, you will have to do none of the “labor” yourself—none of the manufacturing of products, none of the packagings of products, none of the shipping of products, etc.). 

All you will have to do is set up your e-commerce website, figure out ways to bring targeted traffic your way, then enjoy the profits as they roll in!

What you need to get started

The choice of e-commerce platforms is vast, and all of them make it easy for you to set up your website and get started right away (with all the different options available for building an e-commerce website, one of the main ways these websites compete with each other is by designing their respective platforms to be the easiest to work with – good news for you, because that means not only do you have options, but also that all your options are platforms you can easily get started with!) 

We will give you a list of five of the top e-commerce platforms, and recommend that you make up your own mind about each platform and decide which one offers the product you are most comfortable with!

Here are the five e-commerce platforms we have found to be the strongest (listed in no particular order):

  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • Bigcommerce
  • WooCommerce
  • 3dcart

2. Affiliate Marketing: Goods

Affiliate marketing – have you heard of it? If you have been involved in internet marketing for any length of time, you have probably heard enough about affiliate marketing because it seems to be the only topic everyone is talking about! 

But just in case you are new to internet marketing, we will give you a brief background (and even if you are not new to internet marketing and think you already know all about the basics of affiliate marketing, we recommend you read this section in its entirety because we have some important information for you that will help you on your way to success). 

Basically, affiliate marketing is about you promoting the products of others. This is similar to e-commerce, except that affiliate marketing is not about people shopping on your website. Instead, the purpose of your website is to direct visitors to another website where they make a purchase. And every time someone makes a purchase because of your efforts, you get some sort of “commission” for the sale.

What you need to get started

Who can you be an affiliate for? If this is something you are wondering about, you might be surprised by the answer…as the answer is, frankly, you can be an affiliate for just about any company or product you can think of! Just about every business that has an online presence also has an affiliate marketing program—and all of them work in different ways. 

For example, Amazon’s affiliate marketing program: As an Amazon affiliate, you can promote any product they sell on their site (which pretty much gives you a choice of every type of product you can think of). Amazon tracks traffic that you send to their site, and any purchase someone makes during their visit to Amazon (the visit you sent them on) will be credited to you. 

While this may seem like a great route to go, however, one of the drawbacks to Amazon’s affiliate program is that Amazon is tremendously popular without the help of affiliates! Because of this, Amazon does not need to offer large “commissions” —and what’s more, a purchase has to be made directly from the visit to Amazon that you created. 

Any purchases made on Amazon a day later, or even a few hours later, will not be credited to you. Other websites, on the other hand, will store cookies and track traffic for as long as six months. So, for example, say you sent someone to a website for private jet booking, and that individual booked a private jet four months later. 

Because you sent that individual to the site four months earlier, you would receive your affiliate commission! In order to get started, then, you simply need to figure out the niche in which you want to focus and need then find a great affiliate program with which to team up. It’s really that simple! Pick a niche—any niche—and you should be able to find an affiliate marketing program to match.

3. Affiliate Marketing: Information Products

Information products are one of the easiest ways to make money online, as people are always looking to learn more about topics in which they are interested (and honestly, one of the most popular areas of information products deals with products that help people learn how to make money online!). 

Information products, essentially, are exactly what they sound like: they are non-physical goods that provide people with knowledge rather than an actual item. “How to become an online millionaire” is a general idea of what an information product might look like. “How to triple traffic to your website in three weeks” might be a more specific information product. 

Of course, one great way to generate money online is to create information products yourself. But even if you do not have the expertise to create your own information products, you can become an affiliate for information products, and can make a large sum of money simply by promoting the information products others have put together!

What you need to get started

First, you need to determine the area in which you want to focus. Then, you need an audience! An audience, of course, can come together through a website, but another way to build an audience can be through a newsletter. 

If you are able to build a newsletter with a subscriber list populated with individuals who have an interest in a specific area, it will be very easy to sell information products in this area to those on your mailing list!

Below, you will find a list of some of the most popular “digital product” platforms. Once you determine the area in which you want to focus, you can figure out which network of digital products is the best fit for you:

4. Earn Money Blogging: Ads

Do you enjoy writing? Do you have thoughts on a specific topic (or even on a broad range of topics)? Do you consider blogging to be something enjoyable? 

Lots of people put plenty of time into writing a blog and building an audience for this blog with no end in sight to their efforts—they pursue this blog, instead, simply because it is something they enjoy doing. What most of these people fail to realize, however, is that a lot of money can be made blogging by simply populating the blog with ads!

What you need to get started

All you really need, in order to make money from ads on a blog, is a popular blog! Some of you may have a popular blog already, with a dedicated audience you have been building for years.

You may even have been wondering how you could squeeze some money out of your readers, in order for your efforts to actually be worthwhile in a monetary sense, without realizing that you never actually need to get your readers to pay for anything! 

Instead, you simply need to team up with any ad provider that will populate your site with targeted ads. 

This is the best aspect of today’s online culture! You do not need to collect ads from specific companies that have a specific product to market to your specific audience; instead, ad providers are able to place ads on your site that are specifically targeted to each viewer, based on their search history! 

While one visitor may be seeing an ad for a boutique clothing store, another visitor may be seeing an ad for a new video game. All you have to do, then, is figure out a way to build a popular blog!

5. Earn Money Blogging: Lead Generation

Another way to turn blogging into a means to profit is to use a blog as a tool for lead generation. What is lead generation? Basically, it is exactly what it sounds like: efforts directed toward generating leads (with leads being, of course, the contact information of individuals who have not necessarily made a purchase yet, but who can be targeted for a purchase or a set of purchases down the road).

 Lead generation is one of the most powerful forms of online commerce, and running a blog that is geared toward lead generation is one of the best ways to get the most out of your lead generation efforts. For example: let’s say you are writing a blog about successful online businesses. 

On this website, you provide plenty of valuable information about succeeding online, and you also feature plenty of guest posts that focus on the same topic (with these guest posts serving a dual purpose: firstly, you get plenty of free content, and secondly, you get extra traffic to your site as these guest posters share the link with their audience; they benefit by being featured on your site and reaching your audience as a result, and you benefit by adding to the audience on your site and by not having to write all the content yourself). 

You are not using this blog to sell anything, but are instead using this blog simply to provide lots of valuable information. In fact, you are even giving away additional, premium content to those who visit your site…they enter their email address, and this premium content that usually costs money is sent directly to their inbox for free—no gimmicks, no commitments.

Do you see what you just did? You now have an email address for every individual who requested that free, premium content. And not only do you have an email address…but you also know that this email address belongs to someone who has an interest in this specific area! 

As your free, information-based website continues to grow in popularity, your database of emails will grow as well, and you will be able to then use this list to intermittently send out special offers to (ready for this tie-in?) information products focused on the area they expressed an interest in before! 

Of course, these can be information products you created yourself, or they can be information products for which you are an affiliate. Either way, you will have a large email list of people who you know for certain are interested in this specific niche, and you will be able to use this email list to target these individuals with related products!

What you need to get started

All you really need to get started is a website and a topic on which you want to focus! By signing up for an account with GetResponse (the top email list management service), you will be able to start capturing email addresses—and as you start creating content yourself and gathering guest posts from others, you will be able to start seeing your email list grow before your eyes.

6. Manage Social Media Profiles

One of the most important aspects for businesses these days is having a strong social media presence, as social media is where a great number of people spend a huge chunk of their time. 

By having a strong social media presence, businesses are able to connect with customers and potential customers in a consistent, personable manner…and by failing to have a strong social media presence, a business can quickly fall behind their competition. 

This is something most businesses understand these days—but what many businesses do not understand is what they should be doing in order to strengthen and enhance their social media presence. Because these businesses do not know how to handle social media on their own, they either botch their efforts or ignore social media entirely. 

The other options for these businesses? They can hire out their social media management to a person or company that knows how to handle social media successfully. What does this mean for you?

Frankly, it means that if social media is something you enjoy and are good at, you can quickly and easily build a client base of your own—managing the social media elements of various small and mid-size businesses! 

Best of all, because so much of social media can actually be automated, this is not as large of a time commitment as most businesses seem to imagine it would be.

What you need to get started

All you really need, in order to get started in this area of business, is a bit of knowledge on social media and a strong sales pitch! In a single day, you could throw together a website on which you can promote yourself, and you can then start scouring the Internet in search of small and mid-size businesses that seem to be lacking in their social media approach. 

Start approaching these businesses with a brief outline of what they should be doing differently on social media and of how you could help them execute this plan. You could even offer them a free consultation or a free week of social media service! 

Once you turn this interest into a conversion, you will have a client who will pay you monthly to handle their social media—and you will subsequently be able to schedule most of this social media activity in advance and enjoy all the free time you are left with after that!

7. Freelance Writing

Content is the most important side of the Internet. Without content, a website will not succeed, and while this is something most businesses realize, a massive majority of businesses are lost when it comes to content creation. Because people tend to hear so often that there is “no money in writing,” you may have failed to realize that the rise of the Internet has caused a paradigm shift to occur. 

These days, there is lots of money in writing…simply because there is lots of money online, and the only way to succeed online is with lots of content! Another thing to realize is that you do not need to be a professional writer in order to make money with freelance writing. 

As long as you are a strong, competent writer, you will be able to make money in this area—and, of course, the more writing jobs you take on, the more practice you will gain in this area, and the stronger your work will be (which, of course, will lead to more jobs, and more money per job, as a result!).

What you need to get started

The great thing about freelance writing is that you do not necessarily even need a website in order to get started! There are plenty of websites that connect people in need of freelance work with writers who provide such work. 

In fact, believe it or not, the best place of all to pick up freelance projects may very well be right on Craigslist—which requires no membership at all! The critical component to picking up freelance writing work is a strong resume that stands out from the pack. Don’t have lots of writing experience just yet? No problem! 

Put together a strong writing resume that skirts around the fact that you do not have extensive experience in actual freelance writing—focusing instead on your skills and “what you provide to your clients.” 

As you continue to add jobs to your work history, you can add to your writing resume, mentioning the types of jobs you have taken on in the past, and the type of work you are comfortable doing. The longer you work in freelance writing, the more contacts you will build, and the easier it will be for you to pick up new freelance jobs with very little additional work on your part!

8. WordPress Consulting And Design

“I don’t know how to build a website.” 

This is what most people think when they are first getting started with their quest to find success through online business. What these people fail to realize, however, is that building a website on WordPress is one of the easiest things you will ever do! 

And while a basic WordPress website will not look like a professional website, it does not take long to figure out how to move from a basic WordPress site to a customized WordPress site that looks like a true, top-notch website. 

Of course, for just about any form of making money online, you are going to ultimately want/need a good-looking website—a website that stands out from the pack and that looks professional and impressive—and as you learn how to work with WordPress, you will be able to build one such site for yourself. 

But what about taking this to the next step? A lot of small businesses either have no website at all or have a website that is unattractive and unappealing. 

Furthermore, a lot of small businesses have websites that were built by a company that charges them for every change that needs to be made on the site—with these sites built on some sort of proprietary platform that allows for almost no customization at all. 

Any business that falls into any of these categories could use a well-designed WordPress website—and most of these businesses have no idea just how easy building one such website can be! 

By taking a small amount of time to learn how to work with WordPress yourself, you will be able to then market your services to businesses in this area —either as a consultant for their WordPress site, or as a “web designer.” 

Better yet, by building on a WordPress platform, you can train the business in how to run the website on their own, which will make you even more valuable to them, and will enable you to charge even more for an upfront setup fee, as these businesses will no longer have to pay a recurring website maintenance fee each month!

What you need to get started

All you need is a good-looking WordPress site of your own! Once you have this, you can start building a list of businesses that could benefit from your services, and you can then start approaching these businesses and “selling yourself” to them! It could not be any easier to start getting “web design” or “website consulting” work!

9. Internet Research Firm

How often do you find yourself losing two hours as you simply wander around the Internet, looking up different things and reading different articles? 

One of the greatest benefits of the Internet is the vast amount of information and knowledge it makes available to anyone with the time to access and peruse it— but while this may be something you do simply to kill a couple of hours, there are businesses that see Internet research as a tedious (and even overwhelming) task. 

These businesses will often outsource their research tasks to Internet research firms. What does it take to create an Internet research firm yourself? Honestly, you need nothing more than a website that describes your “firm” and details what it offers! 

With one such site set up, you will be able to start spreading the word about the site, and will be able to start picking up payment for doing what you typically do in your free time anyway: perusing the Internet for random information and knowledge!

What you need to get started

Obviously, you will need to get the word out there to various businesses that you are available for Internet research jobs, so after you set up a website that establishes your place online, put together a list of businesses that may need research done, then approach each business with an email, letting them know that about your firm. 

Before long, you will start receiving work assignments from the businesses you have contacted—and it probably will not be long before you are receiving so many assignments that you are having to turn down more than you are able to actually accept!

10. Become A Business Service Provider

There are so many services small and mid-size businesses need:

  • Web design
  • Search engine optimization
  • Adwords maintenance
  • Newsletter management
  • Social media management
  • Content creation
  • List management

These are just a few of the services that are vital to the success of most such businesses, but that these businesses nevertheless fail to handle in a proper and effective manner.

While some of our other sections focused on handling some of this work yourself (which is certainly a path worth pursuing if some of these are things you enjoy doing), you should also realize that you can sell such services without ever actually doing any of the work yourself! 

Because there are so many people who are chasing the idea of being able to make money online, from the comfort of their own home, there is really no shortage of available freelancers in just about any area you can think of. What does this mean for you? 

Basically, it boils down to this: if you are able to sell these services to businesses, you can then outsource the actual work to freelancers. All you do, then, is act as the middle man—taking on the projects from businesses, but assigning the projects to freelancers! 

As you do this for a little while, you will begin to build a stable of freelancers that you work well with—freelancers who provide quality work in a timely manner—and your reputation will grow with businesses as well, as an “online business service provider that does quality work in a timely manner,” all while never actually doing any of the work yourself!

You get paid for the projects; a portion of the payment goes to the people who do the work; you get to keep the rest for yourself as profit!

What you need to get started

As with other forms of freelance work or business management work— forms we talked about in the previous sections, in which you would be doing the work yourself—you need a good website and a good sales pitch, one that will get businesses to feel tempted to jump on board with you, and then you need a list of businesses that might benefit from your service (which you can compile yourself through some simple Internet research). 

 

You do not even need to enlist any freelancers until you have actually been hired for a job! “Can you do such-and-such?” This is what businesses will ask you, and your answer will always be “Yes.” Because, after all, you will always be able to find someone who will be able to do whatever task you have been hired for!

Final Words

Online business ideas are not just a way to escape the office environment. Instead, they offer a freedom that most people never experience: you can manage yourself, set your own goals, and take ownership of your work. 

While starting an online business gives you a lot of flexibility, it also requires a lot of effort to find customers, market your services, and ensure a steady cash flow.

Some people are not suited for an online business. If you are considering any of the items on this list of online business ideas for beginners, now is the time to start. 

You can achieve the successful lifestyle most people only dream of if you explore the various options, find a startup idea that works for you, do your research ahead of time, and create a comprehensive business plan.

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