Before Internet, all businesses were done in the physical world. Today, with the arrival of the Internet, businesses can be done online.
What does this mean? What are the types of online businesses? Are you thinking of starting an online business? How can you do it? What are the courses or training available that can teach you how to do it successfully?
All this I will discuss with you in this article titled – What Is An Online Business?
* Note – This blog post is part of a series titled – How to Start and Grow Your Successful Online Business. Click the link to check it out.
What Does An Online Business Mean?
An online business is also known as e-business. Simply put, it is any kind of business activity that happens on the Internet.
A business owner can choose to do it in the physical world (also known as offline), in the world wide web (also known as online), or both offline and online. When a business owner does any or all of their business on the Internet, he or she is doing business online. We can also say that it is an online business.
An online business can include buying or selling a product or service on the Internet. These days, most businesses are found online. And they are from a wide variety of industries.
Today, anyone can start a business on the World Wide Web. You simply start a website and sell a product, service or idea on that website.
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An Online Business Is Similar To A Traditional Brick and Mortar Business
Address of the Business
To help you understand more about online businesses, let us see it from a perspective of a traditional brick and mortar business. Let us start with the business address.
In a traditional brick and mortar business, the address would be the physical address where the business is located. On the Internet, there is something similar. It is the URL – the uniform resource locator. It is also known as the web address.
Just like the brick and mortar business’ physical address is how people locate the business in the physical world, the web address is used to locate the online business on the Internet. For example, the URL or web address of Passive Online Revenue is passiveonlinerevenue.com. When you type this in a browser, you will be able to find this website.
Appearance of the Business
When you go to the physical address of a traditional brick and mortar business, you should find the physical structure where the business is running. It can be a building or an office.
In that structure, you will see physical aspects that represent the business; e.g. logos. You will also see physical elements such as doors, decorations, tables, chairs, staff working there, etc. All these in the physical world communicate to you about this business – what they sell, who they are, what is the brand, what is their value proposition, etc.
In the online world, it is about the same, except everything is online. When you reach the website, you will see the ‘front’ of the business, which is the homepage.
Usually, there will be an About page to show and tell you about the business and who are the people representing it. The products and services offered will all be displayed on the website just like how products are displayed in a showroom in the physical world.
And just like in the physical world, the website will have Contact information for you to reach the respective party in the business. Nowadays, with e-commerce, you can even make purchases online. Just like you make purchases at a physical store.
Types of Online Businesses
All online businesses have a website. What type of website it is relates to what type of online business it is. And vice versa.
For example, if the online business is to share a particular topic that the owner is an expert at, then it can be a Blog. If the online business is to sell or buy products and services, then it becomes an Ecommerce website.
Some websites are also strictly just a business front. What this means is that they simply provide information about the business. Any transaction will then be conducted offline, in the physical world.
An example can be a manufacturing plant’s website. The website will feature all the experience and expertise at manufacturing a particular physical product; such as integrated circuit wafers.
A blog is a website that provides information on a particular topic. For example, a travel blog like Asia Travel Gems contains useful information about cities in Asia, and where are the places to see, what are the good local food to try and where to find them as well as which are the good hotels to stay so that a traveler can get a good night’s sleep.
The information is helpful, and visitors drop by the website to consume it. Over time, as the number of visitors grow, the owner of the blog monetizes the site through various methods; such as selling advertising space, Google Adsense, and the best passive income way is Affiliate Marketing.
These days, unless you are living under a rock, you would have come across an Ecommerce online store. These are businesses that sell products, and even services, online. An easy example would be Amazon. It is also called an online marketplace, where you can find many products to buy.
An example of a business selling a service online can be Wealthy Affiliate where you can purchase membership to gain access to the valuable courses there that can teach you how to start on online business and be your own boss.
Today, anyone can go on social media and become An Influencer. As an Influencer, the person can get paid by companies to promote their products and services. For example, an Influencer on Instagram with thousands of followers can get paid a nice sum of money simply by promoting a product or service for a brand.
In this sense, the Influencer has an online business. He or she is providing a service; that is digital marketing, for a client. Some Influencers even have websites to promote their talents further.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Business
There is a lot to consider before starting your own online business. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide which is the best direction and option for you.
- Cost Saving – rent, furniture, salary for staff
- Greater flexibility and efficiency in product and service delivery
- Accessible to consumers all over the world
- 24/7 availability to consumers
- Requires technical knowledge
- Requires knowledge about the Internet
- Software and hardware expenses
- Risks of encountering online scams
Need Help To Start An Online Business?
As you can see, there can a lot to consider, especially if you are not a computer or Internet expert. Or if you have not started a business before, whether offline or online.
There is a solution to this. It is my #1 Recommended Online Training for anyone who is starting an online business. And it is Wealthy Affiliate. You can read my review of this superb online training platform.
I highly recommend Wealthy Affiliate because I too have learned a lot from this awesome platform. I have had 26 years of digital marketing experience, and I find I still have much to learn from Wealthy Affiliate.
With the training provided, I have created a few online businesses. In addition, I also do Digital Marketing projects for clients; such as Facebook Advertising, Designing & Developing Websites, Email Marketing, Video Marketing, and more. And what I learned at Wealthy Affiliate has helped me helped all my clients.
You can join the Free Starter Package with just your email. No credit card needed for this Free Starter Package.
There is some free training as well as really powerful tools and features to help you do digital marketing for your online business.
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If you have ANY questions about this article – What Is An Online Business, ANY at all, please submit your questions as comments below. I will be happy to help you out.
Also, if you are a current or former member, and would like to leave your own review or feedback below, I would love to hear from you, too.
Thank you for reading this.
16 thoughts on “What Is An Online Business?”
What a great breakdown of online business and it’s adva and disadvantages. What’s even greater is that you provide a solution for every disadvantage you have named.
I’m brand new to wealthy affiliate and I have learned a whole lot. It gives the training that you need for all levels from beginner to technology specialist and from brand new business owner to well established business owner.
I look forward to the continued learning.
Hi Cris! Thanks for dropping by. I am glad you found my blog post useful and helpful.
Welcome to Wealthy Affiliate! You are right that this program is suitable for both beginner and expert. I have 27 years of digital marketing experience. And I find that there is still so much to learn at Wealthy Affiliate! That is why I am promoting this program. I feel many people will gain so much knowledge from WA.
I too am a lifelong learner. Let’s continue learning! 🙂
You did an awesome job explaining what an online business really consists of, I never really thought about there being a difference between a website and a blog before. Now I understand the difference between the two, I find it very helpful all the information you included in this post. I especially found your recommendation of where you learned how to start your own business very interesting and tempting as well, how much did you know before joining the program you recommend?
Thanks Jeff! Glad my article helped. 🙂
I had been doing digital marketing for 27 years. Yes, I was there when Internet first became commercial, and am considered very knowledgeable and experienced in this field among my peers. Even then, I find there is much to learn from the Wealthy Affiliate program. The digital landscape is always changing. And while the program is excellent for a beginner, it is also very useful for people with digital marketing experience because it helps digital marketers and online business owners to stay updated on the ever changing online marketing strategies.
May everything you do succeed & prosper! 🙂
This is a very useful article! I echo Jeff – like the breakdown and what it really means to have an online business. I like the graphics too.
Do you miss working for someone else? I imagine the answer is no but I am curious. Also, how do you see the online business world changing in the future?
You are right in guessing that my answer will be – no. haha I enjoy the freedom. 🙂
Oh, good question. That itself can be another blog post or even a few.
But meanwhile here is a few points of how I see the online business world changing in the future –
1. Micro Moments – businesses that can capture these, and take advantage of it to do promotions will have an advantage
2. Big Data + AI – these 2 will be working closer and better to build better information for marketing
3. AI – will be faster and cheaper, and hence more easily accessible to even the small business owners
… plus many more. As I said, better to be a whole new post. So, do bookmark my website and watch for more interesting info coming soon. 🙂
The small business owners like me will see more people coming on board because more people will get retrenched, more will lose their jobs, and more will witness others losing their jobs and figure that they better have a back up plan. As such, it will get more competitive. Good news for people like me – we have started, and will be ahead of the game. 🙂
Wow.. this is really thorough!
You break down each different type and make it really easy to understand.
I really like your comparison to bricks and mortar… really helpful to us older newbies!!
Your images are appropriate too!
Nice job =)
Thanks Catherine! I am very glad you found this article helpful. I will be writing more useful and helpful articles, and will be sharing them here. So, please do bookmark this site. Or subscribe to my newsletter. 🙂
Thanks for providing this information, Timotheus! This is a great resource for anyone preparing to start an online business, like me :).
You’re welcome, Christen. To stay updated on our posts to be your resource, please subscribe to our newsletter. 🙂
Wow you did an amazing job of outlining the pros and cons of having an online business! This is something I have been thinking of doing for a long time, and your post made it seem very easy and answered a lot of questions I have been having. I will check out Wealthy Affiliate to see if it is something I could handle, and thank you for this great article. The best one I’ve found so far…!
Thanks Amy! And you are welcome. 🙂
You will love the training at Wealthy Affiliate. Even someone like me who has been doing digital marketing for 27 years found much to learn from there.
This is great information and I love the way you explain how the online business is similar yet different to that of a brick and mortar business. I own a few online businesses and have found that an online business is a true business and can be very lucrative.
One of the things I really like about having a business online is the freedom to work from anywhere in the world and as you said startup is much cheaper as there is a lot less overhead.
Thanks Dena! 🙂 Glad you like my perspective. I do find it is true that there are similarities between a physical business and an online business.
And you are so right! An online business can be very lucrative. It is important to learn from reliable and experienced online entrepreneurs, and from a superb online training platform. I learned from the best, and I hope everyone can learn too. You can read my review of my Number One Recommended training platform.
And yes! The best part – we can work anywhere. I plan to work from Bali or Chiang Mai, Thailand. What about you? 🙂
Thanks for breaking this down for me. I feel more confident about my decision to try an online business.
You have given great solutions to the disadvantages, which I truly appreciate.
Thanks for the great information 🙂
You’re welcome, Saane.
To give you more confidence, join this program – Click Here. It truly provides the best training for anyone ready to start, build and grow an online business. I know it helped me for sure. 🙂