Thinking of Starting an Online Business?

I’m sure you can tell that I’m a big advocate of running an online business. I had a friend come alongside me and help me get started back in 2016 and I never would have done this without him! So, I’m happy to pay it forward and help you as you start your online business.

First You Need an Idea

Try to look for ‘pain points’ that you can alleviate. What problem can you solve for someone else? That they’d be happy to pay you to solve?


I recommend Pat Flynn’s book Will it Fly for this process.

Now You Need a Name and Website

Start by determining what your business name will be and what web address (aka domain) you’d like. Visit a domain registration site to see if it’s available. Here’s some tips to keep in mind:

  • You want your name to be memorable (Ridge Light Ranch is very memorable to me, but it hasn’t turned out to be super memorable to others, so I suggest you survey your friends and family!)
  • You want your name to be easy to spell.
  • If you aren’t 100% sure what kind of business you’ll be or you know that you’re likely to do a variety of things (that’s harder than a single focus) then keep it more general.
    • e.g. I didn’t know what direction I was going when I started, so my business name, “RidgeLightRanch,” is very general. Several years later, I knew what I was focused on and purchased the “AnyoneCanTeachArt” domain as well!
    • If you know for sure you’ll be selling only T-shirts, then having the domain name “TShirts.com” is great!

Domain Registration

This is where your web address (aka domain) is registered. I have mine at GoDaddy, but there’s no real reason for that. It was just where I happened to start. Often you can have your web host register your domain, but I like to keep those separate. I pay for the “Full Domain Privacy & Protection” because that’s what my mentor suggested. As of May 2024, I pay about $35 per domain per year.

Web Hosting

I use SiteGround to host my website- here’s my referral link for SiteGround in case you’re thinking you’d like to check it out! I have the GrowBig plan, which was only $63 for the first year (2024). It goes up significantly after the first year, but I’ve heard you just need to call and ask them for a deal before it renews each year and you’ll get something way better than the $29/month they say it’s going to cost.

I like using WordPress within SiteGround to build my website. There are easier ways to build a website, but they don’t give you the full control that WordPress does. Watch some YouTube videos about WordPress and install a nice theme (themes give you a bunch of shortcuts using ‘blocks’ plus they look nice). I use Kadence for WordPress.

I use WooCommerse for my store. I wonder if Shopify would be easier, but I just don’t know much about Shopify. WooCommerse is certainly way more powerful than what I use it for!

Now it’s Time to Build an Email List

Even in 2024, email is still one of the BEST ways to market to your audience. All the social media platforms are constantly changing and you never know when they’re going to shut you down. So always be building your email list! I like MailerLite for this. It’s one of the best platforms that has a free plan and also an inexpensive small plan. It has plenty of features and it is fairly intuitive. Here’s my referral link for MailerLite in case you want to check it out!

Questions?

I’m sure you have a million questions! Feel free to contact me and I’ll try to get back to you with the answers (and probably add them here as well).