What are the major Building Blocks of an online business?
- Your website, with an optional “page builder”
- Your email service provider
- Your shopping cart with a merchant account and gateway to process credit card payments
- Your social media accounts — I won’t cover these in this post
Secondary tools might be a webinar service, a pop-up form creator, an appointment calendar, and any number of other possibilities.
- Use your website to create a page where people can sign up for your free offer
- Then you use your email service provider to send those subscribers emails
- When you make them an offer for a product, you create a sales page on your website and create a “Buy” button using your shopping cart, which then processes the sale
1. Your website
- To attract subscribers and buyers
- For your blog, to establish your expertise and attract information seekers
- To create opt-in and sales pages
- To help interested people contact you
- Don’t use a theme that you don’t own. This happens when a web designer owns the theme and has the right to use it on his/her clients’ websites. Whenever the theme needs updating, you need to go back to your designer, which isn’t a good thing. Also, you can’t get support if you have a question. So, buy the theme if you want it.
- Don’t buy themes that are filled with content specifically for your niche. I know these are tempting, but you’ll always need to make so many changes that it will be harder than if you started from scratch.
- Thrive Architect
- Beaver Builder
2. Your email service
- Creates opt-in forms: It gives you the code to create forms that people fill out to subscribe to your list. You put that code on your website. For more information on how to create an opt-in form, see “How to Create an Opt-in Form to Grow Your Subscriber List.”
- Sends broadcasts: Broadcasts are emails that you send to your subscribers whenever you want
- Sends autoresponders: These are a series of emails that are sent automatically after someone subscribes or buys
3. Your shopping cart
Your shopping cart lets you list your products and create a Buy button that people use to buy your products. You connect it to a merchant account/gateway. Common ones are PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net (a gateway that usually comes bundled with a merchant account)
Typical features of your shopping cart are discount codes and an affiliate program. Both are important, even if you aren’t ready for these features yet.
Here are some common shopping carts:
Combined building blocks
- Keap (used to be infusionsoft)
- Exactly which building blocks are included — and which are not
- Extra costs for features you need
- How they integrate with other tools you have