The internet has created a new world order, where consumers can find pretty much anything and everything they want, at the click of a button. As a result, traditional businesses that rely on foot traffic, face an uncertain future. The question is, can you make money online without sacrificing your sanity? The following are 10 online businesses, arguably, the big dogs of their industry that prove you can.
With a market value of over $700 billion, and a lifetime revenue of over $160 billion, you’ll find a lot of people arguing that Amazon is the most profitable company in the world. The eCommerce website, Amazon, first came up with the “one-click-shop” concept in the early days, when it was known as “Amazon.com”. Back in 1995, when the company was first listed, it was valued at only $16 million. It’s been a wild and winding ride since then, with the company routinely hitting all-time highs and lows. When it comes to AMZN, it’s important to keep in mind three important points:
- It’s a long, slow road to riches. Building a successful business takes time.
- Be choosy about which stocks to invest in – you’re likely to lose a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Focus on high-quality and trusted sources of information when conducting your research.
The Mountain View, California-based search engine giant, Google, is another business that defies convention and common sense, when it comes to making money online. The sheer volume of searches that take place on their websites (over 200 billion searches per day) makes this company a true giant in the industry. Launched in 1998, Google first made its presence known via its “Google Ads” program, allowing businesses to promote and advertise their products and services on Google Maps, Google Shopping, and various third-party websites. Although, AdWords was one of the first monetized platforms on the internet, getting your product (or service) advertised on Google is a great way to drive business. When it comes to GOOG, it’s important to keep in mind three points:
- Focus on long-term growth.
- Avoid paying for online advertising – the cost per click can be extremely high, and it’s difficult to know how effective your ads are without testing them first.
- Make sure that you connect with other businesses in your niche, as this will greatly improve your chance of getting business.
Another American company that changed the game of social media marketing is Facebook. Launched in 2004, with a $15 billion valuation, this company built its popularity, by allowing users to share, interact and connect with friends and others on the social media network. Although, the basic aim of the website is to create value for its users (through advertising and content sales), the business also earns money from affiliate sales, show promotions, and more. When it comes to the big F, it’s important to keep in mind three points:
- User-generated content is the key to social media marketing. Create compelling content that inspires action and curiosity, and you’ll drive profitable traffic to your website.
- Make sure that you get the right people to join your affiliate program – if you don’t, it’s very unlikely that you’ll generate any significant revenue.
- Do your research about the tools and platforms you’ll need to grow your business – if you don’t know what a Content Management System (CMS) is, for example, you’re likely to struggle to generate revenue online.
Yet another American company that changed the game of music sales and streaming is iTunes. Released back in 2001 by Apple, Inc., the iTunes store lets users download and stream music, primarily from the Apple music library, but it also offers “favorite artists” and albums from various record labels. In 2019 alone, the company sold 125 million songs, with a value of over $13 billion. One of the main reasons for iTunes’ popularity is its easy-to-use interface and wide selection of music and videos. This popular music store also earns revenue from affiliate marketing, as well as show promotions and more. When it comes to iTunes, it’s important to keep in mind three points:
- Make sure that you offer a quality experience, through great UX and UI design.
- Focus on building a vast music library – having the world’s best music library is synonymous with standing out in the crowd.
- Make sure that your marketing and sales strategies are focused on consumers, not just brands – if you’re only focused on selling merchandise, you’ll quickly lose interest from customers, who may find your services and prices to be a better fit.
The software giant, Microsoft, first came up with the concept of “cloud computing”, powering all our devices and data with the assistance of a remote server. This business, first released as a standalone software company in 1975 and initially created to aid in the development of computer games and applications, is now valued at over $850 billion. One of the first companies to embrace cloud computing was Microsoft, which established its cloud computing division, in 2012. The division provides infrastructure-as-a-service, as well as software-as-a-service and consulting services for businesses. Another thing to note about Microsoft is that many of its original products were designed to be cost-effective and accessible to average users. Because of this, many older businesses and individuals may still rely on the company’s software and services for day-to-day operations. When it comes to Microsoft, it’s important to keep in mind three points:
- Offering cost-effective software and services to businesses is how Microsoft makes its money – focus on these, and you’ll have a leg up on the competition.
- Even though many older businesses and individuals may still rely on Microsoft for day-to-day operations, the company is still focused on catering to consumers, through innovations like Surface and Xbox. As a result, businesses may find that integrating with third-party providers, as part of an omnichannel strategy, is the best way to reach consumers.
- Be careful about choosing your online storage – as a business, you’ll need a lot of space to store your data, and many of the public cloud providers charge you, based on the amount of data you use. Make sure you do your research, before committing.
The popular question-and-answer website, Quora, was initially launched in 2010, with the aim of becoming a place where people could go for answers to their questions. This business, currently valued at over $3.5 billion, primarily makes money from online advertising, as well as affiliate sales, when users click a product or service that’s advertised alongside a question on the site. Because of this, more people are likely to become aware of your product or service, simply because it was mentioned on Quora. When it comes to Quora, it’s important to keep in mind three points:
- The site is designed to be engaging, and it utilizes various psychological principles, when it comes to getting users to subscribe to your content.
- Make sure that you build a brand for yourself, instead of trying to become a celebrity and sell product, simply to make money – this is a recipe for disaster.
- Focus on quality content that provides value to users, instead of just pumping out content, to achieve success on Quora.
Founded in 2011, with a $15.2 billion valuation and now valued at over $26.5 billion, Stripe is a global mobile payments company that provides online and in-app purchases, primarily through its online store, Stripe Marketplace, which offers a range of digital goods, from software to equipment and even clothes. Stripe also offers a payment processor for online stores, as well as small businesses that want to accept payments digitally. Stripe is one of the few companies that provide a complete solution for online businesses that want to accept payments. When it comes to earning money with Stripe, there are two main ways to make money:
- Accept payments online.
- Offer a payment processing service to others – businesses that you partner with, to receive payments, make a lot of money.