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How to Start and Grow an Online Business in the UK

Last updated on March 8th, 2024 at 10:49 am

The UK is home to some of the most popular and successful online businesses in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The country is famous for its wealth of creativity and its love of a good challenge, which makes it an excellent place to set up an online business. 

Moreover, with over 25 million people already having a go at running their own small business from home, there is plenty of scope for those who are ready to take the leap into entrepreneurship.

But when starting out, you might think that setting up your own business from home would be tricky. 

After all, how on earth can you make money from your own computer? 

Well, as it turns out, running an online business from your own home isn’t as difficult as you might think. You just need to follow a few simple steps – and you’ll be able to start profitable little businesses in no time! 

So let’s take a look at how to set up and grow an online business in the UK.

Step 1: Pick a Business for Your Online Business in the UK

The first step to starting your online business in the UK is to pick a niche that you’re interested in. 

You might not yet know exactly what type of online business you want to set up, but the best way to start is by understanding what kind of businesses are already doing well in your chosen field. 

That said, here are some profitable online business models you can consider:

a). Online Stores

Online stores are beginning to become the go-to online business model in the UK. 

Traditionally, online store owners have used their websites to sell products through the internet in order to make money. 

But there’s a little more to it than that. 

It’s possible for you to set up an online store and use it as a platform for affiliate marketing too. This means that you can earn money from promoting other people’s products and services on your website – as long as they’re related to your niche or industry. 

The benefits of this type of business model are many: You can earn an income from day one You don’t need any previous experience or training, so it’s easy to get started It doesn’t require much investment or overhead costs.

The potential for growth is huge – the more people you can convince to buy your products and services, the more money you’ll be able to make!  (And if you’re interested in learning more about affiliate marketing, check out our guide on how it works.) 

b). Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a great way of making money online, especially if you have a product that’s easy to ship. You don’t need to invest much in inventory, and you can easily keep track of your orders. 

This type of business model is ideal for people who are selling products that are easy to ship, like niche products. 

Dropshipping allows you to sell items through an online store without having to carry the inventory yourself. This is particularly beneficial for people who have limited resources and don’t want to spend their time looking after the inventory. 

c). Subscription

This is another one of the best online business models for beginners. With a subscription business model, you’re selling a service or product that requires you to have regular contact with your customers. 

The recurring revenue you get from this model is one of the best ways to make money online if you’re starting out. The only downside of this type of business is that it doesn’t allow for much customization in terms of the amount of money you make on each sale.

d). Private Label Rights (PLR)

This is another great way to make money online if you have products and services that are easy to sell and don’t require much investment or overhead. 

PLR products are exactly that: products that you own and that others can use. You can sell these products to other people, or you can use them in your own business. The advantage of this model is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on marketing and product development.

e). Advertising

This is another popular online business model in the UK, as well as in other countries. Advertising is a great way to make money online because you’re not spending a lot of money on the actual product or service. 

You can use this model to earn money by promoting other people’s products and services, or you can use it to promote your own ideas, products, and services.

Which One Should I Choose?

If you are a beginner, it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. You can try all of them and see which ones work best for you. 

One thing that is important to remember is that these models are not mutually exclusive. You can do multiple things at the same time, so don’t feel as though only one of these models is available to you.

Step 2: Conduct Market Research

After you have chosen the type of online business you want to start in the UK, you have to conduct market research. This is a very important step because it helps you determine how much money you’re going to make.

You should also conduct market research before deciding what product or service you are going to sell. There are many different types of products and services out there, so it’s important to know what your target audience wants and needs.

How to Conduct an Effective Market Research

There are many different ways to go about conducting market research. Some of them include:

a). Surveys

Surveys are very useful because they can be used to gather a lot of data in a short period of time. You can start with a simple survey and then add more questions as you learn more about your target audience. 

You can also conduct online surveys, so you don’t have to worry about finding people who are willing to talk to you face-to-face.

b).  Focus Groups

Focus groups are also a great way to gather valuable information. This is because they’re a chance for you to meet with potential customers and ask them questions about your product or service.

c). Interviews

Another option is to conduct interviews. This is when you talk to real people about their experiences with the industry. 

You can use this information to determine what kind of products or services your target audience wants, and then create a marketing strategy that will help you attract more people in the future.

d). Observation

When you observe your target audience, you can learn more about their preferences, habits, and needs. You can also gain an understanding of how they think and act so that you can adjust your marketing efforts accordingly. 

All of this market research will help you decide what type of business idea or product you want to start selling.

Here are some other tips:

  • Carry out a competitor analysis: You can do a competitor analysis to see how your competitors are marketing their products. This will help you to understand the best way to market your own product or service.
  • Define your target audience: This will help you to better understand your target audience and their needs. You can also use this information to create a marketing strategy that will help you attract more people in the future.
  • Seek feedback on your idea: This will help you to get the right kind of feedback. You can ask your friends or family members to give you their opinions about your idea. This will help you to refine your idea and make it better.

Step 3: Choose an Online Platform

Once you’ve completed your market research, it is time to choose an online platform to sell your idea. There are a lot of platforms that you can use for your business. You can choose from the following:

a). eCommerce Platforms

eCommerce platforms are websites that allow you to sell your products or services online. They offer a wide range of services such as payment processing, product analytics, and customer support. They also have a variety of features that you can use to make your business more efficient and profitable. Here are some other features:

  • Payment Processing is a feature that allows you to accept payments from customers using credit cards and debit cards. You can also accept money from people who pay with PayPal or other payment methods such as bank transfer or direct debit.
  • Product Analytics will help you to analyze how your customers use your product or service so that you know how effective it is at meeting their needs and expectations.
  • Customer Support is the feature that allows you to respond to customer questions in real time and provide support for their problems or concerns immediately through email and live chat support.

Example: WooCommerce 

A good example of the best eCommerce platform is WooCommerce. It is a powerful WordPress eCommerce plugin that is used to create highly functional online stores. This plugin has many features that are designed to help you sell more products and make more money, and it is easy to use.

The benefits of using this eCommerce platform to start an online business in the UK include:

  • Easy to Use: WordPress has a large number of plugins and themes, which makes the creation of an online store very easy. You can choose any theme or design that you want, and then customize it as you wish.
  • Customizable: You can easily change the layout, colors, logo, and other properties of your online store as you wish.
  • Advanced Features: WooCommerce has many advanced features such as product categories, product variations, dynamic pricing, tax calculation tools for different countries, and so on. 

These features enable you to sell products in different ways depending on the needs of your customers.

b). Blogging Platforms

Blogging platforms are websites that allow you to create and publish web content. They provide you with a variety of features such as the ability to manage your content, post photos, and videos, and track visitors to your site. Here are some other features:

  • Posting Photos and Videos is a feature that allows you to upload photos or videos on your blog. Visitors will be able to view them on the blog for free or purchase them for a small fee.
  • Managing Your Content is a feature that allows you to edit articles, photos, or videos after they have been published. You can also add links, comments, or tags so that others can find them easily when they visit your blog.
  • Tracking Visitors is a feature that tracks the number of visitors who visit your blog each day so it can tell you how effective it is at attracting visitors from search engines like Google and Bing.

Example: WordPress

A good example of the best blogging platform is WordPress. It is a free blogging platform that allows you to:

  • Create a blog
  • Publish content
  • Edit your blog posts
  • Track visitors to your blog

And more!

c). Online Courses Platforms

Online Courses Platforms are websites that allow you to create and publish courses. They provide you with a variety of features such as the ability to manage your content, post photos, and videos, track visitors to your site, and sell access to your course. Here are some other features:

  • Creating and Editing Your Content: a feature that allows you to create courses or edit existing courses after they have been published.
  • Managing Your Content: a feature that allows you to edit articles, photos, or videos after they have been published. You can also add links or tags so that others can find them easily when they visit your blog.
  • Tracking Sales and Students: The platform should have a way for you to track your course sales. It should also show you how students are doing.

Example: Udemy

A good example is Here’s how it works:

You can create courses and then publish them on the site.

At the same time, you can easily edit your courses after they have been published.

Once published, you can then manage your content by adding videos, photos, and articles.

Then you can track sales on your course right inside the Udemy platform.

Finally, you can sell access to your course by setting up a PayPal or Stripe account.

Step 4: Build Your Website

Now that you have identified the right platform, the next step on how to start an online business in the UK is to build a website. 

Without a website, you won’t be able to start promoting your products, and it will be difficult for potential customers to find out about your products and services. 

So the first thing you need to do is get your site live. 

Remember, this step is only necessary if you have decided to build something from scratch instead of using a platform.

This is what I mean.

If you decided to try dropshipping, you can use eCommerce platforms like OLITT to set up and host your online store.

But you can also decide to have your own website.

Also, if you are using WooCommerce, you will need to create a website.

Once you have a website, it will be easy for potential customers to find out more about your business – and also make it easier for them to contact you directly. 

To make sure that your website is doing as well as possible, you need to ensure that it has all the necessary information about what services or products you offer. 

So, to get the website up and running, you need the following:

a). A domain name 

What is it?

A domain name is the “name” that identifies your website. 

For example, if you are selling products online, you will need a domain name that identifies the product.

For example: 

  •  or 
  •  etc

The most common way to get a domain name is to buy it from a reputable domain name registrar in the UK.

Truehost Cloud – A popular choice for many people because of its ease of use and range of features such as email addresses and SSL certificates.

Hosking also offers the best website hosting.

b). Get hosting  

Hosting is a service that allows you to have your website on a server. 

It can be done with dedicated servers or shared servers. 

Dedicated servers are usually more expensive than shared servers, but they allow you to utilize more of the server’s resources. For example, if you have a dedicated server, then you can install your own programs on the server and use it as if it was your own computer. If you are not sure which one to choose, then read our article on How much does it cost?

c). A Content Management System (CMS)  

A CMS is a tool that allows an administrator to create and edit pages on a website. 

It is often used with a content management system. (CMS)

There are many CMS’s out there to choose from, but WordPress is one of the most popular ones.  WordPress is free and does not require technical skills to use it. It can be found at

d). A theme  

What is it?

A theme is a template that allows you to change the look of your website. 

You can create themes by yourself or by buying them from a website. 

There are many themes for WordPress and you can find them at

e). A plugin  

A plugin is a piece of software that adds functionality to the website. 

For example, plugins can add new functions like the ability to send notifications, or the ability to add new pages. 

You can install plugins by yourself or by buying them from a website. 

f). Essential Pages  

What are the pages that you should have on your website? 

These pages will offer information about your business, and will also generate traffic. These are the pages that you should put on your website:

  • About Us 
  • Contact Us 
  • Blogs/Newsletters 
  • Shop
  • Legal pages

Step 5: Add Content to Your Site

Now that you have a website up and running, the next step is to add content. This can be adding blog posts or uploading the course content, products, etc.

This step depends on the type of online business you want to start in the UK.

If you decide to start an online store, you can now start uploading products. Make sure the description is on point, and the images are of good quality. If you’re starting a blog, write and publish articles.

Step 6: Comply With Online Business Legal Regulations

To run an online business in the UK, you have to comply with some important legal regulations. These are:

Make sure you read and implement all not to end up on the wrong side of the law.

Step 7: Start Promoting Your Online Business

Now that you’ve got your online business up and running, it’s time to start promoting it.

Here are some digital marketing strategies to consider:

a). SEO: Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of your website in search results.

There are loads of ways to boost your search engine rankings, so it’s worth investing time and effort into learning more about them.

To start with, you should research the keywords that people use when searching for products and services like yours, and then create a list of those keywords.

Then all you have to do is create content that includes those keywords in it – such as blog posts or product descriptions – and submit it to relevant websites (including social media platforms). 

Eventually, this will help you to increase your search engine ranking for those key terms. 

b). Social Media Marketing: Using Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms are a great way to promote your product or service – because they allow people to share information about it with friends and family quickly and easily. 

Here are some things that you should focus on when promoting your business through social media:

  • Create original content: This means that the content you create should be different from what other people are posting on the same platform. For example, if you want people to find out about a new product or service that you offer, make sure that your posts include pictures or videos of it! Remember also never post anything on social media sites without first checking whether there is already something similar being posted elsewhere (Google is a good place to start).  
  • Create an account on each platform: If possible, create accounts on each platform where there are people who are interested in your product or service.  
  • Use hashtags: By using hashtags on social media platforms, you will be able to reach a wider audience on each platform.  

c). Online Advertising (Google AdWords)

You can also use online advertising (also known as search engine marketing) to promote your business online. 

Here are some things that you should do when using online advertising:

  • Make sure that the adverts are relevant. This means that the adverts must be relevant to what people are searching for. For example, if there is a word in the title of an advert that people usually search for when looking for something else, then make sure that it is included in the advert’s title too! 
  • Also, make sure that the words in the title of the advert make sense together – so don’t put “buy gold” in an advert about computers! 
  • Create original content. You need to create original content for each advert. This means writing or editing text instead of copying and pasting from somewhere else or using images from other websites. 
  • You can also include images from other websites within your adverts – this will help people remember what they saw in the advert, which will, in turn, help people remember your business. 

Track Performance and Tweak as You Go

Once you’ve started to promote your online business in the UK, you will want to track your performance and tweak it as you go along.

For example, if you’re promoting a product, then tracking the number of people who have bought it is a great idea. You can do this by putting trackable links in your adverts, or by sending an email to those who have bought your product asking them to leave feedback on what they thought of the product. 

There are also online tools that you can use to track the performance of your adverts – this way, you’ll be able to see how many people have clicked on your ads and how many people have bought from you!

However, don’t get too obsessed with tracking the success of your advert – there’s no point in doing this if it means that you are spending hours tweaking one tiny change in an advert that has a huge impact on whether or not someone buys from you! 

Instead, focus more on testing different adverts and tweaking them over time so that they work better for different types of products. 

Final Thoughts

There are many different ways to start an online business in the UK, but you need to make sure that you pick the right one for your needs. It’s important to remember that there are no perfect options out there, so don’t feel like you have to choose one of them! 

If you’ve already picked the type of business that works best for you and have conducted market research, it is time to get started with setting up your online business.

The more information and resources you have on hand when starting out, the better off you’ll be – both financially and creatively!

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