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We’re nearing the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, and by now technology has completely changed the way businesses operate, whether it’s billion dollar companies or small independent entrepreneurships. The Internet has had a huge impact on both the way we conduct our personal lives and our businesses, and it’s mostly made things much easier. However, that also means that certain rules that might have been essential in the business world twenty years ago are no longer relevant, and that there are a handful of new ones you need to pick up on.
There are a couple of things that anyone starting an online business should be aware of, lest they want to set themselves up for failure in the very beginning. Here are seven things you need to know if you’re about to embark on creating an online business.
1. Your website
We’re going to start with the cornerstone of any online business: your website. More than just a pretty looking page that has some basic stuff about your business on it, think of your website as the online equivalent of your workshop or your office. Your website should be appealing, functional and easy to use, because that’s how you keep customers in an online world. Learn some HTML, hire a talented web developer to build you an awesome website, and immediately forget about free hosting – your website is too important to be kept on some second-grade, sluggish server that will annoy your customers to no end.
2. Internet security
Once you’ve set up a good website, it’s time to think about keeping it that way, and that means preventing any malicious hackers from getting unauthorised access to it. Cyber crime is a big deal these days and it can have very serious consequences: losing credit card credentials, leakage of your customers’ personal information, and so on. Therefore it’s essential that you take steps to protect your website and all of the data on it.
If you use WordPress for your website, there are plenty of good security plugins that you can use to strengthen your overall security. To protect your connection itself, consider browsing through a ExpressVPN in order to successfully encrypt all the data you transmit over the Internet. Two-step authentication is also a good way to make sure no unauthorised sign-in attempts can happen, since it forces you to input an SMS-bound authentication code along with your password every time you sign in.
3. Know your market
If you’re about to start an online business, you have to know who you’re selling it to and what your customers want. And thanks to many amazing online tools that you have access to nowadays, this is a process that is far less complicated now than it was a few decades ago. So just grab something like Google Analytics and start analysing everything about the type of person that visits your site, and start figuring out your niche from the bottom up.
4. Customer criticism
It’s very important to have open, public contact with your customers and take into consideration all the potential criticism that they can dish out. This means spreading your business to social media, replying to e-mails, anything you can to let your customers know you care about them and what they think about your business.
5. Advertising properly
Advertising is easier than ever with the help of the Internet, and it just takes a few seconds to add a post onto all of your followers’ News Feed, letting them know about all the latest things that your business is working on. However, since it’s all so simple nowadays, a lot of newer entrepreneurs make the mistake of being too intense with ads.
There’s a term known as Internet marketing etiquette, and it refers to a set of rules on how to practice ethical online advertisement so that you get the word about your product out, but at the same time not bore your customers and make them hit that dreadful unfollow button. In a nutshell, limit yourself to a single post per day at most on social media, and a single e-mail once every few days, so you and your business don’t come across as needy and annoying – because let’s face it, no customer likes to see that.
6. Fast Internet connection
Don’t skimp on Internet connection speed. You don’t have to get the best you possibly can, but just make sure that it’s more than you will ever need. A slow connection can be absolutely detrimental to handling your business online, especially if you plan to actually host your website yourself.
7. Protecting your reputation
Finally, your public image is something you need to look out for every day and night. One nasty review from an unsatisfied customer can really set your business back, especially in the early stages. So make sure to keep a track of what people are saying about your brand every day – if nothing else, just Google your business and try to figure out what the general opinion is.