tarting up an online business, and making it a success, has a lot more in common with traditional business than the average online marketing charlatan, with their promises of easy push-button profits, would have you believe. Successes of any kind, whether through traditional brick and mortar style businesses, or through online web-based empires, takes grit, determination, persistence, and planning.
While an online enterprise has plenty in common with traditional business, it also presents many unique challenges that entrepreneurs need to be aware of if their fledgling start-ups are to achieve any staying power and put food on the table. Many of the challenges presented by online business are related to the industry’s growth of technology and development, and the entrepreneur’s ability to stay abreast of the many changes and adapt accordingly.
So, now that you know it takes a lot more than a flash new website to achieve online success, what other challenges are you needing to make yourself aware?
Creating and publishing a website is a lot more straightforward than it was in the last decade or two, but if you are unfamiliar with the territory, then you have a significant learning curve to navigate over. Development environments are many and varied, but choosing the right one for you will come down to what you want to achieve with your online business.
WordPress is quite a popular and has a ton of plugins to achieve everything from blogging to e-commerce to a full CMS (Content Management System), and just about everything in between. Also great choice to go with developed scripts from themeforest would save lot money and time.
In the first stages of your business, traffic to your website will be a minor trickle, so even cheap hosting will easily be able to handle the bandwidth. As your business grows, however, your web hosting will need to be able to scale up to accommodate the extra traffic.
Enhancements and Support for Your Website
Keeping your website secure from hackers is paramount importance in today’s connected world, as hackers go great lengths to break in and steal passwords and client lists, or use your hosting to flood the internet with spam emails. Changing the default administrator login and using a secure password is always good practice, but so too is maintaining your website and hosting environment with the latest updates.
Implementing a strategy for maintaining your website with the latest versions, and backing up your data will ensure that you can still recover should the worst happen.
Ongoing Content Plan
The average web surfer is hungry for the latest information; something of which the search engines are acutely aware. For this reason, you need a robust content publishing strategy that ensures your website is regularly updated with new and relevant information to keep visitors coming back for more.
A dynamic website will also gain the favor of the search engine algorithms, as more visitors and more engagement often equates to higher search engine rankings.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO is perhaps one of the most significant challenges faced by online start-ups today, as entrepreneurs regularly find themselves on the backfoot due to the rules of engagement continually shifting in favor of the search engines.
However, there are a few standards on which most SEO experts agree that are good practice to implement on every website.
In-depth keyword research should always conducted before any content published on the web. Keywords are the backbone of any successful website, as without them the search engines will not be able to accurately gauge the relevance of your content, and your search result rankings will suffer as a result. Use keywords in the headings, and sprinkle them throughout the text. Pay attention to your keyword density as well, as too many keywords considered as keyword stuffing and get your site penalized.
When creating your content place a high priority on the user experience, rather than what you think the search algorithm wants to see. With the sophistication of today’s search engines, making sure your visitors have their questions answered is the best way forward in ensuring good search result rankings.
When first starting out there are many free SEO tools which can help you optimize your site and ensure all of the pieces of the puzzle are in place.
Most good SEO tools will crawl your site to analyze your keywords, find duplicate content, reveal URL errors, and examine the site’s backlink profile to ensure it has the best chance at showing up in the search engines. While many free versions come with limitations, most are more than adequate for a new enterprise. As the business needs grow, paid versions are available which can provide a more comprehensive analysis.
Social Media Optimization
Social media marketing grown very fast over the last few years, but not every social media platform is right fit for your business.
Researching who your ideal customers are will help you gain an understanding of where they spend most of their time online, making it easier for you to get your business in front of them.
The primary goal of search media optimization is to keep your business’s social profile regularly updated with interesting online content to attract more followers and leads. For best results provide an incentive for visitors to engage with the content such as liking, commenting, or sharing. Ensuring your content is shareable is extremely important for growing a business’s online presence.
A social media presence allows any business to easily update followers and fans about the latest trends in the industry, provide information about new products and developments, or just introduce a new company to the world and attract new leads.
The Need for a Proper Business Plan and Budget
Every worthwhile endeavor needs a detailed strategy. You wouldn’t sail a ship without a rudder, but sadly, this is what many online entrepreneurs do; they throw up a website and flail about without any sense of direction, and ultimately failing without knowing why.
Ensure you have a solid business plan in place, as well as a detailed budget, so you can maintain control of your business as it develops, and have a complete understanding of the direction it’s heading, and how it’s going to get there.
Having a plan in place will give your business staying power, and keep you grounded with realistic visions and achievable goals.
How to Avoid Common Mistakes
There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs to get help where they need it the most, and all without having to rely on expensive in-house full-time employees.
Work can be siphoned out as needed on sites like freelancer, Upwork, Guru and many more freelancing websites are available, where there are thousands of professionals with years of experience in all manner of fields including web design, content creation, video production, SEO, SMO, and online advertising.
If you need an expert on Facebook advertising or a Google AdWords professional, then you need to look no further than Fiverr.com, where you can take your pick from hundreds of professional individuals vying for your business. If you’re just starting out and you know you need to optimize your site for SEO but aren’t sure where to start, or you have no idea how to get the ball rolling on website SEO related queries , then there are many websites offering free seo tools should feature prominently on your to-do list.
You don’t need an SEO budget to start, as there are many free tools you can take advantage of as you build your business. Once the profits and web traffic start to roll in, then a more advanced in-depth service such as Ahref.com should be your next port of call.
Common Traps to Avoid
Many start-ups in the online business world fail because they focus too much on outsourcing many of the tasks to more experienced professionals. In many cases, outsourcing can be a worthwhile endeavor, but it needs a approach with caution.
Taking it slow, and building your business in bite-sized chunks will give you the time to learn more about how everything fits together. As it grows, and the money starts to flow in, then you can think about outsourcing those parts of the business which are still essential but remove too much of the focus away from taking care of your most important asset, your customers.
Another area responsible for the downfall of so many promising startups is in improper planning. In the first stages, focus on creating a detailed business plan, and you will have a solid foundation on which to build your business.
Jumping in without enough experience can also quickly bring a startup to a grinding halt. Before starting out on their own, many entrepreneurs find paid employment in the field in which they want to build a business. When they have learned the ropes and gained experience, only then do they set out to create an online business with their vision in mind.
When you do finally get your online endeavor up and running, make sure your attention doesn’t fixate on any one single area. Many online entrepreneurs have come tumbling down simply because they devoted too many resources to one aspect of the business. For example, focusing all of your efforts on advertising and getting leads into your sales funnel is no good if you don’t have enough time to take care of the paying customers as well.