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Tips For Starting A Business Online
When starting an online business you’ll want to keep in mind a few important notes. Online businesses can be created with only a few hundred dollars, a few hours of work and a little bit of optimism if you know what you’re doing. If this is your first online business there are a number of hurtles you’ll have to overcome. We will mention a few of them here.
If you’re a beginner these tips will save you weeks or even months of frustration, headaches and even a few thousand dollars…
Is Your Online Business Selling a Product or Service?
Businesses that sell products and services are two totally different animals. Service businesses are easier to set up, all you need is your self or your team of experts, your skill, a simple functional website and perhaps a few contract templates. Product businesses require a bit more planning but can be more easily automated and profitable due to the ability to scale. However you must have an idea, hire a manufacturer, figure out the logistics (will you hire a fulfillment company or ship it yourself) and abide by the laws in your area and the areas you sell to. We’ll go more in depth in to how to sell products in a separate article down the road but you can contact us for consulting by filling out our contact form.
Choose A Good Hosting Company
If you plan on building a website yourself (which I recommend; unless you want to pay tens of thousands of dollars and have to rely on developers who charge 100$/hour for minor edits *gags*) then it’s important to choose a good hosting company. There are tons of hosting companies out there but the one I always return to is GoDaddy. They offer every type of website service you could possibly need so you’ll save yourself the hassle of hiring a third party and going through the trouble of integrating every time you need to make a change. What sets them apart however is that GoDaddy has the best customer service I’ve ever experienced with very knowledgable, American tech guys and gals available 24/7 by phone or chat. Their customer service has spoiled me…
GoDaddy Premium Support Is A Lifesaver
Sometimes things go wrong as we all know. In the world of tech this is all too common. Screwing up your whole website by getting hacked or using a incompatible plugin can set your business back days or even weeks while you scramble to find a fix that could involve having to hire an expensive developer (and might we add a stranger) who could hold your website hostage or worse with access to your backend. GoDaddy has a service called Premium Support wherein they sell “credits” for about 80$ a piece. Each credit is worth one fix made by a developer at GoDaddy where they are guaranteed to solve the problem. This has come in handy for me a few times over the years and saved me thousands of dollars and tons of frustration.
Make Your Website User Friendly
Making your website functional and user-friendly are probably the two most important aspects of a website trying to profit exclusively online. There are a few tips and tricks that can help you stand out to potential customers and clients but the best way to improve your website is to study your competition and improve on what they have to offer.
Shop Around To Find a Good Theme
It’s definitely worth your time to shop around to find a theme that works well and looks great. It doesn’t hurt to watch tutorials before you buy to make sure that theme offer the features and look you want for your online business. Themify is a great option and is the theme this website currently uses. Hogan Chua offers many great tutorials on how to use their themes.
Consider Adding Features Like Live Chat
It’s the little things that matter and live chat is one of those little things. There are tons of live chat services out there, some offer live customer support reps and some let you answer customers yourself through a phone app. Regardless, live chat is a small investment that can help your conversion rate tremendously. I recommend using PureChat as they offer a free live chat software that works great and comes with an easy to use app.
*IMPORTANT* Beware Of Copyright Infringement!
Stay far away from images on other people’s websites and pretty pictures you find across the web. Always use copyright free images like those you can find on websites like unsplash.com or Google images with the “labeled for reuse” filter active. Neglecting this advice can get your business hit with thousands of dollars in legal fees or worse… This has happened to me and people I know far too often and caused far too many heartaches…
Speed Up Your Website
If your website uses lots of images or animations your customers will likely get hit with slow loading speeds and therefore lower conversion rates among your impatient customers.
Using a service like a CDN and a plugin like Smush and Autoptimize can make a big difference. CloudFlare offers a cheap CDN service that costs about 20$ a month. This service stores your website’s images on servers across the country and when users visit your site your images are loaded more quickly off a server closer to their location. Smush is a plugin that compresses your images without hurting their quality, they offer a free and paid plan. The paid plan is a bit pricey at about 100$ a month but certainly worth it if your website has loading time issues as the paid plan works twice as good as the free plan. Lastly, Autoptimize is a powerful plugin that helps compress your websites code and helps you manage cache. Be wary of using Autoptimize type plugins however as they tend to make your website’s backend a bit glitchy. You may want to deactivate the plugin before you begin making any edits or just not download the plugin at all.
Starting your own online business is exciting! We wish you luck on your journey. If you want professional help in creating, optimizing, and managing an online website you can contact us for a quote. We offer all sorts of digital marketing services including: E-commerce store management, website design, SEO, ad management on Google/Facebook, social media management and more for an affordable rate. You can contact us for a customized quote for any of our services.
About The Author
Peter Heise is the president and founder of Correct Digital, Inc. He is experienced in SEO, Wordpress website design, digital advertising management, and wants to share his knowledge and experience for the benefit of online business owners.