With potentially minimal start up costs and a potential customer base of millions it has become very popular to set up an online business. But what are the most important things to remember if you are planning to do this?
Have a plan
The most important first step as with creating any new business is to have an idea and create a plan. Make sure you define who your target audience is and what objectives you need to achieve to be successful. It is important to identify the customer need and then conduct research, especially online to see what is already available in the market and what gap you are going to fill. Many budding business owners especially in the online space try to develop a product, then find a market for it, don't fall into this trap.
The right domain name
This is a very important step and something that a lot of effort must be put in to. Once a domain next has been selected changing it in the future can be costly and damaging to your brand. Make sure the domain name fits your brand, is easy to spell and is as memorable as possible.
Make sure that your website is easy to use and attractive. You only have a few seconds from when a prospective customer enters your site to keep their attention, so make sure it is easy for them to see what you want them to and then there is a simple process to make a purchase or find more information.
Make use of SEO
Ensuring that your target customer base can find your site is vital and SEO (search engine optimisation) is vital to this and crucial to the long term visibility and possible success of your business. Speak to SEO experts and work out the best way to ensure your site is reached by your target audience.
PPC (Pay per click) if used effectively can be a very good way to ensure reach of your target audience through targeted marketing adverts. Running a competitive ad campaign through PPC can make an online business, it attracts traffic to your site immediately and enables you to try out different keywords and discover which ones work best for you.
Make sure before choosing a web host, you speak to others and do your research. Don't choose one because it's the cheapest, as you will most likely get what you have paid for. It is very important to have a reliable web hosting service to ensure your site is online as much as possible and any downtime is minimised ensuring the least amount of disruption to your online business.
Use social media
As soon as you have your brand name and domain name registered make sure the next thing that is done is to register the business name with as many social media sites as possible. This will help your business to dominate search results and stop any imposters ruining your brand name. The use of social networks is also vital in an online business. Using the likes of Facebook and Twitter allow wider brand exposure, engagement with customers and potential customers and the ability to reach a wider audience.
Overall, just like starting any other business venture, planning and research are the most important aspects for any start-up to have any chance of success. This is very much the case, especially when considering the online market.