Starting an Online Business: Common Challenges
Starting an online business seems like a fairly straightforward process, and for the most part it is. You must reserve a catchy domain name, establish hosting services, set up a design for the website and then take it from there. However, once the website is up you might experience a number of challenges as a new online business owner.
Ongoing Site Maintenance
Once you set up a business site online you must maintain it regularly. That includes updating crucial information, such as prices for an online store, fixing design flaws and responding to emails from potential customers. In some cases you may have to make an all-day commitment to monitoring your site's business and fulfilling orders. If you sell a service, you cannot let more than 24-48 hours go by without responding to your clients or you might as well not respond at all.
If you cannot make this commitment you should hire someone who can do it for you. Set up a reliable smartphone account to receive emails as they come so that you can respond to inquiries quickly.
There are hundreds, probably thousands of other sites out there that are already selling what you plan to sell or something similar. Buyers usually feel more comfortable buying what they need from established online sites, like Amazon, eBay or Overstock. So one of the most common challenges you’ll face when starting an online business is gaining the trust of internet shoppers and getting them to come to you for repeat orders.
Getting Traffic to Your Site
A nicely designed site is just taking up server space if you can’t drive traffic to it. Lack of traffic is quite possibly the top challenge that new internet business owners experience. With so much competition from other similar sites your website can easily get lost in the crowd. Put a marketing and promotions plan in place to guide how you will spread the word about your online business. One of the most common ways of spreading the word is with social media, like Facebook and Twitter. Another method is search engine optimization (SEO), where you use keywords throughout your site so that people can find it through a simple internet search.
Although you may face a number of challenges when establishing your online business, don’t let that discourage you from taking action. Read, do research, get the right tools and hire people as needed to help you overcome these potential obstacles.