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Tips for establishing an online business

Stephen Hunt - Law on the Web

  1. 13 April 2015
  2. Business
  3. 0 comments
Man on laptop


As with any new business venture, a lot of groundwork is required if you are to run an online business successfully. This should involve coming up with a plan in which you identify a service or product that you can offer to customers, and conducting research to determine whether there is a demand for this upon which a profitable business can be based.

In addition to this you will also need to identify which competitors may lurk within your chosen domain of commerce and whether you have the resources to compete with them. The best business model may come about as a result of filling an opening, where there is a demand for something which is not yet filled.

Creating a website and establishing an online presence

Doing it yourself vs. hiring a designer

You want your website to convey professionalism and all the qualities you want your business to be associated with and for this the appearance of your website is very important. Although it may be expensive, it is probably worth hiring a professional designer to design and create your website. You may be able to save money in the short term by using available templates which allow you put up a basic site yourself, but the end result may not be a professional-looking site which compels customers to buy from you.

Writing compelling copy

Just as important as the appearance of your website will be the text which it contains. Ideally it should initially arouse the user’s interest, then take them through how your company can solve their problem or fill their needs, assuring them of the quality of your product or service and eventually inviting them to make a purchase. It is worth taking time over writing your copy rather than just filling up the space. It may be worth hiring a specialist copywriter for this purpose.

Marketing strategies

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

Given that search engines, in particular Google, are such a powerful way of attracting potential customers to an online business, the art of SEO is one which has soared in prominence over recent years. SEO involves making changes to your website which will in theory elevate your site to a higher position in search results.

It should be noted, however, that SEO should not be employed as a substitute for making an informative, user-friendly website. The intention of Google and other search engines is after all to give top billing to the websites which will best serve its users, and as its algorithms for ranking sites improve, a situation should emerge where SEO and making a website compelling and useful are one and the same thing.

Google Adwords

An alternative way to reach the top of the Google rankings is to pay to get there. Using Google Adwords you can pay to appear at the top of search results for chosen keywords. This service works on a pay-per-click basis, meaning that you will pay for every time that a user clicks on your advert.

Social media

Using social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter is an increasingly powerful way of establishing a strong online presence and reaching new customers. A frequently updated Facebook or Twitter account linked to your online business can show that your company is dynamic and could engender an interest which may lead to sales later on.

For information on the legal side of starting an online business, please see our starting an online business page in our business law section.

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