Online businesses are becoming more and more popular to those with an entrepreneurial mindset. With comparatively low start-up costs and barriers to entry, almost anyone can create a new stream of revenue with a website of their own.
But just because an online business is less expensive to start than a traditional brick and mortar business, that doesn’t mean you don’t need to invest some money into it.
Too many online business owners think they can skate by with a free website on Blogger. That might be fine for a hobby site or an idea you’re just testing out, but if you want to be taken seriously you need to register your own domain and use a reputable web hosting provider. A domain and web hosting will only cost you about $100 a year, so there’s no excuse not to make the investment. Your business will look much more professional and legitimate with a real domain.
Besides a legitimate website, what are some of the other investments business owners can make to help improve their business?
An attractive website theme or template can give your site a polished and professional look. There are plenty of free options but you may be better investing in a premium theme that looks more polished and comes with support from the developers.
Email newsletter software is an inexpensive way to keep in touch with customers and prospects. Once they have opted in to your newsletter you can send them tips and information as well as coupons and sale notifications. You can turn a single purchase into a repeat customer and watch your revenues soar.
One area you definitely want to invest in is your transaction handling. You should invest in the best POS system you can afford. Not only should it look professional so customers feel comfortable handing over their credit card information, it must also be reliable. Just imagine the nightmare you’d face if your system crashed and you were unable to accept orders right in the middle of the holiday shopping season.
Many online businesses rely almost entirely on free sources of traffic. They think if they can out-SEO other sites and rank for all of their top keywords they’ll get plenty of traffic and all for free. Unfortunately, maintaining a high ranking for competitive keyword phrases is easier said than done. There will always be new competitors trying to knock you off the top of the mountain and search engine algorithms are notoriously fickle. A site that ranks first today could drop to twenty tomorrow for no apparent reason. Rather than relying solely on free traffic generation methods, you will probably need to invest a bit in advertising to keep visitors coming in.
Small business owners are required to wear many hats as they handle the various aspects of the business themselves. But in order to grow you have to start looking for ways to outsource some tasks to other people. If you can’t quite afford to hire a full-time employee you can always look to outsource some routine tasks. A part-time bookkeeper can help you track your income and expenses and a freelance writer can help flesh out some content for your website.
What other ways can you reinvest in your business? Tools, software, educational opportunities?