Your guide to a successful online business!

Have you resolved to improve your business in the year ahead but don’t know where to start? We’ve put together a brief guide on some of the things you can do in order to achieve your goal. You don’t have to do all of them, but if you pick one or two of them, then you should be well on the way to improving your business in 2016.

 

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1 – Launch or revamp your website

Customers expect pretty much every kind of business to have at least some form of website these days. It can be a simple three page site that tells people what you do and allows them to contact you, or it can be a fully-fledged ecommerce site that allows you to sell your product to people directly.

Exactly what kind of site you need depends on the kind of business you’re running, but you do need one. If you haven’t yet launched a website, or if you have an out-of-date website then you run the risk of putting off potential customers. If someone can find your competitors online, but not you then the chances are they’re going to spend their money with your competitors.
Creating your own website isn’t hard. You can quickly put together an attractive site using the 123-reg Website Builder tool and if you need ecommerce functionality, it offers that too. You can read more about using our Website Builder to create a site in this guide. And as an extra incentive, there’s currently 50% off for the first year of our Business+ package.

2 – Understand who visits your website

If you’ve got a website you need to understand who is visiting it and what they’re doing while they’re there. Doing so is the key to understanding if your website is working the way it should. Although this might sound like a complex task, it basically boils down to installing the right tools and learning how to interpret the information they provide. You can learn how to do that with our guide to understanding your website visitors in this webinar.

3 – Keep track of your competitors

Do you know what your rivals are up to? If not, then you’ll have no idea what they’re doing better than you and what they’re struggling with. Monitoring your competitors is an excellent way to understand how you’re doing as a business and where you need to make improvements.

You don’t have to obsessively follow your rivals’ every move, but keeping tabs on what they do can help you identify new tactics and techniques that will allow you to do business in a better, more efficient manner.

You can learn how to keep track of your competitors in this short video.

 

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4 – Build your online reputation

Positive reviews show you’re running a trustworthy business that delivers on its promises. If people can see that, then they’re more likely to do business with you. If you haven’t been paying attention to what people have been saying about you online, then you need to get involved. You can learn more about the importance of online reviews in this guide.

5 – Embrace a new marketing channel

Small online businesses often miss out on big rewards due not taking full advantage of all the opportunities available to them. Often this is simply because a lack of time means that a business owner can’t do everything they want to do. However, it really does pay to invest in new marketing channels. Often it doesn’t take as much time as you expect and the financial outlay isn’t excessive. Here are some ideas of areas you can focus on in 2016. If you’ve neglected any of these areas, pick one and make it your focus for the year ahead.
Search engine optimisation – Get started with SEO with this guide. It’s ideal if you’re launching a new site or haven’t done any SEO in the past.

Email marketing – Email marketing is a great way to sell more to existing and potential customers. Get started with this webinar on email marketing for small businesses.

PPC advertising – PPC ads are a quick and easy way to attract potential customers to your website. You can check out our guide to PPC advertising here.

6 – Get to know your customers

Understanding your customers can mean the difference between making sales and missing out. Get to grips with what people want from your business, and whether you’re meeting those needs. No company is perfect, so you’re bound to find there are ways you can hang on to existing customers, or turn previous customers into repeat customers. You can get to grips with this issue by watching our webinar on customer loyalty.

If you’re struggling with any of these areas, or are facing any other problems with your business then let us know in a comment and we’ll get back to you.

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