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November 21, 2019

Things to know before starting an Online Business

In today’s age, starting up your own online business can be as easy as clicking a few buttons. The rise in popularity of e-commerce websites is mainly due to the ease and accessibility of online shopping compared to shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. The online economy is booming, which makes starting an online business a desirable and lucrative option for the entrepreneurially-minded.

But before you go slap your new product on a pretty website, open up a banking account and start to promote your new business, there are a few considerations you should keep in mind to protect yourself when selling online. 

Screening your employees before you hire

Hiring talent for an online business is almost identical to hiring employees for a physical store. You want your staff to reliable, skilled, and above all, trustworthy. To protect yourself, your business and your data, it is always a good idea to run background checks on potential employees.

Background checks are a great way to easily vet candidates for a position and give yourself a more comprehensive understanding of someone’s history. Most people assume background checks only include basic information such as criminal records but many online background check services nowadays can unearth a lot of relevant information on your potential employee.

From work history to education to financial information, background checks can give you a better picture of who you are in talks with and give you some relevant information you otherwise would not have been able to attain.

In some regards, it might be even more important to run a background check on an employee for an online business compared to a physical business. Tight-knit, uncompromising cybersecurity is integral to the functioning, reputation, and longevity of any e-commerce website. By hosting businesses online, you are responsible for customer information, transaction history, and other sensitive data. It is extremely important that you find trustworthy, dependable people to work with that information, not only to protect yourself but also to your customers.

For example, your store might need some customer support staff to troubleshoot refunds, exchanges, and other transaction inquiries. For an online store, this position would most likely be remote. It is likely that you may want someone who is personable and polite to customers, while also being proactive with solving and preventing future issues. In these scenarios, it may be even more important to conduct a background check because you most likely won’t meet this potential employee in-person. These types of checks are a solid way to protect yourself when selling online by first ensuring internal affairs are secure and reliable.

Optimizing your website

Your business’ website is like your physical store—it’s the gateway for potential customers to access your products or services. Similar to people being attracted to a clean, well-laid-out storefront and repulsed by messy or unappealing ones, the look and design of your website have a major effect on how long potential customers are staying on your page. You really want to nail your website before launching your website so you aren’t tweaking it or fixing bugs when your business goes live.

There are a lot of design and SEO resources out there that outline how to layout your website to appear at the top of Google (News - Alert) searches. But beyond that, it’s important to consider what kind of customer you have when creating your website. For example, if your website caters to an older demographic who might have difficulty reading small text or fast-moving graphics, consider using a large font size with high contrast for easier readability.

There are some general good practices to keep in mind when designing your website. Humans are visual creatures, so including a good variety of images, videos and other multimedia content on your website, like your product image, company video, and social media feed is much more eye-catching than having big blocks of text with no visual breaks.

Another crucial aspect of your website to consider is its speed. No one wants to go on a slow, unresponsive website that takes one minute to load. Increase your site speed by compressing your files and optimizing your on-site images to take up less space.

Choosing a solid website hosting service will go a long way in both the design and site speed. Using a reputable hosting service is also sure to be secure in terms of online transactions. Be sure to protect yourself when selling online by using highly-reviewed hosting services.

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