Five ways to stop your online business becoming an expensive disaster

Building a business large or small is a tough task and there are plenty of ways things can go disastrously wrong.  When they do, it’s often the owner who is left worst off as they find themselves out of work and out of pocket.

Here are five ways to help make sure your online business doesn’t turn into a disaster.Five ways to stop your online business becoming an expensive disaster

1 – Make sure your idea is a good one

And a workable one too. There’s no point in pouring your hard earned cash into a business that is of no interest to the public. One of the most notable examples of a firm failing to heed this point is the case of Flooz.com. The concept behind the company was a simple as it was daft – people would buy credits which they could then use to purchase goods from a range of online stores.

Unsurprisingly, the idea didn’t take off and people continued to use money to buy things from retailers directly. The company collapsed in 2001 after around $50 million had been spent on it. Remember, if your idea is no good then your business is no good.

2 – Think about your marketing very, very carefully

One of the main advantages of an online business it that it’s possible to do quality marketing for very little. However, it’s also possible to make mistakes that will cripple your business further down the line, so you need to be extra careful. One of the trickiest areas to navigate is search engine optimisation. If you’re not careful, you can end up spending a huge amount of cash on techniques that can get your site removed from search engines all together.

If you’re relying on search engine traffic to generate sales, then you need to be extra careful the SEO techniques you’re employing. Understand the risk you face and decide whether you think they’re at acceptable levels. Never blindly entrust your SEO efforts to an agency – always make sure you know what they’re doing.

Also, don’t rely on link building as your only online marketing tactic – use other techniques such as seeking out online influencers and getting them to promote your company.

3 – Test everything

There are a huge number of metrics available to online business owners, and they need to monitor as many of them as possible. However, it’s no good just looking at page after page of figures – you need to run tests to see what’s working and what needs to be improved. You can test everything from the copy on your landing pages, to the position of your “buy now” buttons. If you want to get really technical, you can even test the snippets which show up in search engine results.

You don’t have to do everything yourself though, companies such as Crazy Egg exist to help you out. However, if you ignore testing it’s likely your competitors will be able to steal a march on you, and that could prove to be disastrous.

4 – You’re not secure

If your website isn’t secure, your online business is just seconds from disaster at any time. If hackers compromise your site, they could steal sensitive data, remove your ability to access and change content, or even just sabotage you by deleting everything.

  • Making sure everything is secure is an on-going process and deserves your full attention, but we’ll cover the basics here.
  • Make sure you change usernames and passwords to something other than the defaults
  • Install malware tracking software on your site so you get an early heads up if something is wrong
  • Install updates for your software packages as soon as they become available
  • Ensure only people who need it have admin rights for your site

If you’re uncertain about any aspect of online security, it’s probably worth consulting with an expert.

5 – Make sure you have fun

If you hate running your business, you’ll end up running it, and yourself, into the ground. You don’t have to spend every minute of the day basking in glorious joy because of your company. You do need to have a fundamental interest in what you’re doing though, or everything will go pear shaped.

About Will Stevens

Will Stevens is a writer for 123-reg, the UK's largest domain name registrar.