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Running an online business: skills you’ll need | biz + blog tips

Running an online business: skills you'll need

These days, starting an online business is easier than ever. Anyone can begin networking with all kinds of professionals in a matter of minutes, and there are countless accessible ecommerce platforms out there with which to set up your venture. While there have certainly been harder times to get started with an online business, getting one off the ground and then running it successfully isn’t a walk in the park! In order to stay productive and competitive, all online business owners need to possess a certain skillset. Here are just a few of the skills all online business owners should make a point of developing…

Technical Literacy

If there’s one thing that’s going to test your technical abilities, it’s running an online business. Things like registering a domain name and paying for a hosting plan are fairly easy these days. A lot of hosting companies will even let you install WordPress with one click of your mouse. However, this is pretty much as easy as it will ever get. Do you know how to install a script or repair a column in a database? Do you know if you’re better off getting a VPS or a cloud-based server? Would you know how to act if your WordPress site got hacked? If these kinds of questions only make you scratch your head, you need to work on the whole subject as a matter of urgency. There are various technical aspects that go into running a website, and while you can outsource these things to people with a little more technical knowhow, having to lean on these outside sources can become extremely inefficient.

Search Engine Optimization

 

For almost any website these days, organic search is the top source of traffic. If you’re completely lost when it comes to keyword research, fine-tuning optimized content, and tweaking the technical aspects of a website in order to improve its SEO, your business is going to have a hard time staying competitive. Most entrepreneurs know something about keyword research, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. You’re going to need to get clued up on page and domain authority, link building, responsive design, keeping clean code and minimizing load times, not to mention social media, which has become its own marketing science. There are all kinds of different technical aspects tied in with SEO, and keeping on top of these can be a full-time job in and of itself. It’s certainly possible to take a hands-on approach to SEO while you’re running a business, but this can be pretty strenuous with everything else on your plate. Make plans to bring in someone with at least a little more marketing expertise than you.

Composing Content

Having the skills required to produce high-quality, value-orientated and search-optimized content is essential to running a successful online business in today’s fast-paced and competitive environment. Good content will keep a healthy stream of traffic, build trust for your brand among your target audience, and attract new leads and customers. Putting good content out there often means writing a lot of blog posts and articles, which can be an extremely time-consuming process. Videos and podcasts have been proven to be very effective as an alternative, but these can be even more strenuous on your time and money. When you have a look at what your main competitors are doing, you may not feel quite up to publishing fresh content at a competitive rate. It may be hard, but you should never underestimate just how much good content can pay off. If the state of online marketing stays the way it is for at least a few more years, content is going to be the main thing driving fresh traffic to your site. You can start now by creating and managing an editorial calendar, keeping to a publishing schedule that’s in-step with your closest competitors, and planning out content which will answer the questions your target market has. Get into a good rhythm for publishing content, and your brand credibility will go through the roof!

Leveraging Paid Advertising

If content is king, then paid advertisment is its closest advisor. Paid advertising has always been a big part of online business, and these days it’s more important to think about than ever. A lot of modern advertising platforms give you access to extensive targeting and filtering features, which make it easier for you to reach your customer. These can also make it easier for you to test how effective your landing pages are, and how popular your product or service offers are. While paid advertising platforms certainly make your job easier, it’s important not to view them as something you can simply “set and forget”. Refining your targeting, and crafting ads that are perfectly suited to the results you’re going for, can be extremely challenging if you’re lacking in prior experience. When you’re investing money simply for the guarantee that people will see your landing page, good conversion optimization becomes even more important. When it comes to PPC and similar ad platforms, there’s a lot that you can find out simply through trial and error. However, it’s important to know that you’re probably going to waste at least a little bit of money in the process. Developing your skills in this area will help to minimize your losses.

Running an online business: skills you'll need

Expertise in your Niche

This is an obvious one, but if your business happens to grow rapidly, you may quickly find yourself in over your head with all the different facets of a given business niche. You don’t need to be an expert to get a good start in business. A lot of majorly successful entrepreneurs have started their first ventures having just enough knowledge of a given industry or niche. However, those that have risen quickly in their market, and had continued success with an expanding business, have only been able to do this by being a dedicated student of their industry. While you’re focussed on being a universal online success, don’t neglect your industry expertise!

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