Running a business is always a challenge, but doing it online is particularly difficult. Not only do you need to keep up with developments in modern technology, but you will also be competing against all kinds of competition that you might not have with a brick-and-mortar store. Your marketing strategy for an online business will be vastly different and you may be more limited in terms of what kind of products or services are likely to do well.
If you’re considering opening an online business, you’ll need to do a lot of research and preparation before you even get started. As you enter the planning stage, be sure to think about the role SEO will play in your marketing strategy. Keep reading to learn more about the challenges online businesses face and to receive SEO tips for online business success.
What Challenges Do Online Businesses Face?
Advances in modern technology have changed the way we do business. Whereas brick-and-mortar stores were once the gold standard, more businesses are switching over to a web-based model. Plus, many new businesses are starting entirely online – this comes with a unique set of challenges. Here are some of the biggest challenges online businesses face:
- Finding a profitable niche. Everyone who starts a business thinks they have a great idea, but sometimes a good idea isn’t enough. For example, if you have a profound talent for baking you might think that opening a bakery would be a great idea but there are already thousands of bakeries out there – how will you set yourself apart? When starting an online business you need to know exactly what you are offering and you need to ensure that there is a market for it.
- Learning new technology. If you’re going to start an online business, you’ll need a certain degree of computer knowledge. You can find someone to design your website and you can hire someone to manage your social media accounts, but you’ll still need to be able to use technology to monitor and run the business side of things. You don’t need to be an expert, but if you struggle with even the most basic forms of technology you might be in for a rude awakening.
- Managing logistics. Running a business is like juggling – you’ve got half a dozen balls in the air at any time and you’re always struggling to keep from dropping them. Even though your business exists online, you’re still selling tangible goods or services in exchange for real money. You’ll need bank accounts, customer services, security, and everything else a “real” business needs to operate.
- Developing and reaching an audience. You shouldn’t start a business unless you have a target audience in mind. Though it might seem like having a product is the first step in developing a business, it is just as important to identify the niche or the need you want your business to meet. Once you know these things, you can work on the business side. Reaching your target audience online comes with its own unique set of challenges as well as some exciting opportunities – think social media. All of these things come into play when you start developing your marketing strategy.
- Successful and profitable marketing. Marketing is simply the strategies you use to reach your target audience and to drive sales. For an online business, most of your marketing is going to be online as well. You’ll need a company website where your customers can go to learn more about you, to view your products, and to make purchases. You should also have social media accounts linked to your website so you can expand your reach and stay connected. As is true for brick-and-mortar stores, online businesses need to target their marketing strategy according to their goals and their specific audience.
Many of the same challenges that brick-and-mortar stores face carry over into the world of online businesses, but in a different way. Any business needs to identify a target market and then engage in a marketing strategy to reach that market. For an online business, however, you have to deal with a lot of competition – there are bound to be dozens of companies that sell your product or service and, because they are all online, your potential customers have access to all of them. Keep reading to learn some simple SEO tips to help you deal with challenges like these.
SEO Secrets to Boost Your Online Business
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of growing visibility and reaching your target audience through organic search engine results. SEO strategies encompass everything you do to improve your search engine rankings, to drive traffic, and to increase awareness of your business, particularly among your target audience. To utilize SEO effectively for your online business, here are some simple but important tips:
- Don’t overthink it. You could spend weeks, or even months, studying the Google algorithm and developing a detailed SEO plan but the algorithm is just going to keep changing. Your best bet is to keep things simple and to do what works.
- Keep your content fresh. The current Google algorithm favors websites that offer fresh, original content and that keep their content up-to-date. Even if you only use your website as a landing page, you should update it frequently.
- Make usability a priority. Another aspect of SEO that is important for online businesses is usability – your website ranking will improve if users spend more time on your website. You should also make sure to optimize it for mobile use.
- Use keywords efficiently. Using a particular keyword a dozen times on one page is no longer a surefire way to boost your search engine rankings. Now it’s all about long-tail and location-based keywords and how you use them.
- Don’t forget about images and video. Both images and video content provide extra opportunities to work in your keywords. You should also think about adding some infographics.
- Make use of meta data. Many online marketers overlook one of the simplest but most effective ways to boost SEO – meta data. Be sure to work your keywords into the meta description for your site and for individual pages.
Successfully running a small business is no easy task. Changes in technology occur frequently and suddenly, so you may need to keep making adjustments to your business model, your products or services, and your marketing strategy. No matter what type of business you have, however, SEO is going to play an extremely important role in determining your success so take what you’ve learned here and put it into practice.