Starting, Operating and Securing a Successful E-commerce Site
In my mind, there are three keys to success for any e-commerce site. First is mastering the startup phase and building process themselves to ensure success. Second is developing a solid marketing plan aimed at providing you with month over month growth in income. Third is securing it all from hackers and con men.
Running a successful online business isn’t easy, but mastering these three keys certainly makes it run a bit more smoothly.
Choose your niche and implement niche marketing in your business operations. It is safe to say that you are not the only one with a brilliant idea. It is pretty common for self-starters to want to have a broad range of items for sale. A great example is cell phone cases, which is a hot market as we all want to protect our beloved mini-computers. This is a decent niche; however, you are entering an extremely competitive world of quality case-makers. I recommend you narrow it down to one original, functional and specific type of case.
Marketing your Site
If you would like to see consistent growth, direct marketing is essential. You have two choices; you can sit and wait for consumers to find you or you can find them. By running promotions and advertising through social media you can achieve just that. You will also want to seek out repeat business through email. In any business, customer service is the best way to earn trust thus opening the door for word of mouth advertising.
Next, familiarize yourself with SEO. Hopefully by this point you have basic knowledge on what SEO is and simply need a refresher course to enable you to use it properly. If you don’t have a blog, you will want to add one to your site ASAP. Linking your blog to your products is one of the most overlooked ways to drive traffic to a site. Other good tactics are guest posting and participating in forums. Through forums on your niche, you can link visitors directly to your products.
Blog posts is key. If you aren’t much of a writer, it’s time to hire one or to become proficient in the craft. Continue to produce quality content and you will see an increase in visitors as well as sales. You will also want to update old content sporadically to regenerate leads. Another sound piece of advice is to repurpose old promos and reuse them via the web.
My final tidbit on maintaining a quality site is to analyze regularly. Through tools such as Google Analytics you can stay current on traffic as well as sales. You will also want to keep tabs on your SEO performance. Through this you can change your strategy as needed.
Risks and Security
One of the biggest and most obvious risks is credit card theft. Sophisticated cyber criminals also known as hackers use bot nets to coordinate attacks against unsuspecting sites. They find those that are vulnerable and steal the credit card information of consumers. This is bad for business, but is avoidable.
In 2004 five credit card security programs linked together and formed the PCI DSS. Basically they have created an extra level of protection making sure you as the merchant meet basic levels of security when it comes to cardholder data. There are 12 requirements you must comply to unless you want to risk losing the ability to sell online. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with these guidelines.
Another security issue you could face is one of physical belongings. Just because you are running an e-commerce site doesn’t mean you don’t have important information stored in your PC and your home. Solve this problem by investing in two things:
First, you will want to purchase cloud backup. By doing this you are essentially storing all important information including bookmarked pages, passwords and account information. You can retrieve this information by simply logging into your email from any computer.
Second you can never be too safe with your physical belongings. As vigilant as you are about securing networks, creating hack-proof passwords and backing up to the cloud, you have to think of the physical security of the device as well. I purchased an alarm for my home from http://www.securitychoice.com/ and it’s worth mentioning that Security Choice reports the most common targets of thieves are small grab-and-go electronics like laptops, tablets and cell phones. I run my business from home, but if you have a storefront or warehouse, the same principles apply.
Running an e-commerce site is a way to fulfill your dreams of being your own boss, but going into it blind can be an expensive investment that is doomed to fail. Taking the right precautions can very well help you succeed.
What did you do when you started, operated and secured your e-commerce?