Online Business Start-Ups: The Agony & The Ecstasy | Online Business

Any business start-up can be difficult but the online business start-up is more so. Both business owners have the same problems of financing, product selection and marketing. However, the “brick and mortar” business owner has one major advantage over the online business start-up. The conventional business owner can see their potential customers. Their potential customers walk by the windows every day. They may even walk into the store and ask questions. With an online business, other than some hard to decipher website statistics, the only time you know you have a potential customer is when they contact you or order from you. This creates many sleepless nights.At 2:00 a.m., an online business owner wakes up in a cold sweat. Where are the customers? Have I chosen the right online marketing strategy from the millions that are available? How do I know? Will a sale come in tomorrow or never? There are literally hundreds of concerns made more difficult by the invisibility of the potential customer. The agony of the online business start-up is in full swing. Will there be any ecstasy at the end of the road? What will it take?Ecstasy will occur once the owner knows the business is successful. The elements of success are actually the same for the “brick and mortar” business as they are for the online business. The difference resides in the feedback mechanisms. The online business owner can’t count on that face-to-face meeting with potential customers when they enter the store or that fleeting glimpse of a customer as they walk by the window. An online business owner must create feedback mechanisms on their website which encourage customers to interact and let him/her know they were there.Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get your potential customers to leave you their email addresses? Not only would this help you understand that people are actually visiting your site but it would also be helpful for future marketing efforts. As online business owners, how can we do this?First, add a simple guest book to your site. Some people will voluntarily sign your guest book, but many will not. So, let’s add a little incentive for the potential customer. How about associating their signature in your guest book with a free drawing for one of your products (like http://www.sweet-vibrations.com, a one-of-a-kind jewelry site) or a free newsletter on an interesting topic (like http://www.aaronzwebworkz.com)? In this way, you offer something of value in exchange for their email address. And, it doesn’t have to cost you anything.There are many free website guest books available online. We use a free guest book from http://www.htmlgear.com on our website http://www.obinstitute.com. Check it out!Secondly, an online business owner can also add a refer-a-friend link on their website. Why not offer potential customers the ability to easily market for you? They may know a friend who would really be interested in your product. That friend might buy something from you, or sign your guest book. The website mentioned above, http://www.htmlgear.com also offers a free refer-a-friend link for your website. And, again, you can check out an example at http://www.obinstitute.com. Is there anything else we can add to a website to make our potential customer more visible before a sale? Yes, an online survey.Thirdly, add an ongoing survey form regarding issues of importance to your potential customers? Most of us find it’s interesting to cast a ballot on an issue and then see what position others are taking. Remember, you have two purposes in mind for this strategy. The first is to make the potential customer and their visits to your website more visible to you. This will help maintain your sanity until someone actually orders. But, secondly, you are developing a website that people will return to in the future. This will increase the potential for sales.Each time the potential customer interacts with the website, using a guest book, a survey or a refer-a-friend link, the online business owner is building a relationship with that potential customer. The more they like using your site, the more likely they are to return. The more often they return to your site, or tell others, the better your chances of the sale.

Cheap Business Web Hosting – Find Web Hosting for Less

Cheap business web hosting is easy to find these days..if you know where to look. Technology has enabled hundreds of reputable, cheap business web hosting companies to provide their services for all sizes and types of businesses. Unfortunately, many hosting companies come and go without earning a single dime in profit. This article will help you identify reputable, discount web hosts that will provide the best cheap business web hosting services for every dollar your business plans to spend on website hosting.Do A WhoIs LookupA fast and reliable way to look up any cheap business web hosting company is to find their main web address and perform a WhoIs Lookup on it. A WhoIs Lookup gives you all of the details of a specific web address at the click of a button. Important information like the date of creation for a website and the expiration date for the web address can be found by doing a simple WhoIs Lookup. A WhoIs search is absolutely free to do. You can find a number of websites that offer WhoIs lookup services by typing the phrase “whois” into your favorite Internet search engine. The search should take less than a few seconds to complete and will display the information to you when the search is done. Look for things that you believe make a reputable hosting company, such as the length of time since they first created their website or even the company address and state in which they do business. Doing your research on possible cheap web hosting services will pay off in the long run.Cheap Pricing PlansIf you’re looking for a cheap web hosting service that’s capable of hosting your small business website, odds are you can find a very solid hosting company for a pretty cheap price. The monthly and yearly prices for business website hosting services have come down considerably in recent years. At the time of writing this article, there are at least three reputable, established website hosting companies that offer their hosting services for less than five dollars per month if you purchase at least a years-worth of their hosting service in advance. If you’re the month-to-month type of small business, you should be able to find a good web hosting plan for less than fifteen dollars per month. Basically, if you’re looking at a potential hosting company and they’re trying to charge you more than fifteen dollars per month for their hosting services, then pack up your bags and move on. There are better web hosting pastures out there.Compare Hosting Service ReviewsThere are a number of popular websites out there that offer free reviews of the best and most popular business services that can be found online. Some of these websites offer ratings specifically for small business services that are available online. These review websites would be a great place to start if you’re looking to find reputable business web hosting reviews for free. Most of the ratings and reviews are fairly recent and add an extra layer of protection for business owners who are unsure of what services are currently available and which services are the best for their type of business. If you end up choosing a hosting company off of one of these websites, you can sleep easy at night knowing you made a good and healthy decision for your business.