Starting your online business is usually a life changing event. As a millennial who has changed jobs in the last couple of years in search of something challenging, I know this to be true. It can be inspiring, and also scary as hell! Some people start an online business for the extra income it brings and some others do it because it is the fastest and easiest way to grow their ideas. I started my first business online because of these reasons and I’ve learnt a whole lot from my mistakes. Here are some of the things you should avoid when starting a business online. #1. Unreliable hosting company To launch a business online, you’ll need a website. If you want to host your website yourself, you’ll need a reliable web hosting company. There are many ways to know if your hosting company is reliable or not. Some of the things to look out are bandwidth, web disk space, type of servers, location of their servers, security and online reviews. You also need to check how much they are offering in comparison to other firms in the same niche. The best vps hosting companies have something in common — reliability. #2. Poor search engine optimization (SEO) Nothing grows a business as much as SEO, and nothing kills it faster too. SEO is how you appear in the search results on different search engines such as Google, Bing, Ask and others. Your website needs to be SEO optimized so that you can be found easily on the internet. Although, there are many SEO myths , it’s easy to know what works or not. You need to follow the best practices such as using title and description tags for each page on your website. You must write articles that are targeted at both short term keywords and long term keywords. According to a research from Hubspot, businesses that blog tend to have more traffic than those who don’t. There are several SEO professionals who can help you with this in case you suck at doing this yourself. #3. No analytics When your business launches and you start getting those little trickles in traffic, you need a good analytics setup to monitor where your traffic is coming from. An analytics tool will tell you what people are reading on your site, where they are dropping off, and how best to interact with them using the tools at your disposal. Analytics help you monitor what works so you can create more of the same to engage your customers. #4. Not using social media Having a social media presence is no longer an optional thing that businesses engage in. It is a necessity for every business including those who are offering services to other businesses. Social media allows you to reach your customers in new ways that you never thought were possible. It takes the conversation from your platform, to where your customers currently hang out. You can then solve their problems using the most effective way possible. It’s also one of the easiest ways of attracting new businesses. A social media campaign that is well crafted can bring results that are unimaginable, and enhance your business growth. #5. Not outsourcing early Outsourcing early is the best way of making sure that your business grow. It would be a mistake if you don’t outsource your business processes and functions as quickly as possible. When you run an online business, chances are you will need to do certain things that are above your skill level. Things like designing your logo, optimizing the pages on your site, checking for the page speed of your site, replying customer emails and live chat messages. While all of these can be handled by you, the learning curve will be substantial which will cost you money and time. Your resources can be used to hire freelancers that will do the job for you, and work for you even when you’re away. #6. Unresponsive web design A responsive web design is critical to your business success. One mistake that online business owners keep making is that they don’t make their site responsive enough. More people are reading their news, shopping, and getting their information daily from their mobile phones. A responsive mobile design ensures that your web platform is accessible to mobile devices. This will lead to low bounce rates on your web pages by increasing the number of times users spend on your site. #7. Not capturing leads by using email marketing automation Another mistake to avoid is to expect new users to magically keep coming back to your website without capturing their emails. You have to be deliberate and conscious of every traffic you get. You need to get capture the email address of every visits on your web page. You can effectively do this by using a lead magnet, which is a promise of a better resource if they do something specific. You can also create pop-ups that allow you to get details of your visitors so that you can send them regular newsletters. Don’t make the mistake of expecting users to keep coming to your site if you don’t have what it takes to win them over. #8. Bad project management Running an online business involves a lot of different things which can be overwhelming if not well structured and organized. Don’t assume that everyone will do their required work at the end of the day. Keeping your team focused on the goal, monitoring your business goals, and keeping track of tasks assigned to team members should be properly managed. You need to specify all of these in a clear and simple way that can be tracked by the team. Using project management tools like Asana will help you monitor your team better, and focus on your goals. You can keep track of what each team member does, and when they do them. #9. Not optimizing your conversion rate If you have analytics on your site, then you will know some of the issues that could be wrong with your site. If you are losing traffic, you should run a conversion rate optimization (CRO) audit to find out what the problem is on the site. Analytics won’t show you why a user got to the checkout page, and then bounced — left the site. Conversion rate optimization, will help you know how to handle all the areas of your site that is making you lose traffic. #10. Poor branding The same way you brand a business offline is the way it is done online. You need to have the same conversational tone when replying to messages as well as on social media platforms. Your voice must be universal as well as your colors. When you remember that your brand is your identity, then you will be conscious of your actions online.