My first year as a Cyberpreneur was a steep learning-curve. I was an academic before starting an online business, so I had a lot to learn. But even if you were in offline-business before going online, you may still have to learn some new skills -online business is a whole new ball-game. Here are some of the things I learnt in my first year in Cyber Space:
(1) Be careful who you register your domain with. Some domain name registrars make it very difficult to change your web host.
I registered my first two domains with a registrar that caused me more headaches than I care to think about.
When I needed to transfer one of my domain names to a new web host, my original email address had changed. I was no longer able to send them an email from that address and so I couldn't authenticate my request for domain transfer.
So I tried to update my personal record with my new email address. I got a message saying that I could only change my email address by sending an email from my original email address (which no longer existed).
This bureaucratic nightmare went on for 4 weeks. To add to my frustration, I was communicating with a machine, not a human being. By the end of that time I had no less than 35 computer-generated emails telling me that my domain could not be transferred.
Finally, I sent my request for domain transfer in a 5-page fax, including photocopy of my passport. They then sent me an email saying my request for domain transfer could not be processed because my request was not on company letterhead.
So I designed a letterhead and re-submitted the 5-page fax. Finally, 6 weeks after my first request, my domain was transferred.
To avoid this kind of experience I recommend you use register.com: http://www.register.com
Using their online Domain Manager, it took me less than two minutes to transfer my domain!
(2) A slow-loading index page is still one of the main reasons that online businesses lose customers.
Surveys show that the average surfer will wait no more than 8 seconds for a web page to load before moving onto another website. So ‘load-time’ is a vital consideration when you choose a web host.
Below is a website that allows you to check the load-time of a web host: http://www.hostpulse.com/app/networktools/ping.asp
(3) Once you've designed your home page and uploaded it to your server space, check to see what it looks like to other people. What you're seeing may not be what other people are seeing.
Then one day I checked my home page at Anybrowser.com. I was horrified to see that my home page was invisible except for my company logo and the navigation bar. For two weeks it had been virtually blank to most visitors! So take a minute and look at your website through your visitors’ browser: http://www.anybrowser.com/siteviewer.html
(4) If a customer asks you for a refund, give it to them immediately, even if you think it's unjustified. You'll be out of pocket by a few dollars, but your name and your integrity will be intact. Your good name is perhaps your most precious commodity on the Internet. Remember these words from Shakespeare:
"Who steals my purse steals trash;
'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed. "
(Othello, Act III. Scene III. )
(5) Reply to emails quickly. Nothing impresses me more on the Internet than a rapid response to a business enquiry. Try and respond within 2 hours, or at least within 24 hours.
(6) Never reply angrily to abusive emails or flames. People who send flames want you to reply, but there is nothing to be gained by replying. An abusive email can be very disturbing, but the best thing to do is ignore it. Better still delete it - that way you remove it from your life and you remove the temptation to reply.
(7) Lastly, never give up. Most successes are due to sheer persistence:
"Nothing in the world can take the place of
persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common
than unsuccessful men of talent. Genius will not; the
world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and
determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, ‘press
on’ has solved, and always will solve, the problems of
the human race. " (Calvin Coolidge)
Michael Southon has been writing for the Internet for over 3
years. He has shown hundreds of webmasters how to use this
simple technique to build a successful online business. Click
here to find out more: http://ezine-writer.com/