Running a small online business can be a tremendous challenge, especially when you are competing against larger companies. Trying to keep up with businesses that have larger budgets and more resources can seem nearly impossible. But it is becoming particularly more challenging for business owners who are not exactly tech wizards.
Very few small eCommerce business owners have a network of IT experts available to help them set up, troubleshoot, and utilize technology. So, it’s no wonder that 95% of business owners admit to struggling when it comes to using technology designed to help grow their company.
Technology is (obviously) crucial to operating any business in modern times. The vast majority of customers discover and often purchase items digitally. Additionally, data technology and software are used today for nearly every aspect of business operation.
The latest technology can feel overwhelming and confusing to business owners who aren’t very tech-savvy. But there are some basics business owners can easily pick up to help get ahead. Let’s discuss.
1. Get familiar with the basics of SEO and Google Analytics
Understanding the basics of SEO is crucial for online business owners. You have to know which keywords to target to attract your online audience and Google Analytics can help – if you know how to use it correctly.
Google Analytics may seem confusing at first, but once you know the key features, you will realize that this tool is incredible. Your first step is to make sure that you are using the latest version of Google Analytics which is GA4. This will give you the most up-to-date data and analysis tools to track your website’s metrics.
You should become familiar with using the keyword and SEO tracking features of Google Analytics, specifically. Generating acquisition reports will give you some valuable insight into your keyword performance. You can find this information by selecting the “Acquisition” tab and choosing which category of report you want. Then, you can select to see which keywords are driving traffic.
This is where you will see how well your site is performing for certain keywords. Online business owners should also utilize keyword research tools, such as Google’s keyword planner, to discover new SEO opportunities and integrate them into poorly performing pages.
2. Adopt cloud computing
You could slow down your business growth severely if you aren’t using cloud-based computing. Storing everything on a company server may work if you are running the company out of your home. But as you grow and bring more people to the team, you will see that this is not a long-term solution.
Additionally, this could lead to unfortunate situations if your software is compromised or disaster strikes. Approximately 43% of all cyber-attacks are directed at small companies since they have weaker security systems in place.
Many eCommerce companies are now using cloud-based storage and computing services for tasks like inventory management. This ensures that all data is stored securely and has a backup version in the cloud so no information is ever lost. Cloud-based systems also update in real-time, so everyone in your business is seeing the same data with accurate tracking information.
There are plenty of cloud-based tools available. However, it may be beneficial to partner with a managed service provider to get started – especially if you need assistance moving your digital assets into the cloud.
3. Automate smart
One of the easiest and quickest ways to grow your online business is to automate tasks that eat up hours of your time. Incorporating automated systems for time-consuming tasks will give you more time to focus on growing the business and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
One of the greatest things about automation is that it can be applied to a wide variety of jobs, depending on your goals or even your personal weaknesses.
For instance, do you hate taking the time to write up emails every week to send out to customers? Create an automated email workflow with a drip campaign that adjusts messaging based on the customer’s behaviors. This means you just need to create email templates once!
There are endless possibilities with automation for online companies, including:
- Customer service chatbots
- Social media posting
- Purchase orders based on inventory
- Vendor and supplier onboarding
- Shipping order management
Integrating automation is also far less complicated than you may think. Most eCommerce platforms have their own integrations or plugins to help you set up these processes in just a few clicks.
4. Understand basic website coding
Coding intimidates a lot of people. It is essentially a foreign language made up of sets of numbers, symbols, and letters. While you certainly don’t need to be a coding expert, it is good to understand the very basics of coding, particularly either HTML or CSS.
HTML and CSS are the most common coding languages used to build websites. Learning even just the basics of these coding systems will make it much easier to manage your website. It will also allow you to edit or format your site without having to rely on designers to do it for you.
Online business owners should also learn about behind-the-scenes SEO elements for your website. Features like alt-tags, meta tags, titles, and headers are important to set up correctly to help Google index and crawl your site. This in turn can increase your rankings for specific keyword searches.
Learning how to optimize these elements and incorporate them correctly will help you build a better website. It is an especially useful skill to have when adding new pages for additional products, information, or services so you can expand quickly.
Small eCommerce business owners have to be at the top of their game to compete against larger online companies. Learning, understanding, and utilizing helpful technology can make a huge difference.
Technology can be intimidating to an unskilled online business owner – but it doesn’t have to be. Having even just a basic understanding of these skills can be incredibly beneficial.
Guest author: Manish Dudharejia is the President and Founder of E2M Solutions Inc, a San Diego Based Digital Agency that specializes in Website Design & Development and eCommerce SEO. With over 10 years of experience in the Technology and Digital Marketing industry, Manish is passionate about helping online businesses to take their branding to the next level.