The web has afforded a new opportunity for entrepreneurs to compete as the cost of technology has come down substantially in the last few years. Despite this cost reduction, there is no excuse for not doing your homework in advance of your site development. I could have closed my eyes in every interview as the lessons were simple and ones we have all heard from our parents, our teachers and best bosses. In the process of developing our SMB Guide, I heard many words of wisdom but one of my favorites was prior to selecting a platform define 10 things your platform will have to do effectively from creating a database to uploading a product feed on Amazon or the user friendliness of one’s backend admin tool. Assess how effectively each of the tasks can be done on each of these potential platforms and quickly rule out ecommerce platforms that don’t accomplish your goals efficiently and effectively.
Along with the tasks and homework assignments, it means doing these things yourself. Entrepreneurs often work alone initially or can find themselves in a precarious position should they outsource functionality they don’t understand only to have employees or contractors fail to pan out. From a marketing perspective several merchants discussed jumpstarting their SEO efforts by picking up important trade books such as Tips for Writing Content for the Web or The Art of SEO. From a paid search perspective simple tools such as Google Adwords and a bit of time spent can give you a great understanding of where opportunities may lie for your business. I found myself in a similar situation as we prepared to relaunch our own site. I joke that our site was like a pre-war New York building, pre SEO, pre social and pre almost every other thing possible. I knew that doing my homework would provide comfort that we had done all that we could to understand the tools we would be using taking away any fear based on limited knowledge.