My first year as a Cyberpreneur was a steeplearning-curve. I was an academic beforestarting an online business, so I had a lot to learn.But even if you were in offline-business before goingonline, you may still have to learn some new skills-online business is a whole new ball-game. Here aresome of the things I learnt in my first year in CyberSpace:
(1) Be careful who you register your domain with.Some domain name registrars make it very difficult tochange your web host.
I registered my first two domains with a registrarthat caused me more headaches than I care to thinkabout.
When I needed to transfer one of my domain names to anew web host, my original email address had changed. Iwas no longer able to send them an email from thataddress and so I couldn't authenticate my request fordomain transfer.
So I tried to update my personal record with my newemail address. I got a message saying that I couldonly change my email address by sending an email frommy original email address (which no longer existed).
This bureaucratic nightmare went on for 4 weeks. Toadd to my frustration, I was communicating with amachine, not a human being. By the end of that time Ihad no less than 35 computer-generated emails tellingme that my domain could not be transferred.
Finally, I sent my request for domain transfer in a5-page fax, including photocopy of my passport. Theythen sent me an email saying my request for domaintransfer could not be processed because my request wasnot on company letterhead.
So I designed a letterhead and re-submitted the 5-pagefax. Finally, 6 weeks after my first request, my domain wastransferred.
To avoid this kind of experience I recommend you useregister.com: http://www.register.com
Using their online Domain Manager, it took me lessthan two minutes to transfer my domain!
(2) A slow-loading index page is still one of themain reasons that online businesses lose customers.
Surveys show that the average surfer will wait no morethan 8 seconds for a web page to load before movingonto another website. So 'load-time' is a vitalconsideration when you choose a web host.
Below is a website that allows you to check the load-timeof a web host:http://www.hostpulse.com/app/networktools/ping.asp
(3) Once you've designed your home page and uploadedit to your server space, check to see what it lookslike to other people. What you're seeing may not bewhat 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 invisibleexcept for my company logo and the navigation bar. Fortwo weeks it had been virtually blank to mostvisitors! So take a minute and look at your websitethrough your visitors' browser:http://www.anybrowser.com/siteviewer.html
(4) If a customer asks you for a refund, give it tothem immediately, even if you think it's unjustified.You'll be out of pocket by a few dollars, but yourname and your integrity will be intact. Your good nameis perhaps your most precious commodity on theInternet. 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 memore on the Internet than a rapid response to abusiness enquiry. Try and respond within 2 hours, orat least within 24 hours.
(6) Never reply angrily to abusive emails or flames.People who send flames want you to reply, but there isnothing to be gained by replying. An abusive email canbe very disturbing, but the best thing to do is ignoreit. Better still delete it - that way you remove itfrom your life and you remove the temptation to reply.
(7) Lastly, never give up. Most successes are due tosheer 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)
By Michael Southon