17 Must-Read Websites and Resources for Businesses Moving into the eCommerce Arena
Running a business is hard work. Running a business in the competitive ecommerce space can be even more challenging. A business moving into the Ecommerce arena needs all the advice it can get to run, finance and grow itself. Luckily, help is at hand. The 17 websites listed below will teach you everything you need to know to create a profitable ecommerce business:
Setting up a Business
Businesses, whether ecommerce or otherwise, need all the guidance they can get when starting out. From coming up with a viable business idea and writing a comprehensive business plan to understanding local laws and regulations to registering the business, the resources listed below can help you grow your business from its inception to turning a profit:
- Gov.uk: The official website of the UK Government is a treasure trove of information about setting up a business. Every entrepreneur should consult this website to understand the process of setting up, registering and financing a business in the UK. Besides the fundamentals (writing a business plan, coming up with a business idea, etc.), you can also learn about following HM Revenue & Customs guidelines, choosing an incorporation structure, employers' liability insurance, and taxation.
- HMRC.gov.uk: HM Revenue & Customs' official website has a lot of crucial information about following taxation regulations and choosing a suitable incorporation structure for your new business. You'll learn about National Insurance and self-employed tax, filing tax returns for business partners, understanding VAT, PAYE for employers, and regulations about importing/exporting goods and services. Every entrepreneur must peruse this site thoroughly before taking the entrepreneurship plunge.
- SBA.gov: Despite its US focus, the US Small Business Administration website has a lot of great general-purpose information about setting up a business. This includes valuable advice on writing a business plan, getting business assistance, financing a business, setting up a presence online, etc.
- SmallBusiness.co.uk: A popular portal about setting up, financing and marketing small businesses in the UK. You'll find both general purpose advice on succeeding as a business as well as UK specific tips on following laws and understanding business policies.
- Startups.co.uk: A popular business advice portal with a focus on startups. This is a great resource for new entrepreneurs building fast-growing startups, especially those with a tech focus.
General Business Advice and Tips
While the above sites provide excellent information and can assist in educating you on what you need to know about starting and financing a business, the following are must-reads for entrepreneurs on actionable tips and advice on hiring talent, marketing, and general-purpose business advice:
- INC.com: The website of INC magazine provides tons of interviews, tips and advice on running, financing, and growing a business. It also boasts a huge range of columns and op-ed pieces from business leaders ranging from Reid Hoffman (co-founder, LinkedIn) to Fortune 500 CEOs.
- HBR.org: Official website of Harvard Business Review, the magazine published out of the world's most venerated business school, Harvard Business School. It has a stronger focus on management than entrepreneurship, though it still remains one of the best sources of business advice on the internet. Its columns and articles are mostly derived from research in management sciences and it also has dozens of columns and articles from Harvard faculty.
- Entrepreneur.com: Entrepreneur.com is the website of Entrepreneur Magazine. As its name suggests, this website focuses exclusively on entrepreneurship. Highlights include feature stories on leading startups and their founders, interviews and tips/advice on growing a business, and columns from leading business figures.
- Mixergy: Andrew Warner of Mixergy interviews leading businessmen and entrepreneurs and posts the results on Mixergy. It is a great place to learn about business from over 1,040 successful entrepreneurs, including the founder(s) of Groupon, Wikipedia, Yahoo, LivingSocial, 37Signals, Wufoo and AskMen.
- Forbes.com: The website of popular publisher Forbes (famous for its 'Rich Lists') is a great place to learn about the latest news in the business world and get some actionable advice on starting and running a business.
Growing and Marketing a Business
The following websites are targeted towards businesses looking for advice on marketing. Given the competition in the ecommerce space, these websites are crucial resources for any business. Topics include social media marketing, SEO marketing, paid advertising, copywriting, etc.
- QuickSprout.com: The blog of entrepreneur Neil Patel is a great place to learn about content marketing, social media marketing and search engine marketing.
- HubSpot.com Blog: HubSpot, the small business marketing software provider, runs a terrific blog on content marketing, social media marketing and search marketing. This is a must-read for any marketer.
- Copyblogger.com: Run by Brian Clark, Copyblogger is one of the leading websites with advice about copywriting and sales.
- Moz.com/Blogs: The blog of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) provider Moz.com has a mountain of information and advice on getting your business found in search engines.
- Socialmouths.com: The blog of Francisco Rosales is a great place for beginners to learn about social media and marketing their business on websites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
- ChiefMarketer.com: Turn to this website to get actionable tips and advice on marketing a business, from writing copy to creating scalable ad campaigns.
- CustomerServiceZone.com: To round up our list of business resources, here is a website that focuses exclusively on how to deal with customers and setting up a solid customer support team - a must have for any business, especially in the ecommerce space.
In addition to this list, there are a number of other websites that can help you grow your business. For now, however, the sites above should be more than enough to help you get started in your endeavour.