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10 Reasons Why You Should Invest In An Online Business Today

10 Reasons Why You Should Invest In An Online Business Today

The advent of the Internet has created a new and exciting economy, which by its sheer scope and size has changed our perception of traditional ways of doing business. Multinational companies like Amazon and E-bay have come up thanks to the Internet and now dominate areas where, just few years ago, traditional brick-and-mortar companies once ruled.

Even small- and mid-sized companies are making impressive profits by taking advantage of the Internet to conduct businesses. One survey by Harris Interactive, a leading market research firm, found that 81 per cent of small businesses that had an online presence during a holiday season reached new customers, leading to an increase in sales and profitability.

Similarly, another study by Gartner research found that 30 per cent of small businesses with a web presence and fewer than 20 employees generated more than 25 per cent of their revenue online. If these statistics are not convincing enough, here are a few more reasons why you should seriously consider investing in an online business, if you haven’t already.

1. You get streamlined company branding

In today’s digital age, people simply don’t take a company or business seriously if it doesn’t have a website. People often quickly check out a company’s product or service offerings and related content online to make quick judgments on the business before they engage with it. That’s why your company needs to have a presence on the Internet, whether you conduct business online or not. Investing in an online business presence is a great way to streamline and bolster your company’s image and brand.

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2. You have low start-up costs

Once upon a time, setting up a business online cost business owners a small fortune. Today, however, getting online is not only cheap, but also becoming easier to accomplish thanks to emergence of new technologies. Free website-building tools and open source Content Management Systems like Drupal and WordPress allow you to build a website for free with templates. For less than 10 dollars a month, you can have a full-fledged, self-hosted corporate site with all e-commerce features in place.

What this means is that the playing field for small businesses to compete with major corporations has been leveled. It’s up to you now to step up, take advantage of the low start-up costs, and get online.

3. You have lower risk on investment

Online businesses are generally lower risk than brick-and-mortar businesses because setting one up doesn’t have to cost a lot. Another reason online businesses are low risk is because of their adaptability. With the right investment in terms of online marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and so on, it is possible to turn a losing business into a profitable one in a relatively short amount of time.

There are also a myriad of unique ways to make money from your website aside from creating and selling your own products, such as affiliate marketing. This means new ways to create an income stream online.

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4. You have reduced overhead and operation costs

Because online businesses generally aren’t tied to a location, they require less work to maintain. This is particularly true in cases where physical products, distribution, rent, and other costs are non-existent. In the retail industry, for example, a shop owner can browse and purchase goods for resale from suppliers around the globe without leaving the comfort of his computer desk. How’s that for convenience?

By simply adopting an e-business solution, your business can reduce more than 5 per cent of your travel, repair, maintenance, and operation costs. This 5 per cent savings can turn into 50 per cent of you company’s net profit!

5. You can do business 24 hours a day all year round

Another huge advantage of investing in an online business is that it makes it possible for you to do business 24 hours a day year round. For example, you can set up a virtual retail shop that never closes, meaning you can literally make money while you sleep.

Even when your business closes for the day, automatic online systems can ensure sales don’t stop. In some cases, automatic sales during off-hours can be more than your regular sales during business hours.

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6. You have added flexibility

Thanks to the Internet, if you need to work from home, you can. In fact, you can do your work from just about anywhere in the world, as long as you have a reliable Internet connection. This remarkable flexibility is another huge attractor to many entrepreneurs and business owners. It means you can run a profitable online business while also exploring other ventures, or spending more time with your family.

7. You have access to a global customer base

With an online business, you instantly become a global player. That’s because customers from all over the world can learn about and purchase your products and services with just a few clicks of the mouse. For a nominal fee, you can also get access to large audiences on hundreds of e-marketplaces on the net. AMR Research has reported in the past that more than 1.3 trillion dollars worth of goods and services flow through B2B marketplaces online. You really don’t want to miss out on this growing piece of the pie.

8. You have more advanced marketing tools

Marketing is one of the most important components to any business. What makes marketing online more attractive is the tremendous number of marketing channels you can take advantage of. Blogs, podcasts, videos, social media, email campaigns, white papers, eBooks, and a variety of other assets can all be used to attract your target profile. Admittedly, marketing on the Internet is becoming more expensive, but tracking and measuring your return on investment is much easier and advanced.

By taking advantage of tools like Google Analytics and scoring data from online marketing companies like Moz, you can monitor not just your customers, but also your business competitors in real time. This empowers you to adapt fast and change your approach and strategies as needed. If conversion rates are low, for example, you can make some tweaks to your website to increase conversion.

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In addition, targeting specific demographics has never been easier, especially with the rise of social media advertising. You can now define the audience you want to target in precise detail, and begin to market to those people who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.

9. You can give better customer feedback and support

Advancements in Internet technology also mean that online businesses can now provide better customer support and deliver information more efficiently. Just a couple of years ago, companies used to require days to deliver product or service update information to their customers. Things have changed since then. Today, if your business is online, you can add or make changes to your company info or product description virtually within no time, publish on your site and share with customers on social media.

You can also communicate with customers in real-time about your products or services online. This means improved customer engagement and satisfaction, and ultimately increased profitability for your business.

10. You have improved networking opportunities

It can get pretty lonely running a business. That’s because business owners spend most of their days in their offices working. In the past, a business owner’s only option was to join a local chamber of commerce in order to network and learn from fellow entrepreneurs. Thankfully, the Internet has created a global community of peers only a click away who can relate to the problems, stresses, and excitement of running a business. You don’t have to join a local chamber of commerce anymore to network.

Simply log on to the blogosphere and join relevant online chat rooms, social media groups, and forums to connect with other business owners, investors, and entrepreneurs. Today, a person in Silicon Valley can exchange ideas regarding promotional and marketing techniques with someone in the same line of business based in Jo’burg, South Africa. It’s even easier than ever before to reach out to gurus and celebrities in your space and work with them online. Certainly an exciting time to get online!

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David K. William

David is a publisher and entrepreneur who tries to help professionals grow their business and careers, and gives advice for entrepreneurs.

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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

1. Coursera

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    Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

    Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

    Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

    2. Khan Academy

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      Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

      Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

      3. Open Culture Online Courses

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        If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

        Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

        4. Udemy 

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          Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

          Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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          5. Academic Earth

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            Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

            Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

            6. edX

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              Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

              7. Alison

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                Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                  A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                  Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                  Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                  ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                  9. Stanford Online

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                    Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                    Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                    10. Harvard Extension

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                      Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                      Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                      11. Open Yale Courses

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                        Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                        12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                          Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                          13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                            Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                            14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                              Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                              15. Codecademy

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                                Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                16. Code

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                                  Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                  In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                  Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                  17. University of London Podcasts

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                                    The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                    18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                      Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                      The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                      19. BBC Podcasts

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                                        For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                        Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                        20. TED-Ed

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                                          Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                          Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                          21. LessonPaths

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                                            LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                            22. Memrise

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                                              Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                              Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                              23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                24. Fun Brain

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                                                  Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                  Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                  25. Whyville

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                                                    Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                    Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

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                                                    Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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