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The Internet has revolutionized the marketplace for small businesses. With a vast potential audience, small businesses can utilize different tools to grow their businesses rapidly online.

A shocking two in three UK start-ups fail within their first year.  With this in mind, it is important to ensure that your business’s online presence is properly maintained.  This is crucial to success, especially if you don’t want to become another negative statistic. A 2011 study undertaken by marketing company Tealeaf in conjunction with Econsultancy found that companies are missing out on millions, if not billions of pounds in lost revenue due to poor websites.

“A poor online user experience, coupled with a lack of visibility and understanding, translates into a significant amount of lost revenue,” commented Geoff Galat, CMO of Tealeaf about the study.*

Companies need to take control of their online activity in order to ensure that they stay one step ahead of the market. The internet is in a constant state of flux and businesses need to adapt their online presence accordingly if they are to get ahead.

There are a number of things that a business making the jump online needs to consider. For a start, you will need to establish a dependable, well-built website, which is backed up by a technically capable workforce. The loss of either should be covered by insurance. Specialist business insurers can help inform small businesses about the risks involved in operating online.

Of course, the obstacle for businesses going online is competition. Getting ahead on the internet is a tough job. The pace of change is constant and businesses moving online need to remain on their toes. Below we take a look at what you may need to consider to get started online and what you need to think about when it comes to venturing in to social media.

A cut above the rest

For ultimate control of your business website, it can be a good idea to have somebody within your team with a thorough grasp of web design and coding. Equipped with a basic grasp of HTML, CSS and php you should be able to control the look of your website and to deal with basic user input and interaction.

Of course, if you do not have the resources to hire a permanent member of staff to run your website, there are numerous web design and hosting companies out there that can help get your website off the ground. If you do not want to pay a design company and have some basic online skills, or at least an aptitude to learn more, you could look at free self-publishing tools such as WordPress to get started.

Taking control of Social Media

Businesses need to create a constant presence online to have the greatest impact and one of the best ways to get started in this today is via social media.

The world of social media and online networking is familiar to most people. The growth of social networks has provided a tool of previously unimaginable marketing power for businesses of all sizes. With over 800 million active users now on Facebook, it is one of the world’s most sizeable platforms from which businesses can interact with key clients and customers. Taking Facebook by the reins should be top of the list for any business serious about making an impact online.

With over 340 million tweets posted daily, Twitter requires an amount of attention not far short of Facebook. It is easy for businesses with a weak knowledge of the workings of Twitter to find that their posts are buried and their profile ignored. Success on Twitter is all about the construction of carefully worded messages that give readers cause to pay attention, or even to re-tweet. It is also all about dialogue and engagement, all of which take time. It could therefore be a good idea to give at least one member of staff responsibility for monitoring and updating all of your company’s main social media profiles. To save time and manage effectively tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are great. These allow you to manage profiles from one main hub, as well as other tools such as scheduling updates.

For businesses keen to interact with the public via social media, it is advisable to acquire insurance cover. This could safeguard your business against any issues or damaging claims that could arise from using the online sphere to support and promote your business.

*Quote from