3 Biggest Risks that Online Business Owners Face

The Internet is a golden gateway for entrepreneurs who want to start a far-reaching business with relatively low startup costs. However, running an online business does come with some unique risks that traditional businesses don’t usually have to worry about. Here is a look at some of these risks and tips on how to avoid falling prey to them.

Hacking in progress


Your website may not be as well-known as Google or Yahoo!, but that doesn’t mean you won’t become a target of cyber baddies. If hackers victimize your site, you could face:

  • Malware. This could lead to glitches, and the malware could even monitor and steal secure information from your website — including your customers’ information.
  • Content hijacking. You put a lot of effort into making sure that your website’s content is high quality and reflects your brand’s personality. A mischievous hacker could alter your content and your website’s appearance.
  • Lock out. Once hackers get ahold of the login information you use to manage your site, they could change your login credentials, effectively putting a wall between you and your business.

To protect your website, you should:

  • Keep all of your security software up to date.
  • Choose a complex password.
  • Use a high-quality web host.
  • Choose how you manage your merchant processing safely; you can use an online payment processing service like BillPro.

Google’s Disapproval

photo credit: Robert Scoble / Flickr

Google is the supreme ruler of the search engine world and if your content’s quality is poor or misleading consumers won’t find you. Google uses a complicated set of algorithms and rules to rank webpages, and those algorithms are always updating and changing. If you fail to familiarize yourself with the basics of how Google ranks pages, your website could lose valuable exposure.

Incurring Google’s displeasure is even worse than failing to impress it. If you have plagiarized content, egregious keyword stuffing, or other red flags on your site, Google could shove it way down in the rankings — or not list it at all.

Use the Google Webmaster’s Tool. This will help you stay on top of how Google views your website. You’ll be able to quickly make adjustments so your site doesn’t get lost in the Internet’s slush pile of mediocre content.

Legal Issues

Your online business might be perfectly in line with laws in your community, but what about laws in your customers’ communities? Sales tax is one thing that could get you into trouble. Sales tax rates are different between states, counties, and even between towns. Some places don’t have sales tax at all.

If you have other legal concerns, research them online or take a few minutes to consult with a business attorney who has experience in helping businesses like yours.

Starting and managing an online business is an adventure — one that is rife with hidden risks. Fortunately, if you are aware of these risks before you fall victim to them, you can protect your website and help your business thrive.