Nowadays, there is an increase in the use of the online space whether via social media, creating websites, sharing advertisements, or even for freelancing purposes. As you consider joining this movement, you need to know that there are several things to research when engaging in any form of online business as a user, consumer, or business. Based on my experience as a buyer and online entrepreneur, I will share five vital things to research when doing online business. You can learn more by checking out below my advice on things to research when doing online business as consumers and businesses.
- Online Security
Having an online presence comes with risks such as scamming and cyber-attacks. I constantly see the warnings that as the world becomes more digital and internet-influenced, so too is the rise in online risks. To ensure your data and my data are protected we need to check for online security. Some simple ways I have learned to do this is by checking if a website has the padlock symbol in the URL area or reading the privacy and security policies. Once you know you are safe, you go ahead and confidently use that freelancing platform, shop on e-commerce sites, or even browse websites.
- Online Reviews
Customer reviews can tell a lot about a product, service, or company. I usually check the positive and negative reviews before making a purchase or even trusting a freelancing site. I encourage you to also thoroughly do your checks before doing any online transactions these days. Doing the relevant research helps you learn from a past user if you may end up with a great experience or the pains of identity theft, a good product, or even exposure to scams. You can even take it a step further and learn from the feedback your competitor received how to improve your product or service.
- Conduct Background Checks
The online space uses creative tricks to attract buyers, sellers, and users, so you need to be careful about trusting things at face value. Instead, being convinced by persuasive deals, pretty pictures, and compelling words in advertisements do your additional checks. Try searching the virtual space for posts made on official sites, social media accounts, via news outlets, or even in online forums. This ensures that you can distinguish facts from fiction, learn about experiences using freelancing platforms, and become aware of the values and beliefs of a person or company. You need to know the core values and offerings before committing to a contract, sharing your data on a website, or even hiring a service, such as an affiliate marker.
- Copyright Protection
Copyright protection is no joke. Many people use online images, audio, video, and text without understanding if they are respecting the owner’s rights. As a result, social media platforms like Instagram restrict shared posts, YouTube flags videos, and, worst-case scenario, there are legal battles. Therefore, before using any image, video, or audio, check the license provided by websites and apps before using images, audio, video, and text.
- Read the Terms, Conditions, and Policies
Have you ever had to agree to terms, conditions, and policies before you can use an app or sign up for a website? Many times I have encountered them. I know that these are legally binding contracts. It always concerns me when I see people overlook these details before confirming their agreement. This is an unwise move.
The information provided tells how much protection is given for access to our personal data. Thus, I encourage you to spend time reading them before confirming your agreement. This will ensure you are aware of and comfortable with how your data is used and shared. You may even find links to the options available to adjust the accessibility and sharing of your data.
Essentially, I am sharing these tips to let you know that even though the online space is fun, diverse, and intriguing, it also comes with many risks. When using platforms, sharing personal data, or using services, always do adequate checks. Additional research can help you decide if an online platform or business transaction is suitable for you. Thereby, you ensure that you are conducting business in a safe, productive, and enjoyable manner.
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