You might think that catching people’s attention in the first place and making them want what is on offer is enough. But you’ll soon realize that without a “legalized” product, no one will look twice at your website. Social media alone won’t be enough to compete with larger companies and those with greater marketing budgets of whiskey business royal oak. It’s time to embrace the good old terms of service, keep a keen eye out for loopholes, and take advantage of any legal gray areas as they arise.

1. Use a trademark.

What are trademarks exactly?

Trademarks are words and/or symbols, or combinations thereof, which distinguish the source and quality of a product or service. The iconography is especially important–if your logo looks like someone else’s, you’re in trouble. There’s no getting around it: using your company name or logo in a keyword-optimized domain name means that you can be sued for trademark infringement for any other company that owns the same mark.

2. Keep a vigilant eye on your content.

You’ve spent time and money creating quality, informative content. Is it really worth the risk of someone stealing your stuff in order to put their own label on it? It’s not unlikely: approximately 60% of websites are hacked every year.

Keep a keen eye on what you provide, and consider using a content management system (CMS) to control access to the files that you create in both your everyday life, and especially when it comes to information that is intended for the general public.

3. Keep a vigilant eye on your metadata.

If you’re trying to build a brand for the long haul, then the meta data of your website is just as important as its actual contents. The name of your company, address, telephone numbers–all these things are supposed to help humans find your website and contact you in a hurry. If someone changes any of that information, it can change how people find you and what they think about you.

4. Build an online presence in local business directories (aka “Yellow Pages”).

The number one source of business leads? Local phone books! In fact, 72% of consumers look at them before looking anywhere else for a new business. If your company is already listed in the Yellow Pages, there’s no need to rush around like a chicken with its head cut off. The first thing that you should do is find out how many people realize that you’re in their local phone book.

5. Use a Google Adwords account, or Adsense to make money directly from your website.

Google has been pushing Adsense since it was launched in 2003, and for this reason alone it’s important to understand the terms and conditions of using both services. Both Adwords and Adsense are pay-per-click programs that are worth setting up if you want to get your website noticed and converted into cold hard cash–in other words, customers.

6. Use a good hosting company, or re-build your server from scratch.

Remember when you were building your company website and how much information was lost in translation? This is what happened to the majority of small businesses, and they should’ve used somebody else’s platform in the first place. Two reasons that this happens:

Your website gets hacked and all that hard work goes down the drain. You accept free hosting with a basic plan, and then realize you can’t get the support that you’d need if such a catastrophic event occurred. Your website breaks, you can’t get it up-and-running again, and all of your data is lost forever.

Ideally you’ll want to use a hosting company that offers everything from basic website hosting, to monitoring and management services. The ideal host will also give you a free trial so that you can test the platform and see if it’s right for your needs.

7. Avoid “work at home” scams.

As they say: if something feels too good to be true, then it most certainly is! Work at home scams are sadly common in the online world–and though they’re essentially just scams, many unsuspecting companies still fall victim to them.

8. Copyright your content and know what that means.

If you’re going to be protecting yourself from other people taking your stuff without your consent, then you need to understand the law yourself. A copyright is a form of intellectual property (IP), which gives creators rights to their creations for a limited time period. Normally this is the lifetime of the creator plus a further 70 years after their death–if they’ve published their work during that time, then they can manage their copyright in one of two ways: by selling it outright or licensing it out.

9. Get the right legal assistance with contracts and sales agreements.

A contract is an agreement between two people that details the rights and obligations of the party that is making the deal. It could be a product or service sale, or it could be an agreement to put up advertising space on your company’s website. The important thing here is to make sure you get legal advice from someone that you trust about which clauses are necessary and which ones aren’t for your specific situation.

Summary:

Filing a lawsuit is an option, but it isn’t the best one. Taking an appropriate legal action can often be cheaper and more effective than paying a lawyer to represent you, and it can give you the satisfaction of actually doing something to get your company off the ground.

Using these laws and practices takes time, and it’s important to have someone on your side who knows what they’re talking about–someone that your mother trusts.

There are many labels that could be given to describe me, but one thing’s for certain: I am an entrepreneur with passion. Whether it's building websites and social media campaigns for new businesses or traveling the world on business trips - being entrepreneurs means constantly looking at yourself in a different light so as not get bored of your own success!

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