It is a big step to start any form of business. It is even more daunting when it is an online business. The technological landscape of the internet is changing daily with brand new best practices, new techniques of digital marketing and all too often conflicting advice making it challenging to make decisions.
Here is outlined a few steps of how to get your business online:
- Find your niche – Very probably you have already decided what you want to make and sell. Perhaps you already have in place a business plan and a roadmap to how you are going to create a product or service and get your business online. However, have you considered your target audience? Who is the business aimed at and who is the website aimed at? Analyze your intended market in detail – their age, education, social status, economic status, preferences, etc.
- Register the domain name – Create a simple and easy to remember a name for your website. It is the face of your business so it might have the same brand name or some version of it.
- Web hosting – Your website needs to reside on a server. This is called web hosting. There are free services, but these are very basic and do not serve the needs of business well. It is better, to begin with, a paid plan and later buys more expensive plans as needed to get your business online. Not to worry if you do not like your web hosting services. You can migrate to another server if you wish and keep the same domain name.
- Create the website – Unless you know web designing you would need to hire a web developer to set up your site. It has to be a thorough consultative process where you would need to have extended hours of discussion to communicate to him what you wish accurately. It helps if you have a reference website in mind whose design you like. Remember the user experience of a website is the key to gaining customers. It needs to be simple, functional yet attractive. Building a website is a lot like architecture. Do not be afraid always to be upfront with your needs and have the web developer cater to them.
- Digital marketing – You now have a website. You have the product. But how do you let people know about it? You need advertising and marketing. Unless you can afford time on air (radio or TV) it has to be through digital marketing. Advertise your website and product on social media like Facebook. This can be both with a Facebook page tied to your business and also through paid advertising on Facebook. Make sure you have a presence on Twitter and Instagram. Regularly update these social media profiles with new information about your products. The other part of digital marketing is search engine marketing or in simple words sponsored advertising using a search engine. Search engine optimization or SEO is also much needed to make the page rank higher in search results.
Who visited your site and for how long? You need access to vital web statistics. One of the ways to get this is through Google Analytics. It is an essential step about how to get your business online. Some of the information is quite complex and to engineer a prominent place for your business you may need to outsource the task or hire someone who knows web marketing and SEO.