Okay, so you’ve decided to start a business. You’ve chosen your field of expertise, written your plan (even if it started as notes on the back of a serviette), registered your business and established a bank account.
What next? Well, even if you are a one man band or a small business with two or three employees, hopefully you want to expand the reach of your business so that customers will come to you. If you are totally unique in your type of work and people are already knocking down your door from local referrals (and even if they are, you want to continue growing your business) it is imperative to have an online presence.
If you are just starting out, a couple of tasks on your to-do list should be to secure a domain and create website to help build your online world. This sounds a very common practice these days but really, where do you start? There’s only so much business you can get from dropping flyers through doors these days and if you’ve never really considered a website, you need to understand that people search online these days. They yellow pages are dying in the dark, even if your business is based in a small village.
As important as it is to register your business is the need for a domain. Getting a domain is step one before setting up a website. Do you want ABCBusiness.com or ABCBusiness.net? Do you want to look like you have a regional presence by securing ABCBusiness.London? There are so many options. Research the various packages available based on how much you have to spend. In fact, some domain resellers offer ways to search for domains in bulk so you can decide just exactly how you want to position your company.
Next decide on a website. Often, websites require little maintenance and even if the nature of your business does not require retail type shopping, having a good website gives you credibility when customers look around for services. Your website should be an effective marketing and promotion tool that runs 24/7. Getting a website up and running is not hard and to save money, you can build your own using website builders; but be careful, some web builder packages can be limited so decide on a builder that gives you several page options.
Having a bad website can be worse than not having one at all. Take a look at other websites, especially competitors and other popular sites around to gain an idea of what current web design trends are. Generally, less is more if you have the right information and imagery. The look and feel is important, but your website should tell your story and communicate your key messages effectively in a few seconds. These days, you have about 5 -10 seconds maximum to make that first impression or potential customers will click away to another site. In the beginning, make sure you write clear content on your first couple of pages whilst you consider the rest of your content after getting it all set up. You may want to set up an email at this point as well so that people may contact you.
There is more to do after establishing your site up if you are serious about getting traffic to your site such as writing a few relevant content pages, considering Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for ranking, advertising, Social Media Platforms – the list of online marketing tactics goes on and on. We’ll leave that for a subsequent article but for now, if you want more information on how to easily set up your first website site, try Gradwell’s domain, website builder and email options that are available in our cloud product line.