Steps to setting up your business online
With every passing year, our lives become more altered by (and dependant on) the ever-growing technological developments made across the world. Many business owners – whether they be of small operations in the suburbs or growing enterprises in the city – have seen their livelihoods flourish thanks to setting up an online presence. Creating an online presence allows business to:
- Become more accessible to potential clients & customers, 24/7.
- Attract sales leads from wider demographics
- Build a strong brand voice and image without blowing out advertising budgets
- Develop a community following
- Be deemed credible in the eyes of the modern world
In this post, we provide you with the steps needed to set up your business online.
Part One: Establish Your Online Presence
Domains are the part of your website address following the ‘www.’ section, and can also act as the anchor to your business’s connected email addresses. For example, with www.domainexample.com, ‘domainexample’ would be the domain, and could be used as ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ to receive emails.
When choosing a suitable domain, there a several points you must consider. Firstly, you want it to be easy for your audiences to access. Keep things short and simple, avoiding anything overly long or with complicated symbols and number combinations. Remember to be considerate of possible keywords people might search for, too, such as locations. Lastly, you need to be smart about your domain extensions. Most common top-level domains (TLD) are the extensions after the ‘dot’ in your website address, such as ‘.com’, ‘.net’, or ‘.org’. It can also benefit to differentiate yourself and use generic top-level domain names (gTLDs), that can help refine your address for your desired audiences, such as ‘.restaurant’, ‘.melbourne’, and so forth.
Once you have decided on your domain, you will then need to register it with a reliable domain name registration service.
Building Your Website
It has never been easier to create a website, but building the appropriate website for your unique business? That demands some thought. You need to ask, ‘What is the main purpose of my website?’ Is it to sell products? Generate sales leads? The answer will dramatically help you decide which course of action is right for you, whether it be setting up an e-commerce store and obtaining an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate to encrypt customer information, or merely managing a few pages driving traffic to online enquiry forms.
From here, you have two options: utilise a DIY site builder or hire a professional. There are pros and cons to both options, but the standard approach would be that the more complicated your requirements, the more professional services you may require.
Part Two: Build Awareness
Search Engine Optimisation
Search engines operate by sending out mechanisms known as bots, which crawl through the internet looking for new pages to index. When someone types in a search, these indexed pages are then ranked based on an algorithm dependant on several features. Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process by which you structure every part of your website in order to better influence rankings. This includes:
- Keywords: Based on search phrases from users, if your content has a high density of exact or similar keywords, the bots will consider your page relevant.
- Content: Keyword stuffing spammy paragraphs won’t convert customers. Your website’s content therefore needs to be enticing, engaging and not only hold the attention of visitors, but capable of transforming them into glad customers. Plus, the longer a visitor stays on your page, the more your page will provide a greater user experience, demonstrating that your website is relevant and that it should be ranked higher.
- Linking: If a website with high authority links to your website, it will lend your pages some of that authority, ranking it higher in search results. Naturally, the greater amount of reputable links, the more authority your page will receive.
- Meta Titles & Descriptions: Titles and descriptions are always likely to announce or describe the focus of the website, and so bots look for those that relate as closely as possible to search phrases.
- Website Architecture: Ensure all content is organised, categorised, and with clear links to each other. Having an XML sitemap will also allow search engines to crawl and index through your list of URLs.
Search engine rankings will always begin their lists with paid advertising first, where businesses agree to pay a fee every time their website is clicked on in exchange for higher rankings. This is known as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising.
This is one of the most popular and rewarding forms of advertising around today. It will place your business in front of a targeted audience that are directly searching for products/services you offer. Pricing can be extremely reasonable as well, as they are ordered based on the popularity of phrases used, only charged if people actually click on your website, and with tailorable limits on spend. It is always prudent to measure your advertising campaigns, and with PPC, it has never been easier to gauge your ROI, with information available on impressions, number of clicks, and more.
Social media has exploded in popularity around the world, connecting billions of people, influencing every area of our lives, including what we buy, what we believe, how we find new jobs, and even how we enter into new relationships. With so much of your potential customer base spending significant portions of their lives on these platforms, you cannot afford not to put your business in front of them.
Start by setting up accounts on the platforms that suit what you do. Do your research and focus your attention on only those social accounts that your customers are on. From there, you can get busy getting ‘social’. Make friends, post and share content, open communication, and essentially create value to build your brand image and community following. To help, you can also utilise the management of social advertising to find appropriate audiences that will better register with what you are offering.
Work with the Professionals
Every day, the best practises surrounding setting up businesses online evolve. For a better understanding of these steps, or to let the professionals handle it for you, speak with one of our friendly consultants at Melbourne IT today.