Taking Your Business Online For the First Time

Whether you’re new to entrepreneurship, or have been in business for a number of years, establishing an online presence is one of the best things you can do for your business.

When building a new website or looking to upgrade an existing one, there are a couple of key steps you must take to ensure you’re building an effective, user-friendly online presence for your business.

Decide on the purpose of your website

What are you looking to promote or sell – is it a product or a service? This step will determine the type, style as well as the layout of your website.

If you’re selling products online, you need a robust e-commerce solution to manage orders. Your store layout should tempt people towards the checkout page of the site. It’s important to streamline shopping cart options, including the payment systems, delivery, and post-order support.

If you offer professional services, for example, an accountancy or solicitor practice, you need to put greater focus on written content. Add proof points for your service such as multiple client testimonials.  Allow potential customers the opportunity to find out more, and a way to get in touch with you. Your contact details must be displayed in a visible location.

Assess your online customers.

Your audience is what makes your business a success, so put special emphasis on finding out who they are and what makes them tick. Think about who will likely visit or use your website. If you already have a physical store, try asking your customer what they would like to have or would value by purchasing from you online.

What is the most crucial information they want to know? Focus on how you can make this information easier to find.  If you’re selling online, evaluate your most popular products and how they can be showcased to potential purchasers.  This process is also referred to as ‘needs analysis’, which is very beneficial in setting out the basic requirements of your website.

Research your competitors.

An effective way to get ahead faster is by looking at your competition – not only locally but also internationally.  Can you find something that you think is predominantly effective about a competitor’s website design? Are there features that don’t apply to your business model or ways in which you could develop and stand out in your industry? This research will help you identify the style you want your website to focus on.

Registering your website’s domain name

If you’re building a new website, pick a domain name that will reflect your brand/offering – something that is memorable for your audience.  Many potential customers find short and catchy domain names easier to remember.

Take advantage of using whois to instantly look up the entire web database for most already owned domain names. Whois allows you to see information about the domain name, IP address block, when they’ll expire, and ultimately if the name you want isn’t already taken.

End Note

To sum it up, a well thought-out website will lead to a more positive online experience for you and your audience, and will ultimately lead to your website’s success. Best of luck!

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