Steps to Taking your Business Online

May 15th, 2017

If you're reading this, it suggests you have a business and plan to take it online. I'll say this is the best decision you'll ever make for that business. You want to know why?

Your prospective customers are online reading, researching products, and, more importantly, they are buying. How then do you get to those customers? You do that by having an online presence.

You can go digital by creating a social media account, but this article is more robust and covers other aspects of online presence, like creating a website.

You don't need to be a programmer to build an online presence for your business. Now that you know this check out the steps for creating an online presence for your business:

1. Get a domain name

You've probably seen a thousand and one domain names but didn't know what they were. The domain name is the website address that comes after www. It helps people find you easily when they insert a query on search engines.

If you're a baker, for example, your domain name should include keywords related to baking so that when a user types "bakers in Washington," they can locate you.

An efficient domain name is short, easy to remember, and uses the right extension. Research to ensure that the name you have chosen is not trademarked or copyrighted.

2. Set up a website

After choosing a domain name, you can now plan for your website. Before you hire a programmer to write the codes for your site, you need to know what you want to achieve. Do you want to generate leads? Sell a product or service? Or inform your target audience?

Whatever business goal you want to achieve, your website helps you achieve that. A professional web designer is always handy to bring your vision to life through a customized website that meets your goals.

There are other options for creating websites like WordPress that allows you to design without having prior knowledge of HTML. WordPress offers free and paid themes and lots of plugins necessary for a functional site.

3. Add value through compelling content.

Your website isn't going to be left empty, would it? Valuable content is what keeps users glued and trust your business more. Your content should essentially tell your prospective customer how your product/service solves their problem.

Visitors to your site should know more about your business after the first few seconds of perusing your online space. Experts recommend that every website has core pages like contact us, home, product/services, testimonials, and about us.

These pages cover the most critical aspect of any business. You can include more pages if you like. Your content includes words, pictures, videos, logos, and other design elements as the case may be.

4. Make your website visible.

Even relevant content is not enough to give your site the desired visibility. SEO (search engine optimization) means that your website ranks higher on search engines without having to pay for placement. What is an excellent content if it doesn't get to the target audience?

SEO ensures that your content gets to as many people that need this information as possible. There are various criteria search engines use to rank websites higher. For example, if you use keywords and phrases users would likely input in their query, more people would find your content.

Internal links and backlinks also have a say whether or not your site would rank higher. Online maps are tools that help potential customers find you online. Find review sites and maps and verify your business information there.

5. Get on Social Media

Virtually all your active customers are on social media. This space is crowded with potential customers and business owners jostling for the attention of the audience. You can build a relationship with a specialized audience through this platform.

Your customers can ask questions using this medium, and your answer is available to all your followers. The social space may not be as elaborate as your website in terms of content, but tips and nuggets shared are enough to establish you as an expert in your field.

Make your page as appealing as possible so that when you link back to your website, your audience would be willing to visit. Asides from building your brand and giving your business visibility, this medium lead ultimately leads to sales.

6. Use email to generate leads.

Driving visitors to your site is no guarantee that they'll patronize you. You can contact your site visitors directly by asking for their names and email addresses.

You can do that by including contact or sign-up form on your website where users can input their details. After you get these email addresses, you can reach out to customers with strategic email campaigns they find valuable. Your email marketing strategy should be creative and enticing enough to make customers take action. And yes, the moment you spam them, you lose them.

7. Monitor your progress

Now that you have a website and a social media account, you should monitor your progress and evaluate what's working and what isn't. Is your social media generating sufficient leads? If not, then you need to make adjustments and get things right. Evaluate the kind of social media content and tweak it to suit your audience if you notice they do not engage with you as much as you want.

Your website would not grow overnight, but while you wait for it to flourish, you should do things right. Does your site genuinely represent the actual state of your business? Can customers contact you quickly through your website? These questions and more need to be answered as you evaluate the progress of your online business.

Conclusion

You’re still living in the 16th century if your business does not have an online presence. With over 4 billion internet users, know that the market is fertile and waiting for you to plant. As much as the internet evolves, certain principles remain the same.

If you are starting to learn about the online space, don't be in a hurry to get things right within the first few days because you could get choked up. Start with the basics and be patient with the process.