There are things you should know before starting an online business today. Digital has been a big revelation for many small businesses in recent years.
Entrepreneurs and owners have discovered that keeping in touch with their customers through the web can be an alternative to physical stores or face-to-face activities. Not only this but also a complementary part of the business, needed today more than ever.
Of course, no one said that building an online business (whether starting from zero or wanting to digitize an existing business) is a straightforward activity. But starting prepared and knowing all the steps and factors involved, this new adventure can turn into the road to success.
So let’s find out together the eight things you should definitely know before launching an online business.
1. Hosting Choice is Imperative and one of the Major Things You Should Know Before Starting an Online Business
Many businesses start building their online presence with a simple Facebook page or shop on platforms like Etsy.
Here, however, you will not have complete control and will have limits in terms of possibilities and activities allowed. That’s why we often decide to have our website, maybe even an eCommerce.
The first step to do this is to choose the right hosting for your needs.
A website host (sometimes referred to as a website hosting provider) is a company that offers the technology and services necessary for displaying a website on the Internet.
Depending on the type of technology and support chosen, the costs of these services can vary, and there are some fundamental aspects to consider when selecting the hosting provider.The first step to do this is to choose the right hosting for your needs. #onlinebusiness Click To Tweet
2. Pick Domain Name Choice Before Starting an Online Business
The domain is the part of the address that people use to find you on the web. For example inspiretothrive.com
For a business, a domain name can also be linked to a professional email address. In this way: email@example.com
Let’s say I’m looking for a plumber in New York. Using Google, I’ll type “plumber in NY” and get a list of search results that include relevant websites identified by their domain names.
Your domain is your company’s banner on the web, so be careful to choose a domain name representing your company and is easy to remember. You can follow these five tips:
- Be brief to make sure you stay impressed.
- Make it easy to type. Avoid hyphens and unusual spellings.
- Include keywords. Try to use simple terms that people might enter when searching for your type of online business.
- Locate your business. Especially for small businesses, it can also be useful to include the name of your city or region in the domain to attract local customers.
- Choose the right extension. The use and extension of the domain name (the part after the “period”) should be specific to the sector or the geographical area.
- When you’re looking for a domain, do a little research to make sure the name you have in mind doesn’t already exist, isn’t trademarked, copyrighted, or in use by another company.
3. Website Creation and Design
Once you have chosen a domain, you will be ready to start thinking about the website. A little planning is essential to ensure that the site works as we imagined and clearly presents all products or services.
So, start from the objectives. Do you want the site to inform, inspire, or do you want to generate sales conversions?
Is it enough for the website to display your products and services, or do you want visitors to purchase them directly from the site? If so, you will need to design an eCommerce site, including a shopping cart, payment methods, customer registration.
When you understand what you want your site to do for your online business, you can start building it following the goals you have set for yourself.
Even if you are not an IT expert, you can use easily installed platforms and tools to build your website.
An example that you have already heard of many times is that of websites in WordPress. It is a CMS (content management system) that does not require knowledge of HTML, PHP, or other programming languages but allows you an excellent level of customization even if you are not exactly a pro!
You can choose from a myriad of free or paid themes (i.e., the design for the overall style of your website). You also have many plugins available to increase and diversify the site’s features.
Alternatively, you can hire a professional or agency and commission the construction of your site. In this case, plan with the expert who will also follow you the various assistance and implementation options: once the site is online, can you take care of it yourself, or will you need constant dedicated assistance?Is it enough for the website to display your products and services, or do you want visitors to purchase them directly from the site? #onlinebusiness Click To Tweet
4. Quality Content
Once you have thought about the structure and design, the container, you can also begin to understand what you will put inside your site, that is, the content.
To make your online business known and launched, you can tell your story, explain how you started, say something about yourself and your work to potential customers, explain what problem you can solve for them, your mission, and your passion.
Among the pages to be included in the contents of your site, there will be:
- About Us
- Products/Services page
- Contact page
And, if possible, a page with reviews and testimonials of other customers. The latter will communicate trust to new potential customers.
In addition to the texts, you will also need to include images (photos, logos, icons) and possibly one or more videos.
Try to keep a consistent tone of voice across all the different content. Also, plan for coordinated colors and graphics, remembering that you may also share your web pages on social media.
Creating valuable, unique, and informative content will make you earn mentions and backlinks around the web.
5. SEO is one of the Top Things You Should Know Before Starting an Online Business
Once you’ve created content relevant to your potential customers, it’s time to take an extra step to increase the visibility of your online business.
To do this, you need to use SEO, i.e., search engine optimization.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of refining a website to rank higher in search engine results and bring organic visitors to your site without paying for featured ads.
Unlike paid ads – advertisements that appear in sponsored areas – organic search results are “free” and based, among other things, on the content of the site and how close it is to the search keywords. These are, therefore, very relevant results for users.
While each search engine has its own set of ranking criteria, they all look at the same SEO basic elements:
- Relevant page content
- Meta tags
- Internal linking
- Image optimization
6. Social Channels
Establishing a commercial presence on social media is a bit like setting up a booth at the largest virtual fair in the world.
Certainly, your competitors will also be there, lining up to attract the attention of potential customers with photos, videos, and offers. For this reason, the secret to making the most of social media to communicate with your audience is to create valuable content that allows you to build a lasting relationship.
By developing a following on social media, you will be able to connect with your customers and potential customers and share content with many people. Social also makes it easy to address customer-specific questions or problems, making the same information available to everyone else as well.
Here you will also have the opportunity to build your brand awareness. In addition to that, it also has the ability to drive traffic to the website by including links to the site in social posts and various bio.
Other than selling, you can make yourself credible. By sharing relevant content, you will show yourself as an industry leader and create a solid online presence for your business.
To make the most of social media, you will first need to understand who your target is and find out which platforms they spend their time on. It is not said that you have to be present on any social network. You could also choose only the most relevant and focus on those.By sharing relevant content, you will show yourself as an industry leader and create a solid online presence for your business. #socialmedia Click To Tweet
7. Lead Generation
Driving traffic to your website is key, but converting visitors into leads is how to grow your online business. It means understanding who is visiting the site and contacting them directly to be converted into a customer.
Include your company’s phone number or email address on every page of your website.
Ask visitors to leave their name and email address to keep in touch. That’s what you need to start the conversion, and most people are used to giving this information online.
To collect contact information (always in compliance with the guidelines of the GDPR), you can use the contact forms. These are filled out whenever the user wants to ask a question, needs information, and wants to be contacted.
You can also add a newsletter subscription form to receive information on products and services, updates, discounts, etc., or make a special offer to subscribe to the mailing list.
Once you get their addresses, email marketing will offer you a focused approach to contacting current and potential customers.
8. Measurement of Results
Now that you have a website and social profiles, as well as the know-how to drive traffic to your site, engage followers with content, and generate leads, you are in an ideal position to grow your online business.
But how do you assess if everything is going well? By measuring the results, of course.
As we said, digital measuring results is much easier and allows you to understand if you need to change your site, social strategy, implement a content marketing strategy or SEO.
To find out how it’s going, ask yourself these questions:
- What types of content get the most positive response?
- When are engagement rates the highest?
- Is it time to try the paid ad?
- What are the social networks that seem to work best for your business?
In this phase, your best allies will be Google Analytics, the insights of the social platforms, and Google Search Console.
Finally, what other things you should know before starting an online business do you recommend? We’d love to hear more in the comment section below.