Getting Your Business Online

Today people expect to see your business online, it’s not a luxury or a gimmick anymore it is a necessity and creates trust with your old and prospective customers. Getting your business online can be a pretty daunting task if you have no experience with web design or website development. There’s a huge choice of solutions, from DIY websites to fully blown tailored made websites constructed by web developers.
Getting Your Business Online 1
 

Domain Name

 
Choose your domain name with care, this is your online business address and find a domain retail company you feel you can work with.

DIY or Designer

 
Decide if you wish to go DIY and build the website yourself or contract a web designer or a website design agency.
Getting Your Business Online 2
 
Getting Your Business Online 3
 

Hosting

 
Research and choose a reputable hosting company that suits your needs and is fit for the purpose you require. Not all hosting companies are the same.

Register a Domain

For instance, your brand name is a good way to go, allansporkpies.co.uk, etc. There are lots of companies that specialise in domain registration, godaddy, 123.co.uk, names.co.uk, to name but a few.

Each of them has a search box that lets you type in the domain name of your choice and it will show you what is available.

One point when you are purchasing your domain registration, you will most likely be asked if you require domain privacy, this allows you to hide your registration details when someone does a search on the domain.

In my view I want people to know who I am, I have nothing to hide and if someone does a search they are most likely checking to see I am a real person and business. Another point to consider is your credibility with the search engines. If you try to hide your name and address the chances are they may assume you are not a bonafide business.

A prospective client doing a WHOIS search and finding the search results hidden would be suspicious, wondering why you want to hide such important information.

Plan your Website Content

Your website is your shop front and it allows you to be open for business 24/7, 365 days a year. Your web pages are tools that provide your visitors with a window into what kind of value you provide to clients interested in your business.

Perhaps your website requirements are simply to provide your viewers with a basic knowledge of your company. Where you can highlight relevant information of your business and your contact details. In this scenario, a simple brochure-style website would most likely suit your needs. If your website demands you show details that are more extensive you may wish to develop a blog, (newsletter).

Or if you wish to sell goods online you would most likely require e-commerce functionality. These additions require research so that you can be more able to come to the correct decision.

Make a list defining what you need your website to do. If you wish to limit the pages then leave out the “that would be nice to have” – concentrate on what you must have to entice your viewers and show them you have what they want.

Whatever you do when it comes to writing content for your web pages, try not to be tempted to use what’s referred to as “Black Hat” methods, spend time and a lot of thought on exactly what you want to tell your viewers.

 

Getting Your Business Online 4

Brochure Style Website

Brochure style website designs are by far the most common type of website chosen by small business. This type of design lends itself to most trades and services.
Getting Your Business Online 5

eCommerce Website

For those who require a full-blown online shop, eCommerce is the way to go as it provides all the required tools to sell products online.
Getting Your Business Online 6

Blogging Website

A blog style website is for those who specialise in news and article writing. This type of website is most popular with travel writers and those who write reviews.

DIY or Web Designer?

The DIY option may appear more cost-effective on your initial research. However, take into account if you have the time and the patience to get through the learning curve on building your own website.

Pre-Designed web themes look wonderful, but they can often be time-consuming and frustrating to redesign the pages to suit your needs. Perhaps your valuable time would be better spent on running your business.

If DIY sounds daunting then you could look to hiring a web designer. They have the experience to manipulate a theme and create what’s required to make you look good online. They will help and guide you to ensure your viewers have a great online experience when browsing your web pages.

A designer will also, ensure the web pages look good on any device screen and that the site conforms to the best search engines practices. If you require a high powered website that is more complex then you may need to hire a website design agency. They will have on their team, designers, developers and graphic artists, who together will create what you require.

Getting Your Business Online 7

Host your Website

Choosing a company to host your website is a major factor on how your website will perform. Viewers today are extremely demanding on how fast a web page loads. Statistics prove that if a web page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, then over 90% of viewers will press the back button.

Low-cost hosting is more than likely slow to load web pages, like everything else in life you only get what you pay for. If you decide you wish to build your website yourself, then look carefully at what the web hosting provider can offer.

Web host companies provide space on their servers (computer banks) to supply online space where you can store your website data, which in turn serves up your website files when called on by your visitors. There’s lots of hosting options available and a whole lot of companies providing hosting facilities.

On the DIY option, some hosting companies provide website builders, these packages are normally charged on a monthly basis. Or you can opt for a Content Management System such as WordPress which is free and provides a really powerful platform. Depending on the budget you can elect to use WordPress.org or WordPress.com.

The former is the most popular and you have a huge choice of free and premium themes to choose from.

The website host that you decide on should be selected on your choice of how you will build your website and to what purpose it should serve. For instance, if you are a painter and decorator, your website will not require a lot of resource power. However, if you have an e-commerce website that has a lot of product and will be in high demand with viewers and purchasers, then you will have to look at a hosting plan with high resources to cope with the demand.

If you elect to use WordPress, for instance, check out that the hosting company can accommodate that platform. If you would prefer to use a web host site builder, have a good look to make sure you will feel comfortable working with it. You may have to take out a contract and there is no good paying premium rates for a website builder you are not happy working with.

On using a freelance designer or a web design team, they will advise and set everything up for you, ensuring your website runs the way it should.

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