Taking your business online
Many small business owners are incredibly creative, entrepreneurial and hardworking when it comes to building their company. They have an excellent product or service, dedicated staff and great people skills. However, when it comes to the subject of online marketing, this can be unfamiliar territory and leave them feeling out of their depth. If that’s you, our blog this month is a great place to start! In this two-part series, we’ll be covering the basic steps involved in setting up a website for your company, followed by next month’s article with a focus on online marketing.
How can going online benefit your company?
You’ve established your company, but are now considering taking your business online and wondering what that entails and whether it’s worth it?
Here’s why going online can help your company to grow:
- Let your business gain credibility by having a professional-looking website.
- You’ll be more accessible to potential customers 24/7, especially if you use your website to sell products and have an online shop.
- You can build awareness for your brand.
- Get more sales leads, enquiries from people filling in contact forms and generally gain greater exposure for your products or services.
What do you want to achieve with your website?
Before starting the process of creating an online presence for your company, ask yourself what is the purpose of your website going to be?
- Do you want to drive traffic and attract new customers?
- Generate leads and re-engage existing customers?
- Provide existing customers with supporting information?
- Display your products or services?
- Want to sell your products online?
- Do you want to promote a specific offer?
These questions will help you and your web designer/developer determine the specific function of the website.
Register a domain
The first step is registering your domain, meaning the specific name that your website address will have, for example, “azapi.co.za“. It’s essential to choose a fitting domain name as it describes who you are as a company. It should be relatively short and easy to remember. Numbers and hyphenated words are not ideal either. Keep it simple!
Get a business email
The advantage of registering a domain is that you will now be able to use a proper business email address. It does come across as much more professional, than using a Gmail address, for instance. You’ll be able to access your business email from anywhere on any device and can stay in touch with your clients easily.
Web design and functionality
Once your domain name and email have been set-up, the focus will be on your website.
- Branding: The website’s overall appearance should tie in with your logo and corporate ID in terms of colours and fonts, but also represent your brand in general.
- Design: Make a great first impression. Your website should be appealing and current, showing your company’s personality and vision. A clean design and an intuitive interface will attract the right customers.
- Content: Consider the type of information and content you need to attract your audience. Who is your audience, and how will you bring value to them?
- Usability: Ensure your site is easy to use and navigate. Is it mobile-friendly?
- SEO: Search engine optimisation is an excellent way of generating “top of the funnel” traffic and attracting the right people to your site.
Who is your target market?
Bear in mind the type of people you are aiming to reach with your website. Will they be more attracted to a very corporate or academic looking site with lots of detailed content or do they prefer something creative with lots of videos and visual inspiration. Is the language level used suitable for your target audience?
Website hosting and maintenance
Now that your website is up and running it also needs to be cared for, translating to hosting and a suitable care plan. Just like rent would cover occupying a shop or offices, you will require hosting for the “space occupied” by your website. Caring for your website has to do with updating various programs so that your website continues to function properly, storing back-ups of your whole site regularly and making sure that you are not vulnerable to hackers.
Once all these boxes are ticked, you’ll be the proud owner of an attractive, professional website that’s ready to work for you! This is a great step towards expanding your influence online and reaching new customers and delivering better service to your current customers.
To make your website even more effective, you can make use of other online marketing tools and strategies that work together with your site for even greater success. More about this in our next blog!
Feel free to contact us should you require any further info or advice regarding taking your business online.