Guest Post by Renee Jamieson
Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels
There are a lot of important things to keep in mind when you start an online business if you want to be successful, from your initial market research to the organizational structure of the company. Today though, there is also the online component to consider. Even if you’re focusing primarily on a brick-and-mortar business, the simple fact is that many new startups today need to operate online, at least to some extent. So if you’re still in the early stages of developing your company, read on for a few important things to consider before you take it online.
Start Your Online Business
1. Picking a Domain Name
Your company’s domain name is one of the first and most crucial things to work out when you’re launching a business online. The right domain will fit your business and help to establish your website as a sort of online storefront for whatever it is you’re selling. If you’ve already thought about one (or a few), you can check to see if it may be available through any of a number of free services. Bear in mind that a lot of domains are taken, but you can often come up with a variation of the name you like, at the very least.
Make sure to keep the domain name simple, as well. This will make it easier for your customers to remember what the site is called, whether they’re mentioning it to friends or trying to find it again themselves.
2. Exploring Web Development
Naturally, beyond the domain name, you’ll have to set up an actual website that represents your business well. And today, you have a variety of options.
On the one hand, there are now a lot of “low-code” and “no-code” platforms through which you can set up your own fully functional website, even if you don’t have development experience. At the same time, however, professional web developers remain in heavy demand and can typically do a better job of setting up your site. Whatever approach you choose, you’ll want to make sure your site is user-friendly, compatible across devices, and professional in its appearance.
3. Making a Budget
Money is the lifeblood of any business, so designing a thorough budget before you really get going is essential. Budgeting for an online business specifically is a fairly complex process, given that you’ll have to factor in things like web-hosting fees, special features on your site, digital marketing, and security updates, among other things.
As with web development, you have multiple options. If you want to, you can handle things on your own via numerous effective budgeting apps. But there are also professional budget analysts who are trained to consider long-term planning and can help you make sure you aren’t overlooking any potential costs. An analyst can also help you to break down your projections such that you have financial strategies mapped out for quarterly breakdowns, growth, and more.
4. Using Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is one of the best ways to promote your online business. In fact, these days, it’s an essential practice. The good news is, at least the basics are fairly easy to manage! Digital marketing doesn’t mean one specific thing, but so long as you’re able to establish a presence across major social media channels, and regularly share content relating to your business, you’ll have gotten started. Ultimately, it will be best to incorporate some degree of data analysis, SEO, and content optimization as well. But one thing at a time –– your first forays into digital marketing can simply be about putting your business out there.
5. Becoming the Expert
For many, the internet is the go-to source for information. This is true concerning all matters of needs, and across all imaginable industries. By extension then, it stands to reason that someone somewhere is turning to the internet to find answers about the very product or service your business provides. For this reason, setting up an online business is not just about building a digital storefront. It’s also about establishing your brand as an authority in the industry at hand. Through anything from social media posts, to on-site blog articles, to direct customer service, you have the opportunity to build a reputation for your business as an expert source of information and solutions alike.
Wrapping It Up!
Having an online presence is a must if you want to thrive in this economic era. Whether you’re setting up a new business or just moving an existing one onto an online platform, there are a lot of challenges involved. If you start with these steps though, you’ll be able to position yourself to remain competitive in the ever-expanding world of online business.