For any business owner, or if you’re self employed – having an online presence in this day and age is vitally important – especially if it looks professional and people are able to find you.
Here are a few tips on how to get your business online and avoid the common mistakes that can be easily made.
A website is your shop window and becomes your 24/7 sales person if done correctly. It has a wide reach and has no boundaries on the city but can be found globally – giving you the power of selling your product or service to the world.
Find a business name for your new business. The way to do this is just to write down any name that comes into your head. Anything – even if you think it’s bad. Then once you have 30+ names (ideally 50), start eliminating names you really don’t like. Try joining some, or using parts of others. Once you get down to around 10, you’re getting close. At this stage you can begin looking at available domain names (see below). Then once you get to 4 names, you’re really close and this is when you need to be sure there is a domain name available. Check with the Companies Office as well to make sure the name is not already taken. Don’t misspell the name in order to make it work. This will haunt you later down the track.
Getting your domain name to match your business name (eg. www.yourdomainname.co.nz) is often a tricky process since so many domains have already been taken. My advice is to keep the correct spelling of the word or words as changing the spelling in order to secure a domain name becomes a bigger problem down the track. Once you have your domain name, then you can secure and email address with your new domain name (eg: [email protected]). Having an email address with your domain name looks far more professional to potential customers than [email protected] for example.
There are a number of providers who sell domain names and I’ve listed a few examples below that you can start with.
Before you start your website
Will your site be an online brochure type website, or will you be selling products or services online and taking payments?
Will it be national or international? Or perhaps just local to your town or city?
If you’re selling products, how many products are there and how many variables of each of product. If it’s services, think about how you’ll be charging these out and how the cost relates to the amount of time spent on that task/service.
Then think about the site map. What pages will you have and which ones will be top level navigation?
Who are your ideal customers and what will they want to buy from you?
Think about your budget. A basic brochure style website is the most economical. An online store/shopping website gets a lot more expensive depending on the number of products and variations. The more functionality your site has (automation) the more expensive it becomes.
How to generate sales leads. There are several strategies and tools to use. Some examples of how to be found online include blogs, social media, SEO, landing pages and adverts. You could incorporate email marketing, live chat on your site and a number of other methods. Remember, just because you built a website does not mean the people will come – you still have to go and get them – digitally.
You’ll need to generate all the wording, headlines, photos and graphics that will be used to populate your website. If you’re a good writer, then great. Write specifically for each page of the website using the sitemap you created earlier. Google likes to have 250-300 words minimum per page.
You can source images from photo libraries online which is a good, reliable source for generic imagery. If your product or service is more specific, then you may need to take photos of your products, equipment or services to be used on the website. Remember, people always look at the photos first, so make sure they’re the best you can do.
Find a provider who is trustworthy, uses a common platform and preferably open source. This means that if the company who did your website closes down, you can easily transfer it to another provider. If the sites platform is proprietary, then you will be stuck and most likely will have to start over. Don’t get me wrong, proprietary sites are okay, but usually for bigger companies who have specific functionality that may not be possible using an open source platform.
That’s always a hard question as there are so many variables. This is ONLY a rough guide.
For a very basic brochure style website you should be looking at around $1000 without providing content.
For a more detailed brochure style website you’d be looking at up to $2000 or $2500. Again, this would not include content.
Ecommerce sites would probably start at around $2500 for a basic site and then the sky is the limit after that. But on average, and without loading all the products, a ball park would be around $5000 without written content or photos.
Well, I hope that has given you some insight as to how to start your new online portal. It’s fun and can certainly generate a whole lot of new business if you do it right.