The online world is filled with opportunities for people who are willing to put in the time and effort.
Do you have dreams of becoming the next Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and building an online business into a success?
If this is the case, you need to learn all of the ins and out of starting an online business. There is a lot more to it than meets the eye. Teaching yourself all of the things that are required to get a successful online business off the ground will allow you to stay one step ahead of the competition.
Here are a few of the essential steps that you need to consider before you launch your online business website.
Step 1: Find a good web hosting company
One of your first concerns should be the web hosting company with whom you are going to be doing business. A web hosting company will be responsible for keeping your new website online and always accessible to your customers.
It is not surprising that many people who want to start an online business do not spend a lot of time worrying about the web hosting company. However, this would be a huge mistake for you to do the same thing. This is because choosing the wrong web hosting company could result in a great deal of downtime.
And, downtime is a disaster for your new website. Why? If you are offline for an extended amount of time, visitors leave and may unbookmark you (if you were lucky enough to have them bookmark you in the first place!). It also eventually affects your search engine results (SERPs) and is counterproductive to any search engine optimization (SEO) efforts that you may be taking.
Downtime demonstrates that the web hosting company you are using is not very good at what they said they could do. This is just one reason why you need to look into the background of any web hosting company you are considering and find the right one for you and your business.
Step 2: Hire the best web designer you can find
While it is true that you need a quality web host on which to display your site, you also need something awesome to display!
That is where the web designer comes into the strategy.
You have probably heard of web designer and web developer. If you are developing an application that is available to your site visitors via the web, then you need a web developer. Back in the day, that was generally the requirement, unless someone wanted a static website which is a site that does nothing but display information.
Fortunately, we have moved into new horizons with the new century (which isn’t so new anymore). We have free software like WordPress that allows us to do incredible things with a website and even come up with halfway decent designs, using basic free templates.
However, if you really want your business website to pop and garner some impressive responses, you will want to consider hiring a web designer. It is the web designer who takes care of the visual aspect of your site, including the navigation, structure, and visual appeal (sometimes soliciting the help of a professional graphic designer).
Therefore, you will need to seek out the services of a web designer who has several years of experience designing sites that are similar to the one you need for your online business.
When evaluating your designer, always look at the previous work. Do this with all of the web designers you interview. Play around with the sites they have designed to check the functionality of the websites, including their contact forms, portfolio pages, and website shopping cart, to name a few. See if the sites have a smooth page transition between pages.
Another thing you should do is have the web designers give you a timeframe for completion of your site. You do not want to be waiting endlessly for them to finish. And, finally, you will need to compare their fees. Shop around so you will be able to get the best price. Keep in mind that best price is not necessarily the lowest price. Remember, you want a site that represents you, your brand, but also impresses your visitor and causes them to want to open their wallets and pay you!
Step 3: Put together a budget
The money will certainly be tight in the early days of your new online business unless you were born rich or have already reached that level in your own business progress. If that is the case, I would say hire a project manager, watch how they spend the money and make decisions (after fully vetting them) and let them go! But, likely you are reading this article because you are the project manager (PM) of your own business and this website project. Good for you!
You need to be sure that you spend the money wisely. This is why having a budget and sticking to it will be vitally important in order for your website to succeed. Basically, it is a requirement, for you to stay afloat.
You cannot allow money to be spent on things that are not essential for the operation of the business.
Step 4: Put together a strategy to promote your website
A great website that is not properly promoted will still fail eventually. For this reason, you need to figure out exactly how you are going to promote your site. You might want to hire a person who is an expert at social media marketing to help you get the word out about your new business.
You can also do it yourself. This blog is full of marketing ideas and actionable steps to take. One such article, recently posted by Ann Smarty, is “How to Get Insanely Productive with Social Media Updates to Scale Your Referral Traffic.” Take a read for yourself and start planning for your next phase (promotion) after you get that business website up and running!