In today’s digital environment, having an online presence is essential. The internet is the perfect platform for your business to be found by more customers, to be competitive and ultimately to provide great returns. Websites are a vital element of consumer pre-purchase research, used to check company credentials and integrity. It is imperative for your business to stand out from the crowd.
The good news for those on a budget is that an effective simple online website or e-commerce website does not have to break the bank. Domain registration and website hosting can be relatively inexpensive. You can use Tactical SEO techniques, build a strong customer base with social media marketing and a digital marketing strategy. A successful online business can easily be created on a shoestring budget, if you are using a company just do your research first.
Now is a time where we want to encourage the economy to grow. To help, we want to share with you some tricks and tips to get the most from your money when starting or growing your business online.
Start and grow your online business with a small budget
Having a strong online presence has never been so essential for small businesses, it’s time to recognise the opportunities that are in front of you. Over half of UK consumers look online for information before visiting high street shops and consumers are becoming more and more reliant on using the internet to shop.
If your business isn’t online, it’s not visible to the majority of your potential customers. Your competitors are likely to be online already.
Consumers will expect to find your business online
Video chat is becoming the norm, companies offer the ability to order a product at 10pm and still get next-day delivery, why wouldn’t customers expect to find your businesses online?
Even if you run a business from a retail shop, if you are online you can use your website to tell customers where your business is located, opening times and display your products or services.
Being online you’ll also have some great opportunities to talk to all your customers. Tell your audience about new products, or services, share great feedback from customers or help them learn more about your industry.
Get a website, it’s essential for an online business
Starting and building a website is the essential and, despite what you might think, it doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult! Take a look at a business start-up package, they can provide a strong foundation to grow your online business successfully.
Building a website, getting suitable hosting, choosing the right CMS… getting these online essentials in place, on a budget, can seem impossible. Thankfully we think everyone should know there are many ways to ensure you can set up your website at a reasonable price.
Choose a business name
Selecting your business name and registering a domain is not generally expensive but it is important to ensure you have put careful thought into it. It can be a headache to change domains further down the line.
Try to find a name that is unique, memorable and not already being used by another business, it can be tricky. It requires careful consideration; your business name is the first impression consumers will get of your company.
Buy a Domain
The first step is to buy a domain, this is the name customers will use to find your business, keep it simple and snappy. Many domain registrars now offer simple web-building packages that require no technical knowledge to get started with. Although some find value in this service, our recommendation would be to steer clear of using this service. Using this service will tie you down to their page builder, a monthly (or annual) fee will be required and the website builders are usually very inflexible.
If you have decided on your company name, but need help buying your domain, drop us an email or give us a call, we can help guide you through the process.
Opt for Supported Hosting
Hosting shouldn’t cost you a fortune, but cheapest is not usually best, here’s why.
Some hosting providers offer very low-cost hosting, but it is often completely unsupported, i.e. no back up if the website gets hacked, or goes down.
When selecting your hosting provider, you should always research what the hosting service includes. Ideally you should go for a provider which offers support and knows what to do if your website goes down. If you have this kind of support, you can rest assured that your website is more likely to run smoothly and be problem free.
Content Management System (CMS)
A CMS is the interface you use to build and update your website, the simpler and easier to use the better, especially if you are new to owning a website.
Use an open sourced CMS such as WordPress – this is one of the most robust, flexible, easily developed and widely used website building platforms worldwide. Using WordPress will allow you to grow your website in line with the growth of your company. You will spend less time updating your website with an easy to use and reliable platform.
Have confidence, you can build an online business, go for it!
When you start your online business, remember that the best investment you can make is to ensure you create a website that is functional and visible. Use an expert to help, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Involving an experienced website developer to build your website will help ensure your website is secure from hackers, that it is found by search engines, that the page load speed is optimised and your usability is good and that your audience will easily be able to find you.