Bring Your Business Online
So you've decided that it's time to bring your business online. What does that mean exactly? It means you're ready to enter the digital world and start to market your company on the World Wide Web. Before we get going, I want to note that I'm assuming you've setup your business at this point, obtained your EIN and are ready to go. If not, shoot on over to this blog all about how to start a business. Now that, that is out of the way, I need to also state that if you haven't done the items in the list below, fear now as new posts about that will be coming soon as well. So, at this point in your journey you should have done the following:
- Found a niche where people are actively looking for solutions to their problems
- Identified your Goals, Persona and Audience
- Researched the Competition in your Market
- Become an Expert in your Field
Now that you've done the research and become educated to help your future clients, it's time to decide what type of platform to launch your business on. You can always start with a Social Media page, there is nothing wrong with that. But it's important to realize the limitations and costs in doing so before you get started. If you choose to use an Ecommerce platform, you should know that they're probably going to take a portion of your sales and possibly hurt your ability to rank for your key Search Engine Ranking Positions (SERPs).
My suggestion: Start Your Business Website First!
Why? Because you can do so much more with your website. From tracking details about your visitors, what pages they visit, and how long they spend on each page, to creating a custom experience that truly fits your product or service. Not only that, but you'll also be able to use specific types of tracking data to better target your website visitors. Then you retarget them after the fact with ads that matter to them. You can even capture their contact information for free so you can keep in touch with them. On the other hand, there are many social networks to choose from, some of which your target clients may not even use. And if you're dealing with the youngest generation, they're deactivating their accounts more and more, even if only temporarily. So you must choose very wisely.
Your Website Is Here To Stay!
New social networks seems to come out every year and some are even starting to disappear.
There are over 75 different social networks your customers could be using!‐ Influencer Marketing Hub
Not only are there over 75 different social networks that your customers could be using, but over 15 major networks have completely died in the last decade! Including Google+! What happens to your company if you spend years on a social network, investing thousands or even tens of thousands into the platform and then it just stops existing? What if instead you built a company website and used it as your "home base"? Then use social networks to support and send traffic to it. This way if a network stops existing, your website, hard work, and hard earned money don't just disappear into thin air. That's the last thing you want when you bring your business online.
Social Networks are not necessarily bad
I'm not saying that social networks are bad. However, it can lead to cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and exposure to content that isn't age appropriate. They're also highly addictive. They are programmed this way and will generally instill a Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) that leads to users constantly checking their accounts which causes anxiety. Social networks can also be a good thing. They give people the ability to stay connected with family and friends worldwide, access to quick information and research, allow us to learn online, and allow us to get involved in fundraising and social awareness programs. (Frances Dalomba, LICSW, Lifespan.org)
What I am saying is that with some social networks under threat of being banned, those that disappear altogether, and the movement for people to start deleting their social networks, it's essential to have a business presence that'll always be there. Your website is that business presence that'll always be there. As such, there's the potential for your content to rank organically and be found for years to come.
How do I get a Website?
Bringing your business online takes just a 9 steps, but none that'll take as long as creating the great educational content you'll need in order to pull customers to you for years to come. (Now, don't get overwhelmed by that idea. I've got you covered on how to create that amazing content for years to come and you already know 90% of it!) So, what are the steps?
- Purchase a Domain Name
- Plan your Website ‐ 8 Easy Steps
- Pick a Designer or DIY Platform
- Create that Valuable, Educational, well-formatted Content
- Get your website found
- Connect with your customers on Social Media
- Drive traffic to your Website
- Collect your visitor's information
- Review your stats and evaluate your efforts
As you can see from the list above, once your website is up and full of content you aren't done and, truthfully, you'll actually never be done. Bringing your business online with a website is really just your first step. Your website should continue to grow and evolve as the internet landscape and how people use the web changes.
This is just the beginning on how to bring your business online and over the next few weeks, you'll be able to click on each step above for a more detailed look, how it pertains to where you are in your journey, and what you'll need to focus on next. And I do want to focus on how this is a Journey, taken one step at a time and continued on for the life of your business.