The Internet can unveil a world of new opportunities for entrepreneurs. Consumers are rapidly moving towards online platforms for browsing, researching and purchasing products. Modern businesses now build their reputation with online customer reviews and advertisements on trendy sites like Amazon. Even the tiniest mom-and-pop shop is no longer confined to a small town. A website that can get a good ranking on Google can attract customers worldwide and expand at an unprecedented pace. All these perks may sound utterly tempting, and yet, many small businesses remain wary of going online. Each business is different, so it’s difficult to pinpoint to an exact course. However, common misconceptions about going online, unfamiliarity and a lack of good advice can significantly contribute to staying grounded.
Some small business owners believe that going online costs a lot of money, which is not true. Setting up a website can be done for free, and a company domain name can be purchased for less than $10. Investing a little money in designing and promoting a top-notch website can garner great returns for small businesses. Online business don’t cost that much to maintain either. Learn to update and tweak websites by yourself, or, if not, you can hire a web developer or contract out the trouble to a local provider. Just Google, for example, IT services Brisbane, and you’ll find the best bang for your buck. IT service companies offer services beyond web maintenance; they can also troubleshoot and repair work networks, servers and solve any other tech-related issues for a single monthly price.
Now that you are convinced you should take your small business online, here are some tips on how to do so exactly:
1. Set up a website for free
Use WordPress, or a similar service, that lets users set up websites for free. You can purchase a domain name for your company for as little as $7. There are plenty of online tutorials and articles on how to do this yourself easily without a hassle. Alternatively, you can get someone to do it for you. Setting up the website is the easy part. Designing the website is another story. WordPress, for example, has in-built “themes” that users can get for free or purchase for a small price and then customize accordingly. The best option for you depends on your taste and budget. Once the basic foundation of the website is determined, get a really good writer to generate content. This includes descriptions about the company, its mission, services and products. They have to be well-written for a customer to take your business seriously. You will be all set to go online once the design and the writing is complete.
2. Optimize your website
Launching the website is only the first step. Now you have to do everything to get it ranked high on search engines, namely Google. Ending up on the bottom 25 percent of the millions of websites out there will not get your business anywhere. You will have to get someone to do what they call search engine optimization to get your website ranked high on Google. SEO is basically about inserting keywords and the right kind of content to your website so it responds sucessfully to online search queries. It might sound a bit odd to wrap your head around, so hire an SEOexpert or social media agency to get the job done.
3. Create an online presence
Your website will be all the more popular if supported by social media networks and a blog. Create pages on popular social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr for free. Update your social media pages as frequently as you can, preferably daily. You can hire a social media specialist to tell you how to advertise using social platforms, and how to create viral posts that can possibly lure millions of hits to your humble website.
Forums are also powerful platforms to get your product out there. Customers frequently ask questions and hope for opinions on certain goods and services on specific forums. Find out which forums are relevant for your product, and go there and start answering questions.
Additionally, you can get actual customers, or people to stand-in as customers, to generate good reviews for your services online on sites like eBay and TripAdvisor depending on what you are selling.
Follow the quick tips above wisely, and watch as your small business grows into a global enterprise.