How to stand out online when you start a business
When one wants to start a business, there are some must-haves, which include having a great idea, knowing who your target audience is, a strong business plan and a strong online presence. Building a website can be an obvious step for those who are looking to start a business, but today, having a website isn’t enough by itself. At the moment, there are 1 billion 700 thousand websites on the Internet and in order to stand out from the crowd, you need to build your online presence on strong grounds and manage it successfully.
7 steps those who start a business should take while creating their online identities
A lot of individuals and businesses are asking the “how do I build a website?” question, and thanks to where technology is today, the answer doesn’t need to be “have a professional do it.” When you start a business, you can easily create its online presence by following the 7 steps below:
1. A domain name that reflects your business
One of the first steps you need to take while creating your business’s online identity is coming up with an Internet address. Domains are what nameplates to a physical store. You do have a product or service as you start a business, right? If you’ve come up with a name, and it hasn’t been taken by someone else yet, register your domain. If you’d like to promote your services under your own name instead, you can consider a domain name like MyFirstNameLastName.com.
When you know what your domain name is going to be, you can opt to register multiple domain name extensions and direct them all to your website. This way, you can prevent others from purchasing different versions of your domain and make it easier for people to find you. In addition to opting for most popular domain name extensions including .com, .net and .co, you can also consider newer domain name extensions like .photography and .health which might better reflect your business.
Even if you’re not planning on building a website just yet, don’t postpone registering your domain. You wouldn’t want someone else snagging your idea, right? In addition, your domain doesn’t need to go unused until you build your website; you can direct it to your social media accounts, for example.
2. Professional email
When you start a business, you need to communicate with people no matter what industry you operate in. Email is one of the most important communication tools you’ll be using. Not everyone prefers keeping their private and business lives separate, but you really should consider keeping your personal and business emails separate. Professional email is an important tool in showing people you take your job seriously and that they can trust you.
Having a professional email address that matches your domain name can provide you the following advantages among others:
Make it easier for people to find you: Sending an email is like handing someone your business card. When you get in touch with people with a professional email address that matches your domain name, you will be reminding them of your website with every message.
Help you stand out in the competition: A professional email address shows everyone that you trust your business enough to invest in additional online tools. This can be another reason for people to choose your business instead of competitors while they’re trying to make a decision.
3. Mobile-friendly websites
In the UAE, 96 percent of the population are mobile Internet users. This will mean that most people might visit your website on their mobile devices; therefore, it is important that your website be mobile-friendly. Products like GoDaddy’s Website Builder allow you to build a desktop and mobile-friendly website simultaneously.
4. SEO-friendly content
When you start a business, it’s important that it be found on search engines like Google, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is very critical for that to happen. In order to get the best results in SEO, make sure you use keywords on your website that you’re your audience might be searching for. Of course, there is always more you can do:
- Create valuable content
- Write interesting call-to-actions
- Gain backlinks and social shares
- Include keywords in meta tags and in your website’s “head” section
- Optimize your visuals and include keywords in file names and Alt tags
- Make sure your website loads fast enough, especially on mobile
- Protect your website with an SSL certificate
5. Being present on Yellow Pages correctly
Especially if you start a business to serve to a certain region, it’s important that you’re present in the local Yellow Pages. This can help your target audience find you, learn how to reach you, read about what you do and see what people have already said about you.
To find out whether your business is already on Yellow Pages, you can easily perform an Internet search. Afterwards, think about what people might be typing into search bars to look for your products and services, and do another search that way. By doing this, you can find out whether your business is out there and get a chance to see what the competition is doing.
6. Effective email marketing
With email marketing, you can collect the email addresses of your current and potential customers and start sending them personalized messages. Your marketing efforts should not end once customers purchase your products and services; you can keep staying on top of their minds via email marketing. GoDaddy’s Website Builder, for example, lets you create and manage email marketing campaigns easily and share with them your marketing campaigns, discounts, and other content that would be interesting to your target audience.
7. Social media management
For those who own their own businesses and those who will start a business, social media can be a goldmine. People go to social media to discover new things and share their thoughts and opinions with the world. If you are going to start a business, you can do research on social media to get insights on the industry you’re looking to enter and to see what your competitors are up to. After you start a business, you can continue improving your business and communication strategies by taking into account the interactions and feedback you receive on social media
According to We Are Social and Hootsuite’s report, 79% of Internet users user social media.
Even though being active on social media is an advantage for brands and businesses, this doesn’t mean you need to be present on all social platforms. As you start a business, keep in mind the don’ts and don’ts of social media marketing for SMBs as you build your strategy. Don’t spend time and resources on social media channels that won’t be as effective for your business; it’s usually enough to be active on one or two platforms. While deciding which ones those should be, look at where your target audience is spending time and which platforms will best reflect your products and services.
Once you kick off your social media presence, link them with your website and share your content on your accounts to drive traffic to your page.
At this point, I can hear some of you saying, “I’m just trying to start a business; where did all this come from?” However, you shouldn’t forget that the world we live in is a digital world. In order to reach larger audiences, be accessible for your current audiences and stand out, it’s important that you create your online presence and manage it effectively.
Image by: Randy Fath, via Unsplash.