4 Steps to Bring Your Business Successfully Into Cyberspace

Updated 09-2018.   E-commerce is booming, and companies that are selling online are reaping the rewards.

E-commerce sales grew 16 percent in 2017, faster than any year since 2011, and now represent 13 percent of total sales and 49 percent of sales growth, according to U.S. Commerce Department data. Consumers spent $453.46 billion on internet purchases last year.

The number of small businesses with a website increased from 54 percent to 71 percent between 2016 and 2017, Clutch research shows.

If you’re looking to take your business into cyberspace, now is a ripe time to make your move.

Here are four steps to bring your business online successfully.

Choose a Domain Name

Before you can start up online, you’ll need a domain name. Any name you pick must be memorable in the eyes of the public—a truly “brandable” name.   This means it should be unique and memorable and sound like a brand rather than an SEO gimmick, without hyphens or numbers. It should be intuitive, instantly communicating what your business is about. A good brand name should be short and pronounceable to help your audience remember it.

When selecting a brand name, you should do research to identify keywords that will appeal to your target market. Look for ones that get high search volume and low competition. However, don’t get so hung up on keywords that your domain name sounds artificial. Useful keyword research tools include Google Keyword Planner, KWFinder, Keyword Tool, SEMrush and Moz Keyword Explorer.

Choose a .com name rather than a domain ending in another prefix. Purchase your domain name through a domain registrar service rather than a hosting service, which will give you more flexibility to change hosting services without a hassle.

Select a Hosting Service

The next step is to choose a hosting service. Your hosting service stores your site’s files and delivers them to your site visitors. Hosting services offer different hosting package options. Shared hosting packages share your site’s server resources with other sites, which is cheaper but can limit your bandwidth when other sites experience traffic spikes, as well as increase your security risks. A virtual private server (VPS) package hosts fewer sites per server and allocates web resources to each site, for better bandwidth but at a higher price. A dedicated hosting service, which limits one site to a server, is the most expensive option.

There are a large number of affordable hosting services geared towards smaller start-ups, but they often provide limited support and customer service. A managed hosting service provides better technical support and more dedicated customer service.

Build Your Website

After you have a hosting service, you can begin building your website. Websites can be built from scratch using HTML, by using blogging or content management system (CMS) platforms such as WordPress, or by using website builder tools such as Wix. Website builder tools involve the least expense and require the least technical expertise, but also offer the least flexibility for functionality and design.

If you’re on a tight budget or lack technical skill, a website builder tool may be a viable option, but make sure your chosen platform has the functionality you need. If you have the technical skill, you may be able to build your own site using HTML, blogging software, or a CMS platform. If you want to save time or tap into professional expertise, you can also hire a freelance website developer or designer.

Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Once your website is set up, it’s time to launch your marketing efforts to attract visitors to your site and get them to subscribe to your social media following and email list. The most effective way to do this is to develop a content marketing strategy. Using your site, email list, and social media profiles to distribute content relevant to your target audience can help drive traffic to your site. For instance, wire-free security camera systems provider Lorex uses its site to publish information for consumers and businesses seeking information about recent security technology developments such as 4K cameras. This boosts Lorex’s search engine rankings on keywords related to security, which helps attract visitors from Google and other search platforms, and it also provides content that can be distributed on social media to attract visitors from sources such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Because content marketing typically requires managing multiple content distribution channels, including your website, email autoresponder, Facebook page and other social media profiles, logging into each of these channels to upload and publish content can be time-consuming. To save time, professional marketers use marketing automation tools such as Hubspot, which provides a central platform you can use to manage all your marketing channels.

Choosing a domain name, selecting a hosting service, setting up a website and developing a content marketing strategy are four key steps for setting up an online business. Once your e-commerce business is up and running, you can focus on improving your marketing and sales strategies to generate more traffic, improve your conversion rate and make more sales.

 

Keep in mind that some articles are written exclusively for The Guinn Consultancy Group, Inc. GCG, Inc. does not receive any compensation, nor accept any responsibility, for hyperlinks in the article.

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