Now is the best time to take your business from brick-and-mortar stores to the Internet realm. The Ecommerce business continues to grow bigger, which is why business owners that used to operate their businesses only through land-based stores are deciding to make a transition to the digital world. However, this doesn’t mean that you should close your stores, but use these online ones to improve your efficiency, increase reach, and boost profits.
There are millions of digital shoppers around the world, as according to recent statistics, 80% of Americans have made an online purchase during the past month, and the entire Ecommerce industry is growing 23% year after year. Despite all the indicators, 46% of all American SMBs still don’t have a website or an online retail store. Today, we’re giving you an insight into the basic steps you need to take in order to launch your business online.
1. Choose a website host and a CMS platform
In order to develop a website, you need a website host and a CMS platform (Content Management System). A website host is a company that provides everything you need to store website content and display it for people to see, while CMS platforms are used to design and develop the website.
To choose the right website host, you need to do your research and find the one that meets your needs. You can choose between individual plans, reseller accounts, and dedicated servers.
As for the CMS platform, they make the whole process easier for people who don’t want to or don’t know how to deal with the technical website-building aspects, such as coding. The three most popular CMS platforms are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. WordPress is the easiest and most popular choice for beginners, which makes it ideal for small-to-medium size businesses. Joomla and Drupal require some coding knowledge, but if you’re hiring a freelance web developer for the job, that shouldn’t be a problem.
2. Website design
A well-designed and visually pleasing website is what attracts potential customers, while the host and CMS platform serve as a foundation. Before you decide on the best visual solution, you need to define your website’s purpose. What will you use it for? Will you use it to sell products? Or just use it as an online stop where visitors can land and get informed about your products and services? Whether you have someone build your website from scratch or use a CMS platform, you should incorporate an online story and do your best to get the highest quality online store web design, since that’s what will generate your income.
The most important part of your website is your landing page, which needs to be optimized for conversions. Maximizing conversions, which is the turning of your website visitors into customers, is the central motivation of your online presence. The majority of website visitors spend about eight seconds before leaving your landing page, and visiting your competitor’s. In order to keep their attention and satisfy their needs, you have to utilize the best design tactics. Add relevant content, a blog, create videos, and implement effective CTA (call-to-action) buttons.
3. Social media, content marketing and SEO
By conducting your marketing strategy correctly, you can expand your online reach. Quality content is crucial when it comes to digital marketing. It’s what facilitates social media sharing, increases website traffic, and builds your brand reputation, establishing it in your niche industry. Focus on creating content, such as articles, guest blog content, press releases, and writing for your onsite blog.
As for social media, it is one of the most effective marketing channels that small businesses can utilize to grow their traffic organically, increase conversions, and boost their sales. Social media platforms are places with millions of potential customers that you’re able to reach without investing a fortune into global marketing campaigns or traveling the world to meet and engage them. Find out which social media platform your target audience spends most of their time on, and establish profiles there. Get started with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
But, if you forget about SEO, all of your marketing efforts are in vain. Therefore, optimization of your website for relevant keywords is a crucial aspect of your online marketing. It’s difficult to rank at the top of Google’s search engine if your business is less than two years old and you’ve generated very little content for competitive keywords. Creating quality content is important, but also ensuring that you optimize your website’s SEO (Off-Page and On-Page). Also, pay attention to content insightfulness, reading level, meta descriptions, website speed, link profile, and mobile usability.
4. Make the most of the Internet
Once you take your business online, don’t hesitate to explore all the possibilities that the online realm has to offer. Connect with experts in your field, make collaborations with other companies and influencers in your niche. Take a good look at your competitors, see how are they doing their job – is there something you can learn from them? Find inspiration for expanding your business or some good further investment idea, that is going to bring you more profit – for example, try becoming a forex broker. Start reading some relevant resources, blogs and editorials to broaden your knowledge about all the segments of your business. Take online courses, many of them are free. The Internet is a never-ending field of opportunities, and starting your webpage is just the beginning.
5. Don’t forget the offline world
When taking your business online, it’s easy to fall into the trap of neglecting your offline efforts. Depending on your niche, and your target audience, you will have to keep more or less of a balance between your online and offline arrangements. Try attending interesting meet-ups, or any event you may find beneficial for getting new contacts. Nurture the contacts and connections you have, and always try taking your online collaboration offline. Meet with a potential client or partner in person, include some drinks and dinners if possible and strengthen your relationship. Your business is going to benefit from that.
Following all of these tips, you have to have one thing in mind – a clearly defined strategy. Starting from the decision to take your business online, through choosing the adequate website and marketing approach, to using the Internet for your further endeavors and keeping the balance between your offline and online activities, you need to have a goal set, with all the steps determined.