As technology develops and the nine-to-five mentality begins to fade in the American workplace, increasing numbers of entrepreneurs are taking a stab at creating their own online businesses.
Why not? It’s never been easier to build and design a website, then begin marketing your own products.
There are now more than 1.6 billion websites on the internet. Platforms like WordPress and Squarespace make it simple to build your own site in a matter of hours with a relatively small budget.
In fact, 28 percent of small business owners only spend $500 or less on their websites.
In order to make your website stand out in a world packed to the brim with impressive sites, you’ll need to go above and beyond.
If you’re thinking of saying sayonara to your office job and building an online business, here are some of the top tips to keep in mind, especially during the first stages of development.
1. Pick a name that’s unique, relevant, and memorable
One of the most time-consuming aspects of beginning an online business is simply choosing the company’s name. Whether you’re turning to a business name generator or brainstorming with your partners, it’s an important part of the brand’s birth and future.
- What do you want the name to convey?
- How will people remember it?
- What does it mean to you and potential customers?
It might be challenging to find a name that encompasses everything you want, but you should at least make sure that it’s short, easy to spell, and catchy. Consumers see hundreds of different brand names every day, which means yours needs to stand out and catch potential customers’ attention.
If this business is going to be your baby over the next few years or even decades, then you should treat its naming process as seriously as you would if it were your real child. Changing a brand’s name once the ball is rolling can be confusing for consumers, leading to a loss in conversions and online traffic. Pick a unique name and stick to it. Even if it takes you longer to begin the company, you need to be 100 percent committed to the business name and what it stands for.
Another factor that influences your choice of a business name is its availability. Pick the name you want, then check for trademarks under that exact name. You should also ensure that there’s an available website domain that matches your business’ name exactly. Don’t cave and go for something close to what you want. Mybusiness.com is not the same as mybusiness123.com, nor is it as professional. There should also be available social media profiles under the name so that everything is cohesive.
2. Focus on the “wow” factor in content creation
We all know that your website’s design is important. Roughly 65 percent of users surveyed by GoodFirms leave websites due to bad navigation. Another 73 percent left when the site is non-responsive and 38.5 percent leave if the design appears outdated. Therefore, it’s smart to put a great deal of thought and intent into your site’s layout.
However, the planning doesn’t stop once you’ve got a snazzy-looking, professional site. Users are looking for content that is authentic and useful. It doesn’t matter if you paid thousands of dollars for a pretty design if users can’t find what they’re looking for in blogs, videos, and other kinds of personalized posts.
Take time to create a calendar and determine when you will publish content, as well as how you will share it across various sites and social media platforms. Your goal should be to answer visitors’ questions and keep them tuned in. Not only will this high-level content draw in more users, but it will also establish your business’ authority within its industry.
Take Red Bull for example. On their website, they definitely establish the “Wow” factor by publishing extreme content around the events they sponsor.
Red Bull is perhaps the greatest example of a brand using content to go beyond their product. They have created a mindset and culture behind their logo.
In terms of on-site content, Google rewards those that know what they’re talking about on the results pages, and content production is one of the only ways to highlight expertise.
Content on your own site isn’t the only kind to focus on. As you’ve probably seen on other websites, guest blogging has been a go-to marketing tactic for years. That’s because content goes even further when it’s distributed on a variety of platforms. Nothing establishes authority more than interviews on other websites that are respected within your business’ industry.
3. Rely on graphics, but only if they’re sharp and beneficial
According to a study published by Social Media Examiner, about 32 percent of marketers report that visual images are the most important form of content for their business. However, what many first-time developers don’t realize is that images are only beneficial if they load quickly and are crystal clear.
Think about your own online viewing habits. Will you stay on a website and trust its content if the images are blurry, out-of-date, or slow to load? Probably not. If you decide to incorporate graphics into the layout of your new website, ensure that they’re only adding to the site’s professionalism. You may also want to test your site’s speed after uploading new graphics to check that the images, videos, and other forms of media are not slowing the page down for viewers. There are many different speed testing tools out there for this.
Your online business doesn’t have a real storefront. Instead, it has a website. That’s the face that sells your products and establishes your reputation with new, existing, and prospective customers. If it looks sloppy or unprofessional, you’ll certainly lose potential buyers.
4. Establish a presence outside of your own website
Once you have your business’ website up and running, it’s time to expand your horizons. No one knows about your new company, so you’ll need to spread the word with more than just your social media platforms and email lists.
This is where strategic advertising comes into play. Many new businesses opt for a variety of digital marketing strategies that promote awareness and establish credibility with viewers. Well-placed ads help the company build a presence that’s disconnected from their website, but also one that draws users back into the business’ profiles.
Review sites are another excellent source of external presence.
The fact that reviews come from third-parties in a raw, unfiltered manner does wonders in the way of authentic advertising. Now, keep in mind, reviews are not created equal. A simple star rating with a quick sentence only goes so far. A single, detailed review including key factors like the pros, cons, an overview, and advice is going to hold MUCH more weight.
It all comes down to how you encourage the reviews. Take these customer reviews of Trustpilot as an example.
Review prompts/questions like this are necessary to build meaningful relationships with future clients and present your business authentically.
A whopping 63.6% of consumers now say they check reviews on Google before visiting a business. Whether that’s an in-store company or an online brand, this stat proves that people rely on real reviews to make decisions about engaging with businesses. Increase your visibility on the big names like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and of course, Google.
5. Over-deliver from day one
You’ve probably heard the saying “under promise, over deliver,” and it’s never more applicable than when a new online business is finding its legs. First impressions are vital to establishing yourself within your industry, and if you can wow your first customers with results that exceed their expectations, you’ll be off to a good start.
Remember that these initial months (and maybe even years) aren’t necessarily about making money. In fact, you likely won’t turn a high profit at first. The important thing is to build strong relationships with other people in the industry, customers, and reviewers. Your positive reputation will carry you further than any amount of profit.
You may be tempted to wow people with your impressive promises, but beginning a business is tough. You’ll likely fall short of achieving your first goals, so it’s smart to under promise and surprise your first clients with results that surpass everyone’s expectations.
To sum it all up
There are a million things to think about when you begin to build an online business. Don’t rush into things; take your time picking the perfect name and setting up a site that will win conversions. Instead of focusing on flashy web designs and graphics, turn to high-quality content and meaningful connections with other websites. In a modern world flooded with pretty websites, build an online business that has a powerful reputation and the website to back it up.
Guest author: Jaykishan Panchal is an SEO & Content Marketing Manager at E2M Solutions Inc. Implementing cutting edge SEO strategies to help businesses strengthen their online presence is his forte. Apart from helping small and big businesses, he loves to jot down valuable resources for Entrepreneurs, Startups, Technology Geeks with his knowledge and expertise of 9 years in the industry.