Launching your online business, whether it’s a dedicated online business or simply an extension of your offline business, is an excellent way to increase brand awareness, generate sales leads, and hopefully increase your revenue. This article goes over the four basic steps that will take you from “I want to start an online business!” to “My online business is now open!”.
1. Register a domain name
The first step to setting up any online business is deciding where to put it, in terms of the name it will be accessed by. Network Solutions is one choice for domain registrations, and some companies like this one also offer the web space that you’ll need to point your domain name at.
Choose from the top three Top Level Domains (TLDs) for the best exposure: .com, .net, or .org. Ideally you will want to register all three, so you can be found at CompanyName.com as well as CompanyName.net and CompanyName.org.
2. Order a web hosting plan
A web hosting plan will provide you with the space you need for the files you’ll want to host at your domain. Choose from Windows or Linux services, as well as a variety of options for space, bandwidth, and other server resources.
3. Design your website
If you use a popular content management system like WordPress or Drupal, you’ll find hundreds of high quality, free templates available. Or, you can make your own, or hire a designer to make one for you.
Now that your website is live, it’s time to promote it! Utilize social media, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, and the placement of banner ads and other sponsored content to get the word — and links — out about your website.
Consider setting up social media accounts that are a reflection of your website in order to brand yourself elsewhere, and reach new traffic sources. Facebook and Twitter are great sources for new followers as well as potential sales, and you may enjoy using these platforms to not just build your customer base, but for search engine optimization purposes as well.