If you have local business selling products or services, you can be more profitable if you useonline presence to boost your business. This is the most effective way for customers beyond your locale to know about your products or services.
“Locale limitations can prevent customers from finding you. Stores that rely on word of mouth and nearby foot traffic to make a sale are limiting their growth potential.”Source: US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
“One of the major requirements for establishing a successful business is a strong online presence.”Source: Syed Balkhi
Since the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic, online shopping has skyrocketed, for you want to get a piece of the boom pie you need to have a website for your business. Most people now shop online; they want to browse a catalogue of your products or services before they commit to buy or sign up.
“E-commerce sales in this country and around the world surged (in 2021)… It is predicting that global e-commerce sales will reach $4.2 trillion this year.”Source: forbes.com
“81 percent of consumers want to see a company’s website before they buy a product or service”Source: adweek.com
Which Business Needs Online Presence?
Local business is here to stay no matter how powerful Walmart or Amazon has become. The slogan “buy local” is effective and it helps shoppers to think about local business when deciding to make a purchase or sign up for a service. In fact, major search engines like Google and Bing make it possible for local businesses to come first on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Your local product and services, no matter how small your business is, can hugely benefit from having an online presence. A well designed and optimized website will come up in local searches. All you need is to shift your focus and device the best strategy to help you compete in this new digital reality—hence, think local but plan your business globally.
While brick and mortal retailers and service companies can become more profitable with a strategic online presence, nonprofit organizations also can boost their donations via a well-designed website. If your organization has a professionally built website, you can highlight areas of services, which would increase awareness, support, and boost the number of donors. Reaching your donation mission goals will be much easier and quicker with an online presence. If you have procrastinated about having an online presence for years, it is time to get a professional website so you can turn things around quickly for your organization.
How can you get your business online?
When trying to put your product or service online, one of the first things you will do is to create is a website. It could be a fun activity to build a website to showcase your product for the world to notice, it can also be an overwhelming task from website planning to designing the look and feel of your brand, and to launch the site.
With that said, here are six basic steps from planning to launching your business online:
1. The best platform for best online presence
Planning for a website is like planning to build a house. A website needs to have a good foundation to stand up firmly on a virtual ground so there are no issues down the road. There are so many platforms to choose from when it comes to having business online presence. Shopify and a few builders offer a simple, quick starting point but if your business outgrows the limited offerings of these platforms you need to upgrade.
There is WooCommerce plugin for WordPress that is more robust which you can develop yourself and backed by a big community. The plugin that turns WordPress from a standard CMS into a powerful ecommerce platform for products and services. With this option, you also have a huge amount of scope to adapt and evolve at a speed consistent with your business.
2. Decide on a unique domain name
Your domain name is the virtual equivalent of your business location, and it is the heart of the unique location of your web address. The domain name is very important because it would let online shoppers know who you are and give them the snapshot of your products and services. The domain name directs them to your website via search engines and helps protect and promote your brand
3. Choosing the right hosting service or company
Web hosting is a type of service that allows online businesses to host or house a website on the Internet. A web hosting service provider is an IT business that provides the technical know-how and services needed for the website to be viewed on the internet.
The process for choosing a hosting package for your online business is the same with all hosting services except for a few differences. Most hosting companies will be able to install and run almost any CMS like the WordPress, but some provide a preferred CMS of their own.
4. Research and choose a professional web designer
While it is possible to create an ecommerce website with little or no monetary investment, there are some compromises that you will have to make, and oftentimes you must spend more money, than you anticipated, on building an actual website. It is perfectly okay and possible to build a website yourself, but you have to weigh the cost of running the business and become overwhelmed with building and maintaining an ecommerce business.
However, the best option is to hire a professional designer. Even much better is if you have an idea of what you want the site to be, a professional designer can collaborate with you to turn your vision into a fully functional, customized website that meets your budget and online goals. This way you’re not getting a cookie-cutter website but one that is unique to your business.
5. Begin to create compelling content
It’s a common saying in website world that “content is king.” Having the right message or content to describe your products or services is crucial to the performance of your website. The content is the story of your products or services, and how you are more trusted than your competition.
Every business has a story. So, what’s yours? Begin to think create compelling and effective story about your mission, your passion, and brainstorm on what makes you stand apart from the competition. Your web designer can give a list of the most important pages to start with especially if you’re in a crunch, and then continue to build out the rest of the website with other essential pages.
6. Describing your products or services
The reason for setting up a business is to drive customers to your brick and mortal store or office. Begin to create a detailed list of all your products or services and be sure to highlight the benefits of each product or service and how they will offer better solution than your competition. Having a few high resolutions, quality images along with your written descriptions can set you apart from your competition.
If you are a small business without an online presence, you should make sure to begin to showcase product or service online. In addition, you have to make sure you continue to update your website with any changes to product or service and communicate this with your online customers.