You’ve decided what business you want to start. You validated your idea, product, or service and know there is a market for it. You may even have a few customers already. Now you’re ready to really market yourself.
But how do you start to get the word out?
You tell your family and friends about your new business. You ask them to pass it along to people they know. But how are these people going to find you? How can they see what you have to offer right away, without necessarily having to contact you first?
How do you ensure that only the people you want as clients are the ones you spend your valuable time on?
To maximize your chance of success, every business owner should have a website. Whether you offer professional services, sell crafts online, or have a small retail shop, you NEED a website.
A website allows you to be present for your customers 24/7. They can read about your products and services, contact you through your site, and even purchase from you every hour of the day. A website provides convenience to your customers while building your own branding, which only furthers your exposure and increases your visibility to potential consumers.
You can make sales and book new clients while you’re out running errands, or you’re sleeping, and even when you’re taking a vacation with your family. Having a website is the ultimate round the clock business that works for you even when you’re not actually working.
But where do you start? The first question is: do I want to do this myself or hire it out to a professional?
Regardless of whether you decide to do this yourself or hire it out to a professional, you need these 5 things to maintain your accessibility and visibility online.
Go through this list and check off everything you already have for your business. Anything you don’t have, add to your to-do list and get to it done as soon as possible.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the linked products, I will receive a commission. I only recommend products I use and believe in. Your support is greatly appreciated!
Because every business needs a name. It can be something creative you like or simply just your own name if you’re doing consulting or providing a service.
Examples include: YXZ Marketing, Samantha Jones, Inc., or Colleen’s Clever Crafts
WordPress is a fantastic, SEO optimized content management platform that provides all the functionality that you’d need for most small business websites. It has an endless amount of customizable themes and plugins that you can add to enhance your site and make it exact what you need. You can start with a simple 3-5 page website and upgrade along the way to include a blog, a shopping cart, membership site, and much more.
- Domain name – I recommend GoDaddy. They have great service, customer support, and you can always find a coupon code online for reduced pricing (especially for new customers).
- Hosting – I use both Siteground and GoDaddy for hosting but there are plenty of reliable companies out there. I am constantly testing new products and services to see what provides me with the best of what I need, so that is why I currently have some of my sites hosted with Siteground and others hosted with GoDaddy.
On your site
This is what you need set up at a bare minimum to launch your site to the public:
- Homepage – Talk about your message and what you are promoting on your site. Give readers a clear and concise message of what you offer and a reason to keep exploring your site.
- About page – Discuss what you do but make sure you convey why your product or service is right for your reader.
- Contact page – WordPress allows you to set up a simple contact form that you can put on a page. That’s really all you need for this page!
- Email opt in box – Collecting emails from prospects is one of the basic fundamentals that all companies need to be doing from Day 1. Use an email service like AWeber or ConvertKit. Both integrate easily with WordPress, are customizable and provide you with marketing automation options.
- Images & photos of you, your products, or your services – People love images. Websites with images have been proven to convert higher than sites without them. Plus, you gain credibility if you include pictures of yourself and real life example photos of what you’re offering or writing about.
- Optional: Articles or Blog – Publishing articles or a blog on your site may not be feasible for you in the initial stages of your business but it’s highly recommended that you implement this at some point to help you grow and market your business through your website. Give your audience great information that truly resonates with them and they’re sure to come back for more.
- It looks more professional to use your domain. For example, use firstname.lastname@example.org, not email@example.com.
- Include a signature that automatically populates at the end of each of your emails so that anyone you come in contact with knows how to find you. Be sure to link to your website and social media platforms.
Social media links on your website
Everyone seems to be on social media these days and it’s a great way to connect with people. Don’t let yourself get bogged down with spending too much time on these platforms, but they sure can be useful for getting your message out when used in moderation.
- Optional: Pinterest, Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat
These are only the beginning steps to building your presence online. But once you have these items in place, you are well on your way to growing your business by increasing your visibility and accessibility online.