Buying a domain name is one of the first things that you will be doing when you look to build an online presence. You will have already planned your brand and picked your domain extension. Now it’s time to take the rather daunting steps of developing your presence. In this article will take a look at simple steps that you need to take in order to go from just having a domain name to having an online presence on the World Wide Web.
Choose some web hosting
You may have planned to buy your domain and use the same company for your web hosting. If you are 100% satisfied that the domain name provider can also provide you with superb web hosting, excellent customer service, good uptime, server is located where your target audience are based, and easy scalability for your business if you want to increase your traffic or server requirements, then go for it.
One thing to consider is that if you are hosted with your domain name provider, it can be more difficult to move web host if they begin to underperform. Make sure you are confident that you are making the right decision.
You also need to think about the type of web hosting you’re getting. Shared web hosting for instance, is unsuitable for business sites, because there can be some serious performance issues on hosting as their resources are shared between everyone on the shared server. You can also end up in a bad IP network if you go with shared hosting.
The alternatives are VPS hosting, hybrid hosting or a dedicated server. There are other options but these are the primary ones that businesses tend to go for. Take a look at the different features and benefits of these types of hosting. There are loads of articles available online to help guide you on your choice. Getting your web hosting with discount domains, for instance will guarantee that you enjoy a reliable web hosting service,
Get email working for your domain
When you have your web hosting, you’ll be able to get your domain name working as your email. This will enable you to have email@example.com, which is far more professional than firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t worry! You can forward on your hosted email to your Gmail if you want so that you can keep using that. There are also lots of ways to access business emails other than just through your hosting web interface. You can use pop3 or IMAP with an email client on your laptop or desktop. There are also lots of email apps on mobile devices that enable you to bring down your email into one place. It’s a really good idea to have one inbox for all of your emails so that you don’t have to check multiple inboxes.
If you are stuck at the point of pointing your domain at your hosting then it’s all about your name servers. You need to find the name servers of your web host and add them to your domain Control Panel. With the account set up on your host your domain should resolve your hosting within 24 hours.
Building your website
There are so many ways of building a website these days. You can use a website builder like discount domains, use Wix.com, buy a template from templateMonster.com and build your own WordPress, Joomla! or e-commerce website. You can jump on up work.com and hire a freelancer in India to build your website. The options really are limitless.
If you want a truly professional, unique and custom-built interface then you’ll probably want to go with a web design company located near you. They will be able to meet with you and discuss your project requirements. The essential nature of meeting with web developers face-to-face has gone on a little bit in that you can have meetings on Skype, and because there are so many good collaboration tools available.
The first thing to do is to work out a budget, and then when you have that you can start looking at what you’re going to be able to achieve within that budget.
Get a social media presence
So you’ve chosen your website colours, built to your brand, had a logo designed by freelancer, and have your email set up. Now you need your social media accounts. Social media is a crucial aspect of an online presence these days. Not everyone uses social media that much, but not having social media can put you at a disadvantage compared to your competitors.
If you are a business to business organisation then you might want to consider LinkedIn. If you do a lot of visual work or have innovative products then Instagram may be a great way to spread the word, along with Facebook. Twitter may be the way forward if you know that a lot of your potential customers engage on there.
A good way to work out which platforms will work best for you is to think about your products and services and look at what other people in your competitive arena are doing on social media. Look at the activity on their accounts and how much engagement they are getting. You could also search for questions that your customers might be asking on the different social networks so you can find out where most of them are spending their time. By tracking topic mentions on social media you can build a social media strategy to engage with the people that you want buying from you.
Get some advertising for your website
These days, most people go immediately to the Internet to look for things. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you should be advertising on the Internet. It may be that leaflets delivered locally is the best option for you to begin growing. It could be that you need a salesperson to make outbound calls to your existing leads.
The Internet is an amazing place to generate interest in your business though. Consider using pay per click advertising on Google in order to drive leads to well created website landing pages. By doing this you are able to track conversion rates, monitor your spend, and build a model for your advertising and sales that can become very finely tuned. Google has around 85% of the market share of search engines so it’s certainly the best place to advertise, although Bing is also growing.
Many people are considering and moving forward with social media advertising these days. Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks offer very targeted adverts, based on demographic information and interests, and you are also able to re-target people that are interested in your market.
When it comes to advertising you need to work out your budget and you need to do enough testing in a single advertising channel to work out what is going to be a success. It is likely that you can make a success with just a few adverts in a couple of channels and draw enough business to grow your company. It’s just about finding the right places in the right ways to connect with your customers.
This was very much a whistlestop tour from buying your domain name to gaining customers. These are the essential steps that you need to take on your way to developing an online presence where you can sell your products and services.