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Welcome to 2021 where it is an absolute necessity for every business to have an online presence. We now know that due to the current worldwide pandemic and the increasing use of technology to find what we need; it’s important to have some form of online presence, whether that be social media, a website or simply an active Google My Business profile.

Plan out your strategy.

This comes before anything – goal-setting – Where do you want to be? What do you want to achieve? What is your why? Once you have defined your goals everything will follow from there. To put it simply, you need to work out what moving to the digital space is going to achieve and let this lead the way to a successful transition. If you’re not sure where to start, check out the Business SA website – there are loads of templates for new and established businesses on there.

Do you really need a website?

Ideally, the short answer here is yes! But we all know that with a website comes a costly exercise of finding a website builder and then knowing how to manage it. There are tonnes of do-it-yourself options out there; but will they not do your business any justice if you’re not sure how to build and manage a website! If money is an issue, in the beginning, start your online presence using the many free tools out there including Google My Business or Facebook. It really depends on what sort of exposure you’re after, as to where to start (but hey, if you’re not sure where to go – give me a buzz – I offer a free start-up consultation)

Register your Business & Buy a Domain Name

I cannot stress this enough – DO THIS EARLY! Wahoo, you have a great business idea; thought of the perfect name and start telling your friends and family about it. But then BAM, you finally get to registering it and realise there are 15 businesses out there with the same name and you have no hope of securing the domain either. Fundamentally, therefore it is important to do your research (you can use a domain search and ABN Look Up to search business names – if anything, it will stop you from getting in some trouble down the track.) When you are planning to purchase your business name and domain name, think short, sharp, and shiny – you want it to be simple, but reflect your business.

Plan it

I think planning is the most important step to getting any business online. Things like what you want to achieve, your budget and your timeline are extremely important to a smooth transition. You should also consider long term plans during this process. It’s also a good idea to consider all aspects of your planning; look at your social media, Google Search, and website presence to ensure you cover all aspects of the digital age.

Sort your Hosting

There is plenty of hosting options out there and I know all too well that this can be overwhelming – but do your research and find a hosting solution that meets your needs (and budget.) A lot of website builders offer to host as part of their ongoing fees, some even often managed hosting (where you have updates and ongoing edits included.) Hosting options can differ a lot between providers, and can all depend on what you’re really looking for.

Align your Brand

It is true, a website or free online platform is part of your brand too. You should strongly consider ensuring your brand elements including logos, typefaces, colours, and imagery are all sorted before you dive into the building or getting your website built. If you don’t have the budget to get a professional logo completed, there are plenty of free logo builders out there which can help you with this space. If you already have a brand established, make sure you cross-reference all your current branding material with your new online brand space to enable consistency across your marketing space. Keep an eye out on my blog page for my handy branding tips which will be released soon!

Create great Content

A lot of new business owners get extremely confused when creating content for a website or online profile. Let me tell you now, content is more than just words. Content includes the copy (words) for your website as well as videos, images, colours, and typography. But how do you know what you need?

If you choose to do it yourself, it’s always a great idea to find yourself a copy editor you can trust to be able to go over your work before sending it live. This makes sure you have all the spelling and grammatical errors sorted before showing the world. When it comes to photos and video, make sure they are semi-professional, well-lit and in good resolution to what you’re trying to promote (if this isn’t the case, perhaps hire a professional like us to give you a hand.)

Lastly, make sure your content is relevant to your cause. There is no point in having a website that doesn’t tell your customer how you can help them. After all, that’s all customers want, is a solution to their problem.

Design & Build

Now, this is the fun stuff – the bit I like the most. You are now at the point where you can take your creative eye and run with it. BUT the real question is – are you game enough to do it yourself, or do you need a professional? A lot of people ask me what the difference between a web designer and a web developer is – to put it simply – a web designer is responsible for making it pretty and a web developer build the bones of the website. It is true, there are people out there who are both (hint: that’s me!) and these people are an asset to your business.

If you’re going to do it yourself, there are a lot of DIY platforms out there, however, the tricky part is that when comes the time that you need to hand it over to a professional, they may need to do a complete rebuild. Sometimes, it is better to work with a professional from the beginning; and there are plenty out there (including us) that offer low investment setup and ongoing support based on your needs and budget. You can chat with me if you would like a quote or a free business consultation.

What else?

If you do decide to get started with your own website, it is important you protect yourself. Simple things like installing an SSL certificate and security plugins can save you a whole lot of heartache down the track; not to mention ensuring you backup your site. Then there are things like email accounts, ongoing content – all things to consider before you bring your business online.

Take the time to tick all the boxes, speak to the right people and ensure your transition to the digital space is smooth. There is nothing worse than doing half of the work and expecting premium results.

If you are still unsure where to start; book a free consultation with myself or one of my team and we will guide you through the process and get you on the right track!

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