This page is designed for people who are just starting out in business or in your early stages of looking at how they can use the web for their business. If this is you, read on.
Business Name / Number and Identity
The first thing you are going to need is your business name / number. Assuming you are in Australia, the Federal Government’s business.gov.au site is a good place to start but the requirements will be different in each state.
Once you have this you also need an identity or brand for your business. If you are serious about succeeding in business you will place a high importance on this and we suggest clients speak with marketing / branding specialists at this stage to get the brand right. This will have huge implications for every aspect of the business including the website down the track.
Contact us if you are interested in a recommendation for choosing a branding / marketing provider.
Once your brand is in place you will need to register your domain name. This should be done immediate regardless of whether you plan on putting up a website straight away. It is a very small outlay and it secures your brand online. Visit our domains page for more or Contact us if you want a hand choosing a suitable domain.
Once you have your domain you will need a hosting account in order to use your domain (either for a website or your emails). A hosting account is basically an amount of space up on a server somewhere which can be used to send / receive emails using your domain and set up a website on your domain. There is a lot to consider with web hosting however your first and foremost consideration should be choosing a provider that you can trust will support you when you need support and that offers good value for money for what you need. Visit our web hosting page for more information or have a read of our resource article on selecting a hosting provider.
Once again this should be done straight away regardless of whether you plan on building a site straight away. This way you can set your email accounts up on your domain which gives a more professional image and means you don’t have to change your email address when you do get hosting organised.
Website Design / Development
It goes without saying that the vast majority of businesses would benefit from having a website. There is also a lot to consider in choosing a web design provider. We have written an article on selecting a web designer which may be of some assistance. However the main thing from the start is to make sure you have reasonable expectations for your site. Just building a site will not get people to the site, it won’t come up first in Google, it won’t separate you from your competitors. For most businesses it will simply establish their credibility and help filter leads through to the business. If you are planning on making money directly from the site, once again it is important to have reasonable expectations. Have a look at our article on How to make money from your website for more information.
Its also crucial to know and understand what makes a good website and what makes a poor website. Have a look at our articles on 9 tips for website success and characteristics of a bad website to help with this. This will equip you with the knowledge to talk with confidence to your web designer.
Once you have built your website you have the challenging task of marketing the site. Like any aspect of business there are literally thousands of options for marketing your site. Your website needs to be at the forefront of any marketing you are doing for your business (business cards, email signatures, newspaper ads, workplace signage, mailouts etc). It is your responsibility as the business owner to get your potential and existing clients to visit your site. The vast majority of this work is likely to be done via traditional methods (such as brochures, business cards etc) however you also might want to consider online marketing for your site. The 2 options here are Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – This is a fancy word for paying to advertise your site on the internet. The most popular form of advertising on the Internet is Google Adwords. You pay Google to have your website displaying over on the right hand side of the search listings. This is something you can have your web developer set up for you and manage yourself on an ongoing basis. It is a great idea for new businesses when it is challenging to reach the top of the natural search listings. Visit our Search Engine Marketing page for more information.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – This is also a fancy word for improving your position in Google. There are 2 ways this can be done. Firstly the website itself can be optimised for certain keyword phrases that people are likely to search for. Secondly you can increase the amount of people linking to your site which is something the search engines place a large amount of importance on. Visit our Search Engine Optimisation page for more.
If you have any more questions about getting started on the web please do not hesitate to Contact us for assistance.
Written by Dan Norris, Director of Gold Coast Web Design agency Web Circle on 22 October 2008.