• Emily Martin

Take Your Business Online! 馃捇

Are you a small business owner, who wants to launch their business online? We understand that this is no easy task and have pulled together this handy guide to help you create a website and build up your online presence in 6 easy steps.

But how do I make a website?

Luckily for you, making a website has never been easier! There are many different services available which you can use, including wix.com, squarespace.com, uk.godaddy.com, shopify.co.uk, and WordPress.com. All these services are easy-to-use, and you don鈥檛 need to know any internet language or coding.

There are many various ways that a website can benefit a small business, such as increased reach to customers and increased time, as your business will no longer be restricted by opening hours when it comes to taking orders.

Once your website is set up, the next thing to think about is SEO. No worries if you haven鈥檛 heard of this yet, as we have a quick guide to get you up to date!

To create a website, you must have a domain name, which leads us right on to our first step.

1. Choose a Domain Name

This is the very first thing you鈥檒l need to do, before taking your business digital. In an ideal world, you would want your domain name to be the same as your business name. It will usually cost around 拢10 to buy a domain for a year.

To register for a domain, you will need to use a domain buying platform. Shopify offers a service to buy and manage custom domain names; this is handy as if the exact domain you want is taken, you can use it to research alternative names. You can even look at extension options such as .com or .net.

Your domain name is very important, so make sure to use our top tips:

路 .com should be your first choice for an extension, as it is very powerful

路 Try to avoid hyphens and numbers

路 A local extension such as .uk can be a brilliant choice for non-international businesses

路 Make sure you鈥檙e not using a trademarked domain name, as this could lead to legal difficulties

2. Create Your Website

The next step is to start building your business. To do this, you need to pick a platform to host your content.

If you鈥檙e not quite sure which platform to go for, then it鈥檚 a great idea to think about what you want to achieve through your website. You might be looking for a blog-based site to share your work and take bookings. If this is the case, then WordPress could be a great option. Alternatively, if you want to use your website to sell products, then an eCommerce platform would be brilliant, such as Shopify or Wix.

3. Design Your Site

This next step is nothing to be scared of, as your website building platform will most likely have themes and templates to choose from. To start off it would be excellent to use a simple theme and then you can always continue to personalise the site at a later stage.

Whilst it鈥檚 a fantastic idea for your site to reflect your brand, it should also be easy for customers to use.

Most platform templates will give you the option to use your own logo, change fonts and colours, add social media links, display an e-mail sign-up form, and host a gallery area.

4. Add Content

Content is a vital part of running a successful website. This will be how you showcase your product and service offering and attract new customers. Your chosen platform will probably allow as many pages as you want, but below are an essential few, which you should prioritise building first of all:

A homepage 鈥 provide a brief overview of your business, what it offers, some pictures or a video

An about us page 鈥 this is a good opportunity to tell your business鈥檚 story, perhaps show the faces and names behind the brand, add some personal touch

A products/service page 鈥 here you will display your products and show people how to purchase them. Instead, if you offer a service, use this space for images or videos of your work, you may also want to include positive testimonials

A returns procedure & policy page 鈥 this is your chance to show your consideration towards your customer and their purchasing experience. Usually, online customers won鈥檛 make a purchase until they familiarise themselves with the return policy

A FAQ page 鈥 answer any questions you usually receive/predict you will get asked. Remember, common issues arise often, so this page will save you some time in the future

A contact us page 鈥 for customers to be able to contact you, put a business e-mail address and contact number here. It鈥檚 also a good place to add links to your social media

Are you wondering how to take payment for your product or service? Fortunately, most website-building platforms make this an easy process. They usually offer integration options to different payment gateways, so customers can choose how they鈥檇 like to pay, such as with their credit card or via PayPal.

5. Avoid Potential Legal Issues

Remember, although you鈥檙e working from a physical unit, you still need to follow all the legal procedures regarding tax and licensing rules.

It鈥檚 a great idea to display the 鈥楾erms of Use鈥 of your site. These are the terms and conditions, which your website users will need to follow. These terms should include any appropriate liability disclaimers.

Be vigilant when it comes to copyright issues, for example, you can鈥檛 use other peoples鈥 images or direct text. If you want to link somebody else鈥檚 website with yours, then make sure to get permission first.

If you鈥檙e collecting data about your users, then be upfront about it. Cookies track what your users are doing, so ensure you鈥檙e providing a statement to let them know, whilst also providing an option for them to deny permission. If your website is data-heavy ensure you comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, and GDPR rules.

6. Tell People About the Digital Launch

It鈥檚 all well and good to have an online business, but not if people don鈥檛 know about it. Once you鈥檙e live, you should try to push your new site to as many people as possible, those who already know about your business and those who don鈥檛.

Use your existing online channels to advertise the link, as you can easily include a link to the site. You could also send an email to your current customers to alert them or post on social media to announce the launch.

If using social media, remember to tailor your posts to relevant audiences, for example, your tone on Instagram should be more fun and casual than on LinkedIn.

So that鈥檚 it, a guide on how to take your business online. If you would like a little more help with building a website, contact us today at hello@getaudience.co.uk for a free quote.

Remember, don鈥檛 worry about customising your website too much at an early stage. The important thing is to get your site live and filled with content.

The team at Audience wishes you the best of luck with taking your business online!