With more consumers than ever using the internet to research and buy products and services, you could be missing out if your business doesn’t have an online presence.

Thankfully, the process of getting up and running on the internet isn’t as complex as it sounds. Here are four simple steps to digitising your business.

1.  Choosing the right domain name and securing it

Ideally, your domain name (for example www.yourdomain.com.au) will be as close to the name of your business as possible. This will ensure that your site will show up in search engine results when someone Googles your business.

To secure your domain name, head to an online domain name registrar website, such as Crazy Domains or Go Daddy. These sites usually also offer hosting services for your new or updated website, as well as your email hosting; they’ll give you a name@yourdomain.com.au email address providing a professional look to your business.

At the domain name registration site you will also be able to search for names, see what’s available, and purchase your preferred domain name. Securing a domain isn’t an expensive exercise, and it’s worthwhile securing the one you want at the same time as registering your company or trading name.

Realise business advisor Stevie V Brown says, “People often ask me which domain extensions they should purchase. My advice is to buy up all the common extensions such as .com, and .com.au, and if your business is likely to operate overseas either now, or in the future, then you should also purchase .co.uk, .eu, and even look at one of the newer options, like .sydney, or .london depending on the locations your business is likely to serve. While you probably won’t be using them all at once, purchasing them will help protect your brand’s IP (intellectual property).”

2.  Content is king

In designing the website, think about the content you will need to inform and engage any visitors.

It’s important to know the purpose of your website, your demographic, and the message you’re trying to drive home. Ensure that the information about your products and services is concise and clear. Correct contact details are a must, so that any potential customers can get in touch.

You might also like to consider creating blogs and articles about issues relevant to your field. Doing so will present you as an expert in your area, and the easy sharing ability of a blog or article post means that, with the right marketing and social media techniques, a good post is bound to find its way to many different people. Each person that clicks on your social media post will be directed to your website. Over time, more visitors will translate into more clients.

You have the same two options as you did during the process of setting up the site: do it yourself, or source outside help. It may be cheaper to do it yourself, but it’s also very laborious, so finding a professional to write engaging content for you may be a sound investment. Some of our members can help you out here.

Before you embark on briefing a web designer or web developer, book a session with our Specialist Advisor Stevie V Brown who can help you scope out a Website Brief.  This document will enable your professional service providers to produce a website that speaks to your audience, and perfectly highlights and showcases your products and services.

Your web designer and developer will thank you for providing them with a detailed brief as it makes it easier for them to understand exactly what you want. Book a session with Stevie here.

3.  Build it and they’ll come

Once you’ve got your domain name and your Website brief it’s time to set up your website. You have two options: you can choose to set up your site personally, or you can hire a web designer and web developer to do it for you.

If you choose to go with the cost-effective option and build the website yourself, there are a number of different platforms that will allow you to do so with little or no experience like Weebly and Wix.

If you don’t have the time or skills to design the website yourself, you can just as easily hire a professional to do it for you. There are a range of different services offered across the board to suit any budget or need. It’s helpful to ask your friends and colleagues to recommend a good web designer, or you could utilise the services of Realise Business members who are listed here.

4.  Once you’re live don’t forget Search Engine Optimisation

To fully reap the benefits of having an online presence and let Google know you are around and relevant, it’s paramount to make the most of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

The repetition of “keywords” in your content is one technique.  Keywords are phrases that potential customers will likely be entering into Google when searching for the solution to the problem that your business solves, i.e. if you are a corporate photographer, people may search for ‘professional portrait photos Sydney’.

Boosting your social media activity is also a great way to climb the SEO rankings. Websites with more link shares and mentions will be better positioned in search results.

There are a number of free business listing sites where you can provide links back to your website and this will show Google that your site is relevant and legitimate. All Realise Business members can take advantage of a FREE listing on the Realise Business online directory.

It’s vital to check your website analytics frequently. By doing this, you’ll be able to understand what is working and the demographic it’s working for, as well as a host of other insights. You can then tweak your SEO techniques accordingly.

Realise Business works with many businesses to help them understand what they need to get started and build their online presence and you can checkout a recent success story here.

Come to our online business workshops

The best way to get started is with a little help and guidance.

Realise Business hold free and informative workshops to help you become the “master of your domain”…..Hosted by digital marketing specialist Sara Berry. The workshops will provide you with the tools to succeed on the internet and turn digital visitors into real clients. Sara’s next workshop will be in February 2018. Check back on our events calendar in the new year.