Welcome to the world of internet business (whether you like it or not). Today’s consumer spends twice as much time online as they did just a decade a go. From large companies to small and mid-size local businesses, the same rule applies, “If you want to grow, you have to be marketing online with powerful tools” For many business owners, taking their business online seems overwhelming. There are so many options to choose from it can seem almost impossible to decide which way to go. In this post my goal is to demystify the online marketing world and share with you some great resources to help your business reach it’s full potential.
The internet is nothing new. It’s been open to the public since 1991. Since then we’ve seen our world change all around us. From the 90s .COM growth and eventual burst, to now a life that is connected 24/7, the internet is woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. While many of us are active on the internet personally, many businesses have little or no internet exposure. The consumer has more control over the buying process than ever before and the businesses that have a great online presence are the ones that are winning the business.
The internet at it’s core is all about creating a connection. It’s about one person connecting with another person or community. When you approach online business from this perspective it may seem a little more familiar. I like to compare it to the “good ole days” when you got to know the people you were doing business with. You could go down to the local store, grab a soda and talk with the business owner. Now, instead of going down the street, you can have a conversation online. The businesses that create meaningful connections are the ones that are growing and making an impact in their industry. The goal of taking your business online is about sharing your message, brand and services on a platform your prospective clients are already using. So let’s move on to how to get your business online.
The Basics Your Website:
The central point of connection for your business is your website. This is where you get to share who you are, what you do and how you can provide solutions to your prospects’ pain points. Getting started or even upgrading your current website doesn’t have to confusing. By simply understanding a few terms, you’ll have a better idea of what is going on.
Domain: Your domain is the “address” where your website can be found. This must be registered with a domain provider like GoDaddy or Network Solutions. Choosing a domain should not be taken lightly. For most businesses the best place to start is looking for “yourbusinessname.com”. Having a .com is not as important as is used to be, but I do recommend you try to secure a prominent TLD (Top Level Domain). P rominent TLD domains are com , info , net , and org. These are more recognizable by the public which makes it easier for them to remember and connect with. Finally, try to buy all of the domain extensions just so you can be sure you control your online brand. This means you’ll want to own the .com, .info, .net and .org.
Hosting: Once you have a domain, you’ll need to “rent” some space online. This is essentially what hosting is. When purchasing hosting you are renting space on a server where you will house all of the files that run your website. Many domain registrars also provide email hosting, which makes it very convenient for the business owner. When choosing a host, be sure that they are reputable, have secure severs and that they are running on the latest technology. Having a website that loads fast is important and a good host is a big part of the equation.
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