How to establish your business online
It has been found that many SMEs feel that they don’t have the necessary resources, equipment, infrastructure or capital to incorporate technology into their business. Previously, technology was only within the reach of larger corporates. Today, there are many service providers, such as MWEB that can assist you in taking your business into the online domain for minimal costs and even less fuss.
A professional online presence can be created in four achievable steps which are outlined below.
1. Registering a domain
A domain is a unique online identity and registering a domain name is the first step in establishing your business presence on the World Wide Web. When registering with a service provider, it’s essential to check that the domain name you want is available and not being used by another company.
2. Web hosting
Web hosting involves the hosting of a business’s website on the remote server of a service provider. This presents a cost-effective solution to SMEs as they do not have the financial responsibility of purchasing and maintaining their own server and because the server is located remotely, the website will not be lost or be at risk of going off-line should there be a fire, flood or break-in at the business’s physical location.
3. Online backup
Online backup provides storing a copy of a business’s critical data, such as customer details and confidential company information, on a remote server. In addition to no server costs, incremental back-up – the information is only backed up when changes are made – saves on power, and the data is protected from any disasters at the business’s premises.
Online backup also helps to increase staff productivity as they are able to access information via a secure web browser interface when they are away from the office or in the case of line failure or load-shedding. Where MWEB is your service provider, you have the peace of mind knowing that their backup power generators will ensure all core services remain unaffected during power cuts.
4. Creating a website
A website is a collection of web pages, images, videos or other digital assets that is hosted on a web server and is accessible via the World Wide Web. A business website is an inexpensive way of communicating with potential and existing clients. It is not necessary to hire a high-end programmer to create a site, but rather suggests using one of the many easy-to-follow online guides and these top tips.
- The design should be dictated by the purpose of the site. This can range from a simple online brochure outlining a business’ products and services to something more complex such as frequent updates or e-commerce functionality.
- A site should reflect the business’s brand and each page needs to be relevant.
- Visitors don’t read, they scan. The copy needs to be easy to follow, well-written and concise. Headlines, bullets, lists and shorter paragraphs make it easier to read and find relevant information.
- Keep navigation simple by incorporating a navigation bar and buttons. Visitors shouldn’t have to backtrack to the homepage in order to go somewhere else.
- Contact details should be on every page.
- In addition to functionality, the site should be aesthetically-pleasing. Use basic contrasting colours for content and background.
- The site should be as simple to use as possible. Avoid fancy pop ups, blinking text or “flash” intro pages which can take time to download.
- To drive traffic to the site, ensure that the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or website address is on all other marketing and communication material.
- Because marketing is an ongoing process of communication, include an ‘Opt-in’ service to help build a client database in order to develop a relationship.
For more information on how to establish an online presence for your business, visit www.mweb.co.za or call 08600 32000.