Setting Up Your Website for Online Business
10 Steps to Setting up your website for Online Business
To start your Online Business, you will need to set-up your website so people can find you on the internet.
And these 10 Steps to Setting up your website for Online Business will help guide you.
Whether your a new small online business or just starting out, you can easily start to grow your website business the right way by
getting the set-up right first.
STEP 1. What Type Of Online Business Do You Need?
There are different types of Online Businesses for everyone such as; a website, a Blog or An Online Store.
And what type of Online Business you need is going to depend purely on what you are offering online.
For example; if are you selling products, services or something else, this will determine what type of online business you need.
There Are Three Main Types Of Online Business:
1. A Blog Business
A blog business is useful for someone who is passionate about a topic and wants to write and share a lot of information about it.
It's very different to running an online store.
Usually a blog would be filled with content almost daily and its designed to building readers and build an email list so a ‘Blogger,’ can then start generating income from traffic, affiliate programs, selling eBooks or advertising space.
There are millions of blogs, many 'Bloggers' turning their blog into a loved full time business.
Building blogs are extremely popular, cost very little money for set-up and some blog platforms are even free to set-up. Set-up can be a slow as $100.
Blog platforms are quite easy to learn and manage.
Popular blog platforms are Tumblr, Wordpress or Blogger.
2. Your Own eCommerce Store
An eCommerce store or shop is typically run from someone who wants to have an online shop and sell products.
The most common used online store platforms are Shopify, Magento or Wordpress.
An e-commerce store usually requires assistance from a website designer or developer to help you put it together.
Cost will vary depending on the complexity, store size and how much you are willing to do yourself. So costs can fall anywhere from $3,000-$15,000 depending on store size, functionality and what platform and website studio you use.
Of course you can bring costs down by doing a lot of work yourself, ie. uploading all your own products photographing your own images and getting trained to use your online store.
Running an online store also requires time and patience while you not only source your products but also upload them individually and carefully.
You will also have to connect your e-commerce store with your bank and sometimes platforms such as PayPal or E-way so you can easily collect payment from your customers.
2a.) Selling Through Another eCommerce Portal
If you prefer you can easily sell products through other platforms such as eBay, Amazon or Etsy.
These platforms are great for a start-up online business because you can test your products for popularity and start making online sales instantly.
Best of all, you don’t need to worry about finding website traffic. Because these huge websites already have millions of visitors coming to them.
For example, eBay has around 170 million active users (buyers).
Keep in mind that when using ‘other’ eCommerce platforms to sell your products, they also have their own fees attached.
Some might take percentage of your sales, there’s usually a monthly rental fee and sometimes there is a set-up fee, which is quite standard. But these fees are extremely low compared to traditional retail stores.
Investigate each platform and keep in mind that you can also sell your products from your own website as well which means you can be selling your products on two or three different platforms if you wish.
For example we work with people who selling their products on their own website, on eBay and Amazon too. Obviously there will be more work involved when you’re managing multiple platforms. At the end of the day, it depends on your online business plan. If you are small business on a small budget, a good way to start is to sell on eBay. Remember to do your research before making any big decisions.
3. A Website Business
You can build your own website OR get a website designer to build one for you.
Your website can be simple or have multiple pages depending on your requirements.
Some people or businesses just need a website because they need an online presence. Others are promoting themselves and would like a website to promote their personal services.
What ever it may be, a website can be created by yourself or by using a website designer if you’re looking for a more professional look.
Cost vary depending on the platform that you would like to build your website on, because it depends on the complexity of the build.
You can have a three page website or 38 page website. It really depends on you and your Online Business plan.
A simple website can cost as low as $500 to a good small website costing around $3,000-$5,000.
Popular websites especially for small business can be built in WordPress or Square Space (There are others but we recommend these).
We would definitely suggest getting some training on how to use your websites (CMS) Content Management System and how to analyse the information -especially when people come to visit you.
So decide what ‘TYPE’ of Online Business best suits your needs, your budget and your Online Business Plan.
STEP 2. Research Your Online Business Idea
How do you know if your Online Business idea is going to Make you Money Online?
The most important question to ask when you come up with your online business idea is: “How many people are actually searching from my product or services?” Because if no one is searching for what you’re offering, it may be a bad idea. This research is a very important step before even selecting your domain name because you may want to change it later if your search volume is low.
The best way to check this information is to use the FREE Google Keyword Planner Tool. It’s free and all you have to do you sign-up. (You may have to follow the prompts and create an ad, but please note you do not have to run it.) The Google keyword planner tool is designed to show you how many people are actually searching for your product or service online and you can also check location, year and device.
So for example; if you wanted to check how many people were searching for ‘men’s clothing,’ on Google, you could check how many people were searching for that key term every month/ year – in Australia, or even a specific country or globally.
At the end of the day you do not want to put all your time, money and energy into a product or service that may not do well or no one really cares about.
If however you have an exciting new product idea or new invention, just make sure it helps a ‘pain point’ and test the idea on a good amount of people so you get to know and learn of their opinion before you go to market. Don’t be afraid to test it with your family or friends either.
STEP 3. Choose A Domain Name For Your Website
You’ll need to choose a domain name for your website business, also known as URL.
Your domain name/ URL will become part of your brand so it’s important to select a name that is recognisable, short and sweet, or easy to spell.
Try and include who or what you are in your URL.
For example; if you were selling ‘kids shoes’ and named your domain www.Robert Smart.com.au - well as you can see there’s a disconnect.
Do you think someone is going to remember that URL when they think of kids shoes?
Unless you are a already well-known brand and have plenty of money to spend on online marketing and branding, then we would suggest trying to match your URL to your brand.
Smarter ideas would be something like, www.Smart kidsshoes.com.au or even www.smartershoes.com.
As you can see it’s a much better match. Think of your customer, not of yourself.
You can check to see if your ideal domain name is available through a domain provider of your choice and if it’s not, select an alternative name. You can then register your web address for a year or more.
STEP 4. Selecting A Website Hosting Company
Web hosts are companies that provide space on a server where they store your website pages and connectivity to the internet.
You’ll need to select and sign up with a web hosting company to host your Online Business. You can often host your website with your domain provider as well.
If you are using web platforms such as Shopify or Square Space, the great news is that they can also act as your hosting company and that way you’re not managing too many things.
Always do your research when selecting a website host. Because one host may offer a cheaper service than another host company, however that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re better. If your Online Business is targeting Australia only then it is better to host your website with an Australian web host company.
STEP 5. Find A Website Designer To Build Your Website
If you’re in need of a new website, you can either do it yourself or you’ll need to find and work with a website designer to bring your website business to life.
Whether you choose to build your website or find a web designer, you will need to do the same job and put on your 'designer' hat.
This job may also include helping you: Design your website, Design your website branding, Design your website logo, Design your Email Marketing
and Style your website.
If you have chosen to work with a website designer, always work with someone that can prove an impressive web design portfolio and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Be smart and contact some of those companies that they are claiming to have built their website for, so you can get real feedback about their experience. Look at reviews and ask questions like;
What are the costs?
What’s the build time frame?
When can you deliver and get me online?
What training do I get?
What happens if I choose to take my website with me and work with another company down the track? (This is an important one.)
Once your website designer knows what ‘type’ and ‘style’ of website you want, they’ll be able to then share ideas, costs and project time before building your website. If you prefer face time with your web designer, then make sure to work with someone locally.
If you’re selling products online and select to use an e-commerce platform such as Shopify, well these types of websites can be built quite quickly.
You can browse from Shopify’s very impressive online shopping templates and replace those with your logo, product images and content.
Again it depends on what ‘type’ of online business you need and your budget.
Set up a few appointments with website designers or website companies and only work with someone that you feel you will enjoy working with.
Always review your contract and read the fine print before agreeing to let someone work on your website dream. Make sure that they are passionate and supportive about online business as you are, so you know your online business is in good hands.
STEP 6. Research Your Website Design Ideas
Whether you are building your own website or selecting a website designer, start thinking and mapping your ideas.
What are some website designs or features you like?
How do you want your website to look and feel like for your online customers?
A website designer often thinks differently to you, because a website designer’s job is to think more about the website design process such as; the technicality of the website such as wireframes, coding and your websites Content Management System - known as (CMS).
We always suggest getting out your notebook and start brain mapping your ideas of other websites that you have seen or liked.
To help you map out your website design and to assist your website designer, you will usually be required to fill out a website brief.
A website brief also helps the website designer understand what you are looking for in a website. It's a good guide for both of you and helps with online business direction.
It’s a good idea to start thinking about the following:
- What type of website design styles do you like? Did you see something online?
- What type of images do you want to display visually. Such as cartoon images or real-life images or photos?
- Do you want your website to be fun, happy, serious, colourful or dark?
- How do you want your online visitor to feel when they see your website?
- What type of ‘call to actions’ are you going to have? For example do you want people to register to your email database, downloaded an e-book, buy a product or call you? Or all of the above?
- What is your value proposition? Think about how you are going to make it clear about the action you would like your online visitors to take. How are you better than the rest? What’s your unique selling point?
- Do you want your homepage to be simple, busy or interactive?
Now that you have your brain ticking, it’s time to explore some ideas and also check out what your competitors are doing. Go to the industry that you are in and search them on Google. Gather some ideas and think about how you are going to make your website design better and more effective?
Yes it’s your websites job to bring you Online Business, but it’s also your job to give your website the love it needs. So don’t rush this step, because there’s nothing worse than building a website and then being un-satisfied with the design of it. A re-design can be costly, so have an open mind and get your website designer to help you with your website design direction.
STEP 7. Learn To Use Your Website For Business
We meet a lot of people that don’t know how to do a simple change to their website business.
Some people are even afraid to go into the back end (Content Management System) and make a simple change to the heading or adding content.
The more love you actually give to your website, the more search engine spiders will love you. There’s nothing worse than a static website. So if your in Online Business to make money online, then you will need to learn to update your website as frequently as possible. Practise makes perfect.
So learn to use your website Content Management System (CMS) so you can amend it at anytime. Everything requires practice and you’ll only get quicker and more efficient in time. Be sure to invest in some training or check your website proposal so it includes sufficient training and even request a manual on how to make changes and update your website.
STEP 8. Set Up Your Online Stores Shopping Cart
If you are going to be selling products or services online, then you’ll need to think about your online stores shopping cart which your website developer can install and test for you.
This part of your website design phase can often take the longest to integrate. Because you’ll need to come up with product descriptions, photograph your products, set-up pricing and think about payment options for your online customers.
With your shopping cart set-up process, you will need to supply your Australian Business Number (ABN) and Tax File Number (TFN) if you are registering for GST and you will need to also organise a payment gateway so you can accept your customers credit cards and other payments. Sometimes these processes take a week or more so be prepared time wise.
Review what your online competitors are offering customers for easy payment. For example: most online stores offer PayPal and e-way as a payment solution.
STEP 9. Setting Up Your Online Shipping for your online store
Shipping can make or break your online business in multiple ways.
Because being able to fulfil orders is just as important as making online sales in the first place.
Choosing the right shipping partner is key, otherwise your online customer may suffer a bad experience and post a bad review.
So make sure you understand the world of shipping and fulfilment.
Things to consider are; your packaging, the weight, tracking insurance and most importantly where are your going to ship your products to.
If you’re just going to ship products with in Australia, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call Australia Post to see how they support small online businesses.
As Australia only has a small market of approximately 24+ million people, it’s vital to understand the opportunities that you have if you ship internationally. Find an online platform that makes it easy to accept orders from all over the world and do research into third-party logistics services where they can integrate with you. With online retail being so popular, there are many drop-ship companies now that can store your products and easily ship them to your customers soon as the online transaction has been made.
STEP 10. Analyse Your Website Business Performance
In order to grow and understand what your website visitors are doing, connect with some great free tools such as:
Google Analytics and Google Console.
These great FREE tools will help you understand and discover some great data about what your online visitors are doing and how your website is tracking with Google.
Websites take time to grow and that means you will need to consistently nurture and develop your website whilst understanding your website visitors desires.
If you’re connecting with social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, these platforms will also help share information about your pages.