Creating an Online Identity for Your Business
Your website is your business' voice on the web. The way that you present your company's image can make or break your business. Here we will present the steps that you will need to take to make sure that your website elevates your image and brings in profit.
Check out the competition – Go online and do a search for your type of business. Look at the web sites across the nation as well as those in your local city and state. Make notes about what information their sites contain and any extras that you find useful.
Define your customer – Consider the characteristics of your customers. If you are selling dining tables, your main customers will be wives and mothers. The look and content of your website should be designed to appeal to your target market.
Describe your business – You will want to include some information about your business and sometimes a historical perspective of the products or services that you offer. You may also want to include information about the manufacturing process or quality components of your products, or the in-depth knowledge and experience of your staff. This information will become the About Us section of your web site.
Describe your location – Provide your visitors with a map of your location and driving directions from the most common routes. It will be helpful to also include a phone number and hours of operation as well as a photo of your storefront or office building.
Decide what level of information you need. The following are three basic levels commonly used by businesses.
- Basic – a main page that includes your name, location, a brief description of your product line or services as well as contact information.
- Descriptive – a site that has the same information as a basic page plus additional pages for each product type or service. There may be informational articles about the use of the product or value of your service.
- E-commerce – A descriptive site that has a shopping cart option that customers can use to make online purchases.
Keep in mind that the more information that you provide, the better you will be able to convince your potential customers that your business offers the best value for their needs. You may save some money initially if you go with a basic site, but you will not realize the potential online sales that an e-commerce site could generate. You may opt to start small and expand the site over time when you see increased interest from your customer base.
Define your web address – Try to come up with a domain name that is easy to remember and type. This will be the URL for your home page. Because the exact combination you want may not be available, have some alternatives ready before registering your domain.
Get feedback – You will want to share your ideas with your decision-making partners. The introduction of a website will draw more attention to your business and emphasize the products or services that it showcases. When you include others in this development process, you help create enthusiasm and interest that could stimulate more business and unforgettable new ideas.
Find a service provider – Most businesses do not have the time or talent in-house to build a website independently. Here are some service providers that may help you get your website launched:
- Copywriter – to help you write the text and organize the information on your site.
- Web Designer – to help you design the look and functionality of your site.
- Site Administrator – to manage the process of getting the site designed and launched and provide ongoing maintenance.
Congratulations! You are on your way to making your business a player in the global market, a leader in your field.