When venturing into the online business arena, it can seem overwhelming with what needs to be done. As with any business, setting a solid foundation online is imperative for your success. There are several ways to go about setting up your online business, and we’ve picked a few of our top tips for getting started. Check out the list below to give yourself a head start and help create a solid base for getting your online business off the ground!
1) Pick your CMS Platform
- WordPress. Wix. Magento. Squarespace. Shopify. The list goes on. There are so many options for choosing a content management system, but it is one of the most important decisions to make. Your CMS is the foundation for every decision you make to the development of your website, including long-term growth of your business. Depending on the amount of products/services you offer on your site, the user interface you decide, features, projected growth and traffic, and much more, there is a different CMS to suite your needs.
Atman Web Development solely builds on the WordPress platform for many reasons:
- Control – WordPress allows full control over the front and back end of the website, which allows for more customization and growth. While some websites can only grow so much, with WordPress, the sky is the limit!
- Scalable – WordPress caters to small and large businesses, as it is built for growing businesses and can handle an influx of changes
- Customized for a variety of businesses – WordPress started out as a blog, and has since grown to cater to a variety of users, including bloggers & e-commerce. In fact, almost ⅓ of the internet is powered by WordPress!
If you are interested in learning more about building a website a website on WordPress with Atman, contact us today! https://theatmangroup.com/contact
2) Pad your budget
With all of the articles and youtube videos out there that teach you how to *easily* build a website, setting up an online store can seem like a low-budget, manageable task. However, when you begin to customize your site, add extensions, and run into problems that only a developer can fix – you can easily run past your original budget, sending you into a panic. By doing your research and talking with other business owners who have been in the same boat as you, you can start creating a realistic budget for the start of your online business. Start off by making a list of of features that you absolutely need for your website. Things on this list can include:
- Ecommerce – so you want to sell products… how would you like this product to be displayed? What type of information would you like to include? Do you need the capability to show a video on your product page? What payment methods will you be using? What is the best SSL for your site to be secure? What shipping methods would you like to offer?
- Marketing/SEO – Will you need a pop-up on your website to begin building an email list? Do you need SEO work? Do you need to purchase additional plugins that add better functionality to market to your customers on your website?
These are just a few questions you need to ask yourself before beginning to build your website. Many of the options above require additional development, the need for a paid plugin, a fancy theme, etc, and the costs can easily add up. If you are unsure of where to start, Atman can work with you to provide a quote based on your needs to give you an idea of what your budget will look like. If you are interested in learning more about where to start, contact us for more information and getting a quote for your specific business needs: https://theatmangroup.com/contact.
3) Learn your platform
…or hire the right people that know it! Whether it is one person or an entire company, make sure you have someone who is knowledgeable and can help if anything goes wrong, or if you need help with the development of your website. As a small company starting up, you might be able to figure out how to get a website up and running. However, you must think long-term – how many people are you projecting to visit your website? Can your website handle the increase in traffic over time? If a plugin breaks on your website, do you know how to troubleshoot it?
Questions like these are important to answer when starting out, and it ok if you don’t know the answers! Building a website takes time and knowledge – so don’t be afraid to reach out to others who can help! Take your time and do it the right way. Rushing only sets you up for issues later down the road, and ultimately can lead to poor customer experience and low sales. By having an expert (or team of experts!) by your side, you can set yourself up for success in the long run.
There are a few points to think about when starting out with online marketing, and these are our favorite tips:
- Know your target market – by narrowing who you are marketing to, you are able to spend your marketing dollars on those who are most likely to purchase your product/service.
- Have email marketing in place – by gathering emails, you are essentially gathering a list of potential customers that you can market to… for free!
- Be active on social media – community engagement is a key tool in marketing success. People like to know the company, what is stands for, and if it is friendly. By being active in the social media community, you can easily create an approachable brand, which in turn helps create customers.
- Link to your social media accounts from your website – this helps drive traffic to other mediums that can show people a different side to the business – a fun side, creativity, information, sales, etc.
While there are several ways to market, choose the ways that seem right for your business. Every business is different, so don’t be afraid to test and try out what works best for you!
5) Implement a process for customer support before launching the website
Customers are what drive your business, and when they aren’t happy, you won’t be happy about your sales. Whether you are a small business owner or employ 50+ employees, there are a few things to know/take into consideration:
- Know your customer – what is your target market like? Do they need an immediate response though live chat, or do they prefer resolving an issue through email?
- Have processes in place for handling potential issues – it can be helpful to brainstorm potential questions or problems before the launch of your website and posting a FAQ page on your site. This will help eliminate unnecessary messages from customers, as the answers will readily be available. For all issues that cannot be resolved with an FAQ page, have resolutions for your customer service reps to easily handle any issue that arises. For example: lost item in the mail, damaged product, returns, etc.
- Know the in’s and outs of your product & content management system – while you may have information on your website, customers will always find a way to challenge your knowledge. In addition to that, you may need to dig deep into the content management system to process an order, cancel , etc for customers that need additional help. By being prepared and learning as much as you can before the launch of your site (or hiring people and teaching them everything), your customer will always have the best experience possible!
- Have a process in place for handling high-priority customer contacts – Every customer is different, and when you have a process in place to handle each one professionally, quickly, and in a way that satisfies them, it can have a positive impact on your sales over time.
6) Be open to failures – and be ok with it!
There will always be things that go wrong, or they won’t be perfect the way you envisioned them to be. However, this usually leads to huge learning and growth opportunities for you and your business. It teaches you to roll with the punches, be open to different avenues than you could have ever imagined, and even helps you become an expert on your content management system platform. Everyone eventually runs into “issues” – it’s how you perceive them that matters.
We hope our top tips have helped give new and veteran business owners something to think about, including structuring and planning for your online success! At Atman Web Development, our clients online success is our top priority – if you are interested in learning more and need help with starting your online business (or revamping your current one), call or email us to get started today!