Taking your business online
Benefits of a website
Having a website for your business can be important to your business’s success and growth. Some of the benefits of having a website for your business may include:
- giving your business a digital shopfront
- allowing your business to always be ‘open for business’
- increasing your target audience reach to a global audience
- allowing your customers to be able access your products or services anytime, anywhere
- working as a marketing tool to sell and promote your products and services, and increase customer engagement
- creating or enhancing your brand and reputation
- improving your business productivity and efficiency.
Consider your business goals & budget
Before creating a website, consider why and how a website will help your business reach its goals. Plan and research your online presence so that you choose an option that is useful and targeted to your business product.
For example – if your business is in selling handmade jewellery, you could consider opening a personalised online store that your customers can shop in. If you're providing a graphic design service, you might want to design a website that showcases your skills and incorporates visual media.
How to set up a website
Here are some steps to follow to help you start your business website:
Step 1: Create an online business plan
This can lay the foundation for an effective online presence regardless of what options you choose when creating your online presence. A business plan:
- outlines what you want to achieve using digital technologies, and how you hope to achieve it
- involves thinking about what your goals are and deciding how to achieve them
- clearly defines responsibilities for execution
- provides a road map for your business’s future and
- gives you control of your business success.
Step 2: Understand Ecommerce and build your IT skills
Understanding how to buy and sell online is an important first step when creating a website. It's likely you'll need to build your IT skills and knowledge to manage your online presence once you're set-up.
You'll also need to consider how you will keep your business activity safe and secure to protect your business when online.
Step 3: Pick and register your domain name
Read tips on how to research and choose a domain name.
Find out how to register your website name when you are ready to register your chosen domain.
Step 4: Decide if you want a template or custom website design
A relatively straightforward way to build a basic website is to use a free package that will provide you with a template web design and a web content management system (CMS). If you want to build a more complex website, you will need to hire a web professional.
Step 5: Choose a web hosting service
A web hosting service is required and should be chosen based on your business needs. To be publicly available, a website needs to be stored on a server that is constantly connected to the internet.
Your decision on whether you will be using a third party website's pre-made template and content management system may help you choose a web hosting service. These third party websites may have web hosting packages you can choose from as part of your website set-up.
Step 6: Build your website
When building your website, there are a number of things to consider. These include:
- understanding your customers and how they will use the website
- the website design and usability
- making your website accessible
- making your website mobile friendly
- considering your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
It's important to test your website before you launch it to make sure your customers can easily navigate around and successfully purchase your products or services.
Step 7: Launch your website!
Communicate with your customers to let them know that you have launched your new website. Encourage customer feedback to help you improve your site once it's live.
Other online channels
If you’re not ready to commit to a website or don’t have the budget to hire an expert, here are some useful tools your business can use to connect to your customers online:
- Social media platforms
- Online directories, such as business or suppliers’ directories.
Download our Social Media Plan Template and Guide to get started!