Taking Your Business Online? Here’s How to Start

Creating a digital presence for your business can seem like a daunting task. There are thousands of services available for domain purchases and website hosting, and countless social networks where you can start building an engaged online community for your business. While having many options can be a good thing, it can also be overwhelming if you’re just getting started. Here are some helpful tips that will get you off to a good start with your move into the digital world.

Talk to Your Current Customers

If you run an established business offline, it’s a good idea to talk with your customers before you create your digital presence. Consider doing a formal or informal survey to learn more about their online behaviors, and what types of things they’d like to see from your online brand. Asking specific questions about which social networking sites they use, how much time they spend online, and how they interact with businesses digitally can help you build a stronger plan before you get started on the web.

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Learn More about Your Options

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you think of just how many options you have for things like purchasing a domain and website hosting, platforms for site creation, and social media channels. The key to making a smooth transition into the digital world is learning more about the resources that are available to you. For example, some companies allow you to schedule your social media posts in advance in order to save time, while others offer help with purchasing your domain and quickly creating a professional site based on your design preferences. You can use the feedback from your customers and information you’ve collected independently to choose the best platforms and tools for your online business.

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Be Proactive and Set Realistic Expectations

Building a strong online presence for your business means a serious time commitment. While it is important to use tools to simplify the process, it’s also important to remember the old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” As you are making the move to the digital world, make sure that you set realistic expectations for how your business will develop online.

It helps to be proactive and create at least a month’s worth of social media and blog content before you start, but even if you are posting things regularly, you won’t necessarily have a large organic following immediately after you get your website up and running. Creating realistic benchmarks and committing some time for online activities each day can help you generate traffic and increase sales over time. Similar to building a brand offline, building a brand online requires hard work.

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Taking your business online doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. By talking with your customers about where they spend time online as well as their browsing behaviors, learning more about how you can reduce your workload by using the resources available to you, being proactive and setting realistic expectations, you’ll get off on the right foot with building your brand online.

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