The Covid-19 pandemic has made it inevitable for businesses to go completely digital, and most of them probably have already gone digital long before the pandemic. But the pandemic has made it critical to get your business online, before it’s too late. That’s why you need responsive web design and development solutions to ensure you can carry out business online. You can’t afford losing out to the competition. For strictly brick-and-mortar businesses though, taking it wholly online can be quite challenging to say the least.
Getting a Website Up and Running
Obviously, the first step is to start a website if you haven’t already. A website is how you reach out to people out there. It’s your spokesperson, your business interface, and your communication platform. You can advertise your website and invite others to check it out. It will contain all the information about the products or services you offer. Pack it with as much information as possible.(Example URL: https://www.citywideplumbers.com/services/residential-plumbing-plumbers/plumbing-repairs-long-island-new-york/)
While you can tell others what your website is, you can’t reach out to many people that way. Your website needs to be detected in the search engines when people search for the kind of services or goods you offer. Users search with words, and these words are what SEO (search engine optimization) professionals call “keywords” or “keyword phrases”. The content in your website pages must be optimized for these keywords.
Acquiring Your Domain for Setting up Your Website
But before all that, you need a domain name. Only then can you create an active website. To get a domain, you need to search your business name on a domain platform and see if it’s available. Someone else could have already taken that name, in which case you would have to modify your name.
Why is a domain name so important? That’s because it represents your business. So, you must select a domain name that accurately represents your business. Make sure it can be remembered easily too. It goes without saying that if you select a name representing your business it would contain a prominent keyword phrase, the words people use when they search for related products or services. If you want local customers, people from your city, town or state, it’s better to include that name in your domain name as well. Ultimately you want people to remember your domain name and think of it instinctively, when they need the kind of products or services you offer.
Every domain name has an extension, the “.com”, “.edu” or “.gov” part of a website address. Select the one that’s the most appropriate.
After selecting the domain name, get it registered if it is available. You can get it registered for a particular period of time, say a few years, after which you can renew it. Only if your domain name is registered will others be kept from claiming it.
Designing Your Website
Now let’s get back to the website part. There are many platforms out there where you can find templates or themes to which you can add your textual content, images, videos, etc. describing your products or services. You can select from many designs one that is simple and represents your brand the best. These templates are a great way to start, and you can customize them according to your requirements, such as changing the logo, background, navigation menu, etc. You can obviously add or remove the content. A simple design makes it easier for readers to navigate through your site.
You need to decide what kind of content to incorporate in your web pages. Now there are some sections in a website by default. These include the Home, About Us, Services, FAQ, Blog and Contact Us pages.
Elements of a Website
- The Home page gives readers an introduction of what to expect in your website.
- The About Us page specifically introduces your business and what it offers.
- The Services page details all the products and services you offer, with links to specific pages about each of these services or products.
- For SEO purposes, you need to have a blog section where you keep adding blogs talking about the various aspects of your industry. They should not be promoting your business, but be general, informative blogs.
- The Contact Us page mentions the address of your business and any branches it has, along with phone numbers and email ID. This is essential if people want to contact you or make enquiries.
Selling Through Your Website
But the most important page in your website is the ecommerce page, where you actually put forward your products for sale. That’s where you need to carry out some decision making. You may have a lot of products in your physical store, but you have to decide which ones to post on your website. That’s because you need to focus on products that are top selling, that shoppers demand the most. Some hard research online on Google AdWords and some familiarity with your industry will give you an indication of what people want the most. Only that will increase your chances of sales and improve your earnings.
Setting Up the Payment Gateway
You need to set up your payment gateway so you can accept payments by your customers and also enable them to pay in a smooth, hassle-free, fast and secure process. Back when ecommerce was just getting mainstream, credit card payment was the only option available. Now though, you have debit cards and various payment gateways.
(Example URL: https://www.matchesfashion.com/us/checkout/sign-in)
The more payment gateways you have on offer, the more impressed your website visitors would be, and likelier to make that purchase. You must also ensure the security elements such as encryption technology and fraud detection are included to ensure your customers’ financial information isn’t compromised.
(Example URL: https://www.matchesfashion.com/us/checkout/sign-in)
The website platforms we mentioned earlier usually come with various payment gateways that can be integrated to your website. You would need to set up a merchant account. You only have to provide the website platform your account information such as bank account number and other relevant details. After activation, you can accept payments through any of the payment options, be they credit cards or debit cards, or platforms such as Google Pay and Apple Pay.
It’s important to ensure that you incorporate social media sharing options in the ecommerce page of your website. Social networking platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest are extremely popular with people. They account for a significant chunk of online activity. If people find interesting and useful stuff in your product pages, they can share it in these networks and give your business greater publicity. For this you can install widgets, as seen in the example below:
Clicking on the widgets helps users directly share on the network whose icon they have clicked.
Publicizing Your Website
Once you’ve got your website up and running, the search engine algorithms will crawl the pages of your site and put them up in the search results when people search for relevant products or services. Remember, we talked about optimizing the content of your web pages for relevant keywords. That’s one of the most important aspects of search engine optimization. But it takes time. Before that happens, you open business accounts in the major social networking platforms and share the word. You can create engaging posts that will make people all excited about buying from your business. Ensure that your posts are customized to the requirements of the network. You can also send email messages to your customers, informing them of your website.
As a brick-and-mortar business, you’d already have registered in Google My Business. While this is primarily to show prospective customers your location, through the map, it also indicates that it is a relevant business.
There’s probably a lot to take care of while going online, but the advantages are clear. You don’t need to handle all these aspects yourself. With outsourced digital marketing services, you can delegate every aspect of heading online to experienced professionals who can provide you with competitive and customized services. You’ll be good to go in no time.