By now, most business owners know just how important it is to be able to reach an online audience. Whatever field you work in, whatever products or services you offer the chances are you will be able to increase your reach and hopefully market share by appealing to potential clients and customers over the Internet.
But for those who are unfamiliar with the how things work in cyberspace, taking a business online can be a daunting prospect. Here we look at a few of the key areas that will need to be addressed if you want to take your interests into cyberspace and reap the rewards of online advertising and operations.
Creating a Wonderful Website
A website is like an online office – you need yours to be welcoming, inviting and easy to use – as well as being clearly signposted so the right people can find you. Things to think about when putting together a website include:
· Design: A good website will be easy on the eye, and users will be able to find the things they need without any problems. Avoid garish colours and huge swathes of text. Make sure menus are logical and keep the number of clicks necessary to reach key pages to a minimum. A website is a big part of your online business so if you are unsure about it then get some professional help and bring on a web designer to help you make the most of this opportunity.
· Search Engine Optimisation: SEO is all about making your website appeal to search engines. You need to make sure that your website is optimised for the keywords your potential clients may be using. SEO starts on your own site, and includes everything from your content to your tags. Getting this right in the early stages can save a lot of time and effort later on.
· Security: If you plan on taking client details or payments online then your site will need to be demonstrably secure in order to be deemed trustworthy. If you are unsure of the options open to you, approach your preferred IT support people for advice on locking down your operation.
Bringing in Business Online
While having a website is a great start, if you want to make a real splash in cyberspace you will need to make sure that people are finding you. There are a number of ways to promote your business online including:
· Blogging: If you have great knowledge in your field then think about sharing it with an online audience through a blog. Well written blog posts with useful and interesting information that have been optimised for your own targeted keywords can be a great way of bringing a new audience to your website.
· Social Networking: Everyone who is anyone is on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, so well maintained profiles on these sites are a great way to get word out about your operations. Social networking sites must be regularly updated and must engage with the audience. Join in discussions relevant to your field and elicit others opinions on issues in your industry – social networking is not simply about pushing your own agenda.