How To Get Your Business Online Step By Step
Hi. Welcome to today’s podcast. And today, we’re going to be asking the question how do you get your business online? And, basically, there are just a few things that you need to get online, okay? Don’t start worrying you’ve gotta spend a ton of money or anything like that.
What Do I Need To Get My Business On The Internet?
You are going to need a domain name, some hosting, and you are going to need a website.
Now, with the website, there’s a couple of options that I’d like to talk to you about, which is having a blog and just doing some basic marketing. But what I’m gonna tell you here, you don’t have to spend a ton of money. So let’s just quickly go through them in order. First of all, we’re going to need a domain name. And you have to think about your domain name, this is your internet real estate. So this, for example, is a .co.uk, or .com-type domain name.
Now there’s loads and loads of different extensions out there, but what I always say to my customers is, “Just take the .co.uk, and the .com off the market.”
If you’re UK business, then I’d use the .co.uk as the main one, because that identifies you as being based in the UK. If you’re elsewhere, then get the .com. But I do like to get the .com, just so that I take it off the market, to stop somebody, sort of, what they call domain squatting. Cybersquatting, as well it’s referred to as. What you can do is you can redirect to the .com through to the .co.uk domain name.
So, if someone types .com by mistake, they’ll go through to the .co.uk. That’s called to domain parking, and that’s a free feature that you get with your web hosting plan.
And in terms of choosing the actual domain name yourself, don’t feel you’re restricted by the registered name of your company.
So, in the UK for example, you need to register with Companies House, if you’re setting up a limited company. So, if you’re in another country, I’m sure you’ll have your own particular government-regulated, body or local body, which will register businesses for you, if it’s a state or whatever it may be.
If you’re not in the UK, you don’t need to have exactly the same company. So let’s say, you know, Mary set up a new hair salon and she’s registered her business as Mary’s Hair Salon Limited. She doesn’t then have to go and get maryshairsalon.co.uk. She could if she wanted to, but she can feel, you know, you can get whichever domain name that you want to go for. So don’t feel that you’re restricted about that, okay?
So, next, you’re going to need some hosting. And, basically, hosting is where your website physically lives. And it, basically, is hosted on a server, which is permanently connected to the internet and it’s stored in an extremely secure facility, called a data center. And that’s the service, for example, Pickaweb provides, one of the services that we offer. So you can get your hosting service all set up. And that’s, basically, some physical space on a server that’s a very powerful computer. So you get some disk space. You get some bandwidth, so you can have network traffic in and out of your website.
So you’ve got your domain name at that point, automatically, when you register your domain name and your host, if you get it with the same company. It’ll be set up, so it will point to your hosting space. All you’ve got to do then is just get your website and publish it. And that’s the next point. So you’re gonna need a website. You could go and get somebody to design it for you, or if you want to have a go, you can build it yourself. And I just want to quickly run through a couple of the options for you. Most hosting companies will offer you a website’s building tools. This enables you to go in, create a website a basic online presence, so you can have your logo there. You can create different pages. You can navigate around them. You can upload images. You can add text, all sorts of things like that.
There’s a fairly low learning curve, so quite easy for non-technical people to use them. The end results, okay, are, you know, I’ll be honest with you, I’m not gonna say that they’re gonna win any design awards, but it’s enough to get you up and running. But if you’re a little bit more adventurous, or if you have the budget to get somebody to build your website for you, then I would recommend that you consider something like WordPress. And I’ll do another podcast, in more depth, to talk about this particular subject. But just think about WordPress as being…is called content management system but, basically, it’s a web design tool. And it’s very, very powerful. It’s got loads of features. It’s extremely popular. And that’s one of the real strengths of WordPress is that it’s not an exotic tool.
So you’ll always find a designer who would be able to help you, at a reasonable cost, to either publish your website or to maintain it, as also lots of different types of software, that they call plugins, which can work with WordPress, which will enable you to have lots and lots of really neat features. And, just to give you an example of how powerful WordPress is or how popular it is, rather, they estimate that over 25% of all websites on the internet these days are actually built using WordPress.
So, if you choose WordPress, you’re not gonna have to change horses later on in the race. WordPress is something which will stick, you know, which you can use for many, many years to come. It’s a rock-solid platform. So that would be my strong recommendation for you. And you can also buy lots of ready-made WordPress themes, or it’s like a template, and that will help you to keep the cost down if you’re just starting out. But also, they look really good. They’re not that expensive. So it’s another really good option to go for. So you got your domains. You got hosting. You got your website set up.
Two things I would also encourage you to think about, if not immediately, then certainly within a few months of getting up and running. And that’s to have a blog on your website and to have some basic online marketing for your website.
So let’s quickly go through those. A blog. Basically, a blog is a part of your website, where you can add content on a regular basis. And, again, this is something I’ll go into in much more detail in other podcast episodes. But, for now, all you need to bear in mind is that a blog enables you to demonstrate your expertise. And Google will love you for that, as lots and lots of research that show that websites that consistently produce content on a regular basis will get better search results in Google.
That means Google will send more traffic to them. And it’s to do with the fact that Google recognizes that you’re an authority website, and it also sees that you’re producing content that people are searching on, that people are interested in. So it will reward you. There’s a lot more to it. I’m obviously simplifying it for you here, but definitely having a blog is gonna be a good move for you in the long run. And WordPress actually started off as a blogging platform. So that’s another advantage of using WordPress. You can very, very easily add it. It won’t take you long to get your head around how to use it.
And then, finally, you need to do some basic marketing on your website. And this is often referred to as SEO, which is short for “search engine optimization.” And, basically, this is the process of making your website, getting it to the stage that Google can understand what the content is about, and really giving yourself the best opportunity for Google to index your website and to send traffic to it. Now, in order to do this, you’re gonna need… SEO is quite a quite a big subject, but the very basics that you need to understand is that you need to identify keywords. These are things that people are searching on when they sit there in front of Google, looking for you. So, if your hair salon and you’re based, I don’t know, in London or…no, let’s think, in Basildon or something like that, in Essex, so you say, “Hair salon Basildon Essex,” you need to make sure that you’ve got those keywords in the in the code of your website, and they appear in different places. They’re called meta-tags, but also in the headings of your website, and also in the text, and the links between the different pages of your website.
So you just need to be aware that there’s more that you need to do. And it all starts with keywords. I’m gonna go into this in much more depth in other episodes. But I just wanted to make you aware that there are certain tweaks that you need to do. Sometimes, you know, small hinges will swing big doors, so you just need to make sure that you’re thinking about search engine optimization from the very start, okay? I hope you found that useful. I’m gonna go into these subjects in a lot more detail, but that’s just an introduction to make sure that you understand how to get your business online. Thanks very much. I hope you found that useful, and I’ll speak to you soon.