Five things you need to do to get your new business online

Ready to launch your new business out into the world? Read five things you need to do to get it online.

You’ve got your business idea, you’ve come up with the name and you’re ready to take the plunge and get your new business online, with a website, proper email address, and possibly even social media profiles.

But where do you start and what do you need to think about first?

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Five things you need to do to get your new business online

1) Do your research

Before you launch headlong into a website, take the time to investigate and explore. The beauty of the internet is that it is all there for you, so when thinking about your domain name look for alike or competing names and explore businesses that are offering something similar or the same as you.

If you’re looking to market outside of the English speaking world, then also check the domain name does not mean something offensive or conflicting in another language!

This is also a great time to consider forward planning and how this will affect you online – including exploring what social media channels are being used and how. Think about how you may want to develop an online presence that can mature as your business grows.

It will be so much easier to adjust your thinking now, than when you are further down the line and have potentially invested money in your online presence.

2) Choose the right domain name

When choosing your domain name, it’s important to keep it short. Firstly so your domain is quick and easy to say, and secondly so people can easily remember it. It’s simpler if you don’t have to explain it or spell it out, too.

It’s also vital your domain name is relevant to your business or offering. (You can read more about what you need to check when buying a domain name here.)

General recommendations are to keep your domain name to between one and three words. If you planning to be active on social media, it’s wise to check it works equally well there, and is available in the relevant channels you are thinking of using.

You might want to consider creating something that fits in social media postings without having to use a url-shortening tool. By creating a synergy between the different online platforms, you will positively impact your SEO, making your business easier to search for.

With over 300 variations – ranging from .ac to .zw – it’s easy to find picking the right domain name daunting. However, it does provide an opportunity to find the one that works best for you and fits your business.

While traditionally, UK-based businesses have opted for the .co.uk or .com domain name, the release of a raft of new web address extensions in 2014 has resulted in many more coming into the marketplace – enabling businesses to tailor their address with endings like .hotel, .boutique or .shop.

Many businesses seeking a strong UK relationship are opting for .uk, with the feeling being that this has strong associations with being trusted and local. (When you’re ready, you can browse your options, and secure your perfect domain name here.)

3) Check domain availability

Once you’ve picked your domain name, the next step is to check it’s actually available. It’s quite easy to check a domain name’s availability – if you have a domain name in mind, then you can check availability here.

It might also be worth at this stage, for minimal cost, registering several similar domain names, such as shorterissweeter.uk and shorterissweeter.co.uk, so no one can set up later against something similar.

If you want to be really shrewd you might want to register other domain names with likely misspellings of yours, and link these back to your actual site too. There is no limit to the number of domain names you can register and they can all be forwarded to a single website. This is great way to protect your brand.

If your perfect domain name isn’t available, don’t despair – you could consider using a hyphenated version. While this can potentially make your domain harder to remember, hyphens can actually distinguish keywords for search engines more clearly. So it’s not all bad.

Or if someone has already registered the name you want but are not actually using it, they might be willing to sell it to you. The easiest way to find out is to use the WHOIS search tool which could give you a name and potential address to contact them on.

4) Set up an email address and website

The idea of this may seem complicated, but if you buy a domain name from a recognised provider they often supply free or low cost email addresses and website building tools to get you up and running.

Simple to use, they take you through the setting up an email address process step by step through a central dashboard, while also offering support should you need it. Similarly most providers are also great at offering an approachable website building tool.

This is ideal if you want to keep your costs down, plus retain some flexibility with being able to amend content and adding images within set templates.

5) Maintain the online momentum

While choosing the perfect domain and getting your business established with an email address and website may feel extremely important, in reality it’s the effort after this that will make the most significant impact.

Your ultimate online success relies in making sure your website features plenty of quality content, is easy to use and achieves the objective you want it to – be that brand awareness, adding credibility to your service or creating leads.

So once you are established online, spare some time to improving your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and linking up your social media channels, so people can find you, spread awareness and you can effectively engage with your customers.

It may feel like there is a lot to think about, but taking these steps to getting your business online is just a part of your overall communications. Once you are up and running, being online should become an integral part of what you do on a regular basis.

This is a sponsored article.