Starting a new business or taking your existing business online can be exciting.
There are many opportunities available on the web that are just not available in a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ business. And the startup costs are often much lower when selling or conducting business on the web.
Business website design
A website that advertises a business is often professionally designed.
A sleek professional design can help establish a business as a market leader, or at least present the business as dependable.
If you would like to put the site together yourself, a website builder can help you create a great website. With a bit of work and research, you can find the website-building option that suits you, and put together a professional website.
There are also some terrific free business website options available.
Your business domain name
You will definitely need your own domain name.
If the domain name for your business is already taken, you could check to see if the name you desire is available for sale.
An alternative is to try some variations, such as having a different extension, such as .net instead of .com.
It is best to go for a .com extension if your business is worldwide. If you will be conducting your business in a particular country, then choose the domain extension of that country. (eg. .com.au or .us or .co.uk)
You could also put a dash (hyphen) between two or more words in your domain name if your preferred domain name has been taken. This website, make-website.com has a dash between make and website.
Be aware though that hyphens in domain names have distinct disadvantages. If this site was also a ‘bricks and mortar’ business – imagine having to answer your phone:
“Good morning… Make dash Website dot com at your service!”
People may also forget that your domain name has a dash or two in it, and will dash off to your competition by mistake!
Generic domain names for your business
Some SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) experts argue that it is better to choose generic terms relating to your business than your business name.
For example, if you have a shoe store called ‘Sally Dally’ – you would be better off having the domain ‘shoestore’
ARGUMENTS FOR GENERIC BUSINESS NAMES:
Search engines take note of the name of your website – for various reasons. For some search engines, having keywords in the domain name is more important than for others.
When someone types ‘shoestore’ into their browser or search engine, the keywords shoestore will be highlighted in the search results.
If people use your domain name as anchor text when linking to you, this gives you an inbound link with your keyphrase in it.
(Eg. A link like this: shoe store is a great inbound link for a shoe store.)
You will have a domain name (if it is a .com) that might greatly increase in value, and will be an asset all on its own.
In a page of search results, the key words that a person typed in will be shown in bold in the domain names that came up.
This might prompt a web user to click on your site. But do not rely upon this.
Search engines want to return the most relevant results when a user types in a search term. That’s their job.For example:
You sell pizzas in a town called Pennyville.
If your domain name is ‘pizzasinpennyville’ (Pizzas in Pennyville)- you stand a good chance of coming up in search engine results if someone types in ‘pizzas in pennyville’ or ‘pennyville pizzas’.
Of course, if your domain name is ‘petespizza’ (Pete’s Pizza) you can still rank well if your website content is well-optimized.
ARGUMENTS AGAINST GENERIC BUSINESS NAMES:
Most of the ‘catchy’ generic terms will already be taken. Any that are for sale, will cost you a great deal of money.
There’s good evidence to say that search engines don’t care about the name of your site (except if it is a name that signals a spam or flash-in-the-pan site – which are often sites with a lot of hyphens.)
People may more easily remember a catchy, original business name than a generic term.
If you want to branch out in other areas later on, it is easier to do this if you have a name that does not describe your current business.
If the owner of the business ‘Sally Mally’ later decides she wants to sell handbags or clothing as well as shoes – it might be easier to ‘brand’ the new items she’s adding to the business if her shop is not called ‘shoestore’.
A good easy-to-remember name presents a strong basis to build the branding of your business upon.
Amazon sells books, not jungles! – yet we remember the name and the fact that they sell books and lots of other things.
Everyone knows Google – but we bet people wouldn’t remember a site that was called thebestsearchengineontheinternetever.com
And – Google has certainly not restricted itself to being just a search engine. They have a multitude of diverse operations.
Shopping carts and Paypal
A complex retail site is best handled by an expert. For a simpler retail store there are some website builders which include shopping carts, paypal facilities and customer login facilities – such as Soholaunch.
You may require a secure SSL certificate from your webhost to keep your customers details private and secure. There is a yearly fee for a SSL certificate, although, rarely, it can be included with the web hosting.
Great content sells
Great content can inform, educate, interest, excite, motivate, persuade or even challenge a reader. It can change a reader’s mood, and it can lead a customer to want your product.
It is crucially important that there are no spelling and grammar mistakes in your website. It is important that the syntax of each sentence is logical and follows grammar rules.
- It should say a lot in as few words as possible.
- The writing should create interest, and entice readers to read on.
If you cannot write like this, or at least write well, it is a very good idea to enage a content writer (copywriter)
A good content writer can take your information and sculpt it into words that get results.
Even better, if your content writer is well-versed in SEO concepts, he or she will be able to put those concepts into practice throughout the content of your site.
Of course, different sites require different styles of writing. Write for the readership – that is, write to suit the people who will be coming to your site.