For small business owners, it’s time for us to move fast, innovate, and serve our customer base better than ever. Moving business operations online and growing an online presence is no longer an option. However, if you haven’t spent a lot of time growing your online presence in the past, this can be an extremely overwhelming feat. The good news is that it’s easier and cheaper than ever for a business to move online. You don’t need a technical background or a large marketing budget to get started.
This article will explore 4 ways that a small business can move operations online and begin growing an online presence. If you enjoy this article, be sure to subscribe to our email list at the bottom.
BUILD A WEBSITE
Naturally, the first thing a website design studio will recommend is to build a website for your business. There a few different ways to go about this, depending on your timeline and technical experience. Our company builds websites exclusively with WordPress. With a 35% market share of all websites on the internet, WordPress is the most popular and trusted content management system. If you decide to go with WordPress for your businesses website, you will also need to purchase a domain name (Our favorite: NameCheap) and set up website hosting (Our favorite: SiteGround). Building with WordPress is a slightly more advanced option but by using tools like Divi Builder, you can greatly reduce the technical expertise required.
If you’re looking for a quicker and simpler route, I would recommend checking out website builders such as Wix or Squarespace. By using these options, you can have a website up and running in a matter of minutes. While these builders make the website building process extremely quick and simple, they offer limited customization and a lack of ownership compared to WordPress. Think of Wix and Squarespace as renting an apartment, and WordPress as owning a house.
START AN E-COMMERCE STORE
Starting an e-commerce store can be a great way to move business operations online and grow an online presence. Setting up and managing an e-commerce store can be a lot easier than you might think. All of the website builders mentioned above offer their own e-commerce options. If you’re a WordPress user, our favorite is WooCommerce. Another website builder that operates exclusively for e-commerce is Shopify. Shopify is very similar to Wix and Squarespace. You can input your business information, choose a template, upload pictures and start selling in a matter of minutes.
Regardless of which platform you use, you will quickly see that starting an e-commerce store can be very simple and straightforward. You can easily integrate payment options such as PayPal or Stripe to begin collecting payments. Many of these platforms also allow you to sell things beyond physical products. Think e-books, consulting services, or virtual goods. This can be a great opportunity for business owners who don’t sell physical goods but still need to move operations online.
GROW AN EMAIL LIST
Growing an email list can be an amazing way to connect with your most loyal customers in a simple and direct way. Our favorite platform for growing and managing an email list is Mailchimp. They even offer a free plan that covers you up to 2,000 contacts. Once you set up an account, you can begin integrating your email list into your website and social media accounts. Your most loyal followers will likely subscribe to your email list without getting anything in return. However, in order to entice new people to join your email list, you should come up with unique incentives for subscribing. Here are some popular options that you can offer people if they subscribe to your email list:
- Receive a discount
- Download freebies
- Bonus content
- Receive free online tools or resources
- Subscribe to a blog
- Access to a webinar or event
Starting a blog for your business can benefit you in so many ways. Not only is it a great tool for improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it’s also a great way to educate your customers and engage with them on a frequent basis. WordPress and many other website builders have a built-in feature for blogging that makes it very simple to get started. Before you get started, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following questions:
- What is your main objective for starting a blog? Examples include getting leads, educating customers, engaging with customers, growing an email list, etc.
- How often do you want to publish new posts? While publishing new posts two to three times a week would be great, make sure you set realistic, attainable goals for yourself
- What’s the tone of your blog? Academic and serious, casual and serious, etc.
Once you create a plan, start writing! Try to create a routine for writing and focus on creating content that you’re interested in and want to write about. If you’re interested in learning how to increase traffic to your blog posts, check out our recent post Everything You Need to Know About Blogging and SEO.
- Build a website
- Start an eCommerce store
- Grow an email list
- Start blogging
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