Here’s what you need to get your business online:
1. Domain name.
Your domain name is your “address” on the internet. If you’re looking for some general guidelines for choosing a domain, I believe that domain names should be:
- Easy to spell
- Easy to say and be understood over the phone
- Descriptive of your product or service (this includes, in most cases, choosing a .com name if you’re a business)
- Reasonable length
Domain names can be purchased for under $10 per year.
2. Webhost and email services.
Next, you need a place to store your website. Often the same company will handle your email for you, though you can set your system up so that different companies “host” your website and email if your needs require it.
3. Build and maintain your website.
Once you purchase your domain name and webhosting, you need to actually build your site. This is commonly done with a special software program. Included on your website will be:
- The actual text of whatever you want to communicate
- Graphics to make your site more attractive to read
- The “code” (HTML, PHP, etc) to make it all work together
- Any non-text content you wish to provide for streaming or downloading (audio, video, forms, documents)
To get people coming back to your site, you will want to update it frequently.
4. Tell the world about your site.
You should have a marketing strategy to get the most exposure to your site. You should promote it online and offline.
Online promotion methods include:
- Search engine optimization
- Directory listings
- Posting comments on relevant blogs
Offline methods would include referring to your site in your newspaper, direct mail, radio, or TV advertising.
5. Email marketing.
This is a separate category of marketing but ties in nicely with your website. Here’s how it works:
You maintain one or more “lists” of prospects and customers that are interested in a certain subject. Email marketing allows you to send messages out to many readers at once, and you can even deliver a series of training or information messages at any interval you choose (every day, every 2 days, or whatever you decide).