In today’s fast-paced world, failing to have your business online risks losing a lot – your customers, your competitive advantage and your success. This is true regardless of how big your business is. Having a strong web presence is crucial, whether you’re a one-person show or a multimillion dollar corporation.
According to a 2015 study, many BC businesses know that being online can attract new customers and expand your customer base locally, nationally and even internationally. So why do more than half of very small businesses in Canada not even have their own website?
Some business owners may think that they are too small for their own website, or that building a site is too time consuming, expensive or technical. But setting up a website doesn’t need to take a lot of time or tech expertise.
It’s a great time of year to give your website a fresh start. Use these don’t-miss tips to getting your small business online so you can set yourself and your business apart.
Start With a Great Domain
After deciding to get your business online, the first step to creating an outstanding website is to select a domain. There are now hundreds of top level domains (TDLs), such a .CA, .GURU and .BIZ to choose from, so the only limit is your creativity.
For example, if you’re a photographer specializing in the Canadian outdoors, opt to establish a website that’s geographically descriptive. Choosing a “.CA” TDL, such as janephotography.ca, highlights your Canadian focus, and puts your business on the map. Meanwhile, if you’re an international photographer, you could choose a “.PHOTOGRAPHY” TDL. This sets expectations about your services, making it clear that you specialize in photography.
With all the new TDLs available to Canadian businesses, you truly have the opportunity to differentiate your business from your competition.
Open for Business
The next step to creating your website is to think about your customers. Consider how they will interact with your website. Having a website is like having a virtual shop that’s always open. Customers can visit this shop whenever and from wherever they want. It’s vital that your website is always able to provide an easy, fast and reliable user experience, even if you’re not watching.
For example, because your business’ virtual shop is always open, people may be looking up your business online when they’re busy, on the subway or maybe even during dinner. They want to find the right information as quickly as possible. Make sure details such as your location, operating hours and contact information are all featured prominently.
More ways to improve user experience include:
- Keeping your website simple so it’s easy to navigate.
- Cutting down on unnecessary information.
- Making valuable information obvious.
Remember, design your website as if you were your customer. What would you want to see?
Keep Mobile in Mind
We access the Internet more from our mobile devices today than from PCs. It’s prudent to take mobile users into account when designing your website. We all know how frustrating it is when we’re trying to browse a website that isn’t mobile-friendly. Make your website easy to use and consistent, whether your users are scrolling through their phones or clicking a mouse.
Take Your Online Opportunity
Ultimately, being online can be a simple way you can generate business. Having a website where people can easily find you, use your site easily and on different online platforms will help spread the word about your brand and sell your products or services.
Your business – however big or small – should not be hidden from the world. Opportunities for your business come from people seeking a product or service. If they can’t find you, they won’t engage or purchase from you. Getting your business online can turn cold leads into warm ones, and your target market into converting customers.
It’s time to get online with a website. After all, you work too hard for your business to be invisible.
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