8 steps to help you successfully launch an online business

Written on 08 March, 2012 by Clancy Clarke
Categories E-commerce Marketing Tags online marketing small business web design

Launching an online business can seem daunting until you understand the steps involved. While some people make the mistake of simply building a website then hoping people will visit it, you can launch an effective internet business, build traffic organically and convert visitors to clients by following a plan. Here are eight tips for successfully launching an online business.

  1. Research, research, research

    Probably the most important step in starting an online business is research. Once you are clear about the goods or services you are offering, begin by researching your competition online.

    • Research who else is offering goods or services similar to yours
    • Research what prices these goods and services are offered at
    • Research what marketing your competition is doing
    • Research who is buying from their sites
    • Research what kind of e-commerce system they are using
    • Research, research, research

    The more data you have about the competition the better prepared you can be for launching your online business. Understanding who your competitors are gives you the opportunity to establish your unique selling point.

  2. Understand your target market

    Find out where your customers are already shopping online. By tracking where your target market is already spending time online, you can create an advertising campaign which follows them as they travel around on the internet. Where is your target market actually spending money?

  3. Domain name

    Your domain name is your brand online. Choosing a domain name that uniquely identifies your business either via service offering or brand identity is vital. In some instances choosing a domain name that contains words that are closely related to your business such as floristsydney.com.au if you were a florist in Sydney is the best option. However these days many of these generic domain names have been taken so choosing a domain name that relates to your brand or company is the best option.

    Further to this, making sure you cover your intellectual property by registering multiple domain extensions is important. If your company name is “The Trading Co” then registering thetradingco.com.au, thetradingco.net.au, thetradingco.com and thetradingco.net is always a good option to future-proof your online presence.

    There are multiple domain name registrars in Australia – the best advice is to register all your domain names with the one provider to ensure easy management and that you do not accidentally let your important domain names expire. Netregistry offers domain name registrations for all .au domains as well as .com, .net and many more domain extensions.

  4. Decide on the website design & build

    Decide whether you will build your own website or whether you will hire a professional. Both your budget and level of technical experience may influence this decision. If you have more time than money, it is possible to build your own site using an array of tools that are available. Many providers offer do-it-yourself website tools, but there are other options such as Adobe Dreamweaver or Apple’s iWeb. If you are looking for a more professional presence or lack the knowledge or skills to build your website yourself then hiring a professional is the best option.

  5. Web hosting

    Once you’ve decided on your design and build finding a suitable web hosting company and establishing your domain name is the next step. Web hosting is the cornerstone of your website – providing the infrastructure for your website to be available on the internet. You web designer and the technology they use will govern the type of website hosting and the specifications your web hosting requires. Be sure to get all the detailed technical requirements from your web developer before jumping into buying web hosting.

    Most domain name registrars will also provide web hosting solutions. Again having all your domain names and web hosting with the one company will ensure easy management of your online presence. Netregistry offers both cloud hosting and cPanel hosting solutions which cover almost all possible technologies your web developer may be using.

  6. Content

    Everybody who has been involved in the online community for sometime will know the term “Content is King!” and probably hates hearing it. But truth be told the term still holds true and keeping the content on your site fresh and relevant is a major part of a successful online business.

    Content does not only refer to the content on your website pages – it also refers to content on a blog, articles you may write or in email newsletters. When creating content be sure not to simply sell, sell, sell – readers will get bored. By writing educational and entertaining content you can ensure you are keeping readers engaged. This will lead to more return visits and more conversions for your website.

  7. Create a marketing strategy and keep track

    If you are serious about running your own online business, then educate yourself in internet marketing. Search engine optimisation and pay per click advertising are essential tools for ensure that your online business is a success.

    Whether you hire a professional online marketing consultant or attempt to do it yourself, be sure you outline clear objectives and goals. Set milestones around traffic and conversions – and make sure you track your website progress using an enterprise tracking solution such as Google Analytics.

  8. Create a sales strategy

    Many online businesses fail to see the difference between marketing and sales. Establishing a distinct online marketing strategy versus a distinct sales strategy will help you ensure that both strategies can be successful.

Marketing is all about establishing your position in the market place and building your brand recognition whilst sales is about building a relationship with a portion of the market and converting their visits to your site, into sales.

Don’t expect to have a constant stream of new visitors to your site who will buy from you, remember that you are building a relationship with people so that they will become trusting purchasers keen to return to your site.

What other steps do you think need to be taken to ensure that an online business is successful? Let us know in the comments.

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