As the world still grapples with the pandemic, the aftermath of a rather daunting year has affected businesses very severely. The impact on startups and small businesses has been brutal. From permanently closing down to dwindling margins to sudden slump in sales to increased debts, small businesses across the globe are finding it increasingly challenging to keep their financial wheels turning.
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However, there is a silver lining to the challenges presented by this unforeseen global crisis. Serial entrepreneurs and startup founders are privy to the fact that only the most creative, lucrative, and determined businesses will survive the worst of times to emerge as winners.
And as the world changes and adapts to the ‘new normal,’ so must your business. The pandemic changed people’s needs, which means there are new opportunities for small businesses to explore and latch onto. But where do you start?
For starters, building a business website is a smart way to be responsive. How will a business website help your business sail through a global crisis? Here’s how.
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5 ways your website will help your business sail through in times of a global crisis
1. Ensures business continuity
Even if your store or warehouse had to shut down due to COVID-19 restrictions, having a website in place would ensure business continuity. With norms like social distancing, going virtual is a must in today’s business arena. Running operations online is a smart way to stay in the game, engage with customers, reduce churn, and continue sales.
Sure, you will have to spend more time and resources sorting out all the logistics, but it is a much smaller hiccup than shutting down your business entirely. A business website doubles up as your virtual office space and as your global store.
Design and optimize it well, and your business website will help retain customers and attract new ones. And since most people are at home and will continue to spend most of their time indoors, your business website is the best way to stay in touch with them.
Pro-tip: When building your business website, be sure to choose the right domain name. Your domain name should match your business’s name to maintain consistency and to carry forward your brand identity into the virtual world.
For instance, finding the name of your choice with the .icu domain extension is relatively easier since it offers a wide availability of names along with better brand-building capabilities.
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2. Extends your reach
The most significant advantage of building a kickass business website is the potential to expand your presence and customer base. With a business website, your business can break geographical barriers and reach people from across the globe. A smart way to get your website out there is to harness the power of social media. A dedicated Facebook and Instagram page will help your business become accessible to people from all around the world!
The adage “Think Global, Act Local” is perfectly suited for small businesses looking to augment sales and build a strong online brand in this time of a global crisis. Expanding your audience base will help you become a global brand, and that alone will give you an edge over your competitors.
Think about it; when you reach more people, your chances of making a sale increase multifold, and this means your business will not just sail through – it will thrive! And if people on social media enjoy what you are selling and the services you are offering, they will suggest it to their network of family and friends. The fact is, with a business website in place, you will be making sales and reaching new customers even while you are asleep.
This is where the pro tip on choosing the right domain name also comes into play. A clunky or awkward domain name like www.buy-eyewear-accessoriez.com will deter people from trusting your business. Whereas a clean and crisp domain name like www.eyewear.icu or www.eye.icu will come across as a reliable and trustworthy brand.
3. Offers convenience
The fact is, with a business website in place, you will be making sales and reaching new customers even while you are asleep. Your business website will stay open 24/7, 365 days a year. Since your business will never be “closed,” it will continue to generate sales and work for you rather than you having to work for it.
In addition to continuity and reach your business website ensures that you offer convenience and flexibility to customers and prospects. Your customers can interact with your business at a time that’s comfortable for them, irrespective of holidays or late hours.
From searching for products to leaving inquiry emails to making purchases, your business website will help customers interact with your business from the comforts of their homes and enable you to drive sales without the need for a physical storefront.
4. Helps understand customer behavior
While your business website serves as an efficient online store and virtual office, it’s not as daft as a physical store or warehouse. Using intelligent analytics and online tools helps you learn more about your customers’ habits, preferences, and behaviors.
Use website analytics to learn about your customer demographic and lifestyle. You can also determine conversion rates, average page session duration, which page or product gets the most attention, which products sell the most, most visited pages, which discounts and price points see more checkouts, which products have the most cart abandonment, and so on.
Using this data, you can understand your customers’ purchase behaviors to craft the right conversion and marketing strategies. You can also run special surveys and polls to get feedback from your customers. By incentivizing these polls, you can gain valuable insight while driving sales.
5. Reduces operational costs
Your business website will help you save big on operational costs compared to the costs of running a storefront business. Your website doesn’t require much in terms of upkeep and running. Apart from your domain name and hosting, there isn’t any other periodic cost of running an online business.
While you can choose to hire a designer to build your website, that is a one-time cost. You can also use tried and tested website builders like WordPress, Shopify, and Wix and use their pre-installed templates to design your website. Numerous website builder platforms offer code-free design too.
You can even promote your business website for significantly lower costs. Invest your time in SEO and content marketing to help your website rank higher on search engine result pages for relevant keywords. You can achieve this by starting a blog page on your business website and regularly publishing quality content.
If you have a social media presence, use DIY design tools like Canva to create attractive images and GIFs to post on your Instagram and Facebook pages. Use relevant hashtags and captivating captions to make sure your posts reach the right people. Social media channels will help your business gain popularity and eventually help you drive conversions.
How to Set Up a Business Website
There are options available for you to launch your business online and enjoy the benefits of an online presence. We will look at a few of the common options you can adopt, the pros and cons, and leave you to decide on which is best for your situation and peculiarities.
1. Launch With Your Domain Name.
This is probably the most familiar way most people know about setting up their websites. Choose a domain name, choose a web hosting plan, and launch your website. But this option has its pros and cons.
The Pros of Launching With Your Domain Name
You are in control of your domain name.
You choose your preferred hosting account.
Your domain name will reflect your business. Because you decided on the domain name, it is most likely to represent your business and vision.
The Cons of Launching With Your Domain Name
You bear the cost of running and maintaining your hosting account. You will be required to bear the cost of maintaining your website annually.
You will take responsibility for optimizing your site, building its structure and boosting its visibility
2. Launch With a Free Google My Business Website
This is certainly one free option available for you to launch your business website online. Here is a simple step to go about it:
- Visit Google My Business
- Create a Google My Business account
- Verify your account
- Create your free business website..
- Update your business information for your website.
The key advantages of this option are that it is free, and it can target customers precisely because of your location.
The disadvantage is that you are not fully in control so you cannot achieve all the optimization tweaks you can do with a hosting account that is totally under your control. This option does not allow you to choose your template design, control your customization and build your content for your intent.
3. Through The Social Media
Very many will be surprised to see this addition. Yes, social media is an easy way to launch your business online. Some social media do provide some avenues for customization with unique page banners, introductory content, and regular updates but certainly, because social media is an all-comers game, you need to do more to build trust.
But certainly, you can launch a free online presence with a social media network like Facebook and LinkedIn.
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Success Factors For Your New Website
Whichever way you choose to launch your online presence, own your domain name, use a free blog, sign up with Google My Business, or launch with social media, there are key success factors you need to consider.
With Your Domain Name
Build Links: Build links to your web page. But as good and rewarding as this could be, it is something you need to be very careful about. You should not be tempted to buy links, engage in link exchanges, or aggressively pursue link building such as updating your website content only for the purpose of adding links. Links must flow naturally and be deserving and not manipulative.
Also, consider internal links. Google appreciates internal linking and they actually help improve user experience, improve navigation on your website. Linking to other websites should also be an option you should consider. We recommend that you link to high-quality websites because when you link to low-quality content, your website appears to be promoting low-quality content and Google does not encourage that.
Focus on Quality Content: It is more important to focus on quality than quantity. While we must admit that Google loves content, your content-building strategy should not loo manipulative and create the impression that you are building content only for ranking purposes.
Share Your Content: Using social media and email lists to distribute your content can be a great idea. You need to get your content to your target audience and sharing them is the first great way to get that done. Building a mailing list, a newsletter, and your social media network can help you grow your business.
Optimize Your Preliminary Pages: Take your time to optimize your key preliminary pages lie your title page, product page, contact us page, and other core pages.
Make your business future proof
Whether you’re starting a new business, or taking your existing business online, building a slick business website is one of the most effective ways to take your company forward. Setting up a business website is easy, cost-effective, and considerably more future-proof than a brick-and-mortar business.
This pandemic too shall pass, but till then, it’s crucial to future-proof your business with a dedicated website.
This post was written and first published by Eshan. Eshan is a Senior Marketing Specialist at ShortDot, the registry behind some of the most successful new domain extensions, including .icu, .bond, and .cyou. We have modified and extended its coverage to include the section on how you can set up your business website.