Get your startup online
This practical guide is Step 3 of our Startup Kit written by Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation. The course walks you through turning your idea into a thriving business.
Your business is brand new so people need to know it’s there. Not only is a website your window to the world and home on the web, it has become an essential requirement for any new business. Your site can be used as a powerful marketing tool and a way to make money.
Having the right technology and knowledge allows you to build, develop and maintain your site. And you can do it all in-house, even if you’re not a web whiz. Let’s look at ways to develop a professional online presence at low cost.
1. Website template
There are a number of companies offering website templates that come with domain registration, hosting, e-commerce and design as part of the package – offering websites that can be created today and trading tomorrow. Many e-commerce platform sites come with an in-built payment system and mobile responsive pages. Website template providers include Shopify, Squarespace and Rocketspark.
Blogging is a website or part of a website that’s regularly updated by an individual or a group of bloggers. There are blogs on any number of topics and the fact that anyone can start blogging for free makes the medium diverse and exciting.
It’s an easy way to get online, as you write posts on your topic of choice or expertise, upload images and video, and become the go-to place for customers looking for your advice/tips/services/products. Search engines love blogs and the more you write, the higher up the search engine ranks your website will go and the easier it is for customers to find you.
Blog regularly to build a loyal readership and effectively communicate your news with existing and potential customers. It’s free and easy to get blogging with tools such as Blogger, Typepad or WordPress.
3. Sell on marketplace platforms
You can set up stall on one of the powerful trading marketplaces. Whether you’re selling fashion or furnishings, photography or professional services, look at trading platforms including Amazon, ASOS Marketplace, Etsy, Not on the high street and the Enterprise Nation marketplace.
With most, you can list for free and only pay when you make a sale. Simple!
4. Get on social media
Create a profile and make regular updates on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Join in with relevant conversations to gain an audience and, eventually, potential customers.
Stick to the rule of thirds. One third of your posts should promote your business, sell your services or products and generate revenue. One third should highlight ideas from thought leaders in your industry or like-minded businesses. And one third of social content should come from personal interactions that help you build reputation. Read more on how to get started on social media.
Having a presence on the web opens you up to customers from across the world finding you too. Keep it polished so when a customer comes to buy, you’re ready and open for business.
About Emma Jones
Emma is founder of small business network Enterprise Nation. Emma has since written a number of best-selling business books, including Spare Room Start-Up, Working 5 to 9, Go Global and the StartUp Kit. Emma was awarded an MBE for services to enterprise in 2012.