According to a Forrester report from last year, executives predict digital will positively impact their businesses by 2020, with a 47% increase in revenue. Not only is it a good time to implement changes into traditional companies and embrace the online potential, but also to find the right channels to drive sales. To aid business owners who are lost in the face of such a bold change, we have come up with a short guide. Transition your business from offline to online in three easy steps.
Step 1: Finding the Right Domain Name & Extension
If your company does not yet have a website, first purchase a domain name and an extension. There are plenty of options—from local to international providers—where you can purchase domain names. When choosing a provider, consider whether your business anticipates expansion. What business owners should consider:
- a) .com extensions cover the entire international aspect of the business
- b) Custom extension based on your country for a regional expansion
- c) .[custom] domain extensions that define the nature of the business and rank better in local searches
You can register your domain online either through a regional provider or through an international service. HostGator is one of the most well-known domain providers and has recently partnered up with Domain. We strongly recommend purchasing your domain for at least 2 years and then extending your contract based on business performance.
Make sure the name of the domain falls under copyright and trademark, and is no longer than 2-3 syllables. Easy-to-spell and catchy words make it more likely customers remember the name, even if the business is part of a particular industry (i.e. construction, demolition, waste removal etc.).
Step 2: Hosting Plans
Ideally, business owners should purchase hosting plans on a yearly basis. Depending on the requirements, traffic, and/or changes in search algorithms, you can opt for at least 4 major types of hosting.
WordPress hosting is the standard option for speed, security, and migration of an existing domain. However, in recent years, cloud hosting has proven more efficient—at least 2 times faster and more scalable than the standard hosting option. For large monthly traffic and corporate needs, we highly recommend VPS hosting or a dedicated solution. If, for example, your business has either a very active online community and blog or a premium membership system behind the scenes, opt for faster, better performance. To meet the minimum requirements, standard is still good.
Step 3: SSLs and Business Email Addresses
Two additional major elements are SSL and business email addresses. For this, we suggest the options via EuroDNS. Business email addresses start as low as 5.90€/month and include all the major advantages (i.e. personal mobility, 2GB space storage as opposed to the standard 500MB or 1GB, shared calendar, antivirus, lists, etc.). If we apply the Forrester report’s findings that revenue is expected to grow by 47% by 2020, then we can expect a large amount of contact requests.
An SSL certificate is a must for a business that deals with customers and e-sales. Plus, Google has made it official: encrypted “https” receive better rank boosting than normal “http”. Read more about it here and learn how to set it up.
If you have a fresh domain, an effective hosting plan, a proper business email address, and an SSL certificate, what else can you do to transition your business from offline to online? Here are our added suggestions, to which you can add your own:
- Proper website design
- Great content that drives visitors and converts leads
- Social media channels that best perform with the business profile
- CRM and ERP solutions for medium and corporate businesses
- Proper team management solutions
- Live support 24/7
- Orientation towards community, not just search engines
- Case studies and visualization of the business potential
Extended read recommended: the US 10k small business report, 2016.
Image via Pixabay.