Developing your website

Customers generally want the convenience of finding businesses online. If you don't already have a website, you may want to consider adding one to your marketing plan, especially if your competitors have them.

Even if you don't plan to sell your products online, having a website is a relatively inexpensive and effective way of advertising your business. It allows customers to find your business quickly and to compare your products and services to those offered by your competitors.

Table of Contents

    Getting connected

    In order to connect your business to the Internet, start by finding an Internet Service Provider (ISP). In addition to online access, an ISP can provide you with other services such as Web hosting, development, networking, and technical support.

    Domain name registration

    Before you set up your website, you need to register your domain name. You can register the domain name directly through an ISP or through a domain registration company .

    • Domain names
      Are you creating a website for your business? Learn how to choose a good domain name and to register it.

    Website design

    There is a growing expectation from the buying public that your business should have a website. Your site provides quick, easy access to your target audiences. When you design a website, it's best to start small and expand as your business grows.

    • Plan the website and decide what content should be on it.
    • Put a team in place to develop and manage the website, or outsource the work.
    • Plan the information flow and structure.
    • Develop the user interface.

    Learn more about the website development process.

    Enhancing your online presence

    Make the most of your online presence by ensuring that your website is working effectively for your business. Learn how using the right tools can lead to more visitors for your website; after all, an active online presence benefits your business.

    Tools for collaboration and sharing

    A website can be your most important marketing asset. Potential customers may contact your business and make buying decisions based on the availability and quality of the website. Prospective employees often review websites in detail before submitting a resume, and potential suppliers study websites to determine a business' validity and product range.

    When you develop your website, include a strategy to ensure your content is kept up to date long after the launch. An outdated website can reflect poorly on your business.

    There are services and online tools that can add value for your website visitors, such as:

    • Displaying your social media activity directly on your website, with links for sharing content
    • Adding widgets and other useful Web tools to your site, such as clocks, online maps or local weather
    • Including a customer feedback mechanism, such as reviews or commenting
    • Enabling Real Simple Syndication (RSS) allows users to subscribe to information updates from your website

    Other online sales and marketing strategies for your website could include:

    • Customer Relationship Management systems that allow you to track prospects and clients
    • Content marketing — creating and sharing helpful content that can attract future customers through:
      • Blogs
      • Social networking
      • Social bookmarking
      • Media sharing (photos, videos, podcasts, audio files)
    • Online marketing
      Online marketing techniques like social networking, emailing and blogging are useful and involve little to no direct costs.
    • What is customer relationship management?
      In today's competitive market, it is vital for you to manage your relationships with your customers systematically, efficiently and profitably.
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