I have heard this from so many people who want a business, but aren’t much of a techie. They are quite clear on what they want to do … but they haven’t got a clue on how to get started. This article doesn’t deal so much with the technical intricacies when you want to start and don’t know how, it rather reveals some of the (side-) steps you have to take before you actually can start running. If you are a newbie-entrepreneur, it is really worth reading and thinking this through.
If you don’t know HOW to get started, at least you know already WHAT you want to start with, and this in itself is invaluable!
Beyond all possible technology available to you – and yes, this is a wide terminology – there is no doubt that you will need a website. If you want ANY kind of attention nowadays, you will require a website. Not just any website, but an attractive and well functioning website that displays who you are and what you do, and leaves an awesome first impression about your business.
A US-study taken by 1&1 has revealed that 35% of potential customers have walked away from a small business because of a poor website. This is a shockingly high number. Obviously, many consumers feel that small business websites today are mostly unattractive and often times contain errors.
“A bad website makes a worse impact than a business having no website at all.”
In order to make yourself visible in the best possible way, you will have to carefully invest in your web experience. The foremost thing I would encourage you to do is committing yourself to overcoming any resistance to technology you may be holding on to. Contrary to most of the fears, technophobia’s main characteristic is ignorance. Tech fear simply doesn’t welcome change. So, in order for your business to be set on staple ground, you will have to move out of your box … little by little. It is much easier than it sounds and surprisingly, the first steps you have to take do not much have to do with technology at all.
Your website will communicate the soul of your business
Your website shows the world what you have to offer. Besides that, it will also communicate what you stand for. Your website will be the keystone of your online marketing.
You will want to present what you have to offer in a way that doesn’t bore people, because of course, you want people to buy from you: whether it’s products, services or information. In order to make the impact you want to make, you will have to think through very thoroughly about how you want to come across. Ideally, you want to come across as being authentic, honest, confident, intelligent, and you want to trigger interest in what you have to give.
Before you can start with anything that looks or feels like a website, you have to do some homework. There are a couple of things you will have to stretch your mind around.
A web designer will only be able to implement what you tell him/her to implement. It is therefore crucial that you spend some of your valued time and come up with responses to the following issues. The more you know what you want and how you want it, the faster you get your website done.
In order to create a brand for your business, convey a message and leave an appropriate impression, you want to find a good name for your business and/or your products.
The more obvious thing to elaborate on is how you want your business to be named. Some great tools available to support you in identifying name options for your business, projects or products and making the right choices are listed below:
- Business Name Generator: A tool from Shopify that generates business names and instantly checks its domain availability.
- Portmanteaur: It uses algorithms to combine two to five words into a portmanteau.
- Wordoid: A very creative way in finding a catchy name for your venture.
After you found a unique name that perfectly suits your business, you may consider using it as the domain address for your business.
First, you have to check its availability. There are many tools available that can do this for you. If you type into a search engine “check domain availability”, you will get a number of tools that will do exactly this. Alternatively, the above mentioned Business Name Generator does the same job.
You probably know already that there are different domain name endings available. They are mainly used in a certain context. The most popular are:
- .com – the DotCom is generally intended for commercial use. It’s a premium extension and the most difficult to get.
- .net – was originally intended for network-oriented organizations, but this is no longer the case. It is available to anyone today.
- .biz – this domain type is generally registered to classify a website as a business.
- .org – was originally intended for non-profit or charitable organizations, but anyone can register it today.
- .co – was originally reserved for Columbia, but is today being used as replacement for .com addresses.
So far, the status quo for setting up a business domain has been to reach out for .com addresses. In the last years however, they have become more and more unavailable and many startups have chosen alternative domain endings. Together with the release of new domain endings such as .io, .music, .sports, .pizza etc., I expect many entrepreneurs embracing these new possibilities to stand out from the masses and choose one of the newer endings. As indicated, most of the .com addresses are being taken anyway, or are being held on to in the attempt to sell them for an unjustified high price.
If you find your preferred domain already being used or being blocked, you can of course try to contact the owner and negotiate a price. Alternatively, you may be able to arrange your business concept around a domain name with a different domain ending.
I have gone this way with my business. When I found out that the .com address for inspiriting was taken but unused, my second try was to look for the availability of .biz. I immediately had an idea to wrap a slogan around it, so that the unavailability of my first preferred choice wasn’t much of an issue and I could move on.
Preparing the basic information will take you some time. I will talk more about this in a later posting. However, to make things easier to start with, I would like to introduce you to a concept that found me via Twitter, and helped me a lot:
I started small, and I didn’t have any lengthy texts or impressive graphics that I could put on my start page. Thus, this concept of compressing all necessary info onto the same page hit me like an epiphany! If you are in a similar situation of starting out small, doing it this way is definitely worth a consideration.
The simplest way is to place a contact form on your website where people can send you a message if they wish so.
About page information
The About page will be one of the most important parts of your business site. Do not underestimate the role it plays when people want to know with whom they will have to deal! The content you place on your about page will be crucial in creating trust and credibility about you, your team and your company.
How to write about yourself?
There are several approaches. One might be that you need to be able to reveal useful information about yourself in the context of the business you are running.
Another approach is to introduce yourself in the “3-lines-approach”. Can you write a teaser and say in 3 sentences what you do? – It would be very beneficial to consider this, because you can use such a 3-sentence-teaser in all of your marketing materials that need a quick introduction. Therefore, let’s make a little exercise here that helps you to come to the point…
- say what you do…
- say what your work is really about, when you get right down to it…
- say why you do it…
In the second part of this “Getting-Started-Tutorial”, I will continue with the topic of design considerations. When setting up a website, there are a lot of ideas to incorporate. You would be well advised to be prepared on at least some of them. It will make your life so much easier, believe me!
You will also have to think about the platform you want your website to run on. There are quite a few options available today, and it is a paradox in itself that the more choices we have, the harder the decision gets. I will reflect on what the available options are, and I will offer some information on how to find out what could work best for you.
I have had clients coming to me with exactly these questions. In my Business Tool Clarity Sessions, I help technology-challenged people put together the pieces of their personal puzzle so that their businesses can be set up in a way that it works well and is reliable. If this is also an option for you, I invite you to get in touch and schedule an appointment to determine your best options.