They say Rome wasn’t built in a day—but maybe your new online presence could be. I’m not saying it’ll be perfect or complete, but it’s entirely possible to build the online framework for your business in a matter of hours.
You simply need to know what you’re doing and which tools to use. Here you’ll find the eight steps to building your online framework:
1. Register a Domain Name
The most obvious place to start is with your domain name. While you can hopefully secure a branded domain name, you might not always be so lucky. If your brand or company name is generic, it may already be taken. Use any simple domain search site to see if your idea is taken. If it is, consider adding a word to the beginning or end. Better yet, if your brand name is already taken, think of a new brand name.
Once you find a domain name, secure it using any certified domain registration site. Depending on who owns the domain or the perceived value of it, you could end up paying anywhere from $1 to thousands (if it’s already owned by someone else).
2. Use a Website Builder to Create a Simple Layout
Next, find a hosting site that also offers an easy-to-use website builder. Some of the easiest options include Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, and GoDaddy. Using these on-site builders, you can throw a few basic pages together in a matter of minutes. Don’t worry about getting everything perfect at this point, though. Just make sure you have an organized layout, valuable content, a logo, and a contact page.
3. Enable Online Purchase Orders
If you’re looking to sell directly online, you may also want to consider quickly setting up an online ordering option. If you don’t have time to build an entire e-commerce site, you can use resources to create landing pages that are automatically integrated with payment capabilities. This will prevent you from missing out on any sales while you’re figuring out the rest of your online strategy.
4. Claim and Set Up Social Profiles
Next, spend some time registering your brand on all of the major social networking sites. At a very minimum, you’ll want a presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. However, depending on your industry and how important grassroots marketing will be to your company (as well as what your company sells), Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, and Periscope may also hold value.
Also, don’t forget about Pinterest. According to this blog post from Spaces, referrals from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase than referrals from any other social media network.
While you’ll want to spend more time perfecting each of these platforms in the future, the immediate need is to register your profiles, set up some basic information, and start adding some followers. This article does a great job of showing you how to set up profiles on each site.
5. Launch a Blog
Next, you need to create a blog on your website. Again, don’t worry about writing a bunch of posts right now. Just set it up and post a quick note that tells your customers and followers you’re in the beginning stages of launching an informative blog. You’ll come back to this once you start kicking off your social strategy.
- The 15 Best Business Quotes from Steve Jobs
- The Biggest Mistake I Made in My Business—And What I Learned From It
- 40 Must-Have Business Apps to Run Your Company
6. Disperse Contact Information
Now it’s time to get the word out. Your contact information needs to be listed on all of the major directories. Not only does this increase your chances of being seen by new customers, but it also enhances your visibility on major search engines. Some of the important online directories include Google, Yelp, Yahoo Local Listing, Bing Places for Business, Yellow Pages, and White Pages. Yext provides an updated list of worthwhile directories by country.
7. Develop Listening Techniques
Now it’s time to develop a social listening strategy so that you can gauge how well your efforts are being received. Do some research and find a couple of tools that fit your needs. Many people like Social Mention, because it’s free and informative. Simply type a phrase into the search box and you’ll get detailed information about the keyword within seconds. You’ll even get insights into whether the mentions are positive, neutral, or negative.
8. Invest in SEO
Finally, it’s time to invest in a little search engine optimization (SEO) to enhance your website’s visibility and increase traffic to your website. In the beginning stages, you may want to take a DIY approach until you figure out some specifics regarding keywords you want to target. Then, you can hand over the reins to a professional SEO company for steady growth.
Don’t Stop Here
This is only the beginning. While you can set all of these things up in a matter of a few hours, you can’t realistically expect to be successful without dedicating lots of time and ongoing attention to your Internet presence. Once you have each of these eight steps squared away, meet with an Internet marketing expert and discuss options for refining and improving your online marketing campaign.
About Jayson DeMers
Jayson DeMers is the founder & CEO of AudienceBloom, a Seattle-based content marketing & social media agency. Jayson graduated from the University of Washington in 2008 with a degree in Business Administration, and immediately entered the field of online marketing. Since then, he has become a contributor to Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and other major media publications. Jayson occasionally guest lectures for 400-level marketing classes at the University of Washington, and keynoted the 2013 “MarketingProfs University.” He’s a member of Entrepreneur.com’s “Team Digital,” which provides weekly marketing insight for entrepreneurs.