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The 5 Stages To Doing Business Online

If you’re considering adding an online presence to your business in the form of a website for the first time then knowing where to start can be daunting. It’s no longer the case of simply getting a new website and away you go. There are many factors which you have to consider such as how will you manage the website and all that comes with the new enquiries.

Here at Dorset Tech we have put together a brief outline of what to consider and what is usually included when going online for the first time. We have made it simple by breaking it down into 5 stages.

Online Business Plan:
This should always be the first thing you do when considering going online. Here you need to evaluate if your business is suitable for a website and is there a ready made database of customers online searching for the product or service you provide? Can your business handle the extra enquiries with the staff you have? Is your product only suitable for local customers or nationwide? The worst thing would be to waste your time and energy not to mention finances on a project that won’t improve your business. This is why before you spend 1 penny you need to factor in everything and if your business will benefit form a website and starting to trade online. It’s rare a business won’t improve due to an online presence but until you have put some serious thought into a plan you can’t be sure.

Once you have decided your business is suitable then you need to look at what areas your customer database is online. How many people a month are searching for your product or services and for what keywords? At this stage you need to start considering an online marketing strategy. Maybe look at your competitors websites to get an idea. What information do your potential customers need to make a decision before purchasing? Does your website need to perform certain functions like data capture via a form or a quote perhaps? You need to ensure you know exactly what action your website needs to carry out in order to attract your potential customers attention. Is your product seasonal and if so when do people start actively looking for what you provide.

Design And Development:
Once you have decided you want to go ahead with a new website for your business then you can start top think about how the site will look and what actions it needs to perform and information to contain. Maybe look at other websites to get an idea on designs and colour schemes. If your business has branding then this can be worked into the website too. The design and layout will be influenced by what actions your website will be required to perform. If you are stuck then we can always help and advise, we can also create mock up ideas so you can see ideas in a brief layout. How a website performs is equally as important as how it looks. It’s also important that at this stage decisions have been made regarding the website as once design has been started any changes required to be made at a later date will delay the project and could increase the costs.

Online Marketing:
Many people forget that even though you have a new website you still need people to be able to find it. Time and time again we hear stories about companies putting all there budget into a website build and then they have little if anything at all left to spend on the marketing budget.

By this stage you will know where your online customer database is and this is where an online marketing strategy comes into play. With social media being a huge part of peoples everyday life you need to make sure your business is represented where it needs to be. Obviously Google will play a big part but do you want to only use SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) which is where you appear in the free organic listings or do you also want to use PPC (Pay Per Click) where you bid on keywords and phrases related to what you provide and only pay when someone clicks onto your website.

Always remember to keep plenty of funds allocated for online marketing once your website is live. It’s a good idea to carry out any research and planning for your online marketing as soon as the website is being built so you are ready to go live straight away. Here at Dorset Tech we can help you with all of this too and can seamlessly integrate an online marketing strategy into our services.

Ongoing Maintenance:
Once your website is live and your marketing is underway you may think all is done. One thing about the online world is it’s always evolving and moving forward and you need to as well in order to stay one step ahead of your competitors.

It’s always good to keep your website visitors interested and engaged and to do this you need to constantly update and add new features and information. Your product range may constantly change so you need to make sure this is reflected on your website. You might want to slightly amend the websites look and feel which is why it’s always important to factor in support rates too so you don’t get stung by large bills or charges each time you want to make changes to your website.

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