Considering starting a small business? The following list of resources will give you some ideas for consideration.
Having an online presence, whether your business is based online or if you have a storefront, is essential to people finding you. Some topics to consider when embarking on the job of building a new website follow.
How will people find my site and how will they find what they're looking for in my site? SEO is the practice of optimizing your website so search engines like Google, Yahoo! and MSN can find your website and in return display it on search results so users find you. Usability is of paramount importance to ensure that people stay in your site so you can convert visitors into business.
Should I get developers to do my site or should I build it myself? The answer to this one usually comes down to cost. Most people, even novices to the world of technology, are able to use a template to build their own website, the low cost option. Note that this does not allow you much flexibility for personalizing the look of the site. Templates also don't allow you much control for SEO enhancements. If you can afford to hire your own developers you will come out with a much more customized product.
Hosting can be an overwhelming topic when you haven't dealt with it before. No one told me I had to know about storage, memory and bandwidth when I decided to start a small business! The options are plenty but the product is very standard. Most starter hosting packages are sufficient for a basic website that does not expect a large amount of transactions, which is where most smal businesses start.
The key question when it comes to hosting your website is whether 1. you will manage your website yourself (often called Shared Hosting), 2. your developers will host your website, or 3. your hosting company will manage your site (often called Dedicated or Managed hosting). Development companies will often provide hosting or at least have a hosting company they work with, while Managed Hosting can be an expensive proposition for a new business. The biggest difficulty with Shared Hosting is usually the quality of its customer service, which many companies outsource, while you can literally find plans that are only a couple of dollars a month.
There is lots to be said about marketing online (including SEO!) but one technique that should not be overlooked is the power of direct marketing through emailing a qualified and approved list of customers on a regular basis. Beware of spamming by sending unsolicited emails, as this is taken very seriously in the online world. A couple of tips on email marketing: