Working at a website design company, we get approached by businesses of all shapes and sizes. Some are companies that have been around for many years and are just now trying to form a digital presence, but others are just getting started and looking for help.

Fortunately, this is one of the things I love most about my job. I love the diversity of these businesses and being the helping hand that is there to give them the tools that they need to take that next steps into building a digital marketing presence. Having a strong digital presence, does not start and stop with a website design, however, and that is why I want to give small businesses a few tips in order to get their feet off the ground.

The Domain Name

The first thing you need when starting a new company is the name. A lot and time, effort, and research should go into this process. You want to find a name that resonates with not only you, but your future clients and customers. It needs to be easy to remember and (hopefully) easy to spell as well.

After you get all the right paperwork and submit all the forms to get established, the first thing you need to do online is to purchase your domain name.

This might sound like an easy task, but once you go on GoDaddy and start typing in your ideas for a great URL, you will find that not to be the case. Many domains have already been taken by other businesses throughout the world, leaving you with the need to find a .net or .org domain instead of the .com you desired.

The Hosting Plan

Purchasing a domain is a great first step, but it won’t bring your website to life unless you have a hosting plan for it. The hosting plan will support all of your website files and its database making your URL come to life with its imagery. There are many website hosting options available out there, but I would do some research. Most people will default to using GoDaddy, Host Gator or even Host Monster, but I’m biased and will probably tell you that your best option would be to go with a smaller company that you can call up on the phone or email directly if you have any questions or concerns. *Hint, Hint* ….oh. Did I mention that we offer website hosting?

The Website Design

Just like with your website hosting, there are many options available when building a website design. Companies are popping up all over the place with their “build a website for free!” commercials, but there are many variables behind this statement so it’s important to do some research. Building a website can be a time consuming and overwhelming process, so I would advice new businesses to find someone who has experience to help them bring their ideas to life. Also, based on your budget there are many options available from a custom-built website design on a content management system, to a pre-built template website.

Local Listings

It’s important to know that having a digital presence does not stop with building a website. There are many things people that will not come directly to your URL, but will instead see your company on local listings and be pulled in. “What are local listings?” you might ask. A local business listing is a company profile is found online that contains your business name, phone number, location, web address  and other details including your social media platforms. There are thousands of websites and directories on which local business owners are allowed to create free business listings, Google Business, Yelp and Foursquare are just a few examples to help you get started.

Social Media

Did you see that I mentioned social media above? That’s right, you can’t forget about social media! Like I said, it’s important to have a digital presence in more than one area and many businesses know that. So along with your website, make sure you build social media profiles for your company on all the hip and happening social media platforms of today. You might think there are too many to choose from, so start with one and see how it goes. Not sure which one to pick? Look at your competitors and see what they are doing. See what social media platforms they are most present in and run with it! Some companies might benefit from Twitter while others thrive with Instagram. The important part is to not just establish the accounts, but to really have someone in charge of maintaining them and engaging with your current and future clients and customers. It’s important to not drop the ball with your customer service!

Now, I know I’ve given you quite the list to get started on so you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. But I want you to know that we’re here to help at any time so feel free to reach out with any questions. That aside, I hope these tips will be enough to get you started. Congratulations on your new company and I wish you nothing but success!