The digital building blocks of every small business

Here, Mou Mukherjee, head of marketing at .Cloud, talks us through the digital building blocks you can use to build the perfect website.

Imagine you’re a founder of a fresh young company. Or perhaps an entrepreneur looking to take your business to the next level. Whether you are bringing your business to market, or turning up the gear on digital marketing, chances are, you are thinking about your website.

In today’s hyper-competitive digital age, your online presence says a lot about your business. Your website, app or social media presence is often the first touch point your customer will experience, so first impressions count. This is why naming your website and building your online presence is crucial to your success.

Be your best self, get the domain name you want

An area which is often overlooked, is your company’s domain name. For a long time there were limited options, but did you know there are now thousands of choices? Sometimes too much choice is confusing, but sometimes it lets you get exactly what you want. Consider startups Reward Cloud and Fashion Cloud. They wanted a modern and memorable domain name that fit their brand, and were thrilled to find out they could get a domain name that suited them.

Just remember that your domain is more than a website address, it’s your digital identity. It will be seen everywhere, online and offline (think business cards, events, flyers).

Dream big but start small with content

One problem people often have with their website is not having clear goals. Having a project plan with clear goals and objectives will help guide you. Ideally those objectives are also measureable. With website analytics, you can easily measure how many people visit your site, how long they stay, what pages they look at, and even what action they take (for example filling out a contact form).

Creating content is your next step and often people produce more content than they need. Producing content is time consuming and the more you create, the more you’ll end up having to maintain. When starting out, it’s best to keep it simple.

Lastly you may have to consider the context of your content, like mobile browsing. Does your website provide information people need on the go? Nowadays there’s a lot of tools that let you quickly build a website with a few pages, even a one-page website if that suits your needs!

Finding the right tool for the job

Building a website used to be the task of designers and coders. However, today there’s many great options to do it yourself.

Wix is known for being easy to get started with and offers a series of questions before automatically creating a site for you with a host of different templates to choose from. WordPress.com is another place with great templates and lots of features. If you are a creative professional or more design conscious, Squarespace might be the right place for you.

Wix and WordPress offer free versions however eventually you’ll probably need to upgrade to a paid plan. Make sure you choose a solution that meets the needs of your business today, but can also grow with your business.

Get found!

So you’ve just made your website live and are eager to welcome visitors. Before you invest money in marketing and advertising, make sure you optimise your site for search engine optimisation (SEO).

Social media might also be a great option to get found! Research which social platforms your customers are using most and try posting social content regularly. Check out some free tools like Buffer and HootSuite, not only do they help with managing your social workflow, but they also offer great advice on how you can grow your business with social media.

Paying for advertising through Google AdWords or buying ads on Twitter or Facebook, are good for when you’ve ironed out the kinks and have processes in place. Make sure you’ve done your homework organically with SEO and Social before you add the layer of paid media.

Consider, consider, consider

Bringing all of the above together, the best advice I can give businesses is to make sure you are in tune with your customers and invest in areas which will bring you the most value in the long term.

Ask yourself questions throughout the whole process; bring your fellow colleagues into the fold and don’t underestimate the value of outside perspectives – from an expert, mentors, or your business partners. It comes down to balancing the needs of the business today and where your business needs to be in the future.

Mou Mukherjee is head of marketing at .Cloud.

Further reading on digital building blocks

Nominations are now open for the British Small Business Awards, the leading event celebrating the brightest stars in the SME sector. Click here to enter, and make sure you get involved today using the hashtag #BSBAwards. Good luck!

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