Although I still have a long way to go (in truth I will always have a list of
more stuff to do) I've made a good start and by all accounts done quite well
considering my limited resources. I have found that there are a great deal of
free or very cheap resources you can utilise for building and promoting a
business online and this is what I shall be passing on through this series.
My desire was to create a place on the internet people could go and shop with
peace of mind knowing that they would be getting great service, great prices
etc. My focus is always on developing good relationships with my customers and I
believe this psychology actually affects my attitude to how I run my business as
I am constantly looking for ways to better serve my customers needs rather than
trying to figure out how to make more profit. I can honestly tell you that I
rarely think about building my business in terms of profits, rather I try to
identify ways to improve products and services to give current customers more
bang for their buck and attract new clients.
As to whether what you wish to do would be suited to having your business online
this is a trick question really because I can honestly say that it doesn't
matter what you do, you should definitely have a website for it ! If you have
any doubts about whether its worth spending time and money getting your business
online just do a Google search on 'keyword research' and use one of the tools
there (Nichebot is a good one) to check for a likely keyword/s that represents
your business and look at what's in the count column to see how many people have
used that word or words in the last 60 days. Then it's up to you as to whether
you would like these people coming to your site as an additional source of
revenue or whether you're happy to let them go to your competition.
Registering your business & domain name:- Your business name and domain name -
You obviously need to decide on a business name and may have already done so but
what may not be so obvious is taking into consideration your websites domain
name BEFORE you choose a name for your business. Basically a domain name is what
you call your website so for example the domain name for my website is cartridge
specialists ending with .com and generally speaking you would have your domain
name ending with either .com or .net making you subject to the laws of domain
name registration as explained below.
If you are going to register a website there are some rules you need to know
about. "The domain name you order should have either be an exact match, acronym
or abbreviation of the supplied business registration, or it should bear a close
and substantial connection to the domain name", so before you rush out and
register that really cool business name you've just thought of its worth your
while checking first to see if the domain name has been taken or not.
You don't have to register your domain name ending as above, you can choose to
register an international domain name such as .com or even use the name or a
place or person instead of an Australian domain or in addition to. In fact this
can be a smart thing to do if you're looking for as many ways as possible to
protect the name of your business or something you're selling.
Choosing & registering a domain name - To choose a domain name you need to go to
somewhere like Netregistry to see what's available and as I mentioned above
you'll want to do this at the same time if not before registering the name for
your business. There are quite a few places you can go to for checking whether
the domain name you've chosen is available or not. The one I used is the one
mentioned above but you don't have to use them there are plenty of others. Its
worth shopping around though as the prices vary quite a bit and it makes no
difference at all who you register your domain name through as they all have to
access their data from the same place meaning as soon as you register your
domain no one else can get it even if they go to a different site to the one you
Using your top keywords in your domain name - If possible you should have the
main keyword/s for your business in your domain name as it helps quite a bit
with promoting your website online and getting lots of people to come to it.
Keywords are something we'll be covering later in much more depth but they are
the words people use when they search for information on the internet using the
search engines (you've heard of Google right ?). Whatever business you're in
start thinking about the likely words people are going to use to find you on the
internet. For example for my business 'ink, toner & cartridges' are the 3 top
keywords people use in my industry when doing searches in google, yahoo etc.
Register for more than 1 year - When you register your domain name you should do
so for at least 2 years as it will help you promote your website to the search
engines and it's not expensive at all really.
Sole trader, partnership or company? - This is very straightforward and is
simply a matter of going to the government dept in your state that handles the
registration of business names and companies. I'm not an accountant so I'm not
going to go too much into which type you should use except to say that you
should not choose one of these on the basis of wanting to protect your business
name, logo or something the business sells that you've invented. Trademark and
patents are designed for this and there are lawyers you should consult who
specialise in setting them up.
Expired domains - I'll go into this more later on but thought I'd give you a
little taste of it now. Now that you know a little about domain name what do you
imagine happens to the ones that people decide not to reregister each year or 2
years ? Well they go back into the pool and become available for the next person
to grab but until someone else registers that domain again what about all the
people (otherwise know as 'traffic') who are still trying to find that site ?
That's right expired domains can be a great way to get traffic to your new site
immediately for a very low cost and you can replicate this as many times as you
want even if you only register an expired domain for a year it can be a very
worthwhile exercise !! More about this later. cartridges.