Top 10 steps to get your business online

Avoid the many mistakes others have done early on when starting their business. You should do these top 10 steps to get your business online before you move one more step into your business.  It is critical that in today's business climate that you have a online presence. If you are selling flowers, baking cakes, sewing, producing jet engines or the next best high tech toy you must provide people a channel to reach you.  The digital channel through the internet is the most cost effective way to allow people to get to your business.

You must brand your business in the digital world from day one.  You can alter your message as you go along but the core branding pieces must be in place.  The number one component of your online brand is your business name.  You want to be able to carry your business name online, however, your brand may already be in use online somewhere else in the world.

Step 1. Find a name for your website

A domain name is the name for your website as well as the text used after the @ in your new business email address (ie. bob @ This is be a big part of your online presence. Lots of times you would want the domain name to be the name of your company, however, many names are already taken by other businesses.  Before choosing your business name, I would suggest that you look for the name of your business by searching for a domain name which will suit your needs first.

There are many services available online to search for available domain names.  is one of those such services.  You can search through them and purchase your domain name right from there.  You can do this before you have any things online including your business website.  You see, you use the domain name to point to where your website is.  As well you use your domain name registrar's tools (like to direct your email to your email provider.

You may also want to take note of the other services your registrar provides, which often includes website hosting and email hosting.

Step 2. Find an Email provider

Like all things in this online world today there are many email providers available with a lot of options.  Take your time to look around to find the one that suits your needs.  Again, quite often your registrar can provide these services for you but they are not always the best solution. On good services is Google mail for business which has a nominal fee for the functionality being provided and comes with some support.  I would suggest that some caution be used with some free (usually advertising supported) services.  Along with the services being offered I would also try to get a look at their support documentation as you will still need a little assistance setting up your mail client software on your computer.

Email client software such as outlook, apple mail, entourage, etc. would then be set-up to connect to your email service, through some account details provided by your service. However, before the mail will flow nicely, you would have to make some changes to your Domain setup with details provided by your email provider.  One of the things you will have to change is what is called your MX record (or mail exchange record).  You will have to point this MX record to your email provider's servers.

Step 3. Create your Brand Identity

The first thing you will want to do is create some kind of logo for your business.  This will carry the rest of your image and message further when you complete all the other steps to get your business online.  You will also want to source some other images and content which you would like to present to your potential customers.  Be warned this is a big and important step out of all the steps and needs careful consideration.

To help with the actual design of your branding including your logo you can of course follow traditional paths and to locate a designer and work with them for some designs.  Usually this results in 3 choices and a rather significant bill. There are some alternatives available today which allow you to leverage the masses of designers available worldwide for a nominal fee. One such offering can be found at  which boasts over 70,000 designers in their crowd waiting to work on your design project.

With the 99Designs you start by holding a contest. You provide all the details such as slogans and text you would like along with colour preferences, etc... and then the contest starts and designers start creating designs for you based on the project profile you created.  There are many options and packages available to select and soon you will have the branding logo you want.  This can also be done for other design projects you may have. One big tip is to guarantee your contest which means your payment will be based from what is produced and this seems to bring out more designers to your contest.

Step 4. Build your website

Now that you have your branding elements and some content you can start to determine what message you want to go out through your website.  You will have to look for a website hosting company to host your website and today there are also lots of website services available.  The services typically have do it yourself templates which will allow you to drag and drop content elements onto the page.  These sites can get you up and running quickly.

Another good option available is to contact a website development company to create a site for you and provide ongoing support. If you have someone create your site you will want to determine if they provide you tools to update the content or if they do the changes for your.  Some development companies will charge for changes after a set amount have been used.

Your goal should be to push all your potential customers to your website so you will want to make sure there are some clear channels for next steps such as contacting your or purchasing directly from your website.  Once your site is launched and the public can see it don't forget to tell everyone.  There are many ways to do this as you will see in the following steps.

Step 5. LinkedIn Company page

If you are not on linkedin you should create an account today. Linked in is the biggest social network focused on business in the world.  Like other social networks you will want to make connections with business people you know, meet and some you just read about.  The power of networks is that it is easy to get your message out and have your network continue to spread your message.  

A  LinkedIn company page is another place you can build an audience around to get your message out.  Like building a website you can use your branding collateral to fill the company webpage.  You will also want to generate a LinkedIn follow button which you should place on your website.  When someone follows you their network of connections see that they are following you and will have the chance to investigate further.  This can really help get the word out that you are in business.

Step 6. Time to Twitter

You will want to create a twitter account for your business which you can us to start to build a following.  Again like other social networks they goal is to acquire followers through good content publishing.  A large following can really help get your message out.  Also being active on Twitter following other relevant Twitter feeds your company can be the one associated with bring all this good content together for your customers and potential customers.

You can create you Twitter profile using some of your branding elements as well to carry your brand further.  Always tweet useful information which your audience will be interested in and link back to your website with more detailed content material.

Step 7. Facebook Product Page

Hopefully you have been on facebook but if not, it is another must have account.  If you have a personal account you may want to make a separate business only account to separate the building of your followers. Or better yet you can simply build a Facebook Product page while signed in to your current facebook account.  Again, include your branding and content to draw attention to the page and your business.

Similar to all social networks and as highlight above with LinkedIn you can create a Like button for your Facebook product page and put it onto your website.

Step 8. Google Analytics

The Google Analytics step could be done just after your website is build in step 4 but now is a good time as most likely you will not have had a ton of traffic to your website yet. You sign up to Google Analytics for a free account which enables you to generate some codes which you put onto your website pages.  This code then tracks and records all the traffic to your site.  You will be able to see a treasure of information about the people coming to your site including where they are coming from and what they are looking at. 

You will want to keep a regular eye on this account as you build traffic to your site. Don't be discouraged at first when you may find no one is coming to your website as this is how all websites start.  You need to build your traffic through content on social media, online advertising, email newsletters, and of course all the many other things you will learn about to send traffic your way.  The king of traffic building is still great content, so do your best for your audience and they will tell others. You will know what is great through your Google analytics account.

Step 9. Find a Newsletter provider

Newsletters are still one of the best ways to get news out to your customers and potential customers.  You use a newsletter provider to build lists/groups of contacts to send regular communications to. Again there are many services in this space with paid a free services.  On good free service (also premium options) is which provides robust functionality to manage and monitor your newsletter campaigns. 

You may be tempted to send emails from your regular email account using the BCC (blind carbon copy) and this can be good for very small groups but it won't give you the statistics you need to know if your audience is opening and reading your content.  Also, with a provider like this they can take care of making sure that your email message gets out and and without you eventually being blocked by some spam blocker.

About spamming, don't do it! There are lots of laws about spamming coming into force around the world and you will want to take a look at some of them but basically you don't want to send unsolicited email to people. You want to get them to sign-up to your great content.  MailChimp provides the tools to enable easy signup.

Step 10. Build your Schedule

Once all the previous steps have been done and all your great stuff is setup and ready to go your work isn't done it is just beginning.  Okay, we all know we are busy working on our business and getting your message out is part of that work.  You will need to setup a schedule which has regular checking of all your online properties, adding fantastic content which people will follow and analysing what is working and what is not.


There are many other online tools to use and many more procedures to follow to get your message out and measure your responses but these 10 Steps to get your business online are a great start. Check back here often for other articles to help you along and point out new tools and strategies to help your business.

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