It took some time for the businesses to acknowledge the value of the internet as their playing ground. Still, when that change occurred, the entire business landscape started the slow, but inevitable, migration to the virtual environment. It really makes sense, though. The costs are lower, the marketing is easier, and although online businesses have their share of drawbacks, everything seems so much more convenient and simpler. So, if you were considering jumping on the bandwagon, and moving your business online, we say go for it. The sooner you do that, the better. Here are a few tips that will help you along the way.
Decide the Purpose of Your Website
If you want to have a clear, efficient, and presentable website, you will first have to decide on its basic purpose. This may sound a little bit redundant, but there is a huge difference between having an online store and the online store being a small part of your business, most notably in the software you are going to use. So, let us look what are your most common options:
Ecommerce. If ecommerce is the primary purpose of your website, you should probably opt for some of the best ranked platforms, such as 3dcart, Volusion, Bigcommerce, and Shopify, but if they are out of your reach, any of the top 10 ecommerce software options for 2015 will serve you fine.
General Purpose Website. If your website, however, will not feature selling in that capacity, your choice pretty much boils to these two options – Joomla!, and WordPess. Both of these platforms feature plug-in support (you will be able to add a store if you want one), and the main difference between them is that WordPress is, in its core, designed as a blog.
Find a Web Host
Once you find a way to build a website, you will also have to find a place where to store it, and make available to visitors. Your choice will be limited by the software you have chosen, speed, and the number of visitors you are expecting. If you are a small-business owner, choosing a host that will offer you cheaper and more limited option, with the possibility of upgrade as your business grows, seems like the best possible solution. Also, aim to find a host which will gave you the best possible support for the money spent.
Establish the Payment System
Security of financial transactions has been one of the most prominent concerns ever since ecommerce’s infant years, and it remained so until today. It should be mentioned, though, that many of these concerns have become unjustified, which does not change the fact that they can hurt your business. Therefore, you should establish some fail-proof paying system like Escrow, which will assure your clients that you are a reliable partner. In that case, the transferred money would be temporarily stored on some third party’s account until both you and your client confirm that all terms you have agreed on are fulfilled.
Move to Clou
If you want to move your business online, you should be aware that your on-site infrastructure is probably not up to the task. Being online means that your doors are opened 24/7, so you will have to heavily rely on telecommuting, outsourcing, quick exchange of documents, and constantly opened communication channels. All of this is simply not possible if your employees have to travel to their workplaces in order to complete even the simplest tasks. That is why you should move the most important parts of your company’s infrastructure, if not entire infrastructure, to Cloud and allow more fluid operations.
To sum it all up, the real question is not if you should make some space for your business online, it is not even when, because if you do not do it now, your competition will do it instead of you. The real question is only how. We hope that these few tips will give you some general direction and help your business find its foothold in the virtual environment.