Consumers are moving online. Many businesses that used to serve their local communities now make more money with online sales than they ever did with local sales. Fortunately, bringing a business online is far simpler than it was in the past, and businesses have tools they can use to get up and running quickly. Here are the basic steps to follow.
Domain and Hosting
Hosting a website is relatively cheap these days. Most hosting plans offer monthly rates that will rank among the company's cheapest expenses, and there are a number of discounts available to reduce this cost. Further, registering a domain only costs between $10 and $15. Companies should spend time to find the best name available; in particular, companies should take time to find a name that ends in a .com instead of one of the other top-level domains.
Install eCommerce Software
In the past, companies had to write their own code for their online storefronts. Today, there are a number of commercial and open source options that give businesses a great development platform to expand on. Businesses can go through and pick the best theme available. Further, it is crucial to have an effective logo, so companies are encouraged to find a graphic designer if they do not have a logo ready. The design of this storefront is crucial for attract customers and keeping their attention. Expert help may be a great option to ensure that the storefront appears professional and impresses visitors.
Online storefronts must be able to process credit cards; customers will not feel comfortable sending checks. PayPal is the most popular payment portal, and its interface allows customers to pay with credit cards. Some, however, prefer to also set up a dedicated credit card processor to allow their customers to enter their credit card information through the storefront instead of having to go through PayPal's portal. Acceptance by a credit card processor is not guaranteed, but the process of applying takes little time, and it can help make the website seem more professional.
Businesses of all sizes should start a Facebook page if they do not have one, and a Twitter account can help as well. These platforms are a great place to interact with customers and list promotional offers, and customers may share their experiences with their friends and attract new customers to the storefront. Another tactic that has served businesses well is to use pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. Companies only pay when users click on an ad, and most online businesses find these platforms to be profitable. Small-scale ads can be tested, so businesses will not have to pay a large up-front fee to try them.