COVID-19 has put a lot of companies, big and small, out of business. The lockdowns across the world have forced people to stay indoors, and for a lot of offline businesses, this meant that footfall across their shops has gone down. Obviously, this also completely shut a lot of businesses.
The pandemic has been especially bad for small and medium-sized businesses. These companies usually work with limited capital and don’t have enough liquidity to stay afloat without business for long durations. However, some businesses have managed to not just survive but grow and expand. Most of these success stories have been fueled by doing business in the digital marketplace.
A lot of people have also started small-scale, home-based businesses to make up for lost incomes. And even here, the businesses that have done the best are businesses that have gone online and leveraged the online markets.
So, if you have a home-based business, it makes sense to take it online and open it up for a larger and wider audience. Being online gives you access to a much bigger market and can help your business grow. Additionally, with people staying indoors, the majority of transactions have moved to the internet, and more people are shopping online today than ever before.
With that in the background, this article aims to help you understand the nitty-gritty of how to digitise your home-based business – what to do, and what not to.
A domain name is essentially the address of your website. For example, ‘yourwebsite.com’ is your domain name. It is also the first introduction of your brand to your potential customers. So, make sure that your domain name conveys what you do, or who you are. There are — this is an oversimplification, of course — two routes here. You can either choose a domain name that is very creative and ‘out-there’ or choose a straightforward name that covers the basics.
Your website, like your business itself, has to ‘reside’ somewhere. Web hosting companies do this for you. Web hosting companies have web servers on which your website data is stored, and when someone accesses your website, it is these servers that will cater to those requests.
Partnering with a good web hosting company is crucial, to say the least. You want your web hosting company to offer secure, fast, and reliable hosting. Cyberattacks are on the rise, people don’t like slow websites, and if your website crashes often and isn’t reliable, it’ll hurt your SEO rankings and search engines won’t show your website. So, it’s very important that you choose a reputed hosting company that has a proven history of providing great hosting services.
Before you go ahead and create your website, think of what you want it to do. Do you want a simple website that just allows people to know who you are? Or do you want people to purchase something off your website? Or are you looking to have a comprehensive digital presence with lots of content on your website and regular blog and video uploads?
These are questions that you will have to answer because these answers will ultimately dictate what your website looks like and what hosting plans you will need.
A hosting plan is a bit like a Netflix subscription. Your web hosting company provides the hosting service and you pay a monthly (can be yearly or quarterly too) fee to them. There are different types of hosting platforms through which a website can be hosted. Shared Hosting, VPS Hosting, and Dedicated Hosting are some of the popular methods.
Prices and features vary. However, here’s a word of advice: If you’re going to do very little with your website and you’re looking at a very simple design and low traffic, Shared Hosting is more than enough. A business website with plenty of financial transactions will need a VPS Hosting plan. You don’t have to worry about Dedicated Hosting for now.
Do your homework, understand your website needs and different hosting types before selecting a plan.
Building or designing a website has become very easy over the years. If you know how to work a computer, you can probably build your website. There are hundreds of tools that offer thousands of templates. You just pick a template and fill in the details — it’s that simple.
However, if you don’t want an existing template, or if you want to make a lot of changes to an existing template, you should be hiring a web developer or a web designer. They are professionals who will help you with building your website exactly the way you have envisioned.
Once your website is up and running, ensure that you tell as many people about it as possible. Inform all your offline customers about your website and request them to pass on the information too.
It’s also important to understand that your business is now an online business, meaning there are a few different rules that you need to know. First off, higher traffic leads to better business. So, try to drive as much traffic as you can.
Upload helpful blogs about your industry, make video tutorials if that’s more to your taste — the possibilities are truly endless here. You can take help of online advertising to market your brand and products.
Create social media accounts for your business and be active there. Social media marketing is a good way to drive traffic to your website. The more traffic you get, the better your sales will get. It’s really that straightforward.
Taking your business online might seem daunting, but the online community is quite helpful, and you’ll see that people are willing to help. What’s more, going online will enable you to expand your business. So, it’s worth the effort.
Finally, as already mentioned, choosing a great web hosting company is crucial. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of companies that offer hosting services, and there are a lot of ridiculously low-cost plans. It’s usually best to avoid such free or cheap web hosting plans. Instead, choose an established web hosting company that has been in the game for long, and have a lot of customer testimonials to back it.
We at BitCap offer feature-packed and affordable web hosting solutions. Our cloud hosting lay the perfect foundation to help you start your online journey. With Plesk or DirectAdmin Control Panel, free SSL, large bandwidth, no dowtime and quick upgrades, one-click installations, SSH access, and 24×7 dedicated expert support, all our Hosting plans have the capacity to provide fast, secure, and reliable hosting.
Once you’ve got that covered, it’s time to take your business online and establish yourself as a strong online business!