You have attended the right business workshops. You have even obtained funding, set up your company, set some goals, and you are ready to get started.
Right away, you want to start a website and blog. After all, inbound marketing, content strategy and all the things that go with it matter. SEO is a big deal, and you need to rank high in Google searches for both your business name and your industry, especially if you offer goods or services via the internet.
Before you even create your first webpage or blog post you need consider a fundamental for every business: location, location, location.
In today’s world, this does not just apply to your physical location. In fact, for many businesses where your company is located physically matters a lot less than your virtual location, and maybe not at all. Your virtual location consists of several things, and there are a few things you should consider about each.
Your Domain Name
Your domain name is the first impression many people have of your business. A free site on WordPress or Blogger isn’t going to cut it: you need your own domain name. The selection of that domain name is your virtual address: your location if you will.
Not all domain names are created equal. You may be tempted to do something clever, or adopt an unusual domain name, but here are some things you should consider first.
Is the Name I Want Available?
As soon as you think you have decided on your domain name, you need to do a search to see if it is even available. You can use a free domain name search tool to see if anyone already owns it, and how much it will cost to get it.
Is my domain name relevant? You can choose your name or the name of your business or a name related to your industry or what you do. Just be sure the name is relevant and relates to what you actually do.
Is My Domain Name Simple?
Your domain name should be simple to say, spell, and type. If you cannot share the name verbally with someone and have them type it into a web browser or search engine without making an error, you should probably consider something else.
Is My Domain Name Unique?
If you have a common name or your business name could be easily confused with another one, especially one belonging to one of your competitors, choose a different one. You don’t want to accidentally send traffic to a competitor or to a site that is not at all related to yours.
Can My Name be Taken the Wrong Way?
When abbreviated, run together, or shortened, can your domain name mean something off color or humorous? No one wants to be known as the abbreviation for the American Ski Society, and American Scrap Metal when run together in americanscrapmetal can be rearranged into a humorous bathroom joke. Show your name to several people to make sure it cannot be misinterpreted.
Your Website Appearance
You can be in the nicest neighborhood around, give people a simple yet specific address, but if they arrive to find a run-down storefront they will probably leave right away. Likewise, if they find a series of neon signs that are extremely hard to navigate before they can even find the door to your site, they will also leave.
Select a good website design or hire someone to create a great site for you. Avoid annoying full page pop up ads, blog posts you must click through several pages to read, or animations and photos that take a long time to load.
Not only do these features annoy users, but they also reduce your Google rankings and may even result in Google penalties.
It is important that your user has a good experience on your site, can navigate it easily, and can find what they are looking for.
It is also important that the colors you choose are aesthetically pleasing, that website branding aligns with your social media branding, and there are not an excessive number of ads on your site.
Your Website Content
It is tempting to just put content on your site that draws traffic even if it is not hyper-relevant to what you do. But if you have a great location, great appearance, but the inside of your site does not match the outside, users will leave to go elsewhere.
Recipes may be a source of website traffic as they are something people often search for. But if you run a toy store or are a real estate agent, that may not matter much to your users. Either they will leave right away, or they will never convert to being your customers even if they do like your cooking.
Every business has some kind of relevant content they can create for their site, and yours is no different. If you have trouble coming up with content ideas, search for your competitor’s websites and blogs and imitate what they are doing with your own spin on it. Alternatively, search Google in your industry and see what people who are interested in your products or services are talking about, and write about that.
Business on the internet is still business, and location still matters. You need to have a specific address in your own domain name, good website appearance or “curb appeal” and the right content inside. Your virtual location matters as much or more than your physical one, and you only get one chance to get it right.