Online Essentials for the Budget-Conscious Entrepreneur

By now, you should already know that you’ve first got to establish your online presence. The internet is where all your potential customers are. Don’t be caught without these Internet essentials to help you propel your business into success.

Domain and Hosting

You want to start by getting your own hosting service, or at least get your own domain. There are plenty of sites out there that offer both these services. A web host provides you with the storage space you need for your site. This includes pictures, content, video, and pretty much everything else.

There are three types of web hosting services: shared, VPS or virtual private servers, and dedicated hosting. The last two are a bit expensive although they provide way more flexibility. Having said this, flexibility is the last thing you want, especially if you’re just starting out.

One Google search will reveal hundreds of hosting services. WordPress, Google Sites, Angel Fire, and Webs are among the most popular. These sites even offer free web hosting, which is good. However, the features are limited, and your site may have ads on it. If you don’t have the money to secure a web hosting service, you can just sign up for a domain, but do make sure you sign up for a hosting service the moment you have the means.

SEO and Social Media

There’s no sense in building a website if people don’t get to see it. This is where search engine optimization or SEO comes in. Whenever you look up stuff on the net using search engines, you’ll notice that you’re more likely to click on the first few sites that come up on the results page. This is the main principle behind SEO. Search engine optimization is the process of increasing the chances of your site showing up on those results page every time users run a search on a specific keyword, thus,  increasing the chances of your site getting visited.

Over the past years, SEO has acquired a nasty reputation because so-called Internet marketing companies and experts started charging small businesses big bucks for this service. However, search engines have become smarter and old-school practices no longer worked. This led to hundreds of frustrated business owners losing money.

The good news is, there are a few companies that provide quality SEO. In fact, you can do your very own SEO for your site. SEO moz even has an entire series on how you can make your website more search-engine friendly.

Going Beyond the Internet

While the Internet is an important part of your marketing strategy, you also don’t want to neglect the other aspects of your business. One crucial aspect is your communication system. Email and chat does a great job in letting you reach out to your market. However, you should not rely solely on these tools.

If you want to be taken seriously by your clients, you have to give them the impression that you are worth their business. An easy way to do this is to have a centralized phone system which not only allows you to take client calls, but also communicate efficiently with your team.

One way to do this is to set up a telephone system on your office. Another way of doing this is by signing up with a VoIP service provider. VoIP companies like Ring Central provides for a fraction of the cost of a regular land line. It’s a great way to give your start-up a professional touch.