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Ready to Move Your Business Online? Here’s How to Start

April 11, 2016 Website Help
Almost all of the young people in Singapore use the internet every single day. They shop, learn, laugh, and coordinate all from behind some size of screen. When they’re looking online for the thing you do, it goes without saying that you should be there for them, otherwise, you’re missing out on countless potential customers. But moving your business online means you’re entering an entirely new marketplace, and to do that right you need to be informed. Here are the 2 major things you need to consider when beginning your online journey:
  • How to get a domain that shows who you are and what you do
  • How to design and launch a website that both personifies your brand and creates tangible business advantage
Let’s dive into what it takes to create a good domain name.

Choosing a Domain Name

Your domain is your online identity. Here’s what to remember:
  1. Keep it simple and short
  2. Make it easy to type
  3. Don’t make the spelling unusual for the audiences native language
  4. Use keywords that the searcher is likely to use when looking for you if you can
  5. Choose a location specific descriptor if you operate in a closed, smaller area
  6. Think about if it is worth venturing away from the classic “.com” or if that would hurt your traffic. This should be based off your geographic location statistics. We find or .sg are good extensions if you’re targeting only those in Singapore.
Ideally, what you want is for people who have never been to your website to be able to guess what it is based on conventional internet practices. This is because you want to be able to capture the most potential traffic to your site possible. If you hear a brand name, you should be able to search that name and find the site quickly. Otherwise, those searchers go to your competitors. For example, if you heard you friend was just getting into the realty business, you’d probably assume her new website would be “her name + realty + .com”. If that is indeed what she decided to call her domain, you’d find her site in mere seconds. Now that you’ve got these tips, the road to getting your perfect domain name should be a bit clearer. Just write down the all the potential names that come to mind, narrow down your list, then check out the availability of your potential site names here.

Getting your domain registered

After you’ve made your decision, an accredited organization that deals with domain names can help you out. To get the name, you’ll need to register it for a set period of time. The minimum is generally one year, but many choose to register for 2 or more for better prices. The actual price of the domain depends on the internet market price, its projected popularity, and it’s ending extension (.com, .sg, .net, etc.). This price is generally around $1 USD a month. If it is already owned, you may have to pay significantly higher for it – sometimes thousands a year. After you’ve worked out these specifics with your hosting provider, it’s finally time for the fun stuff.

Planning your website

Now that you’ve got your blank canvas to work on, how do you know what to do with it? Let’s start with the basics. How will you use this site?
  • To sell
  • To inform
  • To generate sales leads
  • To promote
This is what the majority of sites on the internet are intended to do. To figure out where you fit in here ask yourself these questions:
  1. What is the objective for my website?
  2. Who is supposed to see this website?
  3. Where is my target audience located?
  4. How do I want my visitors to describe the feel of my website?
  5. How much information should be located on my website?
  6. What do I like from what my competitors are doing with their sites?
After you’ve gotten these answer sorted out, you should feel more prepared for the web design stage.

How to decide on your web design strategy

There are generally three options when it comes to launching your website.
  1. Using a free website template or free website builder
Outside of registering a domain name, this is a common option that is made easy and free from places like WordPress. But remember, when you opt for the free web design you should always know that this is the basic of the basic. There are not many free template options, the bandwidth offered here cannot handle many visitors, and there is limited space for uploading images/pictures. So this may work for a one-man-show, but all others will need a paid hosting plan of some sort.
  1. Paying for a high-end pre-designed template and customization
Outside of the free templates, there are always options to pay for the more refined templates a designer has put up for auction. You can also find these same templates on website builders. Here, you have the option to capture a beautiful website but must pay a one-time fee anywhere from $0-500. What this website is capable of is dependent on the way you decide to host it, but more on that later.
  1. Pay a designer(s) to build your dream site
This is the option companies take when they need a purely original design that can do something no other site does. This costs anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000. Unless you have a hookup that can get you a great deal, then this might not be worth it at the beginning. And again, what to remember here is that the hosting option you take directs the capabilities of the site.

What about hosting?

Like we mentioned above, a free hosting plan can work for a one-man show with only a few visitors a month. But if you need your website to function as a professional business site you need to know which hosting option is best for you. Here are the two most common hosting plans-
  • Standard shared hosting plans – usually under $20 a month
Perfect for the small business, this gives you everything a basic website will need and more. If you’re running an ecommerce site, there will be separate hosting packages to accompany the traffic and transactions that your website will likely experience.
  • VPS business hosting plans – usually under $500 a month
The VPS hosting plan allows for a more powerful package to be offered to a heavier and more traffic-heavy website. With more storage space for images and videos, you can let your website be a visual storytelling masterpiece. This is generally intended for medium to large sized businesses. If you’re interested in seeing exactly what these plans entail, take a look here.

What else should I do with my website?

We’ve just barely hit the tip of the iceberg to getting a killer website. But if you’re interested in going outside the basics we’ve outlined in this article, you can look into things like SEO, content creation, social media, PPC, conversion optimization, and so many more online strategies. We’ll be talking more about some of these strategies in the future. Stay tuned.  
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