The domain name is a very important part of your consideration before you setup your new online shop. Changing the name at a later stage is a lot of work, requires rebranding and additional marketing efforts. Better get this right before you begin. Click here to read our article about domain name.
This is equally important than the domain name. Changing a host does not require any rebranding or marketing but is quite a time consuming task depending on the size of your shop. This will affects your emails and if not done correctly could mean that you lose orders. Therefore go with a hosting company that offers optimized hosting for the online shop system your are planning to use. Click here to look at our special hosting offers for WordPress
There are many shopping systems to choose from with various feature. You should ask yourself the following question before you chose.
- How many products will you have
- Will you be delivering worldwide
- Are they weight and size restriction you need to consider
- Do you need stock keeping
- Do you need export of the data to an external accounting system
We recommand and use Woocommerce for WordPress. Its easy to use, flexible and has countless features. Click here for a up an running online shop. And click here for an example of what you shop could look like.
Setting up an online shop seems easy but there are a few pitfall that you need to be aware of. We have setup several shop systems and are here to help. Just contact us and we have a free chat.
Once you decide to build a website the next question in most cases is which domain names shall we use? There are several things you need to know in order to choose the right one for you.
Domain names overview
The domain name consist of two parts. The first is the name part like google or facebook and then where is the top level domain extension (TLD). That’s the .COM or .ES part after the name. Domain names are registered at an official registrar and cost vary between registrars. The TLD also changes the price. Some specialized TLDs like .BLOG or .DOCTOR cost a lot more then the standard .COM or .ES
Domain names considerations
Lets first look at the name part. That should be as short as possible but if you think you can get a four letter name you will be out of luck. They have already been bought several years ago or are trading at several thousand Euro. As with most things keep it simple and maybe more importantly keep it catchy. Something that people can easily remember. Sometimes its better to have the name a little longer because it easier to remember. A name like costablancarealestate.com is far better then cbre.com. As for the TLD I would always go with .com. Most users know that websites end in .COM and for any international website this is the one to chose. If the site is purely for the UK then a .CO.UK makes also sense. You can purchase both and have them point to the same website. No matter what your client enter they will end up on your website.
Domain name purchase
As already pointed out above the prices for domain names vary and sometimes different registrars offer a sale on specific TLDs or have discounts if you purchase a bundle of names. Shopping around can save you a lot money. We personally use www.namecheap.com they have a simple to use dashboard and are very cheap indeed. There is also www.godaddy.com and www.123-reg.co.uk
Domain name summary
If you still have questions about domain names please do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.
We all know that backup of our data is vital and most of us have (or at least should) have something in place for your local PC or laptop. But what about your website? A solid backup strategy is equally important but not as easy to answer as this is very much depending on your website and hosting. Here are a few backup strategies for various scenarios.
Manual Backup Strategies
If you change your website once a month or less then a manual back will be a sufficient solution. For most CMS like WordPress or Joomla you can get free backup plugins. After you made some changes run the backup and download the compressed file to your local computer. The download is an important step and should not be forgotten. If your server fails the hosting company will set it up again but they will not restore your website. In this worst case scenario your will require your local backup. So don’t forget to download it.
Automated Backup Strategies
If you change your website on a more regular basis or when you have a busy e-commerce site with daily orders you need a daily backup. You could still do that manually each day but that would became very inconvenient very quickly. Many of the free backup plugins that you can use manually offer a paid version that will do automatic daily backups for you. In most cases they also offer an external backup location like Amazon S3, Dropbox, FTP and several other. That has the advantage that the backup is stored for you rather then being placed on the server.
Hosted Backup Strategies
If your website is very large (for example a real estate website with thousand of images) you need a dedicated backup server and a backup managed by your hosting company. They will backup your website in the background onto their internal backup server. If anything fails the hosting company can restore your website very quickly. This services is an extra feature to the normal hosting and you need to check with your hosting company about the cost.
Restoring a backup
Several of the above mentioned backup plugins also offer easy restore procedures. They do require some knowledge like FTP to upload that file to the server. Even if you don’t know how to restore the website the downloaded file will help any IT personal. If disaster ever strikes you just hire somebody and within an hour your website will be back up again
Choosing the right backup strategies is important and we are here to help you. Juts contact us we will be happy to talk to you.
Make your existing customers feel special
It’s a well-known business fact they keeping your existing customers is far less expensive than winning new ones. In fact, there are numbers quoted as high as 6 times as much. Therefore, it may be a big mistake to invest all your time focused on generating new business to the point that you forget about the ‘cash cow’ your ‘low hanging fruit’ your existing customers.
It is also a big mistake to focus only on providing good customer services. Customer Service is dead, now Customer Engagement is the driver for long term business relationships. Engage with prospects and customers, build meaningful relationships, get face to face if possible, listen to them, understand them and provide value for them.
How? There are numerous ways in which you can engage with your existing customers and many of them can be automated so once it’s all set up you do not have to be physically involved, yet the experience you are providing will help towards building a strong and positive emotional state that makes customers feel connected to your business.
Here are a few for you to consider:
- Newsletter, new menus or an invitation sent to a list of your customers every month, personalised to them. Include a special offer but only for those existing customers.
- Put together Monthly tips and ideas on how to use your product or service, how to get more value from what they have purchased. Many food distributors use this concept I have a spice shop sending me monthly recipe ideas, that also require me to purchase a different type of spice.
- Send invites to live events, streaming product demonstrations, webinars or send links to videos to explain a new product or service offering.
- Send out a poll or survey to establish what else you can do for the customer, their likes, dislikes and thoughts. Better still create a poll on Facebook and ask for opinions and ideas. We recently placed a poll on the Facebook page of a well-known fish and chip shop on the Costa Blanca asking about deliveries whilst closed during COVID-19. They had an incredible response and increased follows to the page, as all these people wanted to be kept aware of the outcome.
- Train your team of staff, to actively engage with customers as they enter a shop, restaurant or Bar. Acknowledge, greet them, good old fashioned ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ engages people.
Whatever you decide to do to achieve a level of ‘Customer Engagement’ make sure you maintain your contact or live interaction on a regular basis.
Don’t think your business would benefit from having a website? Don’t think you can afford one? Think a Facebook page will do instead?
Or perhaps you don’t have the time to manage your existing site effectively, and it’s becoming old and outdated?
I truly believe that many business owners today did not go into business to manage a website, they went into business to grow the business, create revenue and profitability and ultimately lead a lifestyle that the businesses profitability allows them to.
Yet they now recognise that successful businesses of today need a professional website that drives business, creates a positive perception, and business opportunities
For many, a professionally developed and promoted website is their main route to market. Now business owners realise that the first action any prospect takes when sourcing or buying is to search the web for a suitable company, restaurant, shop etc that meets their needs.
Here are 10 reasons that demonstrate why every business NEEDS a professional website, no matter what size that business is, what its turnover may be or the type of business it is promoting.
- “Homemade” websites just don’t hack it in today’s competitive marketplace. According to a recent study, 94% of B2B buyers conduct online research, and 81% of Shoppers / Consumers do the same. That means you need your website to properly reflect the high standards and brand of your business, to beat your competitors.
- You never get a second chance to create a fantastic first impression. First impressions count and customers are passing judgment and making decisions about whether they will even use you as a supplier, visit your store, eat at the restaurant or buy in your shop. They’re likely to dismiss your business entirely, should they believe your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business – or a business like yours – should offer.
- SME’s generally perceive websites as a cost and an expensive cost. Yes, subject to the type of website you require the design, development and delivery could prove to be expensive, however for most smaller businesses a website requires a small investment and can pay for itself in no time at all. Website developers recognise SME’s have limited funds and have become more flexible, inventive and creative in charging their fees. Don’t let the competition snatch your customers away because you don’t own a business website, or the one you have is outdated, slow and boring.
- Let’s make it clear, a professionally designed and developed website is an investment, not a COST! A website can give you immediate access to thousands of potential customers and when compared to alternative hard copy routes to market it is a very cost-effective way to promote your business. Yes, your site needs to be found, but with effective SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) it will be found locally, nationally and internationally, should you wish.
- It’s always open! Your website is always accessible and working for your business even when your business is closed. That’s 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, promoting and motivating your customers and prospects to buy what you are offering. If you have an eCommerce shop you could be making money whilst you sleep.
- Customer Service is critical today, so by including a FAQ page, adding articles or additional information on your products and services allows people to find out more about your business. You can also provide access to a newsletter or blog to keep customers aware of events, new products, services and special offers. The customer of today needs to be comfortable in the knowledge that a business with will be there to help them should there be an unforeseen problem.
- Communicating with your customers takes time and time is money. Providing up to date information to your customers takes time, whether it’s on the phone, face-to-face, in a brochure, or in emails. By using online brochures, menus, technical information and catalogues, you can provide lots of information about your products and services that prospects can read at their leisure.
- Most customers today will assume your company has a website and may search for your business only to find you do not exist or at worst it does exist but it’s not professional, is disorganised and looks badly presented. Face it, you need to have a professionally developed website that proactively manages the customer’s perception of your business, if you don’t it’s costing you money, growth and profit.
- Use it locally first before taking on the world. Websites are a very successful route to building business relationships at a local level, which is crucial to the success of so many small businesses. Focusing on your online business means building relationships with customers and potential customers, and turning that online connection into long term business results: loyal, engaged customers who come back time and again.
- Business is about the customer, not you! In the competitive marketplace of today, customers want to interact with suppliers and businesses in a way that suits them, when it suits them and how it suits them. To not be positioned to accept orders by email, text or messaging is costing your business money in the short-term, and long-term customers in the long-term.
After reading the above I hope it’s clear if you don’t have a website you’re missing out on opportunities for customers to identify who you are, what you do, how you conduct business and if they want to spend their money with you.
However, it’s not enough to just have a website – a bad website may be worse than not at all. While no website equals missed opportunities, a bad website can be worse since it literally makes your business and how it operates look bad.
If you have a Facebook page that’s great and even better when it combined and fed through your website. That aside how many Facebook pages do you see where heads are cut off because the images are sized wrongly or not posted regularly or worst no one is clicking or reading your posts.
If you can’t proudly promote the current website you have then shut it down until you can. Same goes for facebook, twitter and Instagram etc.
Last point on owning a website. Many business owners think that once you have a functioning site the job is done, WRONG, you must invest time in keeping your website updated, relevant and easy to find by using the right keywords.
This takes time and is why I recommend outsourcing that activity to a digital specialist who can ensure your website has the best chances of success in all areas
Business owners may not be the best person to design, develop and manage a website. In my opinion business owners should work ‘On their Business and not in their Business’
Like more information or would like to discuss the development of your existing or new site then contact us.