How To Start an Online Business 2020
So many of us will be starting the new decade with great big plans and ambitions to start an online business.
In this article we’re going to walk you through the initial setup of most online businesses, and show you how to make the most of your budget and time.
I’ll be referring to our digital checklist a lot in this article, so go ahead and grab yours and we’ll jump right in!
One of the most important aspects of building an online business is to have your tech in order. We’d recommend:
1. A web presence through your own website
2. Social Media presence on a couple of platforms
3. Regular content posted on both of the above
4. An email provider and an email list
Step 1 - A web presence
Small businesses seldom have the budget for an amazing website, and sometimes when going for something cheap, you get what you pay for.
As hard as it may seem, we truly believe that you can build a website yourself fairly easily. We also recommend this for a couple of different reasons;
1. You won’t be tied to a developer waiting for them to update it every time you want to make a change
2. It’s way cheaper
3. You can always outsource it later
4. In the first 12-24 months of business, businesses evolve very rapidly, meaning that you will probably want to make frequent changes, and the cost of these can add up
5. By creating it yourself, you’ll have a great understanding of how websites work, so that when you do outsource it later, you’ll know enough to be dangerous and not get ripped off!
We know that people often worry about the tech involved, but honestly it does not have to be very complicated. We’d recommend just a few pages to begin with, and remember published, not perfect.
Pages you should include:
– Home Page (keep this simple, with links to your other sections)
– Products or services you offer
– About page (but it shouldn’t be about YOU, it should be all about your ideal client)
– Contact Page
Creating Your Own Small Business Website
We highly recommend WordPress. Don’t get scared – you can make it so simply!! We’ve got a WordPress cheat sheet that we put together to help.
You’ll need a domain name, hosting and a theme.
For hosting we highly recommend SiteGround, I’ve had a few hosting providers and they are so good at customer support. There are loads of things that I know I could do to my websites, but they are very quick so I just ask them to do some of the trickier stuff!!
Whichever theme you choose for wordpress, you can normally find a ton of documentation to help. Simply google ‘your theme name documentation’.
Step 2 - Social Media presence on a couple of platforms
You probably already have a personal social media presence, but a business one is a must for any new online business.
The key here is consistency – make sure your aesthetics are recognisable across all platforms.
Which platforms should you choose? Well not all of them – when you’re just starting out you need to keep things simple. Work out where your ideal client is on social media and start there.
Oh and don’t just post for the sake of it – this is where a content planner can help massively.
Facebook For Business
If your ideal client is on FaceBook, then that’s where you need to be. You should set up a FaceBook page for your business, and make sure that it’s optimised to include all the details that people need to know about your business.
Instagram For Business
As with FaceBook, your profile needs to be optimised and give people a clear idea of what you do.
Disclaimer: I freaking hate IG. In fact, I’d be happy to literally never use it again!!!
LinkedIn For Business
LinkedIn gets a bad reputation for being stuffy and too ‘professional’. But in all honesty, it’s just like any other platform.
Many entrepreneurs dismiss it, but you should definitely check it out.
Professional copywriter Jo Watson is a bit of a LinkedIn guru and if stuffiness is not your thing, you need to read her blog about it here. LinkedIn Blog.
Step 3 - Regular Content Acr0ss All Platforms
OK, now you’ve got your website and social media platforms sorted, you need to actually put stuff on there.
This is where a content plan will be your best friend. And it’s astonishingly simple;
1. Choose a theme for the month related to your product or service. A great way to start is to take some of your FAQs that you get from your clients or objections that you frequently come across
2. Choose 4 types of posts to create – I like ones like ‘top tips’, engagement, ‘Drop a gif if’, how-tos etc
3. Batch schedule them to your social media platforms, and then choose the meatiest ones to create blogposts or videos for.
Here’s an example for our own business;
January’s monthly theme is SEO in our free FaceBook group. I sat down at the start of the month and created 4 ‘Top Tip Tuesday’ posts and scheduled them out (on Tuesdays, obvs ). Then I chose a few questions and misunderstandings that a lot of our audience often have about SEO. I created 4 posts which answered their questions and provided some value to help them.
I took a couple of these posts and created some blogpost drafts to finish later.
Step 4 - An Email Provider and an Email List
Email continues to be one of the best ways to connect personally with your audience. You can stay on their radar, provide value and help them easily.
To start, you’ll need to choose an email provider. We recommend something you can use easily. There are some free platforms and some paid. We use Flodesk, which we LOVE, and costs us $19 a month. Prior to that, we used MailChimp, but it’s clunky and frustrating. With our new provider, we email more frequently, get better open rates and engage more genuinely because it’s easy.
Step 5 - Overachiever?
These are things that you’ll need to do at some point, but if you’re rocking and rolling then get cracking on these tasks:
1. Install Google Analytics on your website
2. Set up Google My Business
3. Set up Google Search Console
4. Look at Zapier to help automate your content across different platforms
5. Install the FaceBook Pixel on your site
Obviously, these aren’t all the steps forever, but it should give you a starting point.
Good luck in your online business!