Gone are the days when a start-up business had to find the funds for a physical store to get trading. Today, a successful business is only a matter of clicks away because it’s easier than ever to build, design and manage an online store (also known as an e-commerce website). Customers expect a business to have a website and there aren’t many industries where an e-commerce website isn’t crucial to a brand’s success. Managing an online business is not an easy route by any means (in many ways, it’s even more challenging given the constantly shifting landscape of digital marketing), but here are the first things you need to start an online business.

7 Steps for How to Start a Digital Business

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1. Get the Right Computer and Operating System

You may already have a laptop or computer at home, but even if you do, it may be worth considering investing in a separate one for your business. It will make the organization of your business documents and data easier. You may also need a system with more sophisticated functionality and higher processing speed to ensure you can run your business as efficiently as possible. Your choice of operating system will probably come down to what you are most familiar with and your budget, but the two most popular are Apple and Microsoft. If the technology and operating system you choose is new to you, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice or find out more here for technical help with Microsoft, for example.

2. Choose a Website Host, Domain Name & Design

When choosing a website host, your priority will be to make sure that it supports e- commerce, such as it has a shopping cart and checkout functionality. The design of your website is critical as it needs not only to look good but also easy to use, so it encourages visitors to buy your products. If you’re happy with the DIY approach, you can have a go at designing it yourself to save money, but a professional designer is best for complex design work. There are several companies which enable you to build an e- commerce website and will help you to the best solution for your business’ needs. The domain name is what you will call your website and, ideally, will be something very similar to your business’ name. You don’t have completely free choice in this area as your ideal domain may already be in use.

3. Get Your SSL Certificate

The website needs to be secure so that a customer needs to know that they’re not putting their personal and financial information at risk when they enter it on your website. Getting your SSL certificate will show potential customers that you’re a trustworthy business and search engines like Google will regard your site as a better-quality website which is good for your SEO. Some web hosting plans include a free SSL certificate as part of the cost.

4. Get a Merchant Bank Account

6. Write Persuasive Sales Copy

You’ll need to open a merchant (business) bank account so customer payments can be processed. There will be a fee for each transaction, and there may be other setup costs to consider.

5. Use High-Quality Images

A series of stunning images of your product will be a significant contributing factor to someone’s decision to purchase. A professional photographer will be able to deliver the best results and will know all the tricks of lighting and angles to show off your products to their best advantage.
Using the right words and the vital product information to persuade a reader to make a purchase isn’t easy. It’s often a balancing act and, if writing is not your strength, you may want to hire a professional copywriter.

7. Use Digital Tools to Promote Your Website

You could have the best product in the world on the most beautiful and intuitive website, but if customers don’t find it, you’re in trouble. This is where digital marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) come in and, although it’s a vast topic, here is a brief summary of some of the tactics you can try.

Pay-per-click or PPC advertising is buying adverts which show on search engine results pages. You only pay a fee for the ad when someone clicks on it to visit your site.

Content marketing is the creation of blogs, articles, and posts which engage your audience, build trust and improve the SEO ranking of your website.
Social media marketing is establishing a presence on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to build rapport with potential customers.

Affiliate marketing is partnering with bloggers and other content creators; they promote your products in exchange for some of the profit when their promotion results in a transaction.
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