True or False? Having an “online presence” means your company has a website.
Surprisingly to many, the answer is false. “Online presence” simply means the different ways you represent your business on the Web. That’s right – there’s more than one way to create your company’s online identity besides a website. And they range from free to low cost options that require little to no technical expertise.
But before you can employ any option, you’ll need to make an important decision first. The key to creating your own online presence is the domain name. Determining the right domain name that your current and prospective customers can trust is vital – learn more in our article How to Choose a Domain Name.
Once you’ve chosen and registered your domain name, it can be leveraged in one of the three following ways. And these options are not inclusive to one another and can be set up in any order. That’s a great benefit of registering a domain name - it gives you the control to scale your web presence as you grow without the risk of losing customers.
Setting your domain name to redirect to your social media business page, an e-commerce site, or an online directory listing.
With over a billion people using social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, and e-commerce sites like amazon.com, etsy.com and ebay.com, redirecting your domain to your company’s social media or e-commerce site is a great way to initiate an online presence. Best of all, this simple technique requires little to no investment, easy set-up and enables you to see the benefits immediately because of the built-in base of potential customers.
Using your domain name as your company’s email address.
This inexpensive yet effective option is a great way to build your brand and look more professional to the outside world. Using a company branded email address like email@example.com bodes well - 90 percent of consumers surveyed said that they felt more comfortable dealing with a small business using a company branded email than with those using a generic email account like Yahoo or Gmail.
Creating your company website with your domain name.
This option offers the most control of how to market your business and enables more marketing opportunities. In a recent survey of millions of consumers, 56 percent said that they would not trust a business without a website.
And in a poll of small business owners worldwide,
- 72 percent of small business owners choose their company’s site as their primary online presence.
- Four out of five would recommend a website to other companies in their industry.
- Three out of five agree that a website is critical for success.
And contrary to popular belief, creating a website can be simple, relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain.
Eventually, we would recommend you to support all three options in the future, but getting started with at least one is a step in the right direction. Ultimately, the most important outcome is that your company is represented online in the way you want.
Just remember: whether you’re looking to build your brand or bring in more revenue, having an online presence will help you achieve your goal.