How to Get Online

Options for Creating an Online Presence

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 used 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.

Domain Forwarding

Setting your domain name to redirect to your social media business page, an e-commerce site or an online directory listing.

With more and more people using social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, and e-commerce sites like amazon.com, etsy.com and ebay.com, redirecting your domain name 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.

Branded Email

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 yourname@yourcompany.com bodes well - 74 percent of consumers surveyed said they would trust a company-branded email address more so than a free email address.1

Company Website

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, 92 percent of consumers said they would prefer to get information from a business’ website instead of their social media page.1

And in that same survey:

  • 88 percent of small business owners agree a website has made it easier for customers to find their business.1
  • 97 percent would recommend having a website to other small businesses.1
  • 84 percent say their website is important or critical to their business.1

And contrary to popular belief, creating a website can be simple, relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain.

Eventually, it is recommended that 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.

1 Verisign. 5 Reasons Every Small Business Needs a Website.

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