Hey! We’re going to look at the first step to going digital: staking your claim online.

Let’s take a look at all the options for launching your business online, step by step. We’ll cover:

  • local listings
  • social media and video
  • websites and mobile apps.

You’ve got lots of options for building a digital presence, including things like local listings, websites, mobile apps and social media.

If you get these basics right, it could make a world of difference. These days, it’s easy for anyone to make a home online.

But while a website might be the first thing that comes to mind, you don’t necessarily need to start there.

Let’s say you’re a hairdresser for example, your first step to finding customers online, and being found online, might be to list your shop in local online directories like Google My Business.

Then when someone searches Google for hairdressers in your area, you’ll appear in the results — no website required! You could also start a Facebook page to give potential customers a glimpse into your business and what you can do – like photos or videos of some happy customers with great hairstyles that you’ve created.

If this is all a bit much, don’t worry. We’ve got loads of info here to help you explore social media in more detail.  There’s a lot you can do without a website, but at some point, you might want to build a home of your own on the web (your own website), a one-stop-shop where your customers can find everything they need to know about you online.

Great, let’s get going!

The most important thing as you start to plan your site, is to think about what you want people to do there. For example:
Do you want them to call you? If so, include your phone number prominently on every page.
Perhaps you want them to find your physical shop? Well, include a map and driving directions.
Maybe you want them to make appointments online? That’s a feature you can build in.
Or lastly, you might want them to actually buy products from you online— by placing an order or submitting a payment. That’s called e-commerce, and there are a range of options—from simple to more complex—that we’ll discuss in more detail in other posts.

Websites aren’t the only online homes anymore. These days many businesses create mobile apps for customers which they can keep on their smartphones or tablets.

Apps open up all kinds of digital doors – for example, you can create loyalty programs or automatically send reminders about upcoming appointments.

Right, to be clear: If you want people to find you on the web, you need to stake your claim online.

That can be a listing in a local business directory, a presence on social media sites, a simple website or one with e-commerce, a mobile app—or all of the above.

Whatever you choose, this is the place where people find you, get to know you, and hopefully become your customers.

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