Getting British Business Online!
You might have come across GBBO – an initiative through Google, Enterprise UK, BT, e-skills UK and many other partners to help small businesses create their first website and understand the opportunities offered by the Internet. This is a really good scheme to get you started – for NOTHING! Initial free hosting, web design – the whole works.
Now, thats fine if you have the time and the inclination to set everything up and, most importantly, maintain your website. The easy part is setting up your website – get yourself a template, domain name and a hosting Company and you are away. Or are you?
Yes – you are! You will have your website up and running – but will anyone in this vast network visit your site?
Now this is where the average business owner needs help. To get visitors to your site requires a lot of work setting up your keywords, metatags, links and backlinks. Regular analysis of your website’s visitors (if you have any) provides a wealth of information to help target customers and markets. All of this is better taken into account at the initial website development stage. So, if you have taken advantage of the free website services and then sat back wondering where your visitors are, you will then need to talk to a web design Company. It is almost certain that they will need to take you back to square 1 and start a fresh web site design to systematically build in the best structure, keywords and other features to help get you a good ranking on search-engines. In other words, you will need to start again.
All that wasted time and effort when you could have been concentrating on your business instead of poring over image placements, header designs, menus and other content of your website.
Websites are not made in 5 mins, 10 mins or even 24 hours. A good website requires a great deal of initial thought and consultation with the customer before even getting the design on-line. Once that is done, the hard work really begins! For small businesses, the last thing you need is to be spending time pouring over your web-site trying to figure out why search engines are not listing you!
To get a web presence, these are the stages you need to go through:-
Register your domain name – take some time over this. It could be with you for a very long time. Ideally, it should reflect your business activity in some way – BUT the name you eventually pick may not be available so you will need to look at the available options or start again with another name. The hosting Company will provide the necessary search tools to check availability.
Then you need to decide on what your website will look like – this is not as easy as it sounds! Yes, you can use templates and eventually decide on a style that appeals to you. This is by far the easiest way of getting up and running – you can do this through the GBBO scheme. There are drawbacks though. You will probably want some individuality and trimming to try and give you an edge.
You then need a hosting Company to launch your website onto the internet – there are many available at a wide range of prices. Important points to consider here are Customer Support, on-line time, bandwidth and tools provided.
You will then need to maintain your website, analyse it and keep improving it to generate traffic. This is where the real work begins! It is not difficult to use Analytics to get reports on your site performance, to improve your rating with backlinks and site maps – but it is time consuming!
By all means, use the GBBO scheme to get your feet wet – but if your business is to be successful, you will need to use a commercial Web-site design and hosting Company, so why not get off on the right foot from the beginning? Costs are very reasonable if you choose wisely.
GBBO partner in the Government sponsored scheme to Get British Business Online.
Provides hosting, domain registration, web site design and maintenance, dedicated servers and a host of useful tools. Specialising in small business start-ups in a friendly and flexible manner.
By Ken K Chapman