How to create a strong web presence from scratch

If you have a brand new business or one that has never had an online presence before, here are some of the key things you will need to create a strong web presence from scratch.

A website is not magic. It takes a lot of work to get people visiting your site and interacting with you.

Following is a top-level overview of the things you need to work on to get started with a strong web presence.

Branding

You should have most of your branding created before you embark on building your web presence. As soon as you start online, your image and reputation will begin to be established and it should be consistent with your offline presence. You will need scalable versions of your logo and branding images designed for the web.

Domain names

You will need at least one domain name that is meaningful and relevant to your website. Choose a name that is memorable. Avoid abbreviations.  Choose the right top-level domains – there are many extensions other than .com which may be appropriate.

Hosting

You will need a server for your email and website. Purchase a hosting package suitable for your needs with room for growth.

Email

Email is still the number one method for internet communication. Choose appropriate email addresses. Create email signatures.

Website

This will be the hub of your online presence. Here you will create and organize your key content.

Website Structure

Use a content management system (CMS) to easily manage your website. A good CMS will separate the content from the design and logic so you can grow and expand your website. There are usually many CMS extensions or plugins for adding new features. Often these are open source so you can also create your own customizations if required.

A CMS will help display repeating information such as your consistent branding and website navigation around your unique content on each “page” of the website.

Website Pages

Each page of your website should focus on a single idea. The content you provide should be easily read by your visitors, so try to create it from their perspective. What information are they looking for? If you are using jargon, is it understood? Each page should have a call-to-action that prompts your visitor to do something.

Photos and Videos

Use genuine photographs of your products and people. Show people using your products. Can you use video to explain your products and services?  Attach descriptions and alternative text to describe your media.

Collect Info

Create forms on your website to allow people to contact you. Collect their information with permission and use it to keep in touch with a mailing list. Don’t spam.

Make sure you get a security certificate for your website if you are collecting personal information.

Install visitor tracking so you can collect statistics about the traffic on your website. Analyze where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your website. Use this information to optimize your site.

Get known

Search engines will index your website content so you should optimize it for both human visitors and search engine robots.

You may also need to purchase advertising to get traffic to your website.

Promote your website on your offline marketing material.

Social Media

Create appropriate profiles on relevant social media sites. Connect with people and share relevant information. Don’t spam. Re-use the articles and content on your website and link back to it. Show genuine interest when you interact and be helpful. When people are frequently asking the same question, create content to answer that question on your website and direct people there for the answer.

Repeat

You will need to revisit many of these processes as you get feedback from your web presence. As new technologies are developed you will need to upgrade your website to cope. You will also need to keep your website and social media content fresh for your visitors.

Get help

If you don’t have the expertise in some of these areas, get help. We have years of experience in helping people get their web presence started, so contact us for help.

Collaborative blogging

In 2007 I created a blog to share mainly with my brothers about any innovation, technology, contraptions or gadgets we found interesting.

Growing up we were always interested in anything mechanical, electronic or sciencey. Our parties usually involved some complicated arrangement of lights, sound and video technology. Living on the opposite side of the world, I wanted to keep in touch with them and their gadgets and so I created the Muzgadgets blog and invited my brothers as authors. Of the almost 300 articles, they have written one or two posts each. I had hoped that they would contribute more.

For any technical support issues we have with Vista Interactive, we also have a support blog. For our customer base in Turkey, I asked a friend to translate any posts into the Turkish version. He did a few, but because our support blog posts are infrequent – only when we have issues – he lost interest and the Turkish version is lagging behind.

Here’s hoping that that Vista Interactive team will collaborate with me and contribute their posts on this Vista Interactive Blogging Experiment.