The coronavirus has made an impact – people stay isolated and distance themselves socially. Workers are asked to work from home since cities have been placed under lockdown. A Coresight Research survey made in February 2020 showed that 27.5% of US Internet users avoided public places. Furthermore, 58% said they would do so if the coronavirus outbreak gets worse.
This situation has already altered people’s shopping habits as they stay home. E-commerce activity is currently booming in the US, especially in the areas of health and grocery. For that reason, this is the turning moment for many businesses – by starting to provide your offline products or services online, you can come out of this isolation-situation as a winner.
Have you always been dedicated to offline business? Don’t worry – this article by BestCloudTools provides you with the best knowledge that helps to take your offline business online and create a webshop according to your needs.
Step 1 from Offline to Online – Selecting a Domain for Your Business
First and most importantly, you need a domain for your business. It does not matter whether you go for a general website or online shop, choosing a domain name is the first step in both cases.
Domain selection is easy – you just have to search the name of your offline business through a domain name registrar! Hopefully, there will be no complications, and the name is available. However, it’s not a waste of time to read through a couple of hints regarding the selection of the domain name.
Then you can confirm your selection and purchase it from the registrar. The registration fee costs about 10-15$ a year, depending on the registrar.
Step 2 – Choosing a Host
The next step is to set up a hosting account and get your website online. The idea of a web host company is to store your website’s files on its servers. In addition, they also provide many other services – website transfers, storage, site builders, e-mail, SSL certificates, backups, and others.
Hosting packages vary depending on a company, and it can be annual or month-to-month payments.
However, web hosts also offer multiple hosting tiers, such as:
- Shared – the most popular type of web hosting. It means multiple websites sharing a large Web server while each is having its own domain.
- Dedicated Server – a server that hosts just one site. This is the best option if your website starts to get lots of traffic. It can be expensive, but the price is worth the product since that can withstand high traffic volumes.
- VPS – a virtual private server (VPS) provides more power and flexibility for web hosting but doesn’t cost as much as a dedicated server. A website run by VPS hosting is on a server that has other sites but not as many as a shared hosting server.
Choosing a host might seem a little complicated process, but when you know your hosting needs, it’s not. I have prepared a detailed and helpful guide about web hosting if you need any further assistance on your way from offline to online.
Step 3 from Offline to Online – Creating a Website to Get Your Business Online
If you have so far been totally offline with your business – hopefully you have not, of course – then you need a general website to make your business visible on the internet. As with previous steps, again, you have plenty of options as you build a website for your business.
A good website should be useful and get its job done, but it can also be pretty at the same time. You can use one of the professional pre-designed themes or order a unique design made just for you. However, when just getting started, it is advised to choose an existing design, which is designed to be fully responsive. This guarantees that it will look great everywhere – on desktop, mobile, and tablet.
Based on my personal experience, I strongly recommend WordPress with its support and an endless list of helpful plugins. Of course, you should not get carried away with plugins, use only those you really need to keep your website up and running.
Step 4 from Offline to Online – Selecting an e-Commerce Platform
You’re done with getting your domain name secured, and you’ve chosen the best hosting account – now you need a site for selling your offline products or services online. In other words, you need an e-Commerce platform for your future to-be online shop.
To be honest, choosing can be a little overwhelming. There are tons of options with precise details. Since you have other things to worry about, choose the one that makes the buying process simple while also keeping costs low. I strongly recommend Shopify, mostly because of its easiness of use and further support. A quick setup guide for Shopify is available here; I have covered all the most important issues like setting up the shopping cart with products, security, setting up the tax rates, shipping and payments.
Step 5 – Creating Site Pages to Get Your Business Online
You should create web content for your key website pages (About, Policies, FAQs) that allow the customers to learn your story as well as get to know your brand. They also need important information to make purchases in case you run an online store. Create About pages, Contact pages, and so on.
Once you’re done with the process and have all the errors fixed – congratulations! You can finally get your offline business online! But keep in mind that you need to communicate your unique value – what is it you provide that is special? However, the purpose of your website is not just to broadcast your service to the world. It’s more an introduction for you and asking for information in return. A website should be more dialogue than a monologue. A good way to communicate your business is through blogging, so read here how to write a damn good blog post.