You’ve had a great business idea, you’ve taken the plunge and you’re ready to get going but there’s so much you need to think about. Suddenly there’s a myriad of things you need to understand (with no corporate IT Department at the end of the phone) and you’re being offered unsolicited advice left, right and centre. In this “Take Five” I will hopefully be able save you some time and stress (well at least digitally).
I have been privileged and honoured to have been present at the start of many successful businesses. Here are a few helpful hints (well advice) on how to avoid some of the regular digital pitfalls. To ensure your adventure starts off on the right foot and that you don’t encounter too much trouble (well on this matter only) , here are my FIVE pointers to send you in the right direction (the views are all my own).
Please don’t enthusiastically rush off and register your domain name with some random hosting company (particularly if they’re not in the UK). Talk to your website designer and ask for their advice on where they think both the domain name should be registered and where your site should be hosted.
Have a look at your potential domain name – does it have other connotations when run together?
Do you need .co.uk and .com? How will you feel if your business grows and suddenly you realise that whilst you have the .co.uk domain name someone locally is using the .com option (yes, I know a company it has happened to!)?
Try to avoid dashes, complicated names or lots of initials in your domain name. Not only will it be a pain to remember for visitors but it will be mistyped and you may not be found.
Please ensure that the domain name is registered in your name (and therefore your company’s), that you know where it is registered (and how to login to the account) and that you are paying for your domain name. You don’t want to be held hostage by a third party who can’t or won’t let you have access to it.
Check that the social media names for your new business are available on all platforms and then set up these platforms immediately (they can always be finished later). You’d be pretty upset to find that they’re no longer available once your carefully crafted website is complete.
How do these social media names look? Do they make sense or do they spell something inappropriate? Can you believe that Camp America’s Instagram name is @campamerica69 …
Are your names obvious and easy for someone to tag you on social media (we have a shop nearby that has a completely irrelevant Facebook @ tag – frustrating)?
Are the names too similar to another company? Recently South Eastern Railway (our local train company covering London, Kent and East Sussex in the UK – @se_railway) was tagged in an angry tweet which was meant for @serailwaykol (Kolkata – India). South Eastern (UK) did politely reply and point the cross gentleman in the right direction.
Website Login Details
If someone is designing your site please don’t forget, at the end of the project, to find out the hosting company details, logins and passwords as well as the admin passwords for your website login (WordPress or template builders). If one day you can’t get hold of the designer at least someone else will be able to update your website. Yes, this does happen (I’ve come across this a number of times!). Ask for a summary of all this information if it hasn’t been provided when the site is handed over to you.
Photographs & Graphics
This should not be an afterthought but an integral part of your business budget set up. Think carefully about how you will build your online presence and if you need to include a budget for paid advertising like Facebook or Google Ads? Your website hosting and email will not be free and as your website is your digital shop window you need to ensure it makes your business look good and is hosted by an established, quality hosting company. Don’t cut corners and find someone you’d like to work with and who you feel understands your business.
Still not sure in which direction to go?
If you’d like to dicuss anything further, then why not get in touch and we can have a chat.