HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS!  

Launch it challenge

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS!  -

Week 5.

Agh Saturday! How good is it!  Well Im going to be honest it was going great until my hubby jumped on the computer and accidentally deleted my previously half written Selfie Saturday blog, #annoyed.  Anyway perhaps it was because I was making fun of his brown jumper + brown pants and asking him if he is trying to be a tree on purpose. #dorkydad #treeman #treepose

Anyway, final week of the'Launch it Challenge!'

Week 5, we are going online guys! Let's get your domain name + website off the ground. 

Domain names

So now you have your amazing business name, you may just want to slow down a second because to get the final tick of approval, you will need to search the domain name data base to see if your business name or variation is available. What is a domain name? Well if your a tue beginner to all this, let me briefly spell it out. A domain name is your online address. With out a domain, you can't really exist online! Domains are really just 101 of "How to Launch Your Online Business" When you purchase your domain, you will then be able to use it as your actual website address + also to create custom email addresses. 

There are lots of domain name hosts , these are just a few to go check out. I have used crazy domains mostly but there really are so so many!  Don't limit yourself to just these few, I just wanted to make it easy for you to go have a snoop and get your head around it.

  •  https://au.godaddy.com/domains/domain-name-search     
  • https://www.crazydomains.com.au/
  • https://www.name.com/domain/search

These are just a few sites to get you going. It's free to search and you only pay when you find a domain name that you want to purchase. Honestly most are fairly similar in price but I think godady.com has some pretty cheap prices!  So how it works, you will pop your potential business name into the domain name search area.  Let's have a play around with a hypothetical name ummmmmmmmm lol thinking, thinking, ok our business name is 'launch it' so now I will throw launchit (no spaces) into the domain name search + hit enter. So now you will see a bunch of options come up, launchit.com, launchit.com.au, lauchit.net.au, launchit.melbourne. Heaps of domain name combinations will be offered to you, but of course only the ones that haven't already been taken by some other business savvy peep. The most popular domain name combos are obviously .COM,  if your in Australia, .COM.AU, New Zealand .COM.NZ , Europe .COM.EU , you get it!

Now if your business is strictly online and you offer an international service then you will want to aim to get .COM. Why?  Well you will show up in search engines all over the world rather than just your country. It also communicates instantly that you are an international brand. I currently have www.soulshapes.com.au but I also have soulshapes.com on back order as it is currently used by a small photography business in America. Now on this point, if your domain name is not available you will need to go and visit the website to assess whether you want to continue with your business name.  Just because your domain name is taken, does NOT mean you have to give up the idea of using it yourself. Go and find + research the website with the domain name you wanted for yourself. Look into what sort of company they are. If it is a small company, in a different industry, in a total different country, you may just need to tweak your name a little and you will be fine to still use it yourself. If a company has trademarked a name then that is different again. There are search engines available to search trademarks + I know in Australia you can search through the business name registry and it will also list trademarks.  In Australia you can have a similar name to another business, but it can't be exactly the same. Now if your wanting to stand out as a leader in your niche, your not going to want a name similar to anyone else in your industry.  Firstly you won't look very original and you will just get lost in website searches. So as I said if you have a name and someone else has something similar but it is not trademarked + they are in a different industry and country I say go for it!  Maybe add on a little extra variation like "launch it Australia" or "Launch it Live"to avoid any copyright issues and even further personalise your brand. With regards to trademarked names I would advise getting a professional to look into your name before going ahead. Make sure your chosen name is legal, and register your name with your country's Business Name Registry before going into our next step which is creating your website!

 

Creating your website

This is the FUN bit, but it is also a bit of a headache if you have never done it before. I guess my first bit of advise is, if you have not done this before and you do have a budget you may want to just skip this and outsource it. Sometimes outsourcing can be the best thing you can do for your business and if your wanting cutting edge, top of the range layout and flow then outsourcing could be something to consider.  Although, yes many website platforms make it super easy to create your own website and of course I'm about to go into all of that, it's still worth noting that there is a lot more to a good website than just throwing up a few paragraphs of writing and photos. If your looking at creating a large online store and you really want to have an international presence then yes follow these tips, I can totally give you heaps of advise to get you up online, but I will only be touching on it and you will still need to do your own extended research on copyright, layout, graphic communication ect. So I  just wanted to to emphasise there is a heap of work that goes into a good website and outsourcing to those who do it everyday may be quicker than trying to teach yourself to become a net nerd overnight. If you don't have a budget, and you are ready to put in lots of hours in layout and content research, then whoop lets get on it!

Now that you have your domain name lets go find you a host. These are just a few to get the ball rolling.

  • www.godaddy.com
  • www.wordpress.com 
  • www.squarespace.com
  • www.websitebuilder.com
  • www.crazydomains.com.au

You can also head to http://www.webhostingbest10.com/best-website-hosting to check out some reviews on the top 10 website hosts around the world. 

Obviously you will want to check out price, versus value. A few things to look for are, how many pages do you get? Do you get a free personalised email? Some will include Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) which is where the host will help your website show up in search engines + help people actually find you. SEO is so so so important and actually quite tricky. Especially if your competing against a heap pf other large, well established companies with fully developed websites + link backs. It's definitely a great add on to have! You can do your own SEO but again theres quite an art to it and it will take a whole lot of research to get your self up on all that so it is also another great reason to outsource (at least the SEO component).

Once you have had a play, looked at a few templates and worked out which is the best value for you, go ahead and sign up so you can get started. #exciting #youronline

When you start to create your website, you will be asked what name you want to use for the site. You will initially be given a domain name with the hosts name attached. So if you created a site + your name is "launchitlive" and your host is wordpress.com, then your web address will read www.launchitlive.wordpress.com. Now we of course do NOT want the host name in our web address (totally unprofessional + uncool) and because your a super savvy domain name holder, your now going to want to customise your address to your personalised domain address. Every host platform will have a section where you can go ahead + customise your sites account details. Details such as the website address are customisable and you will need to find where you can import your own domain name and follow the prompts. Don't be scared if things are starting to look a little too 'geek town' at first,  it really is simple and you will just need to enter your personalised domain name that you want + your domain name host {wordpress). This is just communicating to your website host where they need to search for your registered domain name. Your simply telling your domain name host that your website host will now be the home address of your domain name. Confused? If you get stuck, message me below and I'll be happy to walk you through it or answer any questions. So you will need to specify the exact domain name in full www.launchitive.com.au + also the current host for the domain name.  If you purchased your domain name from crazydomains.com.au you will enter that in to the section that asks for current host address. Once you have popped those two important details into your website account details, your new domain name will start to transfer over to  your website + when complete will become your new website address. Once you have started the process of transferring your domain name over to your new host (your website) you don't need to do any more. But it is really worth noting that sometimes it can take a few weeks for a domain name to transfer over to a new host. If your wanting to get your site up asap then purchase your domain name from the same place you intend to host your website. This is the quickest way to get your self up and running and possibly will ensure fewer glitches. Some website hosts will actually five you the option to purchase a domain name whilst creating your website. That is a really nice + easy option!

Ok so your domain name is up, and your website now reads www.lauchitlive.com.au and the wordpress component has gone! Yes looking good!

Colours, Font + Layout

Ok now this is what I am good at and is really up my alley as a designer. Your now ready to start telling the word all about your services/ products. If your like me you may just want to jump straight on in and start playing around.

To save yourself sometime, I would actually get a few things clear on paper before jumping on a playing around like a mad person ( yea that was me).

  • List the colours you love and think suits your brand
  • Think of the imagery that suits your brand
  • Choose legible, easy to read fonts. Think about the style of font too, is it communicating 2017 fresh + modern or 1995 tacky town ??
  • Is there any additional themes you might want to have associated with your branding? (Vintage, country, modern, simple ect)
  • Do you have testimonials from clients/customers that you can add to your site? (So important!!)
  • Will you be including a blog? If so what will you call it? What will you talk about with your readers?
  • Have you got your company policies/ terms and conditions ready to go? (you may need to outsource this)
  • Really think about the layout and how the information will flow from one page to the next
  • Will you make your products page your home page? Is it clear where your services + products are on your site. Make it easy for visitors to purchase or contact you.

Once you are clear on the above it will make creating the site so much easier than figuring it all out along the way. In saying that I created mine as I went along but it take me a lot longer than it should have, which is why I'm giving you this heads up! As I said Im only just touching on all of this,  to go into it fully would mean quitting my job as an interior designer + I really need to get back to my own actual work!

Well thats it guys, week 5 on the "How to Launch Your Online Business " challenge. I hope I leave you a little more in the know than when you started and perhaps your about to commence something awesome! Good luck and if you do want any more info feel free to ask me a question below.

Have a gorgeous weekend + I hope you really are feeling super inspired, ambitious and ready to kick some entrepreneurial ass!  

Make sure you check in + subscribe for next weeks "Selfie Saturday". I'm going into why it's so important we start to create functional spaces to practice yoga + meditation in our home + workplace. This area is my true passion footprint and now that I have given you all a quick helping hand to find your own thing, I am very excited to get back to mine. When you do find your passion footprint it really is like your BFF. I just love my work and I can't tell you how good it feels when you find your true purpose.

As Steve Jobs says :

" The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle, as with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it".  

#stevejobsfan #quoteobsessed #designshift #designgoals

Peace Out xx

Melanie Sherwell - Interior Designer

Soul Shapes- Lifestyle Interiors