A good business needs more than three things, make no doubt about that. But we’re not going to be looking at the fact you need a space in the market, a good selling proposition, or any of the other generic business must-haves. We’re looking specifically at what you need to get that business off to a good start and an even better end on the internet. Without these three ingredients, you may as well hang up your hat before you even get started.
A reliable site
First and foremost, you need a site that people can actually use. This breaks down into two elements. It’s structural reliability and the user experience. For the former, you need to go above and beyond when it comes to ensuring that the web hosting provider of the website can handle not only the hosting needs of your content (especially if you’re using multimedia). You need things like server-side caching so that your site is able to handle traffic spikes. Otherwise, an increase in visitors won’t be something to celebrate, it will be something that kills the site. As for usability, it’s all about web design. The best tip to follow in that arena is to keep it simple. Dedicate pages to a single purpose that’s understood at a glance and have a site navigation system that makes sense. Minimalism always wins out over clogging it up.
Unlike a brick and mortar business, you don’t have the luxury of a storefront with a big logo and nice kerb appeal. You need to work, and often, at making your website visible. Real life networking and attending trade events will give it some much-needed validity in the eyes of the consumer. People need to see that there are real people in the business and that some measure of accountability and trust is in place. But you need to look at online visibility first and foremost. This means competing for prominence in search engines through the use of keywords in the metadata and link building. It can also be helped by having regular content produced to keep your social media channels and the site updating regularly. You want your site to look like a living, ongoing project, not a tomb.
Better than a living thing is a whole environment of them. Without building a community, you are a single username amongst millions, sending out a message amongst millions. Focus on building a community through social media, through increased customer engagement, and through networking with others and the industry as well as tastemakers. Then your message is more than one in a million. It’s a messaged getting pinged around, supported, and added to by a whole host of voices. That does a lot more for your business than all the marketing budget in the world.
Without these three key elements, it doesn’t matter how good an idea you have or how professional your services are. Your site will be too broken to bother with if people can even find it, and you won’t have anyone to vouch for the business. That doesn’t sound like success.