Savvy business owners have known for some time that if they don’t get online, they have a short future. Many businesses are going fully digital, but even those who need bricks and mortar premises need a website to direct business to their door. The web killed Yellow Pages long ago.
Above all, future success depends on two things more than any others – being found and winning trust. Making sure customers find you online is sometimes hard, with convincing them to trust you – rather than someone else – harder still. Both battles begin with your name.
Get on the map
There are huge advantages if your business name and website domain name are the same, or very close. This simply makes it so much easier to be found, whether your customer is guessing, trying to remember, or using Google. Equipped with a modern browser, customers can see dozens of options in seconds – if you don’t stand out, they will identify a competitor first. Recognition is the first step in trust, but being found is the first step in recognition.
The ideal domain name is also simple. Again, this makes it easy to remember and harder to confuse with other brands and websites, making it much easier to identify you online. There are services that can help you to find a good domain match, such as names.co.uk.
Once your website is live, enrich your identity with a map, an address or a shopfront picture – it all helps to prove your legitimacy.
You don’t exactly need fame; however, the more familiar you are, the more trustworthy you are. Most small businesses going online are local, perhaps with global ambitions. The best way to drive custom to a web shopfront is by building outward from your established markets and neighbourhoods, which makes brand consistency between offline and online operations all the more important. If your shop has one name and your website another, you will become known under two names and effectively halve your reputation.
Your business will probably send lots of email, with the same applying here. You need an email address that contains your website domain, not a free account from Microsoft or Google – you could be anybody. Make sure your hosting package includes a few email boxes. This may not prove who you are, but it comes very close.