“Perception is reality,” the saying goes and if you want people to perceive that your business is professional, you must convey that to them online. Here are three simple steps to make your business looks professional online:
1. Launch your own website.
Although Facebook is an effective platform for connecting with leads, prospects, and customers, you should use it in addition to your website, not in lieu of it. A Facebook page doesn’t increase your credibility since your potential customers know that anyone can create one in a matter of minutes.
Credibility is important to attract and retain customers. In order to establish it, you must develop a full-blown website. Websites are the modern storefronts or offices in today’s market. It shows customers that you have made an upfront investment and are serious about your enterprise. Moreover, businesses with their own website are four times more likely to succeed.
2. Use a custom domain name.
Once you have a website, you must add a custom domain name. Websites without a custom domain are often perceived as “fly by night” operations. Although they may work well as a hobby, they will not be taken seriously in the business world.
Also, your website has minimal chances of getting found on Google without a custom domain name. More than 85 percent of people use Google to research products before making a purchase. Without a domain name, you could miss targeting a large share of your customer base.
3. Use an email address that matches your domain.
Using a free email address from platforms such as Gmail, AOL, Yahoo or Hotmail is fine for personal use. However, I strongly advise against it for professional correspondence. You need an email address that matches your domain to communicate to your network that your business is established. If you have a free email address, it says that you weren’t willing to invest $100 in your business, so why should anybody else?
This guest post is courtesy of Adam Barger, founder of WebStarts. Adam has more than a decade of experience with Internet marketing and entrepreneurship. In 2006, he founded WebStarts, a free website builder that has built and hosted more than three million websites. It offers its customers several online features, including domain names, customizable designs, search engine optimization and technical support. The newest feature of WebStarts is the Designer Platform, which helps other entrepreneurs start their own design and hosting businesses.