Before you even think about developing or designing a website, whether you do that yourself or hire someone else or company to set it up, you need to do three simple things to set the stage.
3 Tips Before Website Launch
Step 1: Decide on a Company Name and Domain
So you have decided to go into business for yourself or start a new company (Congratulations!)...maybe you already have an idea on company name or are getting close. Well, before you get too far, it is great to explore other companies that might have that name in the market or areas you are going to sell into or compete in. You can also search your state for business name filings to see if that name might be available. If you incorporate, depending on the state that you incorporate in, there are attorneys and legal entities that can also perform that search for you. You do NOT want to start a company with a company name that is already being used, has negative meaning in other languages or cultures, or impedes on your ability to be successful.
If you already have a company name and want a brand refresh, then you may also explore new domains or domain redirects that allow customers to type in a website and it point to your older website domain. In addition, you may be considering a complete refresh of your brand, but want to keep your company name and domain (that is understandable). In this case you may skip to Step 3 or be completely ready for a NEW website and branding refresh.
Step 2: Verify Availability of Website and Social Media Accounts
If you are set on the company name (and have verified it is available) and have a domain name in mind, explore the availability of that domain and be sure to explore the region or state or locations you will operate in. For example, if you are a Colorado Wedding Photographer, you may want to explore if any other companies have the same company name in that state. You can do this by searching that company name in quotes in Google and putting the word Colorado as part of your search. You can also search domain names in google to see if a company name is already taken, but I recommend using GoDaddy.com as not only will it tell you if the domain name is taken, but you can also see how it recommends other domains or names that might be similar. If you run into a roadblock, you may consider a different company name. If you do decide to move forward, purchase that domain immediately from GoDaddy or a similar site.
Also, make sure to make sure your company name is simple, easy for customers to spell if they hear it, and try to avoid domains that have dashes or special characters. You will also want to explore if the company name or desired social media names are taken, and search those in Facebook Business Pages, LinkedIn Businesses, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. If you are dead set on a cohesive branding and naming across your website and social media accounts, then doing your homework and research is important. Of course, these are all things vMarque can complete and perform on your behalf, with the exception of setting up your Federal ID (Employer Identification Number, EIN)) and incorporating (LLC, Sole Proprietor, Partnership, etc.) but we can very well support you in pointing you to the right places.
Step 3: Set Branding and Simple Company Goals
Now that you have a name, a website domain or URL, and have set up your social media accounts or have verified they are available, the next step is to explore your brand and company goals. Don't make it too complicated. Define what your business does, how is it unique, who does it serve, what are the primary products, where does it operate, and what do you want your customers to know. Putting this foundational list on paper will help you before you get to the website design and development stage.
Think about the basic pages of a website...your homepage, your services or products, about, contact, and blog. What are you passionate about and know how you can make a difference in your industry and for your clients. This is very simple and basic planning, but will support you in further refining and growing your brand.
Written by Stephanie Atkinson
Be ReMARQUEable Virtually.™