In the Wake of Coronavirus, Now's the Time to Take Your Business Online

Nadav Shemer
If you're a young online business owner now is the time to start building your business online
Bricks-and-mortar businesses will inevitably take a hit from the coronavirus pandemic as customers lock themselves away at home. It’s natural to worry about the state of your business, but there are proactive things you can do to prepare for the day after – including taking your business online.

More and more businesses were already going online before coronavirus hit; if anything, Covid-19 will only accelerate this trend. 

Here are 10 tips to take your business online – and come out of this period bigger and stronger:

1. Research Your Vertical

2. Buy a Domain Name

3. Create a Website / Online Store 

4. Beef up Your Online Security

5. List Your Business

6. Create Social Media Channels

7. Build an Organic Search Presence

8. Consider Paid Search

9. Content is King

10. Build Small So You Can Adapt

1. Research Your Vertical

Even if you know your vertical well, it’s worth researching your competitors’ websites and online activity before taking your own business online.

Brandwatch, a company dedicated to online market intelligence, offers a useful list of research tools here. These include:

  • Tools that give you an overview of website traffic, search traffic, and keywords for any website.
  • Tools that let you monitor the social media output of other companies in your vertical.
  • Tools that helps you see the keywords your competitors rank for and where they have backlinks (more on that below).

2. Buy a Domain Name

The ideal domain name should reflect your brand and help grab the attention of customers who search your product/service online. 

Domain name is crucial to search engine optimization (SEO). Let’s say your business sells pet supplies in the Denver metro area. Having the URL ‘DenverPetProducts.com’ will rank high when someone searches those words. If you already have strong brand recognition, then using your company name works, e.g. ‘HappyPawsPetShop.com’.

Domain names can cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few grand (and in some cases a few million), so choose carefully.

The good news is top-level domains (e.g. .com, .org., .net) no longer matter to your online presence. There are more than 1,500 active TLDs in existence, like .biz, .market, and .buzz. That means it’s now easier and more affordable to buy a great domain.

3. Create a Website / Online Store 

Once you have a domain, it’s time to create your website. This too is much easier and much more affordable than it used to be, thanks to top website builders like Wix and the best ecommerce platforms like Volusion and WooCommerce by Bluehost

For just a few dollars a month, a good website builder will give you everything you need, such as: hundreds of templates to choose from; drag-and-drop editing; and plug-ins that let you do everything from signing up new customers to securely collecting payments.

4. Beef up Your Online Security

Cybercriminals regularly try to hack ecommerce sites for customers’ personal data. The media usually only report big data breaches like the one in 2019 which saw thousands of Macy’s customers have their payment details stolen. But small businesses are not immune to cybercrime and identity theft.

At a minimum, make sure to include good SSL protection (you know a webpage has SSL if you see a padlock in the URL bar and the URL starts with HTTPS rather than HTTP. Click this link for more information on how to ensure a secure shopping cart for your online store.

5. List Your Business

There are many ways to build up your online presence. The simplest thing you can do is to list on free business directories like Yelp and (if relevant) Tripadvisor. 

Google will list your website (see step #7), but you can help garner interest by asking customers to leave Google reviews and by replying to reviews to build customer trust.

6. Create Social Media Channels

Like it or not, most people are on social media. Before creating social media channels, think about which ones are best for your brand:

  • Facebook is essential for virtually all businesses
  • Instagram is great for businesses that want to reach users through images
  • YouTube is the best platform for reaching users with video
  • LinkedIn is where you want to be if you’re in B2B
  • Twitter is a great place to show off among people aged 40 and under

7. Build an Organic Search Presence

There are two ways to attract new customers on Google: paid search (Google Ads) and organic search. The way to improve your organic search presence is through SEO.

Good SEO tactics include:

  • Optimizing for mobile. Most good website builders naturally make your site mobile-friendly. 
  • Link building. A backlink is a link created when one website links to another. These are important to Google in determining search rankings. Give backlinks to other websites and try to get reputable websites to give you backlinks too (one way to do this is with content – step #9).
  • Add a sitemap. This might sound complicated, but a sitemap is actually a simple and effective way to expand your Google real estate. You know how some websites take up more space at the top of the Google search page, with a homepage followed by links and descriptions to 4-6 other webpages, like About Us and Contact Us? Google collects all this information from sitemaps.
  • Establish your business details. Another way to capture Google real estate is by submitting your business details. That way, when someone searches for your business, a ‘knowledge panel’ comes up on the right-hand side showing your contact details, opening hours, and other information to help customers reach you.

8. Consider Paid Search

Using paid search (Google Ads) to attract new customers will be more expensive in the short term, but if your ads are successful and you target the right people, you’ll be able to bring customers who are more high-intent and willing to buy your product or service. 

The beauty of paid search is that you’re able to target specific types of people, so you have a better chance of reaching the right customers. The flip side is that you have to pay for the ads, so it’s important to come up with a solid strategy before you start. 

9. Content is King

Content is an incredibly effective medium for driving traffic to your site and generating interest among users. Not only does good content help you build a reputation as an authority in your business vertical, but it also ranks well on Google.

Good content doesn’t have to involve text. It can also include video, images, charts, diagrams, quizzes, white papers, and any number of other formats.

10. Build Small So You Can Adapt

It can be tempting to build everything into your website from the get-go. The one major problem with this approach is that if you build too big, it becomes harder (and more costly) to fix things down the track. Building a functional website – but without going overboard – is a great way to test the waters with your target audience and leave space for growth later on.



Nadav Shemer
Nadav Shemer specializes in business, tech, and energy, with a background in financial journalism, hi-tech and startups. He enjoys writing about the latest innovations in financial services and products.