Man walking an open road to emphasise the point of starting your online journey

How To Setup Your Online Presence

12 Dec 2022

Starting a new business is hectic enough with all that needs to be done, yet alone becoming overwhelmed with everything in the digital world if you don’t understand where to begin. This is where we can help. Let Integrated Ideas take the stress out of getting your business presence online and ready to go. 

There isn’t a one size fits all list to follow but there is definitely a list of things to consider at the outset, depending on your own knowledge, requirements and what suits your business model. We’ve helped many businesses over the years to great success and can certainly help smooth this process for you too.

So… let’s go, here’s what you need on your checklist:

Select a Name and Get a Logo

Once you have chosen your business name, take the next step in getting a logo.  Your logo will be used throughout all of the points listed below and will assist in developing your brand presence online.  

Claim Your Business Properties

Buying a Domain Name

As well as checking that your preferred business name doesn’t already exist and is under someone else’s trademark, your naming decision may be partly based on the availability of a suitable or matching domain name, ie. web address. The domain name you choose will also be the basis for your email address so keep it related, or very similar, to minimise customer confusion.  We have an account with a domain registrar and can search, find and purchase your ideal domain on your behalf.  

Claiming Social Media Handles and Accounts

Whilst checking the domain name, it’s best to check the availability of your preferred name on the social media accounts that you’ll associate with your business, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc and claim these. Even if you’re not sure which platform may work best for you, there’s no harm in claiming the account, trying and testing it and if it’s not for you, deleting later.

Facebook page. If you are planning to use Facebook you will be best to set up a business Facebook page to share any news, events, promos and probably just some fun stuff in the mix too. This is set up via your personal Facebook login. Ideally you should look to use your business name as the page name and as your Facebook ‘vanity’ URL. Remember to have a profile picture and cover photo ready when you set this up because it will ask you to add this at the point of creation, along with your ‘About Us’ descriptive text. The more you fill in about your business the more easily you will be discovered on Facebook and gain those all-important followers!

LinkedIn page. If you have decided LinkedIn is the right fit for your business, you can choose to create a company page (it is also a good idea to have a personal profile if you don’t already, you’re a business owner afterall). Ensure that you fill in all of the information you can about your company in your page, including your web address, company description, cover photo, logo, tagline, call to action buttons, etc. This platform may be more B2B but every business has trade relationships!

Twitter. If you are planning to use Twitter, or think you will in the future, claim your Twitter handle now too. Ideally use your business name, but as mentioned above, if that is taken, select a close variant. One thing to remember though, if no one logs in to the account at least every 6 months, your account could become inactive.

Instagram. You definitely should be using Instagram! It is all about reels and videos these days to gain traction and give a good customer insight into your business.  Set up an account and ensure it is set to ‘business’ so that you can track and measure engagement. Alternatively, you can convert a personal account to a business account if you have one running already. Use your business name as your username (or a close variant) and link to your website, add your preferred contact details and fill in your bio with a good description of what you do and include a branded profile picture. 

TikTok. The platform everyone is raving about and which is growing all the time and currently has the highest social media engagement rate per post.  Allowing you to create, share, discover and post up short videos (associate some licensed music) with durations from 15 seconds to 10 minutes, this form of marketing is a wonderful way to highlight the right kind of business making noise and creating a buzz. 

(As with all of the above, it’s then using them to your full advantage.  That is a separate discussion point, but we’re here to help or give guidance on that too as well as setting them up).

The Next Steps

Setting up your Business Email Address

It may be that until now, all your activity to raise awareness and to set up your business has been done via your personal email account. That is of course all fine, but once you have purchased your chosen domain name, it is a good idea to set up your business email address using this domain. It’s more professional to use a domain based email and it also helps to keep everything separate, making it easier to manage overall. It is also easy to add new email addresses should the need arise; you may have another member of staff that wants to email from the business for example. A business email can easily be added to your Android or iOS devices, whether a phone or tablet, as well as your computer so that you can keep up-to-date whilst on the move.

For your email addresses, consider what works best for you. For example, you could just have firstname@domainname.co.uk , or if there are several members of staff that will be emailing from your business, you may want to then consider firstname.lastname@domainname.co.uk. 

It’s also useful to consider having shared mailboxes.  This is a handy way for customers to contact you through a simple email address, for example hello@, customerservices@ or bookings@.  The benefit of this is that you can keep the different communication separate but also, these email addresses can be granted access by several people to share the workload.

We can help you choose and manage your email accounts alongside your domain name.

Design and Build your Website

Register Your Interest Page

It may not be quite the right time for you to fully build your website, as you may be very early in the process of setting up the business still and need to consider what that entails further.  However, to start the ball rolling and to consider grabbing those important potential customers prior to opening your doors, you could consider setting up a holding page on your domain that will allow these potential new customers to see what you are planning and ‘register their interest’ as well as use this as a way to point them to your social media and start following you.  By gathering data in this way, you already have a target audience for your marketing communications and also it will all be fully GDPR approved. Those who register can be dropped automatically into an email marketing system and then, when ready, you’ll be able to push information out to everyone that has taken an interest straight into their inbox.

Website Design and Build Including Online Payments and Booking Functionality

When it comes to building your website, think about what you need it to do. Will a simple brochure site with basic information be enough for your customers? Or will you need to provide much more detail and look to offer online bookings and payments? Designing and building websites is what we do and we have a many years’ experience in the field to guide you in the right direction of a user journey,  so we would be more than happy to talk you through each step and work alongside you to design, build and host your perfect website.  This isn’t all we offer either. We would help you maintain the site and ensure it is always doing the best it can as a window to your business and a platform on which you can grow and change as you do.

Marketing and the ‘Legal Bits’

It’s all very well setting up a business and getting all the elements above done and dusted, but there are some legal bits you must remember along the way.

Email Marketing System

Once you’ve gathered names and email addresses from the ‘Register Your Interest’ page (or any forms on your website), you will want to drop and store these in an email marketing system, for example, Constant Contact or MailChimp (there are others of course). You’ll be building up a GDPR approved customer database, and with this in mind, it’s important to ensure that you have set up a Privacy Policy along with in-house GDPR procedures.  These are required by law, and whilst this sounds scary, it is relatively straight forward to do.

GDPR Compliance

From the very outset you need to be aware of the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) legislation relating to how you capture, store, secure and manage any personal data relating to your customers and staff. We will be able to provide you all the information on how ‘we’ deal with your data from the online point of view, however, you should consider carefully what you do with the data you hold (electronically or in paper form). 

Whether you have just a holding page or a full blown site, it needs to have:

Cookie Statement – all sites need a statement appear when anyone lands on your website whether via computer, smartphone or tablet, notifying them if any cookies are being used.  The Cookie Law is a piece of privacy legislation that requires websites to get consent from visitors to retrieve information. A cookie is a small file which is downloaded onto your computer when you visit a website and it wants to remember your preferences, counts the times you visit a site or records what you may have put into an ecommerce site basket. 

Privacy Policy - If your site gathers data through a form or online booking system, then you will need by law to have a privacy policy. At the very minimum, your privacy policy should include clauses that detail what personal or sensitive information you collect, how you collect it, how you intend to use that information and whether you will disclose some or all of that information to any third parties.

Terms & Conditions - The law does not require websites to have a Terms and Conditions page. However, legally, including a Terms and Conditions page is a smart choice. If you sell goods and services on your website, consumer protection law requires that you disclose certain information to consumers before they make a purchase so it’s a good idea to include something to cover yourself.

Copyright Notice - Whilst there is no legal requirement to include a copyright notice on your website, it is however strongly recommended that you include one if at all possible to deter copyright infringement.

Registered Address - There has been a 2022 update to the Companies Act 2006 and it is now a legal requirement to display your company's registered office address on your website. This information doesn't have to be on every page of your website, but it must be easily found, for example within your website footer or Contact Us page.

Email Footers - Many companies aren’t aware that there is also a rule to comply with which is set out by the UK Companies Act 2006 (updated 2007) for email footers.  The Act states that if your company is a Private/Public Limited Company (PLC) or a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), all email footers need to include the following details:

  • Your registered company name
  • Your company registration number
  • The place of registration (e.g. Scotland or England & Wales)
  • Your company’s registered office address (this may differ from the office in which you trade). 

It’s important to note that this applies to all employees within your organisation who send external email. If you are a sole trader you are not required to include your full details although we would say that it is good practice to add them.

If you would like to have some advice or help with any of the above, please get in touch.

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