Why you may want to start an online business in 2021
A lot has happened since 2020, with COVID affecting every industry in different ways. You may have been let go of a comfortable job, but don’t let that get you down! Take the downfall and turn it into an opportunity, because anybody can run an online business and start earning real money from it!
So give this a good read, I’m going to break down all the things that you will need to begin your independent journey of starting a business in 2021 and how to really make it work.
What you will need to start
It’s time to think back to all the times you have thought of great business ideas but forgot to write them down, the discussions with friends over a pint about how you’ll make millions together on a never-ventured business venture.
Maybe you already have a skill – like writing, graphic design, photography or social media. Or maybe something more physical, like tiling, carpentry or car cleaning! If this is the case then you’re one step ahead already, you just need to think of how you can use this skill to earn some dollar.
You probably have a lot of time on your hands at the moment, which may seem like a curse – but it means you can really get your teeth stuck into something you enjoy doing. Perfect your skills and take it to the next level by selling your services or products online (hold tight, I’ll show you how).
If you are really struggling for ideas, don’t worry – some say it is one of the hardest part of starting a business. Get some inspiration by reading up on some of 2021’s biggest business opportunities.
Once you have your idea, copy down the following things you need to do before we get into the main things you need to run your online business:
- Think of a name for your business
- Set up your business on gov.uk
- Put together your budget for your business set up.
Now, let’s figure out what you’re going to need to sell your idea or skill to anyone in the world.
It’s 2021, if you’re running a business; you need a website. There’s a few ways to go for website design.
If you want to build your own website using a website builder like Wix or Shopify, then you should take a look at the monthly costs of running your site with them. They do offer a lot of functionality and make it easy to design a website for people with no knowledge of website design. However, they can be very limited when you need a particularly bespoke solution, as well as being very pricey.
You may be better off getting a website design company to develop something really special and bespoke to your brand. You still have a lot of flexibility when working with another company as far as budgets go – you can end up spending between £300 – £1000 for an online store or even as much as £2000 for custom solutions (the sky is the limit really). But for starting a new business, you want to be spending around £600 – £1000 on a quality website design and ecommerce set up that will wow your customers and boost your sales.
Your website should be easy to navigate, visually pleasing, fast and promote your message. Read more about what makes good website design.
Some companies offer monthly payments plans for website design, this can really help the affordability factor for a new business. But be careful when budgeting for your fancy new website as there are other cost factors involved.
To serve your website to your customers, it needs to be hosted on a server – but what is a website hosting service? Simply put, it holds your website files and processes different requests like loading a new page, redirecting from an old domain and more.
The quality of your hosting will impact the loading speed of your site, so it is a very important factor. There are some really cheap hosting plans out there that seem great, but will leave you regretting your choices later down the line when your traffic increases and your site starts having issues. Ideally, for a new business you’ll want to be spending around £15 – £20 a month on website hosting.
You need to be able to contact your website hosts easily, the last thing you need is your site going down and not being able to get it back up quickly. Many hosting providers have portals that let you submit support requests in the event of downtime.
If you are developing your site yourself, then you want to figure out what resources your website host offers, like cPanel and FTP access that will let you update files on your site that aren’t accessible through its CMS.
Let’s loop back to when you were thinking of what to call your business, you’re going to need a domain name for your website! You want it to be short, snappy and memorable – we chose ours because it ticks all of those boxes. On top of the name itself, you need to think of where your customers are located and whether you want your domain suffix to be .co.uk, .uk, .com, .design – really you can use your own judgement at what would be fitting for your business and target customers.
Websites can take a lot of attention – we wish it was as easy as designing it and forgetting about it, but it isn’t.
Your website will be made up of lot’s of different files, these files sometimes need to be updated for several technical reasons which we won’t delve into here, but just know that these updates can cause issues with your site that sometimes only a developer will be able to figure out. Some developers will charge you a fair bit for fixing up your site, depending on how bad the issue is.
One way to avoid this whole problem is paying for a website management plan that provides you with an experienced developer that will be taking care of these updates and making sure that these issues either don’t surface or are resolved quickly if they do.
Online Store Management
If you are running an online store, you’ll need to add your products, write descriptions, find images, prices – as well as creating graphics to promote sales, products and more. If this is something you can do then you can save yourself some money. If your website is run on a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, then this process is made much easier as it offers all the tools to edit your products, coupons and more with very few technical skills.
Improving your website over time
You will never quite know what you want until you’ve been running your business for a while, as you realise what does and doesn’t work well. You may want to pay for an advanced website management plan that offers website development as a part of the work included. After running your site for a few months you may decide that it’s time to implement a loyalty point system to reward your customers and encourage repeat purchases, or implement a better product filter as your target customers are older and struggle to use certain technologies. These are just two examples that we at Webqo have encountered with our website management.
Your business needs a brand, this isn’t just a name and a tagline – it’s the message you want to push to customers, the problem you solve and the reason you are the best choice!
All of these can be conveyed with colours, typography, how you talk and more.
For example, if you sell a service that recycles old toys for children then you may go for a green colour theme to promote your environment friendly message, with a playful heading font and a voice that is relatable to parents that are interested in saving the environment and money.
Without going into too much detail on marketing, you need a logo that will speak to your target customer – if you have any design skills then you could give it a go on your own, or get in touch with a graphic designer that you can talk to about the brand and message you want your logo to convey. After having this discussion, you can carry across the same ideas to the other resources you need, like a theme for your social media posts, the heading fonts and colours on your website, and the way you talk to your customers.
You may have heard of SEO, maybe not – but it’s very important for any online business. Until now, you may have been using search engines like Google from a consumer perspective, well it’s time to switch it up and start thinking about how Google has provided you with the best search results for ‘starting your business in 2021’.
SEO is no easy task, it involves research into what your target customers are searching for on Google, what their intent is when searching and how you can target these people. Also, Google looks at how many times the web page you want to rank has been linked to from another website, what text they used to link to it, what the linking website ranks for and much more. These are just a few examples of many factors that Google uses to rank websites to serve the best results for the consumer.
If you’ve never done SEO work before, then I wouldn’t recommend taking this project on alone while you are just starting up your new business because it takes a lot of time and attention.
While it is pricey to pay an agency to handle your SEO, it is justified due to it’s extremely involved process that can take up to 6 months to see the improvements from the optimisations set in place.
Just because you’ve got a great website, your SEO is being taken care of by professionals and a really sweet logo – doesn’t mean you don’t have to use social media. It is the best place to communicate with your customers, the most effective form of pushing your brand and building a community.
You need to figure out what social media platforms is ideal for you, think about what you are going to use it for – is it to create a following and awareness of your brand? If so, you should post interactive type posts (like polls and questions) that encourage people to engage with your content.
Another best practice for social media is to keep your branding consistent. Having your logo on every post in the corner in the same format will make it easier for potential customers to recognise your brand when they see your post.
So now you have a good idea of the things you need to start your online business in 2021. If you want to know more about what you need to start your business in 2021 and how we can help you with everything above, then just get in touch with us and we can discuss the best options for you.