When building your online business from the ground up, part of the challenge lies in deciding what you can do on your own and what requires professional assistance. Beyond that, when you start enlisting web service professionals to provide that assistance, there remains the challenge of determining the order in which you need to hire them and the length of serving you’ll need to contract from them.
One way of solving that challenge is by developing a relationship with a single company that can help you with every stage of building your online business. Ideally, that relationship will be a flexible one, which will allow you to contract the company or individual teams within the company to complete certain projects and then part ways when you feel comfortable going it alone, or simply want to take a break from the operations you’ve been developing together.
In a market like Los Angeles, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a web service provider with a comprehensive range of expertise. On the other hand, in such a competitive market, you may find that it’s somewhat difficult to form a sufficiently close relationship, especially on short notice. If you’re under pressure to get started building your online business, you may have to dive into a new professional relationship with both feet, and simply hope that it evolves into something long-lasting and mutually beneficial. If it doesn’t, you always have the option to simply move on.
Web Design First
It may be obvious to most readers, but the first step in building your online business is to simply design the website you’ll be using. This is also your likeliest starting point for developing a relationship with a web services provider.
Of course, there are plenty of professional web designers who primarily focus on that one task and leave things like ad placement and social media management to a marketing firm or a more wide-ranging service provider. But most web designers work as part of a team these days, especially in markets like Los Angeles. There’s no particular reason to partner with a lone wolf when you’re just starting out building your online business, especially since that early collaboration is a good opportunity to test the communication skills, vision, and general expertise of an individual or an entire team.
As we’ve pointed out in various other posts, each individual component of building an online business is potentially intertwined with all the others. While it may be possible to get an amazing website from a company or individual who is narrowly focused on design, you need to keep in mind that this could present subsequent partners with a greater challenge once they take on the mission of marketing or advertising for your ecommerce site.
Initial website design is interwoven with SEO, and optimization requires a solid understanding of your marketing strategy, your target audience, and the general strengths and weaknesses of your business at its outset. A later partnership can adapt to the initial work done by a lone web designer, but you’re better off avoiding the learning curve if you don’t have to change horses mid-stream.
Once your website is up and running, the act of building your online business largely consists of identifying the different channels through which you want to reach your online audience, and integrating them into your marketing plan in a systematic way.
Here, too, it’s best to start with a holistic vision. If you have one partner company that can do it all, you’ll be in a better position to springboard from one strategic goal to another, without having to re-do the vetting process or bring a new company up to speed on what its predecessor accomplished with one or more prior channels. But if you either can’t find a comprehensive web service provider or you have a compelling reason to give different tasks to different teams, the most important thing is that you personally have a complete understanding of how you want to go about building your online business.
If your business plan is especially focused on establishing itself as on-trend and capturing the attention of young and well-connected consumers, it may be in your interest to make influencer marketing a top priority. If that proves successful in driving traffic to your website and generating leads, then it may behoove you to assign either the same or another partner company to reach out directly to those leads through email marketing, or to provide them with blog content that entices them to repeatedly return to the site.
If you want to provide an especially personal touch, you might even be inspired to take some of those long-form communications upon yourself. Just be sure that you’re up to the task, and be sure that your web marketing partners are always sufficiently engaged with that content, so their own efforts remain part of the same overarching strategy.
Analysis and Revision
As far as that strategy goes, it’s also vitally important that you constantly remain apprised of its progress, successes, and failings. For that, it is important to either vet your comprehensive web services provider for a skill with long-term data analysis, or to hire another partner company for that purpose once you’ve spent some time building your online business.
While today’s online platforms do often make analytics tools available to ordinary users, this is one area of your web marketing strategy that you’d be well advised to place in professional hands. If you make the right initial hiring decisions, you should be able to put every aspect of that strategy in the same set of hands, or at least have the option of doing so when you get overwhelmed. But if you feel the need to choose only one area to receive professional assistance, it should probably be data analysis.
After all, without a thorough understanding of the traffic you’ve attracted and the engagement it has caused, there’s no way for you to be certain about the proper next steps to take in further growing your online business.