Startup Super Tips—Help For New Businesses Getting Online.
Starting a new business is an exciting time. It’s also a lot of hard work with a seemingly never ending list of jobs to do. One area that is fraught with technical jargon, confusing terms and poor advice when you need to set it up is getting your business online. This is why we have created our startup super tips for small businesses.
That Big Long List
Before you even begin your business, you need to have a great idea. After that there is the worry of funding, dealing with HMRC, incorporation, finding bank accounts and payment systems. Then of course there are business plans, marketing plans, consulting legislation in your industry’s sector. Finally you will need to develop your procedures and policies.
The last thing you need to be doing is trying to decide how to create a website. What the hell is hosting and SSL? Do you really need a 500 GB, 4 CPU VPS (whatever that is!)
The Hippo Helpers have put together a 7 point “Getting Your Business Online”, guide, which includes our startup super tips! From helping you choose your business name; to actually helping you build your website, the Hippo will guide you on your journey.
Super Startup Tip 1—Choosing that Business Name
Now, this isn’t really a “Getting Online” issue, but it is linked very much to the success of your website. Selecting a name that matches your domain name is much more important now. Your users will type your business name with .co.uk on the end as their first attempt to try to find your website. When you are building your brand, you always need to think about how it will affect your appearance online.
To start with, your business name doesn’t have to describe what your company does. Think of some of the most successful organizations out there: McDonalds, Ebay, Meta, Amazon? They don’t say what they do, their brand does the talking. True, you have to put work in building the brand, but if you are looking for a business with longevity, the brand will end up doing most of the work for you.
So, choosing a business name is difficult, but we are able to help you here. Hipposerve have created a unique Business Name Generator that puts together interesting and unique business names, based on a key word that you enter! This tool even finds a matching domain name for you at the same time.
Before you finally decide on that perfect name, test it out on family and friends.
Super Startup Tip 2—Grabbing a Great Domain Name
Selecting a great domain name is a fine art. There are a few things you should always consider before choosing the final one:
Get your domain name at the same time, or before you register your business. We are sorry to say that there are unscrupulous companies out there that watch to see when a company is incorporated at Companies House. When they spot a new one, they will see if they can buy up all the matching domain names. They will then hold you to ransom, often asking extortionate prices for a domain.
- Keep your domain short: as short as possible, but definitely under 15 characters long. The longer a domain name is, the more likely your user will make a mistake when typing it in.
- Make it easy to pronounce and spell: When you think you have found your name, say it out loud a few times, can you spell it from the sound of the word? Is it easy to type, especially on a mobile keyboard, without getting your fingers in a tangle. People will typically retype your domain name twice before giving up and choosing a competitor.
- Avoid Hyphens: People won’t type this by default, and you will find yourself having to explain to people it has a hyphen in the middle—not a good look!
- Steer clear of double letters: superrangeeggs.com may sound awesome, but I challenge you to type it correctly quickly!!
- Name generators really do a great job. Our Business Name Generator not only generates great business names, but also matching domains. It uses a range of AI tools to ensure that the names flow off the tongue and are easy to type. Even if you don’t pick one of our names, they are great for getting the creative juices flowing!
Search for That Domain
At Hipposerve you can search for your perfect domain either using our Business Name Generator, or by completing the search bar at the top of every page. Unlike many companies, we believe that your domain is just that—yours. You are free to move to another provider at any time* without charge. Many of our domain names are FREE if included with a hosting plan, or just 99p if bought on their own.**
*subject to any domain locks placed by the domain naming authority
** Free or 99p domains for one year, on the condition of a 2 year purchase
Super Startup Tip 3—Matching Professional Emails
70% of internet users trust a domain based email over a generic or free email. But what is a domain based email? This is an email that matches the domain you purchased for your business. For example, we have a range, [email protected], [email protected] etc. An equivalent generic or free mail would be [email protected] or [email protected].
Professional emails add to an organizations credibility and branding, and looks great on a business card. However, the complexities don’t just stop there. Many providers offer free email that is linked to a website hosting package. Whilst that is fine for personal use, these ‘free’ emails don’t cut it for business. We have compiled a list of reasons why not to use a ‘free email’.
Free Mail Disadvantages
- It’s not really free: These emails share the resources with your website. If you have a lot of emails, you will find that you quickly run out of space for your website and are required to upgrade. The cost of upgrading is typically more expensive than standard professional mailbox!
- These can slow down your website: If you are sending and receiving a lot of messages, your web sever will be doing a lot of work processing these messages and not your website. As your website gets busier, users may experience lag, and you will find yourself having to upgrade again.
- Blacklisted IP Addresses: Free emails share their IP address with lots of different users on the same server. An IP address is how computers communicate with each other over the internet. All it takes is one user to use their email for nefarious purposes, such as spamming, and the whole IP address gets blocked. This means that you may experience delivery problems with your sent emails, with them ending up in your customer’s spam box.
- Limited emails per day: Many free accounts limit the number of emails you can send within a given time period, this can be a set number per hour, or even just 50 or 100 emails a day. As your company grows, you will find you exceed this very quickly.
- Limited facilities: Free emails don’t always have the facilities you require from an email account, this could be email backup, global signatures, holiday messages and many other things that you need to run your business effectively.
Professional emails are not as expensive as you would imagine. At Hipposerve our Hippo Pro Email solutions start from just £2.49 per month per mailbox and includes a guaranteed clean IP address, 30 day email backup, free email aliases and much, much more. You can find out the full details here.
Super Startup Tip 4— Hosting Your Website
When you invest time and money into a website, you need to make sure that it is stored on a fast, secure and reliable server.
80% of your users will leave your website, and go to a competitor, if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. The type of hosting you need really depends on the type of site you are offering and the number of visitors you receive. It is also important that your hosting solution can grow as your website grows and business grows. Ecommerce websites, for example, require a little more oomph than a standard brochure website. If your hosting is underpowered, then you can find that your website struggles and responds very slowly. Conversely, if you have an overpowered website, you can be paying for resources that you don’t use.
Sometimes, if you commission an agency to develop a website for you, they will try to force you to use their own hosting. Typically, they will overcharge you for substandard hosting, so they can maximize their profit. In addition, they may not fully understand the security and performance implications of different hosting options.
At Hipposerve we have a wide range of hosting options, and we will happily discuss these options with you to ensure you get the best hosting option for your project’s requirements. We promise that we will never over sell a service to any of our customers!
Super Startup Tip 5—Building Your Website
Building a website is something every business owner likes to have ready either at their business launch or soon after. A great website is the key to modern marketing strategies, with any users using your website simply to check out the legitimacy of your business. So even if you don’t plan to sell anything online, people will still look for you. A website has many advantages over a Facebook or LinkedIn business page. First and foremost, you are in control—provided it’s legal, you can pretty much put anything on your website. It also makes your company seem more professional, and credible. There are two choices when it comes to building a website; do it yourself or get a designer in.
The main advantage to building your website yourself, especially when starting out, is the cost. Professional websites start from about, £399 for a very simple site, and costs quickly rise, particularly on E-Commerce sites, or if you want your site to do things that are out of the ordinary. We are not saying that DIY sites are better, in our opinion nothing beats a professionally designed site. However, for a start-up business watching the pennies, it may be that you start off with a simple DIY solution and upgrade to a professional redesign when profits allow!
These are a really popular way to do it yourself. Web builders typically offer a simple drag and drop interface and can get you online within a matter of minutes, with something that looks pretty good. We offer a web builder, called Hippo Builder, here at Hipposerve. It is a really simple and fun interface to use and doesn’t cost any more than our standard hosting plan. You can even try it out for free. It also has the advantage of the fact that you are not tied into the builder plan, and can upgrade to our standard hosting packages at any time, should you wish to have your website developed by a professional.
The other option for DIY’ers is using a CRM, such as WordPress, to build your website. These have a steeper learning curve than web builders, but have much greater flexibility with what you can produce. However, if you have never used a CRM before, they can be overwhelming at the start. In order to facilitate the process we offer dedicated CRM hosting at Hipposerve, with preinstalled WordPress, to take out the headache of setting up your site.
Professional Website Building
If you have managed to secure funding, or perhaps you are upgrading from a starter website, you may start to consider a professional website designer. When choosing a designer or agency, it is important to select someone who can meet your needs. There is no point in commissioning a designer that specializes in Photographic Websites, if you are planning to build an E-Commerce website.
Sadly, there are also a number of unscrupulous companies out there, who charge a lot of money and do a very poor job.
Fortunately, here at Hipposerve we are here to help. We work with loads of trusted designers, who in turn use our hosting facilities to ensure a fast, reliable and great looking website. If you are looking at having a website built, please get in touch at help.hipposerve.co.uk. We can arrange a chat to discuss your website and put you in touch with a Hipposerve Web Designer Partner that is best suited for the job in hand. And you don’t need to worry—we don’t take a penny from a designer – they just agree to use us for their hosting! Therefore, we pass on the work to the best designer for the job, and not the one that gives us the best profit margin!
Super Startup Tip 6—Looking After Your Investment
Once you have chosen your business and domain name, got your email, sorted your hosting and built your website, you need to protect your investment. Much of the remedial work we do here at Hipposerve is fixing websites that have either been hacked, due to out of date code, or broken because of an edit or update gone wrong. Much of this can be alleviated by having a good back up solution that looks after your website.
Website backups can be considered the same as insurance. You hope you never have to use one, but if you do, they are invaluable. £8.99 a month might seem like a lot. But what your website could have cost hundreds of pounds and hours of time to build and it is effectively your shopfront? What would be the cost to your business if it was down for 2 weeks being repaired—Or worse still, completely rebuilt.
Look for companies that look after you with a great care plan, that do this for you, so you don’t have to worry.
Here at Hipposerve we offer Hippo Care, it has 3 different tiers to suit your needs, ranging from simple backup, to even upgrading and updating your website AND adding blog posts for you. You can find out more about Hippo Care here and how it helps you protect your website investment.
Super Startup Tip 7—Ensuring Great Support
Our final tip is to consider the support you get for your online services. Things do go wrong with computers, servers, and internet connections all the time—it’s the nature of the beast. It is therefore important that your service provider has a proven track record of looking after their customers. Will you be diverted to a call centre the other side of the world, or will you speak directly to the support team?
Yes, some of the big boys out there offer a 24/7 call centre. But what’s the point if the actual time to fix the problem takes days and the support call turns into a sales call trying to get you to part with more money?
Before you invest your time and money, always check out the companies Support Promise.