Tag Archives: website

Tutorial 2: Registering a Domain & Setting Up Company Email

An essential part of getting your business online is registering your domain name, and setting up a business email address. This simple task will give your business credibility and make it easier for customers to find you. Don’t worry if you have never registered a domain name – it’s really easy and we’ll show you how.

What is a domain name?

Simply put a domain name is what appears as the website address (URL) of your business website. For example, this website has the domain www.digitalhume.com.au.

What do you mean by company email?

When purchasing a domain, it is possible to also purchase an email service that provides you with company branded email addresses. For example, if you register the domain  examplebusiness.com, you would want a matching email address such as john@examplebusiness.com. This provides unity for your company name (and brand) across all contact with customers.

Where do I register?

There are many domain name providers online, who also offer a range of other services including email. Prices and services will vary with the provider and it is best to look around and see which provider is most suited to your business. Some of the most common domain name providers are listed below:

What makes a good domain name?

A good domain name is relevant to your business, not too long, easily remembered and not over-complicated. Your first preference might not be available, but there are still many domains available.

How do I purchase a domain name and email?

Using crazydomains.com.au, the below slideshow will step you through the process of purchasing your business domain and email address. Easy as that!

 

Tutorial 1: Getting Started Online

Getting Started

Getting started online doesn’t have to be daunting or expensive. The first step to getting online is to set up a basic web presence. Many small businesses think getting online is expensive and difficult. In today’s environment this simply isn’t true. In fact it is relatively easy.

There are many free (or reasonably priced) and easy to use website tools online. These tools allow you to build a simple web presence for your business. You just need to know where to look!

Every business should at minimum have a simple website. This will allow you to be found online and to promote your business to customers and prospects.

You cannot afford to wait any longer to get online. No matter what industry you are in, the chances are your competitors are already using the web to attract your customers.

Free online web building tools:

Below is a list of some of the best known website tools.

  • WordPress: One of the most commonly used tools, WordPress has a large support community, a wide range of templates to choose from and a user-friendly interface. Users can get started for free, and it is an open source tool meaning the code is free. This is important if you decide to build a more comprehensive site in the future.
  • Shopify: A useful tool for those businesses who wish to facilitate eCommerce (the ability to process online shopping).
  • Squarespace: A low cost, easy to use website builder, it leads the field in the proprietary web tools space.
  • Tumblr: Where websites and social media merge. Tumblr can be a particularly useful tool for those businesses who pride themselves on aesthetics and imagery and would like their content to be easily shared.
  • Wix: Another free website builder with a range of templates and user support.
  • Weebly: Free website builder with no need to sign up if you already have a Facebook account.

Our choice:

We generally recommend WordPress for a number of reasons.

  • There is a huge range of free and paid templates to choose from
  • Getting started is quick and easy
  • The interface is user-friendly, and
  • Because it is Open Source, there are a large number of users providing a comprehensive support network online when you get stuck.

That said, each business should investigate its options and choose the solution that is most suited to its own needs. There is no right or wrong answer and any of the tools mentioned above will get you online quickly and easily.

Getting started in under 20 minutes:

We’ve recorded a 20 minute webinar stepping you through the process of setting up a free basic website with WordPress. This is just a basic framework, and those who want a more comprehensive website can spend much more time expanding and perfecting their presence according to their needs.

Set aside 20 minutes to watch the recording after which you will have the knowledge to get your business online.

13th June Webinar Recording

Thank you to everyone who attended the Digital AgricultureHow high speed broadband and digital technologies will help you increase profitability and productivity webinar yesterday evening.

Here is a recording of the webinar for those who want to recap on some of the topics discussed or for those who missed it.

Please leave your comments and feedback below. If you liked the webinar please share the recording by clicking on one of the social media icons below.

 

Smart Homes – How Will They Help?

The Broadband Smart House Project

The goal of the Broadband Smart House project is demonstrate the use of the real-world applications of the NBN, including home automation, remote health monitoring, video-conferencing, rehabilitation, education, remote business, sensor monitoring, and environmental sustainability.(Source: RDA Northern Inland, 2013)

A smart home in Armidale, NSW has been created to conduct live workshops & demonstrations on the benefits of this new technology. The house is fitted with functioning installations where a typical family of four can try out the new technologies. At first instance the house will also be used by local TAFE and University students to trial and demonstrate various cutting-edge projects across a range of areas.

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Case Study: BIG4 Shepparton East Holiday Park

For the latest in our series of Hume region business case studies, we spoke to Kaye Bernardi - owner of the BIG4 Shepparton East Holiday Park.

Business overview

Kym & Kaye Bernardi have owned and operated the BIG4 Shepparton East Holiday Park for 14 big4-shepparton-east-logoyears. They are an independent member of BIG4 Holiday Parks franchise, which has parks all around Australia. They currently have 23 self-contained cabins, 12 ensuite  powered sites, powered caravan & tent sites and 12 mobile homes. The park predominantly caters for the family market. Both Kym & Kaye have made significant capital investment into technology and their park ensuring it has some of the best family friendly facilities like giant jumping pillow, solar heated pool, synthetic grass tennis court, pedal go-karts, recreation room and camp kitchens.

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Web design and regional communities online, with WWW.ART

Our latest case study looks at Beechworth’s WWW.ART web design services – winners of the Excellence in Professional Services award at the 2012 Indigo Shire Business Awards. Owner/operator Fiona Larkings has been helping businesses across the region get online since launching her business 14 years ago.

Business overview

Since 1998, WWW.ART Design Services has built a strong portfolio of clients from many different industries across the region. We specialise in building cost effective easy to navigate, well-structured web sites for businesses and organisations of all sizes. We work closely with our clients to provide a personalised service, helping them to design and maintain effective, individually tailored websites.

We provide a wide range of services for our customers, from the design and construction of new sites, through to ongoing maintenance, social media integration and email marketing solutions. One of our earliest projects, the Beechworth.com community hub now has over 110 businesses and community organisations on the site, and attracts over 8,000 visitors each month.

Tell us about the web technologies you are using in the business

  • Our website acts as a showcase for our services, and a portfolio of our current work.
  • Google Analytics provides us with detailed statistics on our website traffic.
  • We’re familiar with a range of domain management systems and hosting technologies, which we use to register and manage client domains, and provide web hosting services for our clients.
  • An email marketing system helps us manage our mailing list and contacts.
  • We also have a business presence on social media services like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • Using Webinars for training enables us to keep up with the latest changes in our industry, without constantly needing to travel to metropolitan areas.

What benefits have you gained from using these tools?   

We are an internet based business, so without access to these tools our business would not exist. Where possible, we aim to educate all of our clients about the benefits of using these technologies to help them grow their own businesses.

How do you plan to use high speed broadband in your business when the NBN arrives?

The increased speed the NBN offers will help us to do better business, and provide faster delivery of speed for client websites.

What advice do you have for other businesses who want to maximise their use of web technologies? 

When setting up a website, find a professional website designer/developer that knows about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Rather than thinking about how the website looks and then later discovering that it doesn’t work, these two elements should work together. Your website developer should also be able to clearly explain the elements required to construct a website, so that you know what you are paying for.

Make sure that your website allows you to update your own content, or that your developer provides support if you find this too difficult. All businesses need to have an online presence so that they can be found in this fast moving world.

You can find out more about WWW.Art through their website, Facebook page or Twitter account.

Case study: Watson’s Mountain Country Trail Rides

For our latest case study, we spoke to Michael Watson about how Mansfield’s Watson’s Mountain Country Trail Rides have developed an online presence for their business.

Business overview

Watson’s Trail Rides is a family business, and has operated from our property in Mansfield for the past 30 years. Most of our customers come from two sectors: domestic “free independent travellers” and school groups. We also have regular bookings from international and corporate groups. As a small business, it’s been important for us to be in control of our web presence. If our events, availability or other details change, we need to be able to change the content of our site quickly.

Which web or social media technologies are you using for your business?

  • We manage our own website. This is a central place for people to find out about our business, and we update it several times a week.
  • I also keep an eye on our website analytics roughly once a month. That lets us see how many people look at the site, and where they come from.
  • We have been using an online booking system on our website for about four years now. Around half of our bookings are made online.
  • Over time, we’ve added other tools. YouTube was one of the earliest, allowing us to show people what it’s like on our rides.
  • A more recent addition is our Facebook page – helping us to promote the business on social networks, in addition to our website. We use the page to keep people updated on what the business has been doing, and have photo galleries from some of our major events.
  • TripAdvisor had been very handy for us. It’s more commonly used for accommodation, but has a growing number of event and experience listings. I was wary about putting customer testimonials on our website, as they rarely feel authentic. TripAdvisor acts as an impartial third party – by linking to their reviews, we can show people directly what customers have said about the business.

What have been the benefits of using these?

Our online presence helps people to discover our business, provides them with a personal experience of who we are and what we do, and also takes care of around half of our bookings. It can sometimes be hard finding time to manage it all, but it’s extremely valuable for us.

Operating in an industry that traditionally doesn’t have a strong online presence has its advantages. There aren’t a lot of trail riding companies out there, compared with much more active sectors like tourist accommodation. That helps us to remain visible in search engines, without being drowned out by hundreds of other sites.

Do you have any tips for other business managers wanting to get online?

If you don’t think that your business needs a web presence, think about things from the perspective of your customers: when and where are they likely to want information about your business? For a tourism operator, much of the planning that goes into a family holiday will take place at home, after working hours – when your business won’t be able to answer enquiries directly. Your website can help people discover your business, and also helps answer a lot of questions the customers will have.

You can find out more about Watson’s Trail Rides via their website or Facebook page.