6 questions to ask when taking your business online

(BPT) - Whether you run a solo small business, or your business is moving from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce, you’ve likely got a long to-do list — and you may not know where to start. Or if your business is already online, you may be trying to improve your website and stand out from the competition. Do you have the skills and know-how to make that happen?

Not everyone does. Chances are, you know a lot about your products or services, but not necessarily how to promote your business and run it successfully using today’s digital tools. And due to the pandemic, increasing your online presence and running your business virtually has become even more crucial.

According to survey data released by Fiverr, 49% of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses are optimistic about their future prospects after the lockdown has passed, but not surprisingly, nearly a quarter (22%) of them do plan to increase their digital marketing spend as a result of COVID-19.

If you’re one of the many entrepreneurs trying to figure out your next steps for taking — or optimizing — your business online, here are some questions to ask:

1. What are you selling?

Are you selling a product or a service? This makes a difference in how you run your business. Can your business happen virtually (if it’s a service), or do you have to manage manufacturing, inventory and shipping on top of marketing and advertising, online ordering and finances?

2. Do you need your own website or online store?

Many small businesses can succeed — or at least start out — by selling products on an existing platform like Etsy or Amazon, rather than creating their entire online store from scratch. But it may not be as hard to build your own site as you think.

3. What do you need on your website?

What will best serve your business? “About” and “Contact Us” pages? Do you want to include a blog? Customer testimonials and special promotions for new clients? Do you need a catalog of products and services? Does your business need to include a list of services, rates and shipping costs? Making a list of what your business needs is a useful starting point for whoever you hire to help build your website.

4. What web templates do you see working best for your business?

Are you familiar with WordPress, Wix and Squarespace? Which would be the best to suit your particular business?

5. What type of content do you want to see on your site?

Would you like to see custom-made illustrations or animation? Stock or custom photography? How about videos?

6. How do you make sure customers can find your website?

There’s a lot of competition out there. Unless you’re well-versed in SEO and how Google algorithms work, you may not know how to build an online presence others can find using a web search.

Some entrepreneurs find the thought of putting their business online daunting, but with an expert in your corner, it can be simple and hassle-free. Fortunately, there’s a service that can help you find the right talent to create a web presence that really reflects your unique brand: Fiverr is a platform connecting businesses of all sizes with skilled freelancers offering digital services in over 400 categories including graphic design, digital marketing, programming, video and animation. You can view professionals according to their skills, along with ratings, reviews and cost of the service you need.

And now there's a new tool to make it even easier to get started building a website for your business — Fiverr's The Shift. This new resource hub includes a website developer matching experience that will match you with a verified, highly-rated professional specializing in web design and development. For those new to creating a website, the matched talent will act as a guiding force throughout the website creation process.

On The Shift hub, you can also browse inspiring case studies, read stories about how businesses have transformed their digital presence and get tips from helpful blogs, podcasts and many other useful resources for small and medium-sized business owners across all industries.