Now that you’ve established your bakery business, have you thought about how to take it to the next level?
I have one suggestion for you that can be quick and easy to put into action.
Have you considered a website or a blog of your own?
Most business owners think if they have a Facebook page they can call it good for their online presence, but I would recommend taking it a step farther. Did you know an estimated 80% of consumers use the internet to search for products they want or need before making a purchase? Those consumers will expect your business to have a website, if it doesn’t they’ll go with a competitor who does.
A website is a great asset to any bakery business for several reasons. Let’s take a look at a few of those now.
Having a website will increase credibility.
With more and more consumers using the internet to search for products and services your business will gain credibility by having a website. Customers expect it and will move on to another competitor who does have a website. If you already have a website, be sure it’s designed properly and creates a professional image, inspiring greater confidence in your business. Home based bakery businesses will benefit greatly since you don’t have a storefront to promote your work.
You will be able to keep your customers informed and current.
A website can act as an online brochure or catalogue. Updating information about your products or services on your website is quicker, easier, and cheaper. It’s an effective way of letting customers know about new products, specials, and new services. Print ads can quickly become outdated, but a website is able to always be current and relevant. It’s also very costly to update printed materials, a website can be updated with no cost.
It’s available at all times from anywhere.
A website is available 24/7 regardless of your regular business hours. This provides potential customers the opportunity to review what you have available even when you’re closed. It allows customers find answers to their questions even when you aren’t available. A website also allows non local customers to view your offerings regardless of their location.
You’re able to market to a wider audience.
As I noted, a website being available 24/7 from anywhere in the world allows non local customers to view your offerings. You want to branch out in your business with shippable items such as: cookies, cake toppers, edible images, ingredients, or supplies. An online store is a great way to supplement your income.
There may also be times when you have potential clients who need to order for a relative who lives nearby, a bride who is traveling to your home town for her wedding, or even a vacationer looking for a great place to grab a treat. Your website will show them exactly what they can expect to find, where to find it, and when to find it.
A website is a time saver and improves customer service.
Phone calls, in person orders, texts, emails, and messages all take time. With an online source you can answer many of your customers questions and provide information about how to place orders, business hours, address, pick up procedures, policies and more on a permanent platform.
Having this information available will also allow you to offer better customer service, because it is quickly accessible on your website 24/7, saving time and providing better service. What customer doesn’t like instant gratification?
Adding a blog can create new passive income.
If you decide to add a blog to your website you can create new passive income by drawing in an audience who visits frequently. When you place ads on your site you can make a commission from ad companies for the number of views or clicks from your site.
You could blog about your daily goings on, special events, behind the scenes, baking/decorating tips, mini tutorials, recipes, etc. People love to see what’s going on inside a business so you’re sure to attract many viewers.
It belongs to you.
Did you know the content you put on Facebook or other social media platforms doesn’t belong to you? At any moment those sites can choose to pull the plug and all of your content is gone. Or you can be reported by other users for whatever they’d like to report you for, and you can be banned, losing access to your audience and sharing your work.
When you have a website on a self hosted platform, such as WordPress.ORG, you own your content. You can’t be banned and your site can’t be shut down by anyone but yourself. This is the most important aspect when you decide to create a website.
How to Start a Website
We’ve now gone over several reasons you should have a website of your own, but how do you get started?
In this post I’m not going to go into the details of everything you will need to do to create the website, but I will explain how to get started.
Choose a host.
You will want to start on a platform such as WordPress.ORG if you want to own your website. It doesn’t cost anything to use WordPress.ORG but it will cost to host your site through a hosting company. If you use WordPress.ORG you will need a hosting company for your site to work.
*Side note: Be sure you are using wordpress.ORG and not wordpress.com. WordPress.com is free to use and doesn’t require hosting, but you will not own your website as it’s not self hosted. Your content will belong to WordPress.com.
Choosing a hosting company is THE most important part of setting up a site. I made the tragic mistake of choosing the wrong hosting company when I began this blog. I constantly fought downtime, had absolutely no customer service, and couldn’t even add new content to the blog because of incredibly slow load times from the hosting company.
I feel like I should let you know upfront that this company was Godaddy.com. I chose Godaddy because they were cheap! I had basically no budget when I started so I chose the biggest name that offered the cheapest prices. Let me tell you, you get what you pay for!
I finally took the leap when I literally couldn’t update my blog at all because of such slow hosting, and migrated my blog over to a new hosting company. You don’t know this about me, but I am the biggest researcher of all time! I research EVERYTHING under the sun before I make a big decision. Especially when it means spending money.
I read countless articles, reviews of hosting companies, and fine print on their website for weeks until I finally decided to move to InMotion Hosting.
Best. Decision. Ever.
Let me tell you, their customer service is OUT OF THIS WORLD!
This matters. Especially if you’re changing providers or if you’re brand new to building a website.
They have an online chat service (and Skype!) that is lightning fast in responding. They were very patient with all my technical ignorance and answered every single silly question I had. They sent follow-up emails and when I would use chat, they transferred me to the person who was originally helping me! That meant I didn’t have to start completely over explaining my situation to a new customer service rep each time I needed help.
They also migrated my site for me at no cost! It was quick and painless!
A few other things I really like about this hosting company are they provide a free SSL certificate and you can quickly create several email accounts of your own (firstname.lastname@example.org). Both of these options are often additional charges with other hosting companies.
InMotion Hosting is absolutely great for beginners and seasoned website creators alike.
Choose your hosting package.
Once you’ve decided to use InMotion Hosting, you’ll need to choose your hosting package.
They offer several options with different benefits for different lengths of time. Choose the best fit for your site and long term plans.
Choose your Domain Name.
Once you choose your package you will then need to choose your domain name (your website name) and InMotion makes it super easy.
Ideally your business name will be available. However, if your business name isn’t terribly unique you may have a hard time purchasing the domain you’d like.
You can always add to the end of your business name to make it a bit more unique. For example; mybakerynyc.com. This would be your bakery name with an abreviation for your location (NYC) added to the end.
You can also choose to go with something other than a .com but I’d try to go with .com if possible as it’s still the most common and popular.
Choose Privacy Protection
Next you’ll want to decide if you’d like to purchase the domain privacy protection.
“Whenever a domain is registered, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) requires your personal information, such as address, phone number, and email address, to be published in the WhoIs Database. Protect your personal information from spammers and telemarketers with domain privacy.”- InMotion
Once you make this decision you’ll be onto the billing section. I think this is pretty self explanatory!
After billing you’ll review your order, confirm and pay. Then you’re ready to start setting up your website!
That’s all there is to it! Now that you have your hosting and domain purchased through InMotion you’ll want to get your site set up. I am most certainly not a professional and I don’t have any tutorials on how to set up a site, however, there are thousands that are easily found through a quick Google or Pinterest search. There are numerous blogs and sites dedicated to just this.
If you aren’t wanting to set up your own site, you can also find someone to design your site for you. Whatever you decide, don’t wait! The sooner you get started, the sooner you can begin reaping the benefits we spoke of here.