Tired of board games and movies? Here’s how you could start and grow an online family business

online business

Baking the perfect loaf of bread, finishing off that hand crocheted baby blanket, painting the newest wall feature are just some of the activities that many of us have been filling Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest feeds with during lockdown.

However, as many of us explore our creative side to pass the time during lockdown, some entrepreneurial Australian families have taken that creativity to the next level by starting or growing their own small business online.

Indeed, recent GoDaddy research reveals that almost a third (30%) of respondents have started or grown a business or side hustle from home during lockdown. And they’re not doing it alone. Four in ten (41%) of those starting or growing ventures have done so with a family member, with a further 87% saying it has strengthened family relationships.

So if you’re looking for a new activity to use up some of that pent-up creativity or bond as a family, why not join Australia’s entrepreneurial families and consider setting up a business online of your own? If the thought of starting something entrepreneurial online sparks excitement for you, here are a few tips to help you get started.

Make it official: buy a domain name

Choosing and buying your domain name is, for many, one of the most important first steps to take when setting up an online business. It’s your unique address online, and as such, it’s important to choose a name that is memorable and succinctly describes your business so that it’s easier for your customers to find you.

For instance, if you’re setting up online pilates classes, consider a domain name such as ‘pilatesathome.com.au’. Once you have decided on a domain name, and have confirmed that it’s available at a price you’re willing to pay, consider registering a variety of iterations of it – such as .com, .co, .org, – so that a competitor cannot register a similar name.

Get digital-ready with a professional website

A website can act as the digital base for your business, giving you the platform to tell your story, showcase your products and services and, if marketed effectively, it could even expand your business’ reach, too. Despite Australian businesses beginning to tentatively reopen, many customers have spent the last few months interacting with their favourite brands and businesses almost exclusively online, therefore a digital presence may well remain a key asset as we approach the ‘new normal’.

However, before building your website, consider what you’d like to achieve. Do you want it to inform? Generate leads? Sell products or services? A clear plan for what you would like your website to accomplish could go a long way in helping you develop a clear and effective platform for your business down the track.

It’s also worth noting that many consumers have moved past simply using a desktop to shop or search for services online. In fact a quarter (26%) of Australian consumers make purchases via mobile, so it’s worth using website builder tools like, for example, GoDaddy Websites + Marketing that not only optimises websites for smartphones and other mobile devices, but provides a robust platform to help you promote your family business.

Optimisation is key

Once your website is set up, it’s important to consider how to help boost its visibility online and get your business noticed by your target audience. This process is known as search engine optimisation (SEO) and involves refining a website to get higher search engine rankings and organic visitors to your site. Unlike paid listings or sponsored advertisements, organic search results are “free” and based on, among other things, a website’s content and how closely it matches the keywords being searched.

It’s important to note that each search engine has its own set of ranking criteria. To help boost your website’s SEO ranking, consider filling your website with the keywords or phrases that your customers might search for. For example, to optimise your family’s pilates website, consider language such as ‘mat pilates Sydney’, ‘at-home pilates’ or ‘online pilates studio Australia’.

Get people talking with an active social media presence

When used effectively, social media can be a great tool to help raise awareness for your business, engage with current and potential customers, and ultimately help drive traffic to your website. Almost eight in ten Australians use social media, so consider developing a presence on platforms like Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram.

However, just as in real life, you can’t be everywhere at the same time, and the same goes for social media. So, figure out where your target customers are spending their time, and be active there. For instance, some platforms, like Pinterest and Instagram, specialise in visual content, which can be great for product-centric businesses or your pilates class. LinkedIn, on the other hand, can be a great platform to interact with your target audience if you’re setting up, for example, a consultancy business.

While growing or starting a new venture might sound like a fun and creative way to spend some extra time during lockdown, why not consider its potential not just today, but well into the future, too? A significant 93% of our survey respondents intend to continue working on their online venture after lockdown, so if you too decide your business could have long-term scope for you and your family, having a solid digital presence from the get-go could go a long way. So, dust off that thinking cap, get the family together and see what brilliant ideas you can create.

Suzanne Mitchell is the Marketing Director for GoDaddy in Australia, responsible for leading marketing strategy and campaign execution in the region. GoDaddy is the company empowering Australian entrepreneurs. For simple tech solutions to help make your life as a business owner easier, visit godaddy.com.au