This article is the second of a two-part series, paid for by .ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA). 

See Part 1: Unlock Digital Opportunities with ZADNA

A domain name forms part of a URL that lands an internet user on your website. SMEs can use their .za websites to go beyond just establishing a reputable online presence, but to also drive online sales, says Molehe Wesi, CEO at .ZA Domain Name Authority (ZADNA).

“The opportunity of eCommerce now comes into play. The pleasure in transacting via a website for customers is the fact that it offers a secure and credible digital platform.”

COVID-19 accelerates online shopping in South Africa

According to the Visa report: COVID-19 CEMEA Impact Tracker which highlights the impact of COVID-19 on commerce for consumers and small merchants in South Africa, there is a shift towards online commerce.  Merchants in South Africa who expect an uptick in eCommerce use by consumers post-COVID, predict an increase of 31%.

ZADNA encourages more SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities that having an online shop offers. Here are three important tools that all business owners should consider when selling online.

  1. Register a domain name

Having an online platform starts with a registered domain name. A name online helps your brand to stand out. It also increases your chances of visibility when internet users are searching for products and service on the internet. Without a registered domain name one cannot have a website which means you are not able to attract and sell to the online market.

  • Domain name best practices include ensuring that your domain name registration is part of your trademark protection process. To support this convenient solution for businesses, ZADNA has partnered with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) to enable businesses to register a .za domain and business name simultaneously. Register your business here.
  • Registered .za domain names should not infringe on other brands’ intellectual property. For example registering a name such as zadna-gov.co.za when you don’t own the ZADNA brand is considered to be an abusive domain name.
  • .ZA domain names can be registered with any of the .za accredited Registrars. When registering your domain name, businesses should check if the Internet Service Provider (ISP) is an accredited .za Domain Name Registrar as per the list provided here: https://www.zadna.org.za/za-registrars/ or by contacting ZADNA on 010 020 3910 or via email info@zadna.org.za.
  • When choosing your domain name ensure that the name is short, catchy and easy to remember. Moreover the name needs to be aligned to your brand and its offerings.
  1. Invest in securing your website – Get an SSL certificate

Your domain name is a valuable asset, it too needs protection. Once business owners have established a website, they will also need to have a SSL certificate for their website. An SSL certificate provides a way for visitors to verify that the website they are on, indeed belongs to the associated domain name.

The major benefit of an SSL certificate is that it strengthens the credibility of your website. It also communicates that it is safe to buy from your site, giving the online user assurance that they are interacting on an authentic online platform.

  1. Have a clear content plan for your website

According to Wesi, entrepreneurs should ensure that their web content is interactive, simple and should elaborate on the product and/or services they offer.

In a previous SME South Africa article, the following best practices are recommended:

  • Have clear objectives when designing your website. Are you looking to generate website leads? Then your website needs to be designed in a way that visitors can be converted into leads. This could mean including forms, “buy now” buttons, online chat, etc.
  • Have call-to-action buttons on prominent places on your website.
  • Lastly, design a website in a way that speaks to who you are as a brand, as well as what resonates and connects with your customers.

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