Step 1: Conception & design
A common mistake by companies and entrepreneurs in their online ventures is not finding the right design in relation with the website’s goals. Will the website be used to sell your product and/or services? or will you being using it as a PR tool to create leads and follow up with a sale by phone or Email?
A website design must be conceived and built with either one of these objectives in mind.
Many flashy and graphic-heavy websites are usually very long to load, and the average internet user will be gone from your site before they have even viewed your home page, so think twice about that if you are planning to design an e-commerce website, or any type of site for that matter. Also, and this is mostly for websites that depend on search engine traffic – a website entirely conceived in flash or animations is the biggest mistake if you are working on, or planning in the future, to achieve results in the search engines. But more on that a little further in this article.
On the other hand, if your website is mainly a tool to impress or help instill a sense of professionalism so you can close a deal, or the likes of this, then you may allow some leeway for some fancy flash work.
The cost of a website can be anywhere between $300 – $30,000 to design and build, depending on your needs. Now some may argue that you can get just as good a website for 250$.
These designers are usually very limited in terms of skill, or at least, will be limited in terms of delivering exactly want YOU want. It is important to work with a experienced designer who takes the time to listen to you and that can translate your vision into a professional website. The website designer must be dedicated to your project and able to listen to you as well as design your website.
Selling on your website E-commerce websites are truly a work of art. Being able to create a website that is at the time professional and inviting, all while insuring it instills professionalism and trust, is no small feat. It is important that your website has a professional shopping cart system that encourages people to purchase products online. Make it clean and easy to navigate. Insure there are more then one “Purchase” or “Add to Cart” link on a page that focuses on promoting items for sale and insure that these can be indentified easily by the customer.
It might be surprising for some to truly understand the average Internet consumer’s competence when it comes to finding it’s way through a site. So again, insure your important links are very conspicuous.
Managing your website’s content
Content Management Systems are an excellent addition to any website that requires regular updates, as this allows the website owner or assigned person to edit your website without need for the designer. The result is time and money saved.
Traffic is arguably the most important aspect of any online business. If your website sells a product and it is not receiving any traffic, then your website won’t be going anywhere in any amount of time. If it is not generating new customers and keeps your current ones coming back for more, then what is the point?
What do you need to do to get traffic? Luckily there are many answers to that question. But for the sake of time and keeping this article short, I will simply discuss my favorite option: search engine optimization.
Search Engine Optimization
If you are a website owner, you most likely have already heard of search engine optimization. If not, then this is your lucky day.
The truth is simply that there exist no better way of marketing your website today. Period. I will even argue that search engine optimization is better then in terms of value then television, radio and public ads.
So what is search engine optimization?
Simply said, it is the process of building a website so that it earns natural search engine result placements. In other words, “my site is #1 in Google when I type ‘blue widgets’!” . Search engine optimization is all about that.
There are plenty of ways to learn about search engine optimization. Just type his name in Google (or any search engine for that matter) and you will find his site #1 for sure. But if you serious about SEO, you will want to learn it, as it is a long process which requires continous investment of time.
But the important point is that if you are serious about making your website viable, search engine optimization is THE route to go.
One of valuable aspects of search engine optimization results are is quality traffic. The visitors are your site found your website by typing in relevant keywords and search terms.
Long term result is another. Once you achieve high rankings, that means that your site have officially passed the test. It means your site is considered valuable by search engines and means that as long as you maintain your website, which is routine website maintenance that should be a natural operating basis for any serious business website owner, you will be in the results.
So imagine traffic, everyday, that you are getting naturally from the search engines. Does there exist a better means of getting consistent, quality traffic? I think not.
If these simple, yet frequently ommited steps above are incorportated into any of your business plans, I can guarantee you that you will be successful with your online endeavors.