Plan Ahead and Avoid Making Common Mistakes
The biggest mistake made by website owners in general is that they don’t have a cohesive plan because they think of their website as just “a site” instead of an Internet business. A good business Web site is actually an extension of your physical business. Just like a physical business, it needs someone there to sell products, provide customer service, remain dynamic and competitive within its industry. Making money with your website will not happen with a haphazard approach. Just like Brick & Mortar businesses you need to have marketable products & services along with a presentation that highlights them. You also need an efficient means of collecting payments, a well as a thought out marketing strategy and personal investment.
If you are not selling a product or service with perceived value, your business will fail 100% of the time. This may seem like an obvious conclusion but the manufacturers of 8 track tape players, washboards, writers and black & white TVs might disagree with you. Just because something seems like it should sell doesn’t mean it will. Entrepreneurs may live in a world of “Possibilities” but the rest of us spend money in a world of “Realities”. If you are not making money, the problem may lay in the value of your product or service rather than the look or functionality of your Web site.
Create A Marketing Presentation
Often a text description alone does not generate perceived value in a product or service. For example, when buying a car, what would it be like if you couldn’t see it or test drive it. What if you couldn’t even see a picture of the car. We usually only buy a car after we’ve participated in the full marketing presentation including seeing, smelling, hearing, test driving and maybe even reading about the car. It’s important that your website presents your products or services in their full glory; Do you have a website or a internet marketing presentation? If all you have is a web site, don’t count on visitors perceiving value in your offerings.
Have an eCommerce Solution
A simple web brochure that just describes your products and general services without allowing an instant purchase is usually not enough. Your marketing presentation has done it’s job, so why make the customer jump through hops to give you their money? According to Forrester Research, Online retail sales will hit $250 billion by 2014. Your site must have a fully-functional E-commerce system integrated with it (either built in like osCommerce or a 3rd party service like 1Shopping Cart or PayPal). Visitors need to be able to purchase your product or service at any time with just a click of a button. Your site needs to make shopping a fast, fun and easy experience.
Develop an Effective Promotions Strategy
The number one mistake of most Web Business owners occurs under the topic of promotion. There is a myth in the general publics mind. The myth goes something like this. “Build it and they will come”. Nothing could be further from truth. A new Web site is much harder to find than a needle in a hay stack. Submitting your site to the search engines and directories either manually or organically is just the beginning. Their are countless other ways to promote you Web business and drive traffic to your site. Take a constant, strategic and aggressive promotion by using opt-in lists, ezine advertising, classified advertising, search engines, targeted email marketing and other online promotional tools. You have to let everyone know that you exist and that you mean business. A web site is, in reality, infinitesimal bits of data buried in a computer; it only means anything if people come see your site.
Make An Investment
In order to reach your goals and dreams, you have to invest time and money. If you’re short on finances, then you’ll need to find the time to learn how to most of the above yourself. For some reason many people seem to thing that once their web site is built, it just operates by itself. Many of our clients expect the money to just start rolling in. These people are quite disappointed when they aren’t overwhelmed by all the money pouring in. Web business are no different than brick and mortar businesses, they both require lots of time and effort. Are you willing to make that investment?
This belief about a website running itself can be compared to opening a curio shop in a residentail neighborhood, without signs then hiring a manager and taking a one year vacation. Then when you get back from vacation wondering what happened to your investment.