How to Get a Knock Out Website!
The first step in setting up an online business...
Starting an online business for a brand new entrepreneur is a lot like falling in love for the first time. There is enthusiasm, the feeling of a new high in life and determination to make it work at all costs. All superior emotions, but making sure that your business grows will also take a sharp reality check. The reality is that along with enthusiasm and determination, you also need to be a smart marketer to make your business profitable. Marketing for profits has today moved beyond the traditional methods to include the Internet. A "Brick & Mortar" business works much better if it becomes a " Click & Mortar" business. Simply put, any business without a web presence is soon going to be yesterday's news.
Setting up an online business involves creating a well-planned company website to promote your Internet sales as well as your offline business. So the key task here is to create a website. A website in effect is your company's brochure on the Internet. It gives information on the company's set up, products and services, promotional offers, new features/ products and information about the people spearheading the business. The difference here is that the website can do more than just be a static information providing page on the web. In other words, your website should be an interactive, intelligent brochure for your company. Other than giving information, it should also -
- Maximise total sales
- Generate new business and sales leads
- Build your brand
- Give publicity to the offline business
The key here is having a website that will knock the socks off your competition. Setting up a site like this doesn't have to be an overwhelming job, leaving you gasping for oxygen.
Your website can become the primary driver for the business's growth, which is why you must take a lot of care while setting it up. Though there are no rules of thumb to do this, here are some suggestions to get you on your way.
Research you must: Take a look at your competitors' websites. The idea here is not to ape their design and content, but to see what works, what doesn't and what are buyers looking for when they visit your site. Keep an eye out for 'spoilers': static pages, long downloads, too many moving graphics, very little or outdated information, dead links etc. Make sure you avoid these trouble points. Another good reason for researching websites is that this way you can make sure your website is different from your competitor's.
Define the website's purpose: A lot of people don't really know what they want their website to do. Its nice to make a great looking website crammed with information and racy graphics, but then what purpose does it serve? Your website could just be giving information on your company and inviting prospective customers to contact you for more. It could be an extension of your sales counter, selling products and services or your website could be doing both of the above. Before you begin creating the website, clarity on this issue.
Get a website checklist at http://www.score.org/eb_42.html
Some important points to remember when creating a website are:
A good first impression: Your website should be pleasing to the eye and make a good first impression. First impressions really are the last, because in the fast world of the WWW, all it takes is a click for your prospective customer to get out of your site and go to the competition. Make sure you spell out your USP in the first 20 lines, have a simple URL which will be easy to remember and do knock off some of those graphics.
Easy navigation: The website should have a clear structure so that it is easy for the visitor to get about on a site tour without getting lost each time. For instance, have a "Go to Homepage", "Go to Top" button on each page. Give useful links on the top half of the page and make the links look like links. An absolute must here is a Sitemap and a Search tool. Nothing makes our lives easier than having a map that tells you exactly where we are and how to get to the place we want to go to.
Quality Content: Almost everybody values quality content, which is not a fine example of plagiarism. Nothing is a bigger put off than to see website after website saying the same things. Your website's content should have real value for the customer. If you are selling a product on the website, your content should be centred around that, if it is a service you are offering tell your visitors about how it will be useful for them.
Contact Information: Tell your visitors where they can contact you for more information, feedback and business queries. Without this feature your website is dead before it begins.
Get some more tips at http://www.powerhomebiz.com/vol142/usability.htm
Your website can fuel your sales and profits like no one's business. With good research, planning and a clarity on website objectives you can make it happen. Make your site usable and valuable to the visitors and keep them coming back for more.
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