Tag Archives: website design

Don’t Just Have A Website, Have A Business

So, you have a website.

What does it do for you? What does it do for your customers?

At the core of it, at its best a business website is a communication tool and service portal. With the available automation and online tools for business websites, the determining factors in having a successful website is your clear definition of  what exactly success means for you.

What goals would a successful website hit for you? Pulling in X number of visitors each month? Getting Y number of quality leads in the same time frame? Pull in X amount of dollars in sales over the quarter? What?

The answer changes with each site owner, but with online businesses, your site has to meet some baseline requirements to  count as an asset to you, and most probably your accountant too.

Success in business is what you define it to be. Without a clear definition in place though, how would you know when you hit that state or not?  Does your website do what you need it to do for you? Your end goals define your means goals. It’s the difference between means goals and end goals that can help push your business  further.

A business website is the means for you to reach your goals — when it does so, that proves it’s successful. How well the business does for you is an end goal. You got to define your goals, otherwise, you may just be running in place and not feel as if you’re getting close to where you want to be.

You could be running a website and it may not even be helping you any closer to where you want to go with it.

How is your ‘flight path’?
Hitting the targets set means your website is on-course. Having a definite ‘plotted course’ lets you check how closely your site ‘s performance matches that course, and that displays how well it aligns with and contributes to your business goal. This performance should demonstrate what the site does to keep the business going, and how it provides continuing returns on effort, not just investment.

All that effort must come to a point. All the money must show a profit — that’s why it’s called a business and not a hobby.

And now back to our primary questions: Your website — what does it do for you? What does it do for your customers?

For you?
At the very least it should present and promote your products to your market. It should clearly share what your business specializes in, what products and services it offers, and the pricing if applicable.

Plus, it should identify who the business focuses on serving, and who make up the people involved in providing that service, etc. Your website  must communicate relevant information, remember?

For your customers?
At baseline it should be able to give them the information they need to decide whether you can help them solve a problem: maybe they need the right kind of information to decide whether you can help them, or  are looking for answers to questions they have, or an idea of the price range for something they’re thinking of buying.

  • Extending beyond that, a business conducted entirely online can sell digital products and process online payments seamlessly and securely.
  • Support functions include a way to get customer service and provide contact information to help give people a way to get in touch with you.
  • Healthy communication, online or offline, goes both ways, not just producer to consumer, or seller to  visitor.

Behind the scenes, part of the whole customer experience comes from a well thought-out marketing plan (from a good marketing team), linked with a great sales strategy and fulfillment department.

When these also fall in line under a clear, coherent, and cohesive vision for the entire business —and not just the website — then you get a great thing going for you.

The internet is always on. Your website–barring  scheduled downtime, hacking, and  mistakes in backing-up and updating—is always on. It works while you sleep. All these things mentioned, working in unison?

You won’t  just have a website. You have a web presence.

You know how some people just have that thing when that when they step into the room, you just know they’re there? That’s charisma. In a way, you need online charisma. And presence is something you can nurture and develop across many channels. For example, in business relationships:  Establishing a partnership with fulfillment – e-tailers (from retailers) drop-shippers, delivery hubs , and even joint ventures.

Making money as an affiliate marketer.
For example, Amazon has been leveraging this for years, and their system is pretty great. The affiliate get to combine their interests and make an income stream off them, the company’s presence, reach and branding is constantly invigorated — it’s a win for both parties. Money for affiliates, just to promote the things they themselves use or have as hobbies, etc.,  and the constant reinforcement of Amazon as the premiere online market position, as well as billions in sales.

In the early days, a website was like more of an online brochure — this is what they have, you go to the store itself to buy the product. Now, a business website can and should be so much more that a presentation, or a showcase. Communication is still the foundation, but so are the following things:

  • Call attention using the right platforms – Promotion
  • Presenting products to the right audience -Marketing
  • Providing good experience – Fulfillment
  • Providing safe shopping – Security and secured financial processing

When we say platforms, this is not just a reference to social media platforms. In the most simple scenario, a platform is a  structure that elevates. You stand on one, you make yourself visible. You speak from one, you make yourself known. Your website is a platform.

Just don’t be a billboard. Billboards –well, people get used to those. An unchanging presence on the sides of buildings or by the highway gets overlooked with time. An unchanging presence on the internet is just another dead site. Make that presence responsive and interactive, and you give your business a shot in the arm, rocket fuel, wings.

Don’t be a billboard. Be a presence. Don’t just have a website, have a business.

 

Helpful links:

‘Staging’ Tips For A Welcoming Website

When people visit your websites, what do they see right up front?

If you’ve ever been a fan of those DIY and home-flipping shows, you probably know that ‘staging’ a house for sale prepares the house in the most appealing way possible. In the language of real estate, ‘staging’ is strategically dressing a house up with carefully placed furniture, cool accessories, and using attractive paint colors so that viewers would be drawn in and really be able to  imagine themselves living in the house. Staging sparks desire, and desirability pushes  prospective buyers into making an offer.

A business website is designed for many things. It is the public front of the business on the internet, and as such must be designed for ease of communication and commerce. As your business portal, your website sets the stage to highlight your product’s strengths and make them appealing to the greatest number of prospective buyers. What feelings do you intend your website to spark in your visitors? How do you do it so they would be most influenced to buy?

It is essential that  you use all available elements of your website to show how your products will make a difference for  the people comprising your target market. You need to ‘stage’ your website.
Continue reading ‘Staging’ Tips For A Welcoming Website

Measuring Web Metrics And ROI

09 August 2013 , by A. Cedilla

  • How would you know if you’re making money –or bleeding it– if you don’t record your sales and overhead?
  • How would you know if your new marketing campaign is making an impact unless you track the numbers before and after you institute the promotion?

It’s an accepted fact the the internet has changed the way we do business. What hasn’t changed is that it still takes money to make money. Even if you’re working out of a closet, you still need certain things, things which require money. And time. And labor.

And then there’s the matter of getting something (preferably money) in return for what you shell out, and knowing how much, exactly, did you gain for all your work.

So, to figure out your return on investment, you need to measure, record and analyze specific things to get a clear picture. For an online business’s standpoint, it isn’t just the sales but the branding, how well you are known and how well you are selling. This includes things like conversion rates for visitors, sales, sign-ups, etc. You have to know your numbers.

Why?

  • To watch over your site growth and know if you’re getting more page-views and higher quality traffic.
  • To monitor the effectiveness of your campaign performance — you can track what you measure, and change what’s not working while improving on the rest.
  • To find out what your customers are looking for in particular and then revamp your approach so you can give it to them, and-or bring more of it to their attention.
  • To drive your sales. (See above.)
  • To get enough data to improve your site design and internal navigation, thereby getting more people to stay and buy.

You can’t be accurate if you don’t measure things, you can’t take measures without data, and you can’t improve if you don’t know how much you need to change to improve, or what to improve in particular. Continue reading Measuring Web Metrics And ROI

Web Traffic Analysis – A Basic Overview

31 July 2013, by A. Cedilla

Here’s the thing: your website provides your business’s face to the online community, i.e everybody who clicks onto your site on purpose or by mistake.

For the ones who clicked on purpose, your web site is also the gateway to knowing about your products, services and business. They were looking for something in particular, and found your site, which is a good thing.

  • Even better, the more visitors you get, the higher the traffic.
  • Best of all, the more traffic, the more data you have to squeeze for information about your visitors, and what you can do to clinch the sale and make a profit.

Think of how much you can glean from people’s behavior online. On the surface, they look around, poke into a few corners, maybe download a free report (the equivalent of getting flyers). Some may sign up for a newsletter, others browse, and still other buy something and leave. To use the information they leave behind, you need to ask good questions, you need a record of their activities, and you need a tool to analyze those records.

  • Where do they look first, where do they linger and for how long at those pages?
  • What did they do while they were there and what did they look at in particular?

 

What can you extrapolate from the web log files?
Traffic analysis software can help in profiling and tailoring targeted responses to your visitors, and is a valuable tool in maximizing and optimization your website for sales, email capture and lead generation

Not only does tech let you establish an online presence, but it can help you find out more about the people drawn in by that presence. Getting more data means you can refine your products and practices for continuous improvement, and have the eyes to spot incoming trends that will affect your business, adjusting to meet and roll with the tides. Continue reading Web Traffic Analysis – A Basic Overview

Refining Your Presentation Skills For The Internet

“You know what they say about first impressions…” Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.

Well yes, practically everybody has an opinion about ‘What They Say’, but that old saw doesn’t always hold true for all occasions, nor for every circumstance, especially on the Internet.

For every visitor to your website whose initial excitement died down in a hurry, there are more who stay to browse. And the Internet being a huge place, you have a lot of chances to make a good impression, you just have to make sure your customers know where to find you. And that takes some presentation skills.

There’s a high probability that a majority of your customers stumble on your site through search results, or found it mentioned on a forum somewhere, or perhaps were referred by their friends. Base it on your own actions. How many times did you look up a general service or a product on the internet and click on the resulting links, only to find out for the first time about this specific product, or that particular service, from one particular company?

Good presentation gets attention. Effective presentation guides your customers into taking a course of action that is in your favor: it gets your customers to give you their email address, sign up, or buy a product.

It gets you ‘liked’ and followed.

Then you follow through on the unspoken deal by giving them what they expect: value.

Not for nothing do we use the words “highlight” and “showcase” in these circumstances. To get readers’ or customers’ attention, you need the chance to catch their eye. When you display your products in a very good light, it’s the customer who does the rest of the work, because at that point, it’s their decision now on whether to accept your offer or not. And when they like what you’re doing, they’re likely to keep tabs on it. Continue reading Refining Your Presentation Skills For The Internet

How To Make Better Opt-in Pages

Making an effective opt-in pages is a vital step to get more email subscribers, leading to an increase in your membership base and a boost to your profits. The design and presentation of your opt-in pages can influence the number of people willing to join your email lists and learn more about your products.

The basic idea towards maximizing the opt-in pages is to get and steer people’s attention to the ways that your product can help them, and then persuade them to sign up. The prep-work for this involves the design of your opt-in page.

Drawing visitors into the company’s website is an important goal (part one: get their attention) but once there, visitors should be persuaded to sign up leading them to the opt-in page (part 2: get them to join). So the path to your opt-in page must be clear, attractive and prominent. If it doesn’t interfere in the overall appearance of your site, links to that opt-in should be placed on the home page as well as the other pages on your website. Continue reading How To Make Better Opt-in Pages

Great Web Design 2

Part 2 of 2

We live in a technologically fast-paced world. Even brand new users today can make use of easy to master web design tools that add functionality, tools only a web programmer could have dreamed of just a couple of years ago. And that’s great, right?

Well, not quite.

The accessibility of such web mastering tools has resulted in probably thousands of “junk” websites, ones which have so much going on on every page that the average web surfer is completely overwhelmed.

Some of these web pages have as many as 7 or 8 distinct content areas contained on one screen… flashing header graphics, followed by several heavy paragraphs of text, then opt-in forms, the whole page sprinkled liberally with Google ads, Amazon ads, affiliate links, audio and/or video buttons to push, and sometimes even more.

Don’t be tempted to make such glaring mistakes. It’s unlikely that most web visitors will successfully navigate such a site. There are too many decisions to make, too many distractions. And the content is completely lost among all the flash and advertising.

So, what’s the answer? Continue reading Great Web Design 2