In a little more than a decade, the Internet has gone from a relatively obscure research tool for universities to one of the most important mass communication mediums we have. Today, the Internet hosts millions of websites and billions of emails make their way around the world every day.
The advantages of creating a store on the Internet are clear:
The Web is bidirectional. In contrast to other marketing mediums, the Web allows businesses to market directly to people interested in their products or services. Broad marketing strokes are unnecessary. Instead, search engines use keywords to catalog the Web and your name and wares show up in the results of the search. Suddenly, anyone in the world can access your online store.
It’s affordable and flexible. A savvy businessperson can create their own ecommerce site in a few easy steps these days. There are lots of sites out there that have sophisticated wizards that walk you through the design phase as well as setting up shopping and payment systems. You don’t have to start big. You can start small and add on as you get sales and income starts rolling in. Compared to a traditional bricks and mortar store, an online store is very, very affordable.
Around the clock marketing around the globe. Regardless of your local marketing strategies, anyone in the world (approximately 60 million prospective customers right now) can view your site and your products or services. In addition, since the Web is running all the time, your marketing dollars are working for you 24 hours a day nonstop.
Accurate statistics. Numerous options allow you to see just how many people are actually viewing your site in a typical day, week or month. You can see what they were looking at, where they came from, what search words they used in a search engine… valuable data that will help you further refine your marketing efforts.
Help with your website:
1. Web Lingo – A definitive glossary teaching you what various web terms mean. Learn how to speak Internet-ease!
2. Choosing and Registering a Domain Name – Choosing a name for your business is one thing, but choosing your domain is another.
3. Finding a Host for Your Website – Once you have a name registered, it’s time to find a web host.
4. Designing an Effective Website – There are three basic options available to you in designing a website: 1) using a host that has templates or purchasing a template, 2) designing it yourself, or 3) having a professional designer create the site for you.
5. Templates – Many web design companies have ready-made designs available for use as templates.
6. Designing Your Own Site – An alternative to using templates is to design your own site.
7. Bringing In A Professional Web Designer – If you want to bring in a pro, there are some questions you’ll need to ask.
8. Questions You Should Ask A Prospective Design Company – Here’s a list of questions to ask.
9. What Makes A Great Website – Nothing can compromise your online business more than a poorly designed or amateurish website.
10. More About Great Websites – Emphasize content, build relationships, limit choices and don’t be a mystery.
11. Great Websites Continued – Make ordering simple and stay away from guestbooks and counters.