The Internet has opened up a new marketplace that has allowed millions of small business owners to compete internationally with companies of all sizes. Some companies are just highlighting their businesses, while others that are selling online have seen their businesses double in size. If you decide to sell your products online, you need to think about how to handle the transaction, customer service, return policies, etc.
- How Your Website Helps Your Company - Your site needs to describe your business, its products or services, and your value proposition. Include an "about us" page that describes your experience and qualifications, and provide information about how you prefer to do business with customers.
- Purchasing a Domain Name - Adding your city name to your domain can help improve search engine results and help you stand out from a variety of companies offering similar products or services in other areas.
- Choosing a Web Hosting Service - With the Internet fast becoming the entrepreneur’s marketing tool of choice, it’s not surprising that the number of hosting services has skyrocketed. Still, what works for one business owner may be a poor choice for another. This section outlines the chief considerations in choosing a server, among them budget; range of services; software; bandwidth, storage space and data transfer rate; security and reliability; control panels; scalability; and front-end tools.
- Understanding Site Design - An effective website blends text, images and video to provide a good overview of your company and what it offers. Your site’s images can highlight your team members and workplace, for example, and provide a personal touch that helps differentiate your company from competitors.
- Getting Started in E-Commerce - To a business owner, online shopping carts are critical because they also manage the site’s merchandise descriptions, images, inventory, customer information and payment data.
Optimizing Your Site
- Understanding Search Engine Optimization - If you provide interesting or valuable content that people want to read, and include keywords that describe your company’s offerings accurately, you’ll out-rank your competitors in search engine results.
- Site Maps Help Search Engines Find Your Company - Ranking well in search engine results pages is important for your site to be effective in attracting customers, generating leads, highlighting your expertise or making sales. Your site can provide a number of benefits, if customers and prospects can find it.
- Analytics Provide Web Traffic Insight - Analytics tools can provide powerful insights into how customers and prospects are attracted to your website, and how you can best optimize your website content to meet your customer’s needs.
- Real-Time Social Media Research - By combining the search tools embedded in social media platforms with targeted keyword research, business owners can get a good sense of what people think about the products and services they use.
Promoting Your Site
- Essential Online Directories - Directory listings are important because they help search engines create local results from what might otherwise be a global search response.
- Boost Your Business with Email Newsletters - Sharing helpful advice in an email newsletter offers a number of direct and indirect benefits to your company, such as establishing your business as an authority, and fostering a two-way relationship that makes customers and prospects more willing to do business with you.
- Promoting Word-of-Mouth Success - The power of favorable recommendations or reviews from satisfied customers is hard to match with advertising or social media, provided you can inspire customers to say nice things about your company.
- Adding Video Blogging to Your Marketing Mix - Video blogging offers small businesses an effective way to reach customers and prospects with easily produced clips that put a human face on your company and its products or services.
- Securing Your Company’s Website - It’s important to think about the potential effects on your business if your site is attacked or taken offline. An ecommerce site would obviously lose business and suffer reputational damage, while a site that primarily demonstrates your company’s capabilities could lose some credibility.
- Protecting Your Company Blog from Hackers - As with many security vulnerabilities, the best advice for protecting your website or blog involves updating your blogging platform and backing up your content regularly.