There are three steps to online success:
- Getting the right website
- Marketing online
- Managing & maintaining
3 Steps to Online Success
We will discuss #2 and #3 in greater detail, in following articles. In this article, we’ll discuss step 1 – getting the right website.
When small business owners and entrepreneurs have a poor online marketing strategy it is usually because of a combination of the following reasons:
- No clear idea or goal of what they need the website to accomplish or do for them
- Not understanding some of the basic features of the website that they need or the website they are shopping for
- Shopping based only on price
- Not budgeting or allocating enough towards an online campaign
Task #1: When you shop for your next website, make sure you have a clear idea of what you need. Know what you want your website to do.
Do you want your website to:
- Just display your business name, address and telephone number?
- Gain more eyeballs and attract more potential customers/clients?
- Improve your business image or brand image?
- Sell online and conduct transaction for your business?
- Provide the ability for your clients to self-service themselves?
- Build and deploy features on a website that can help your office improve its operation (e.g. reduce burden on staff, free up time, free up labor, etc.)
Think about and know what you want your site to do for your business.
Task #2: Know some of the basic features and capabilities so you do not fall into the common trap of shopping solely on price. Saying “all websites are the same” is the equivalent of saying:
- All shoes are the same
- All cars are the same
- All watches are the same
- All clothes are the same
- All computers are the same
- All phones are the same
- All wines are the same
- All jewelery are the same
- All steaks are the same
Even if you have limited knowledge or a limited understanding about websites, you should know that all websites are NOT the same.
You can get by with a static website if you only need to do the following:
- Post and display non-changing business information (business name, address, telephone, etc.)
- Have a website because competitors and others in your industry have one and you don’t want to be left out
- Be able to answer “yes” if a customer/client asks “do you have a website”
When it comes to websites, a static website is the “bare minimum”. If you want to do anything more than what is mentioned above, you should probably choose some form of a dynamic website. Dynamic websites come in all different varieties so you may also want to refer to our earlier articles about dynamic websites and their pro’s and con’s. (You can also read more about static websites and their pro’s and con’s.)
Task #3: Be realistic about pricing and allocate your budget accordingly.
Have a realistic expectation when it comes to pricing. Many people have a misunderstanding thinking that everything that belongs online should be free or almost free. Things you may be using “for free” online really aren’t free. When you hire a Web designer, Web developer, or a Web company / Web firm, you are paying for a few things:
- Mental labor
- Physical labor
Many Web designers and Web developers spend a significant amount of time learning and mastering their craft, practicing it, continuing their study to remain up-to-date on changes in their industry. When they work on a project, they spend hours upon hours thinking and using their creativity to help create what you want. They work to strike the balance between giving business owners the look that they want while creating something that is pleasing and easy to use for their customers.
Business owners often make the mistake of allocating too little of their budget to their online campaigns. While print publications are seeing a rapid decline in readership and subscriptions, e-commerce has seen rapid growth. If you own or run a business, it is probably a very good idea to shift more of your focus to your online campaign. (If you don’t have an online campaign, you should begin one very soon!)
The Internet has created many challenges for small businesses that have decided to ignore it or discount it. At the same time, it has created vast opportunities for the small businesses who have learned to embrace it and take advantage. Which of the two will your business be?