Does this sound familiar? "My web site costs me money each month, and yet I don’t make any money from it. I don’t know why it’s such a big deal to have a web site anyway”.
Do have a beautiful website describing your products or services, but you’re not sure what to do from there? Do you pay a web designer large sums of money to make changes every month? Today we're going to discuss some of the elements of the most successful and profitable websites out there on the Internet. Profitable websites come from all kinds of industries, all kinds of styles, shapes and colors. There are a few simple low or no cost things that any small business entrepreneur can do immediately to increase their web exposure, drive more traffic to their site, and ultimately make more sales.
Know Your Website Purpose
Before you start to create (or re-create) your website, consider what purpose it serves in your business? A website can be used to sell a product or service exclusively, to give information, as a brochure to attract more business or showcase projects, or even a combination of things. Let’s say, for example, that you sell fishing equipment. Your website might include articles for fishing enthusiasts, tips to catch bigger fish as well as a store for fishing equipment and supplies. This would be an example of a combination site selling multiple related products. If you are an author selling a book, a simple sales site might serve you well. With a simple sales site, you have only one or two pages to the whole site, featuring the product you wish to sell. The only information on the site might be the letter describing the book, and links to “purchase now”. This is a simple and very effective method for using the internet to produce revenue from your site.
Lead Your Visitor to Action
Have you ever been to someone’s web site, looked at the front page, and left because you were confused? While it may be a common practice to put everything about your company’s product or service on the front page, it’s not a good idea, for exactly the reason I described above. You want your visitors to stay on your site and DO something. For each page on your web site, decide what you want your visitor to do. Should they sign up for a newsletter? Buy a product? Look at the pictures of your work? Make it clear and easy to understand and your visitor will happily tour your website.
Know Your Target Market
It is a common misconception with entrepreneurs that the product or service sold in the business is a good idea for “everyone”. While it may be true that everyone needs the product, not everyone will buy it. Therefore, you must know who you are trying to attract with your web site. Ask yourself these questions to get started:
This will help you to get a clearer picture of your customers. With this information in mind, you can then begin to create marketing or advertising plans that will get in front of the best prospects to buy your product.
Capture Visitors’ Names
One of the main reasons to even have a website is to capture the names and/or email addresses of your visitors. In this scenario, a prospect or potential customer visits your site and leaves his or her email address and first name with you. This gives you permission to send the person relevant email about your business, updates or special offers you may have. Maybe you have a new tip for using your product that your customers would want to know. Why not send the tip to both your customers and the people who have visited your site?
So how do you get someone to leave their name? You could offer a newsletter or weekly tips, a free e-course, e-book or special report. Offer a coupon or discount. Make your offer appropriate for the content of your site, and your visitors will gladly leave their email addresses and names. Put them at ease by letting them know that you are not collecting their names to sell to an outside source.
By capturing your visitors’ names, growing your list of email addresses and sending relevant, responsible email to your customers and prospects, you are building a relationship with them. In any business, the relationship is the intangible, powerful force that creates loyal, repeat customers.
Excerpted from an article by Stephanie Frank for About.com