The internet presence and uptake is on an all-time high, and getting better with the implementation of fiber optic cable all over the world. People are finding it easier to search for products for sale online, purchasing and selling online. This is a positive which any serious entrepreneur should take seriously. The online community is growing by the day, and people have access to the internet either via mobile phones, cuber cafes or an internet subscription at home or office internet.
Most of the people who are online on a full-time basis are in the office and would appreciate it very much if they could make a purchase online, what with the many international and local gateways popping all over. I just came to learn yesterday that Safaricom and I&M bank have come up with a pre-paid visa card that will be loaded via mobile payment method m-pesa. Well, i dont know yet what are the qualification terms, but there’s been similar services offered by KCB and Co-op bank though not to that high magnitude.
Back to my agenda. With all these possibilities you the tech savvy person is prompted to make a bigger impression online and strike the goldmine that is the online community. You want to create an online convenience store and utilise this potential. But there is alot you must put in consideration before venturing, its not just like you used to do long time ago with agriculture-starting production without doing some research.
Here are some of the mistakes website owners do that make their businesses pick up slow or become still-born
- Having a static site
You have gone and done a search for a web developer and have haggled over price, compared functionality and settled for a static cheap site. For starters thats a good thing, but its not good for business, the static site will provide very little functionality and website interactivity. A person landing on your site will get information that they got yesterday and the previous day, what will make them come back tomorrow? You may decide to take up the work of updating the website straight from the code, but thats more expensive than if you would have paid for a CMS (content management system) website. Don’t you value your time? It even gets more expensive when you hire the developer to be updating your site for you. Please do your math and upgrade to a CMS website.
- Assuming the website will get its traffic(engaging)
You have got this well developed website that has you dazzled, you are sure everybody will be pleased with the graphics, website structure and eventually buy into what you are selling. But what marketing strategy do you have? The internet is not a street that people will eventually land on your site when they are on their way to the mall, they dont know your website exists, period! Make sure you have a marketing strategy, just like any new product, even the offline products. You need to engage some SEO services and consulting on search engine optimization. Its good to have people know your website by name, but the traffic that comes from search engines is filtered to bring in those people interested in your product. Think about it, whats better, many people knowing about your website and none buying or having a few coming to your eCommerce website either to make product inquiry or make a purchase? Your answer is the same as mine, you are in it for the money, not the friends, we both know where to get friends. You need to figure and plan for a website marketing and SEO budget, ofcourse after analysing the ROI (Return on Investment)
- Feedback systems
If you have a good website system without a feedback mechanism you are doing a disservice to your online business. I visit many websites and cringe on finding either no contact us page or one with a “reach us via this mail firstname.lastname@example.org”. Web forms are very convenient. Very many people wont have the time to copy your mail address and open their mail server to send you an inquiry message. Thats a #fail! Get a web form that sends to your email address. Its even better to have a newsletter that is opt-in opt-out for those of your clients that will want to get timely updates in their mail, works wonders.
- Update mechanisms
By this i mean a blog section or news section. I was talking to one of my clients over lunch at Java, Adams Arcade on the need to have a blog that he can discuss the services he offers to them. A blog keeps fresh content for both website visitors and search engines. Make sure you have an article atleast once a week or once in two weeks so that they do not lose touch with you. Anyone told you that blog articles get more ranking that the actual websites themselves? Well, now you know. The fresh content is a darling of search engines. Make sure you update your moneymakers.
- Checking on statistics and analytics
You need to see website statistics. If you have a google analytics account you will be able to see what keywords are bringing in traffic on your site, or you can use Cpanel in one of the modules called AWstats, this gives you the number of visitors per day, month and unique visitors. You will be able to tell if you are gaining traffic or are stagnant. This will assist you with the SEO methods to apply to boost your website traffic.
I tried to sum up the main items you need to cover to have a successful online business, if you have more ideas you may share with us in the comments section. 🙂