Seven Elements of Online Success
By now it is clear - build it and they will come, that is, if you put a lot of effort into promoting your site and make it worth your viewer's while. Nothing can substitute for the quality of your site, product or service, or for good marketing techniques. It's time to make sure you have or are working all the elements to make your website a success.
- Search engine position - Many sites get the majority of their customers from search engines. You need to be listed in as many as possible and as well as possible. Take advantage of services such as wordtracker.com , which has both a free and a paid option, to find out what keywords will be good for you. Use your keywords liberally throughout your text, especially in the first few paragraphs, as well as in your page title for each page. Place them in your meta tags, as a few search engines may still look at them. Many search engines are still free.
- Have a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy and continue to refine it - PPC is an increasingly popular option for online advertising. Once again wordtracker may come into play, as well as the PPC engine's own keyword tools for you to select your keywords. Remember to go for the niches to improve your click through rate. There is no point in bidding on "shoes" when you are trying to sell "women's high heel pumps".
- Make sure your site looks professional - Whether you do it yourself or hire a designer, a professional looking site is a must. Make sure there are no broken links or missing images, and keep advertising appropriate and not excessive. Most customers prefer to read dark text on a light background, so if you use a dark background, be certain it is appropriate. Do not use an image just because you like it; make sure it has a purpose. This goes double for animated images, which are sometimes construed as unprofessional. Your site should also be easily navigated. Customers hate getting lost.
- Have excellent copy on your site - If your site isn't selling, but is getting enough traffic, take a look at the copy on your site. Does it encourage people to buy from you? Go for the sale! But watch out for copy that sounds "gimmicky" or otherwise too good to be true.
- Take payments online - Do you like to go to a site only to find out you can only order by phone, fax or mail? Neither do your customers. If you don't have the volume to justify paying for a merchant account, look at services such as PayPal or 2checkout.com . Find a way to let your customer buy online.
- Market yourself online - This can include email advertising, either through your own list or through buying an ad from a reputable source (beware of spam!), participating in forums, swapping links, writing articles and so forth. Do what you can to get your name out there.
- Keep learning - The Internet is constantly changing. Always be on the lookout for news that will impact your business. The new CAN-SPAM law is just one example you need to know about and understand the implications of. Find active discussion groups which talk about online business in general, as well as your niche. Read the paper and pay attention to current events.
With a great deal of work, you can build the online business you want. There are no shortcuts, despite what some may say. Over time, you will build an online reputation to be proud of.
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Copyright © 2003-2017 Stephanie Foster unless otherwise indicated
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