Today’s entrepreneur has more business opportunities available to him or her than ever before in history. The global economy coupled with the Internet has fueled a tremendous explosion of service-oriented businesses, many of which reside only on the World Wide Web. When considering an online business, there are a number of factors that need to be analyzed. Below is a brief overview of some of these factors compiled from the E-Commerce Article Archive.
Select Your Product or Service
You can find practically everything you can imagine already on the Internet. So, how do you determine the products or service you can offer through your business to make it successful? Once again the answer lies in research. There are a number of site on the web that provide newsletters and articles online to help you find out what the trends are, what product is moving best, and how etailers are achieving sales success. Do a search for “eCommerce Sales Trends.”
Selecting Your Business Website Name
The importance of a website that reflects the type business you operate, and its stability as a reliable source, can’t be overemphasized. Your website name becomes your brand. It is the name by which you will be identified.
The initial step in selecting a name is to determine what you’d like it to be, and then do a search for availability of the name. Find a name that will be a good reflection on your business, design your website and place it on the web through a webhosting company. Within about 24 hours after activation, servers around the world know where to send the visitors requesting your website.
Experts say that better website designs attract more visitors and make more sales. Web design consultants or webhosting companies can put together a professional looking, basic, website for a small business for $1,500 to $5,000, and an e-commerce site for about $10,000 to $50,000.
If you do choose to do it yourself, first we’ll assume you’ve got a decent computer and the time to put your business website up for all to see. Usually you can’t do that without amassing an arsenal of Web authoring software. Thankfully, there are companies like Sirius International that specialize in making it easier, and more cost effective to design and deploy a website by providing all the authoring software you need online. This software is included with each eCommerce account and includes over 100 software tools for your use.
Search Engine Placement
A key factor in positioning your website so it will be ranked appropriately is to begin with search-conscious design of each page. You will need to decide what the keywords for your business are going to be, and then use those words strategically in the metadata of your pages. These keywords don’t appear on screen, but are picked up by search engines visiting your site.
The text within the body of your page is very influential, too, in search engine positioning. If your website’s navigation system is consistent with the primary keywords, it will reinforce those keywords when indexed by a search engine. Even the headlines, subheads, links to other documents and the text within paragraphs on your page will influence search engines. Try to keep each of these elements consistent with your primary keywords, and you should consistently get excellent search results.
One of the most effective secrets of sales and marketing is well known to professional copywriters, who use the techniques to turn a prospect into a buyer. It is a standardized process for reaching into the subconscious of the reader and stimulating the impulse to buy at the emotional level of the mind. I discussed this process in another article called E-Mail Marketing Techniques, because it is a key to successfully writing copy for every sales medium from print to broadcast, and yes, the web, too.
This is a powerful concept, and is often overlooked by e-tailers, particularly those who are just starting out in their business. By being aware of this concept you’ll have a much better chance to be successful with your e-tail store. Understanding that good copywriting is important to your site’s success will help you continuously evaluate the patterns of traffic to your site and keep you focused on what works well and what could work better. As an e-tailer, you have to analyze the effectiveness of every element of your web page design to ensure every element is working for you as effectively as possible.
When you sell your services, you’re selling the possibility of a mutually rewarding relationship between yourself and your client. This means that your website has to do more than one selling products; it has to establish your credibility and develop a level of communication with your visitors that helps them visualize how you can help them. You need to not only establish the benefits of the service you’re offering but also establish the value of having you provide this service. Design your website so all your services can be seen on the homepage. If you bury services several pages into your site, you’re unlikely to get the exposure you need to generate sales.
If you want your website to be robust enough to generate sales you must consider the option of collecting e-mail addresses of your visitors and using those e-mails to stay in touch. One of the most common practices is to mail monthly newsletters to subscribers, But what about e-mailing standalone product promotions to your subscribers? When used properly this practice can be a useful tool for your visitors. When you first enter the e-mail promotion arena, you need to feature one of your most popular products, or one that is in popular demand from other sources. Feature something current, and fashionable, so you can get a good feel for how effective this medium can be in building your business. This is no time to unload dated inventory! If you design your e-mail to give people a good reason to buy one of your best-selling products, you can guarantee yourself a terrific response!
Getting your e-tail website on the Internet is a big step to becoming an online merchant. But, if you’re a first time merchant, how do you get merchant status so you can accept credit card payments? The first place to start your search for merchant status is your own bank. Most banks issue credit cards, and if you have a long-term relationship, you may be able to arrange for a credit card in your business name.
If that doesn’t work, do a search online for “merchant account.” You’ll receive thousands of hits from companies who are looking for small businesses that need their first merchant account. You will also find that many webhosting companies have arrangements with online merchant account processors to get you started through their connections.
Shop around for your best deal, but also be aware of hidden costs in many of these merchant accounts. Credit card processing from any source isn’t cheap, however, at least not for a start-up. A typical fee schedule for a small-volume account (fewer than 1,000 transactions monthly) would include start-up fees amounting from two hundred to five hundred dollars and monthly processing fees of around $20-35.
There are many benefits enjoyed by the online entrepreneur in terms of a potentially stable and growing income, sense of accomplishment, partnering with a spouse, and often creating a family-wide business. The range of business opportunities is truly unlimited. Research the 8-10 online opportunities that interest you most, and you may discover the one that can lead to great satisfaction and personal achievement for you.