Now that you’ve got your basic web site up and running it won’t be long before you’ll want more out of your web presence.
Just having visitors isn’t good enough for a business web site. It has to pay its way like everything else in your business.
You may want to take your web site from being a flyer about what you sell to actually capturing purchases and being an active part of the delivery process.
You may have heard web shops referred to as shopping carts, e-commerce systems, online store, a virtual store and more besides.
While the technical stuff in the background will vary, it all comes down to one fairly simple thing – being able to sell your stuff via the internet.
Your shop down the road may have business hours but your web shop is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year and is capable of selling worldwide.
Being able to automate an online sales process can be a very powerful way to enhance your businesses turnover.
Another way for your web site to pay its way is to capture leads. Your web site can collect names, numbers, email addresses etc. to feed into your CRM or Customer Relationship Management system. Being able to communicate with your web site visitors drastically improves the likelihood of them becoming customers down the track. It shows you care but make sure you “care” within the boundaries of privacy and anti-spam laws.
This may be as simple as asking for their email address. It may also be integrated with your web shop or a separate automated process which has the capacity to deliver “freebies” in exchange for information. I am pretty sure you are reading this article because you’ve participated in something exactly like this at some stage. You can keep your brand in front of mind by delivering examples of your business experience free of charge.
Of course right now the big buzz is around social media. You don’t have to be the next Facebook or Twitter but you may want your customers to know that you are operating in these spheres. Social media is what you make of it and how you participate in it. This doesn’t directly make your web site earn its keep but it does broaden the presence of your brand and your expertise.
The trap with having your web site do more is that if you can’t do it yourself then it will cost you a lot of money to get these things up and running.
Also, like a real bricks and mortar shop, your web site needs to look, feel and function right. It also needs to be, almost above all else, trustworthy.
Your web site also needs maintenance so it doesn’t become stale looking or present the customer with a broken, frustrating or old-fashioned experience. It may be perfect in today’s world but fashions and technology different tomorrow.
Attention spans on the web are fleeting. If your web site is frustrating then someone else’s is only a click away.
The magical web site that generates money forever once it is up is a myth. By delving into the web based economy you aren’t giving up work, you are changing the nature of it.