Many people set up online businesses from the corporate businesses with huge investment to the small business running from a kitchen table. No matter your business size an online business, if set up correctly can produce great profits and grow and develop to become a hugely successful business.
To transform your idea into an actual business idea, you will have to follow certain steps to get your business moving:
Research is key to any successful business. Make sure you fully assess what you are about to invest large amounts of time and money in. You must make sure you have a very clear understanding of what your products will be, where you will fit in the market, how you will stand out amongst competition, what branding you should choose to fit your products, and how you will draw traffic to your website and in turn make those much needed sales.
If you have a strong understanding of everything before going ahead and setting up, you will be able to make informed decisions based upon what you researched. Of course you will learn new skills and information along the way, but good research is a great foundation to any business.
2) Design and Develop a site…
You will of course need a website to sell your products online. This takes a great amount of consideration. You must take time to plan an easy to use layout with clear navigations, prepare unique product descriptions, excellent photography, terms and conditions, a blog, company information and contact pages, and most importantly, design a homepage which will entice visitors into your online shop to explore what you have to offer.
A successfully designed website is difficult to achieve, the psychology of an online shopper should be considered also. For example, most sites operate with a basket being located in the top right hand corner of the site. While some move this layout around to make their website unique, really you are confusing your customer and making them search for features. Make sure you make the whole shopping experience as easy as possible, don’t move features around to be different, be different in your branding and products.
There are a wide range of website designers and developers, really research companies available, and work with them to achieve to the goal of a clear yet interesting site. Remember you can tweak and make changes in the future, if you budget doesn’t quite stretch to add features you may wish for, for example a zoom button on your images, implement this as soon as your budget allows.
3) Build traffic…
Traffic is a must if you wish to make money. You might have a great website and products, but if no one know it exists, then they will never know you are there to purchase them.
Search engine optimisation is important to help you drive traffic to your website. There are several guides available online which can give you some tips about implementing your own SEO. Some things to consider are unique written content, a blog, social media, keywords, and link building. These steps can be done by businesses themselves to help increase traffic levels.
You can also invest in an SEO agency to help you build traffic, while it can be costly, their expertise in this area and really increase your profits and actually pay for itself. Not only that, it can be time consuming building links so an SEO agency can allow you to focus on other aspects of the business.
4) Test your site…
User testing is something which every company should utilize. It involves setting real users a challenge and you can then watch them complete your challenge while giving feedback. This challenge could involve finding a specific product and adding it to their basket or finding their local stockist etc.
The user will complete the task while filming their screen and narrating the experience. This can highlight any problems which could put potential customers off. Many sites have been known to suffer from broken links within the basket which actually prevents an order, or a link which take the customer to the wrong area of the shop. It is wise to test for these errors and rectify them as soon as possible, not to know about a potential error could really jeopardise your business.
You user might suggest small redesigns or tweaks to your website which they feel would improve the site, it is worth considering all the feedback you gain.
5) Implement design changes…
Your user tester or a customer might have suggested some website adjustments. These tweaks could mean increased profit; while it can be costly to tweak your site, any errors or features which could help your business should be done as soon as possible.
Gather as much feedback as possible from your testers, customer and friends and family and decide how you want to progress the site. Errors must immediately be fixed, and your developer should be able to do this for free as it should be operational anyway.
Your homepage should also be re designed occasionally, updating it with new products or text to keep it fresh for returning customers.
About the author: Kirsten works part time with a hosting company helping to get businesses online. She has used her skills to build her own business Kirsten Hendrich Jewellery and developed her own website.