Archive for May 2010
Want your online business to succeed? There are several ways to enhance your online presence and make the Internet work for YOU. Use these tools and resources to your advantage to get the most from your website.
Take a Course
Online education is a phenomenon that is exploding all over the world. Online education is the fundamental solution for those who either experiences challenges in a classroom setting, or cannot physically be in a particular location at a particular time.
Those who wish to achieve personal goals regardless of whether it’s a Bachelor’s Degree, a Masters Degree, or even a MBA, web based courses can provide you the tools and resources to study from home…or wherever. Online education is often customized to fit the needs of the student, which will heighten the learning experience.
Education can increase your self esteem, available opportunities, and set of skills that can help you excel in school, business, and in life.
How it will Help your Business
In terms of business, there are limitless amounts of resources online you can take advantage of to enhance your knowledge and experience. If you want to succeed in business online, check out some of these websites:
My Own Business, Inc. – a nonprofit organization committed to helping people succeed in business. This course is presented by successful business owners who point out the common, available mistakes.
Small Business Online Course – through the Distance Learning College Guide, create a successful small business online in just 12 weeks http://www.distance-learning-college-guide.com/small-business-online-course.html
Learnthat – offers free web based training to users of all levels. It includes a wide range of courses, tutorials, and resources for anything from computers to business to just plain fun topics. They also offer personal tutoring, course design, and website consulting.
MarketingTips – a “business start-up” resource site designed to help individuals earn money online with their own lucrative website. Their teaching resources (online courses, software, personal training programs) and business experts will show you how easily you can make money on the Internet.
Furthering your education will only help you succeed later on in your online business. The only way to have an advantage over the other lucrative websites out there is to know the ins and outs of your web based business.
In order to have a significant online presence, you need to design your website for your customers. Succeeding online is all about generating traffic and building relationships with existing customers. You must design your website in a way that makes your customers want to spend time browsing through.
1. Keep It Simple
No matter how beautiful or fancy a professional website might be, it must be user friendly and functional. Don’t fall for fancy layouts and pretty buttons. You could get trapped into paying a web designer painful amounts of money to make changes every month for a website that isn’t even seeing returns.
2. Have A Purpose
Are you selling a product? Are you giving information? Are you trying to attract more customer traffic? Are you trying to do all of these things? Your website should be designed specifically to fulfill your purpose online. If you sell kitchen supplies, but you also want exposure, you should include articles and links to popular recipes and suggestions. Another approach is keeping it simple. If you have a product, make it easy to purchase, without any extra noise.
3. Have A Call To Action
By having a full and complex website, you might not be able to retain your visitors attention. Be sure to have an option to actually do something (sign up for a membership or newsletter, purchase a product, view pictures), so your visitor isn’t overwhelmed by information he or she may not be interested in.
4. Know Your Audience
As any advertising or marketing tactician would advise, your most important strategy is to target your audience. Understand your audience’s demographics, some of these categories might include:
- Income level
- Children or no children
- Buying habits
Compile all of this information and design your advertising or marketing plan to specifically cater to this demographic.
5. Get Feedback
If you design your website to get your customer’s name or email addresses, you have a way to contact them again to send them relevant information about your business, promotions, or offers, etc. It is also a way to give your customers an option to provide testimonials, or feedback, which can establish relationships and build brand loyalty. Having Repeat customers can be your biggest asset. A simple way of doing this is having a social media platform, where you can connect with your customers through sites like Facebook and Twitter.
All good marketing begins with principles, knowledge and a good plan.
Many people pretend to understand the power of the Internet and how to leverage that power for small business marketing. There has been much hype around the Internet and this has lead to a gold rush mentality with individuals and corporations jumping in head first without any knowledge of the playing field.
In all to many cases the uninformed have held all manner of myths and false ideas about what results and timeline to expect. There impatience, lack of knowledge, and poor planning lead them inevitably to great frustration.
Largely this frustration is the Internet marketing industry’s fault. With the grandeur of yesteryear’s billion dollar tech IPOs fresh in their heads small businesses have greedily eyed the Internet, imagining all of the fantastic things it will do for them without any effort at all. And to their great discredit, rather than calming the fever and giving their clients reasonable and intelligent expectations, Internet marketers have fanned the flames of delusion.
Scammer SEOs have promised the moon and the stars. First page positions on Google by yesterday with no effort, strategy, or thought necessary from the client. Just like in the story of Jack and the Beanstock, they have been sold “magic beans” – the promise of effortless gigantic overnight growth and riches. Real farming does not work that way, neither does real Internet marketing.
The truth of the matter is that building a business leveraging the Internet is much like building a business offline. It requires daily disciplined effort (building content) and genuine, human, business relationships (building links, engaging customers). These things cannot be rushed anymore than a farmer can stand outside his field with a megaphone and command his seeds to hurry up and grow. These things have to be worked on a little each day.
A small business must start on to the web with a good attitude, honesty, and integrity in order to gain and retain their customer’s trust – right principles. The company must do everything it can to learn about the medium and understand best techniques for using the Internet to enhance their business systems (permission marketing/newsletters, customer feedback/testimonials, social media, relationship building, establishing preeminence, and the list goes on). And as the business acquires this knowledge it has to put it to good use in creating a plan of action and executing it.
There is so much more that can be said about these three pillars of marketing – principles, knowledge, and planning – and the concrete details of all three will no doubt be expounded in future posts of this blog. These three elements are not “easy.” They require that you become a farmer. But if you are willing to cultivate, plant, and water diligently everyday your field will surely yield a bumper crop and all will marvel at your “overnight” success.
With the right web platform, businesses are able to have access to a rich and powerful web application framework with a supporting cast of tools, servers, and technologies to help them succeed on the web.
By choosing a web developer for your website, you are choosing a framework (PHP, .NET) with their own advantages and disadvantages. A web developer will choose the framework for developing a website depending on the requirements and his or her technical proficiency.
PHP framework is an open source application, usually chosen by people who wish to have a short term solution and save money. Even though add-ons may be available, they may not be easily integrated into your website or may not be the best fit for your company.
Unlike PHP, .NET is not an open source and does not come for free. This framework is compatible with a number of programming languages like VB.NET, ASP.NET, C# etc and gives you plenty of access to offline and professional support. A number of high end programs are developed with the help of .NET. Though working with .NET involves paying a cost it is considered worthy of its price. Dot NET applications are generally used for the corporate sites where more stability is required. For sites that have many functionality and use .NET is highly preferred by developers.
The Use of Content Management System (CMS)
Once the website is launched you need to operate and market it to drive traffic to your website. It is important to have a sophisticated content management system that allows you to maintain, edit and operate a website on a daily basis with ease and efficiency. Sometimes CMS software deployments fail due to technology choices. The main cause of CMS solution failures lie in poor or non-decisions about CMS software and CMS implementation essentials such as web publishing models, web content governance and assignment of enterprise content management responsibilities. To achieve successful CMS implementation, consider these guidelines as CMS software deployment essentials:
- Web Content Migration
- Web 2.0 Standards and Templates
- Web Content Creation
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Web Content Modification and Reuse
- Monitoring and Progress
- Ease of Operation
Content Management System and Search Engine Optimization
Content management and search engine optimization are inter-related. The quality and relevance of your web content along with its appeal to the search engines are considered the main magnets of web traffic.
Solid content is the key to a successful website. With CMS you are able to keep track of URLs and meta data for all your pages. In addition, CMS can provide an efficient way to syndicate the content you create to other websites.
Similar to a blog, it can also keep track of who created the content and when. CMS allows you and your staff to create and update content and graphics quickly and without the use of additional programs such as Microsoft FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver and costs associated with using these programs.
Using CMS has benefits for your search engine rankings as well. CMS platform gives you the ability to insert SEO-friendly tactics directly into CMS templates. Each content type or content category can be assigned its own section of your website. This allows the CMS to create keyword-rich, search engine friendly URLs easily. Your meta data and title tags can be managed in a central location also, making changes simpler and faster.
To take advantage of both worlds — the convenience and management advantages of a CMS and the site promotion advantages of SEO — you need a search engine optimizing CMS. It is important that CMS solution you choose allows non-technical users to easily specify keyword rich URLs, title tags, descriptions and image alt text. The system should provide feedback on these elements in terms of how they will impact the page’s performance for selected keywords. This kind of CMS allows users to create and optimize content in one tool rather than having to switch back and forth between a CMS and a set of SEO tools.