Today, over 230-million people visit the Internet in the United States. Although many talk about Internet websites, just how effective is it? The answer is: a website can be very effective, if done right it generates sales leads by expanding your market reach thru “search engine optimization” (SEO) and social networking techniques.
Have no fear - most web design software and online applications walk you thru the initial development stages therefore, it is not necessary that you learn programming such as “Hyper Text Markup Language” (HTML) or “Extensible Markup Language” (XML). As an entrepreneur, you should decide at some stage of your business plan whether it makes sense to build a website. If you are working your local neighborhood - person to person referral sales strategy than a website may not be necessary. However, if you are selling products or consulting services it is valuable to consider building a website as a portfolio of your product or work samples. www.sustainablevirtualbiz.com
As you proceed with your website development one of the first steps is to secure a “Domain Name”. Example, “Insert domain name” .com , auto detailer .com, catering .com , nonprofit . org. Be creative in selecting your unique domain name that will service as a calling card to define your small business to potential customers. Get to know your customers better by posting an outline of your professional skills and experience with a formal photo introducing yourself.
To start, try using a pencil and paper to visually sketch out a drawing of your new website prior to any online design. Visually organize the necessary website sections such as the home page online menus, about us, services, products, contact us, shopping carts, and press releases. Most web design applications offer pre-set templates that make the development process much easier by instantly suggesting appealing fonts, graphics and background color combinations. Your website content should grab people’s attention communicating clearly and uniquely the business mission.
The website user interface includes button menu link options in a logically placed fashion for quick website navigation. It is valuable to insert hyperlinks to external websites that offer addition information resources enhancing your products or services. Keep the website font sizes readable in consideration of people with poor eye-site. Brightness, color and lighting all play a factor in appeal that ultimately can affect generating business leads online.
Clearly post in the website footer or header, the business contact information such as address, phone number, and email address for customer questions. This is critical for customers that may visit your website and want to contact you with questions. As small business entrepreneurs make time to be available by phone, there’s nothing more annoying than endless voice messages. Make yourself or an assistant accessible to quickly answer customer questions and build sales relationships.
Why would a customer want to spend money getting your product or service? Does your small business support any worthy local community efforts such as kids after school programs? Draw a clear picture of how your business not only benefits the customer but also adds value to the local community. People are much more likely to support your small business particularly with our current economic crisis if they know their money will really make a difference in the community.
Spend time writing articles, press releases, blogs and other social networking media that will highlight your small business using tags or key words that enhance your company’s listing in search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Wikipedia. Use key word titles that reflect current trends and news enabling wider audience customer exposure.
Effective small business websites offer consumers the ability to sign-up for FREE e-newsletters. A monthly marketing e-newsletter is an available marketing tool that is emailed to your database of customers updating them on new business or sales offers, and other valuable information. E-newsletters are a low cost way of advertising to build long-term sales relationships.
It is important to view your website as a long-term investment in the success of your business. This may mean building a long-term relationship with a website developer who will manage all of your updates, or it may mean hiring your website developer to integrate a content management system into your site so you can manage it yourself or have a virtual assistant manage it. Whichever route you choose to take, most entrepreneurs should integrate an effective website into their business plan. www.sustainablevirtualbiz.com