Tips For Operating a Business Web Site
-- Find ways to attract customers. Link up with a variety of search engines so that when potential customers are searching for your product, they’ll find your company listed. Also request link exchanges with other web sites that are relevant for the products you sell -- but not in direct competition. If you sell children’s toys, you don’t want to exchange links with other toy sites; but it would be fine to exchange a link with a site that sells children’s clothing or baby products, or a site that is obviously targeted to parents, like an online parenting magazine. If you’re financially able to buy an ad on one of those sites, even better.
-- Make it easy for people to “navigate” your site. Hire a good web site designer, or if you are going to build your own site, take the time to learn the basics of site navigation. If your visitors can’t figure out how to find what they want on YOUR site, they’ll go to a site where they can.
-- Help customers trust you. Provide information on the company’s history, mission, and values. Get a professional-looking photo of yourself and post it somewhere on the site marked as “Our Founder”. It allows an otherwise “faceless” company to have a little credibility when people can see who they are dealing with.
-- Enable customers to get in touch with you easily—via email, phone and regular mail—and respond promptly. You should have a dedicated email address (not your home email address) on the web site. If you can afford it, you might want to rent a post office box to be your business mailing address; and you might want to have a separate telephone line for your business – that is certainly the ideal. When you sell online, people expect 24/7 service – if you’re on the east coast and someone in California wants to place a telephone order at 9 p.m. their time, your home phone is going to ring at midnight. A separate phone that won’t wake you up, and goes directly to an answering machine so you can call back the next day may be in your best interest.
-- Provide good prices and top customer service with the speed that technology offers. Think about how you will keep customers coming back.
- Offer occasional sales and a very occasional newsletter to notify past customers of that sale;
- Swap coupons with other site owners so they can mail out your coupons with their shipments, and you can send their coupons out to your customers too -- everyone wins!
- Ask for feedback from your customers, and post their opinions on your web site so others can see them. (Don’t use your customers’ names however, unless they give you express permission to do so – just use initials.)
-- Join a private online business community or forum where you can feel free to share business questions and share resources. (You don’t want to do this on a public forum or blog -- other entrepreneurs in a private group will work with you to help you solve your dilemmas, but you don’t want your business indecisions and/or questions aired publicly.)
Links that may also be useful to you can be found here.
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