Creating an effective website that will generate sales involves a number of different skills and processes to work in harmony.
- Branding – Creating a brand identity or defined proposition for your company.
- Web Design – Designing a website incorporating the brand identity and features required.
- Web Development – Building a website from the web design visuals.
- Copyrighter – Writing killer sales copy.
- Search Engine Marketing – Optimising and marketing your website through organic and/or pay-per-click channels.
If all goes to plan, the development process will result in a clear and focused website that:
Read more about the web development process here.
If you’re still not convinced you need a website, read our post: Why do I need a website for my business.
Picture used under Creative Commons from veribatim
There has been an unprecedented rise in social networking websites over the last couple of years, and even with the success of sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter businesses have been slow to take advantage of the potential benefits they can provide.
The power of social networking is that it allows companies and brands to engage with their customers in a two-way dialogue rather than a traditional marketing broadcast approach. This allows businesses to manage their customer relations, talk to a customer focus groups, raise awareness of their products through different types of media, while allowing supporters of a brand to endorse your services and keep up-to-date on your latest products.
Creating a Social Media Strategy
Before you start signing up to every social networking site you can find, it’s worth deciding what you are trying to achieve and focusing your time and efforts in those networks where your target customer base congregate.
Define what you are trying to achieve:
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase customer retention
- Provide a feedback mechanism
- Target new or existing customers
- Get customers to share their ideas
- Involve customers in your product development
- Recruit employees
Then start building your communities on the social networking sites you have chosen, but make sure you follow the social etiquette and don’t fall into the trap that companies like Habitat did recently. Decide who in your organisation will be responsible for the up-keep of your networks and set processes in place for managing your online reputation.
Photo used under Creative Commons from caseywest
There’s an interesting piece of advice in the November 2009 issue of .NET magazine concerning choosing unique domain names.
A reader wrote in to the Expert Advice column explaining that he had bought a .co.uk domain and the equivalent .tv and .mobi variants for a website he was about to set-up. However after purchasing the domains the reader stumbled across the .net version of the domain which was already an existing website owned by someone else and providing very similar content to what the reader had planned for his site.
The reader wanted to know if it was best to continue developing his site or think of another domain name that was unique.
The advice given by .NET magazine’s legal expert Struan Robertson was:
“I’d urge you to pick a different name. That’s partly because a complaint from the established site is foreseeable.”
Struan mentions that keeping the name would cause “confusion in the marketplace”, by “harming their goodwill”
“It’s generally in you’re best interests to avoid this type of battle”
Struan goes on to advise:
“Pick a new name that lets you establish your own brand identity from the start.” “Even if you were to win [a dispute] in the end, such a dispute would cost you far, far more than a few domain names.”
Providing details about your business gives visitors to your website confidence that they are dealing with a legitimate company, it is also required by UK law. The absence of such information will generally arouse suspicion and most probably affect the potential of your website to drive sales.
Whether you are trading as a sole trader, partnership or limited company you need to display certain information about your company on your website.
You are required to show the full name of the company, registered number, registered office address, email address, VAT number if applicable and the place of registration.
If you are a sole trader or partnership you are required to display your name and partners’ names and business addresses in addition to the information above.