You don’t have to be an accomplished tech guru to build an online business from scratch and turn it into a thriving virtual enterprise. Indeed, any one of the myriad success stories should tell you that having little money or no background in web development shouldn’t put you off.
All you need is an email address, a can-do attitude and an open mind to helpful tips like these:
Have a BIG idea
If you already have a big idea for your online business then skip this section. If you don’t, then bear the following in mind: All successful online businesses start with an idea, whether it is providing a platform for people to sell goods around the world (eBay), or a virtual social network (Facebook) – all of them began with a concept which answered a market need or wish.
Find your big idea before you do anything technical. If you need inspiration then scour the Internet to see what problems users have or what needs they have that you could fulfill. There is a few easy ways you can go about doing this:
- Join forums relevant to your area of expertise or interests. Then start asking users questions and monitor their answers and dialogue
- Use Google Adwords to see what people are searching for. Is there a service or businesses already catering to these areas? If not, that could be your chance
- Outdo an existing competitor by studying their performance and bettering their MO
Design your website
Now that your big idea is set, it’s time to start bringing it to life with your very own eCommerce or eshop website. This is where the tech part of the process kicks in.
If you don’t want or can’t afford to work with a web designer, then cast your eye around some eshop or eCommerce website providers and make sure you secure yourself a package similar to the solutions and services outlined here.
If you want to go solo then remember to keep your website simple and user-focused. That means:
- Make it easy to navigate
- Use one, two at the most, basic fonts (a white background is usually recommended)
- Reward potential users with an opt-in offer. In return you can start to hoard email addresses and thus monitor your customer base
- Concentrate on making sales. Two clicks or less is ideal for getting users to the checkout
Use words to convince
Writing clear, concise and persuading text or copy as it is known in the world of commerce and advertising is a proven way of boosting your business appeal and customer base. Ensure your copy is up to scratch by:
- Using a call to action
- Crafting short, compelling headlines
- Describing your product and service with tangible benefits for the customer
- Proofreading ñ readers quickly lose interest and trust in companies when their spelling and grammar is poor
Discover the world of SEO
SEO (search engine optimization) helps your website rise in the rankings of major search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo). When people search for terms relevant to your business, the search engines rank your page in their search results.
As a newbie in the virtual sphere, your website could linger somewhere in the latter results pages, where, let’s face it, hardly anyone looks. With a strong SEO plan, Google, Bing and Yahoo will bounce your website higher and higher up the results section. When that happens, then people will find your website faster.
They’ll also trust it more; your page will be in the same company as the big name players, after all. For more on SEO and its importance, look no further than this article.
Test, test, then test again
You should be testing the results and success of every stage of the development of your online business. Make sure your idea is appealing by asking friends and forums what they think of it.
Check your website is fully compatible with the major browsers (Chrome, Firefox and Safari) by going through each page of your site with a fine-tooth comb in the respective browsers. Get friends to test-drive your site as if they were customers. Collate their feedback and then act on it.