Before you begin the process of developing a ecommerce website,
it is important to define your goals. Sure, you want to make
lots of sales, but there is much more to achieving success
than simply building a website and submitting it to the search
engines. In fact there are entire books devoted to the subject
of Internet marketing. We will cover a few basics here to
get you thinking. There is no absolute right way to market
products or services on the Internet, but a substantial amount
of research and planning will greatly increase your odds of
What is your budget?
If you have the basic skills necessary to create web pages and upload them to your site or a web master to manage the site, then you are already half way there. If not, you might consider hiring a web master, at least until you learn the necessary skills. You may think that
you are saving money by doing everything by yourself, but
if you don't understand the technology mistakes can equate to wasted time and delays. If you can't afford a professional web master, the next best thing is to work with a hosting service and software vendor who will be responsive to your needs while you learn.
How much time do you have?
Depending on your knowledge and skill level, you might build an e-commerce website in a matter of days or weeks. If you do not have the necessary skills or a web master, it could take much longer.
Creating a web site and adding pages is the easy part of Internet marketing. Attracting customers to your
website requires time or money or both.There are
many inexpensive ways to market your website and, depending
on your competition or the demand for your product, you may
be able to do much of the marketing work yourself. How much
time can you devote to this? An alternative is to pay for search engine optimization and effective advertising.
Is your product or service unique
or hard to find?
If it is, then you probably won't
have too much trouble getting good search engine rankings
using the most obvious keywords. On the other hand, if your
product or service is in a heavily saturated market, such as consumer
electronics decent search engine rankings can be difficult if not impossible to achieve. In this case, other forms of marketing
may be needed.
What are your strengths?
What benefits do you offer that your competitors don't? What
added value features or services do you offer? Build on your
strengths and use them when writing content.
Who is your target audience?
Design the website for you target audience. Present meaningful
benefits and design the style and content of your website
in the context of your customers' needs and desires.
Keep it simple and to the point.
First impressions are lasting impressions. Avoid distractions
such as moving objects and animation. Use graphics sparingly
and with purpose. Flash and sluggish multimedia plug-ins,
and overindulgent mission statements will slow the loading
time of your pages. The most important aspect of a commercial
website is usually; compelling content, easy navigation, and
a simple way to purchase the product or service. Your website
can still be visually appealing so long as you emphasize function