Some days I still can’t believe it. Looking back I see all the risky mistakes I made. Any one of them could have destroyed my online business.
Would I have had the courage to start again? I’m not so sure.
But somehow I always managed to get out of the situations—mostly—unscathed. And I walked away with lessons learned.
But I don’t want others to follow in my footsteps. Your business deserves to see the light and flourish.
So follow these tips. You’ll never know what you sidestep by doing this. I promise you, you don’t want to know.
The Perfect Website
Don’t simply start out unless you know your website is ready. There are many things that can go wrong. Over the years I have learned of a valuable asset: My friends and employees. Before I launch anything new I ask them to try it out. Here are some of the questions I ask them:
– Do you love (not like) the color scheme?
– Do all the links work and channel you to the correct pages?
– Can you easily see the call to action on each page?
– Does the page load fast enough?
– Does it suit my brand?
I only generate serious traffic and conversions if I get all of this right. How did you score on this one?
I also ask my friends to take out their mobile devices. If my website isn’t mobile responsive I will lose many clients:
– 60% of internet access points are mobile devices.
– Mobile ownership grew from 35% in 2011 to 68% in 2015. At this growth rate I can’t risk not being accessible via mobile anymore.
– 38% of people stop browsing the moment a site’s layout gets obscured. This can easily happen with unresponsive sites.
– 45% of people stay with a business as long as there are proper web and mobile services.
And you have no excuse not meeting your customers’ needs. It only requires setting changes and testing it. Your number of clients and sales depend on this.
Start Off With Excellent SEO
Of course your clients will only find you if you have good enough SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ratings.
Here’s what I did wrong: I thought I will improve enough over time to get noticed and rated.
But I got noticed right away. And my SEO was so bad Google’s algorithms identified me as a low quality website.
Do you know what it takes to get out of that rut?
Keep your website offline until you’re sure you score decently in these areas:
– Using mediums that browsers enjoy such as images and videos.
– Using keywords in your content. They should be in your headings but can’t be over optimized either. You need professional SEO assistance to get this balance right.
– Adding tags to your images that contain keywords.
– Only use original content. You’ll be penalized if you copy someone else’s.
– Mobile optimized as mentioned above.
– Internal links and external links to other website.
– Ensure there are calls to action to optimize conversion rates on your site.
This is what you can do beforehand. Over time you can work on improving traffic so search engines realize your visitors enjoy your website. That will increase your site’s worth instantly.
Use Social Media
And how do you channel your future clients to your website or eCommerce site?
Be where everyone spends their time. Social media platforms:
I was so busy working on my website I neglected these platforms. No one knew about my website yet. How could I expect them to find it?
And why does this work so well? Because consumers want engagement more than they want your products. If you can connect with them and build relationships online you’ll spark more loyalty than with someone simply browsing your site.
Create an App
You can’t fall behind the new trends. It tells people you’re out of date and won’t meet all their needs.
These days you need to get an app. And I think these are amazing!
All my information is at clients’ disposal. New products, services or special offers can be sent to them instantly. I don’t even need them to start browsing online. I can now stay in contact with my clients 24/7.
This is also an excellent method of customer service. I didn’t have the budget to employ customer care staff at the beginning. When I launched my app all the employees and myself could respond to queries as they were submitted. Because fast service translates into good service this improved my reputation overnight.
What quick boost does your business need at the moment? I promise you there’s an app feature for it.
Be User Friendly
You cater for a society used to luxurious living where service should be easy, fast and information must be accessible. If your eCommerce site doesn’t have these qualities consumers will find it cumbersome. And they’ll move on to another provider.
That’s why market research is necessary. Find out what your clients need. Don’t give them what you think they want.
Best Online Tip: Be Different
I was so proud of my slogans and marketing material. But they didn’t bring in any sales.
One day I posted online about a new tool. It was the first of its kind in the country. My sales spiked. I didn’t even mention its success rate and it was quite expensive.
Why did people buy it? Because it was unique.
Consumers want to be part of what’s novel. More than stating how amazing you are, you have to show why you’re different to the rest.
I love the exhilaration of doing business online. The people you meet and opportunities you’re given are endless. But I wish I knew a bit more when I started out. I would have made more profit and developed fewer grey hairs. I hope you can do this on my behalf now.