So, you want a successful web business. You may have invested a lot of time and money in your web site and now find that it's not paying the bills. You may have a few people hitting on your web site, but nobody is signing up or buying. If so, you are not alone.
Many business owners have been lured into putting up a flashy – or not so flashy – web site, only to find that their hard earned money has gone into a black hole. It may be time to treat your web site as any other business investment. Now that you have put in your money and time, how are you going to get a return?
Consider for a moment that there are over 100 million registered web sites, with over some 24 billion pages between them. Your site is in there – somewhere! How are you attracting visitors to your web site? Just putting up a web site is like putting up a flagpole in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Who is going to notice? Who cares?
How are you going to get ships to visit your flagpole? And what kind of flag will be on display? Is it the kind of flag that people will want to see? Or is it like some web sites we see, with no flag at all?
How do you turn your web site into a profitable web business? Here are some basic pointers. To be successful online, you need to achieve two objectives:
Objective AAttract visitors
You need as many people as possible in your chosen market to visit your website.
Objective BConvert visitors
You need your visitors to perform the action you want (buy, sign up, etc).
For Objective A – getting visitors – your visitors will come from three sources:
search engine results from someone performing a search
links from other web sites, emails and newsletters
return visitors from bookmarks, typing url in browser, etc
off-line marketing, such as print advertisements, business cards, etc.
To convert these visitors into buyers – the point of Objective B above – your site needs to:
offer something worthwhile
convey credibility and authority
be easy to navigate and get information from
The COL Principle™
Achieving the above two important objectives is no easy task. How do you do it? We have distilled the three essential elements for creating a successful web business. We call this The COL Principle™. What are these three elements? In summary, they are:
If your web site does not convey credibility on every page, no one will buy or take whatever action you want them to take. Your logo, color scheme and quality of graphics all play a part. Is your spelling and grammar all over the place? Do you have contact information clearly displayed on your web site? If you are asking for payment online, do you convey a sense of security?
Most of your visitors will come to your web site via search engine queries. If they are not, you are missing out on a huge market. Is your web site optimized for the search engines? Is it easy for the search engine robots to crawl your site? Are your pages and meta tags optimized for your keywords?
These first two elements – credibility and optimization – constitute the onsite factors. Getting your own web pages right is critical for attracting visitors and converting them to buyers. However, without expanding your web horizons by getting your name about the World Wide Web, your growth will remain very limited.
How many visitors you attract in total depends in large measure on how you are recognized by the web community. By having clickable links linking back to your web site on other reputable web sites, search engines will return the favor by sending visitors in search of information to your site. As an added bonus, visitors will also arrive at your site directly via these links.
In summary, you need to
- attract as many potential customers as possible to your web site, and
- once there, you need to convert them into subscribers, buyers etc.
By having an optimized, search engine friendly web site with a variety of links from other reputable web sites, you will bring in lots of visitors. Once you have enticed them to your site, visitors that experience a credible message and can easily find the information they need will convert to happy customers.
As you can see, there is no magic or secret formula to creating a successful web business. However, it will require a lot of your time and effort. The good news is that if you do most of the work yourself, it need not be costly.
Leslie Allan is Managing Director of Business Performance Pty Ltd; a management consulting firm specializing in people and process capability. He has been assisting organizations for over 20 years, contributing in various roles as project manager, consultant and trainer for organizations large and small. For help with applying The COL Principle™ to your web site, contact Leslie at firstname.lastname@example.org