You've got an idea for a new product or service that you'd like to offer and you want a website to promote it. Maybe you're just starting your company and you don't have a lot of cash on hand, so you've been shopping around looking at the various options for a free or cheap website, but you are hesitant to take the next step because you realize that you don't know what you're doing and would like some guidance on what makes a successful website. You've seen what other people are doing and you figure that maybe if you just "build it and they will come." You may be overly concerned about the look and feel of the site—which is important—but you may not have realized that people don't visit a website because it's pretty.
You realize that you might Need a Better Website which leads us to the other possible reason why you might be here...
You've already got a website that you set up using free Do-It-Yourself software. Maybe you hired a web designer or a hobbyist who cobbled together some web pages for you based on the usual project back-and-forth. You finished with all the content you would expect: an "About Us" page with your mission statement, there may be a "FAQ" to answer customer questions, a web store, and pages that list all of your products and services—and their features—along with some way of following through, like a "Contact Us" page. Your website is just like everyone else's with the same mission statement, lists of features, and stock photography of smiling business people.
Your site isn't selling very well, if at all, and you're wondering what's missing. You might think, "maybe I need an SEO campaign", or "maybe I need to give my website a new look?", but each of those are just the opposite sides of the same issue. So, maybe you figure that websites don't work as well as you had hoped.
While there is no magic “secret” to a website that sells, there is a winning process. You'll need great website design with content that your audience is searching for, and you need to be able to compel your visitors to interact with you in some way; whether it's making a sale, subscribing to a newsletter, or maybe even getting them to start a free trial. Here's the winning strategy: if you have the right content that builds credibility, you can convert more customers.
You can remember it as the 4 C's to online success:
Content Credibility Conversion Customer
When most people think of great website design, they usually only refer to the graphics and the aesthetic make-up of the site—how it pleases the eye—but they often forget to create strong content that website visitors are looking for. Instead of being overly concerned about aesthetics (which are still important), imagine websites as containers of information. The information contained on the website is valuable to your audience. Think of it this way: if I were to ask your for a tall glass of sweetened iced tea, would you bring me a half of a glass of unsweet? No! But that's what it's like when your customers go to your website and they're unable to find the information that they need. Would you talk about how pretty the glass containing the unsweet tea was when I asked for sweet? Then why would anyone do that with their website?
The Online Business Console is an All-in-One system to help you run an online business. Watch this video for a quick overview.
Reporting tools are built in to the system to track not only how many people are visiting your web pages and where they're located, but you can also track the number of online sales, subscriptions and contacts. Every single interaction that your visitors take on your website is recorded and stored in the database.
You can edit and create your own pages in a number of different ways using familiar content editing tools. Create your own web forms, photo galleries, and blogs to display a wide range of content and you can also make use of the built-in SEO capabilities.
Use the information gathered in the built-in customer relations manager and the business reporting to get contact your customers through email or phone as soon as contacts happen. You can also interact with potential customers through the discussion forums, comments module, and the integrated social features.
You can read more about the Online Business System by reading the following pages:
The Online Business System has 3 optional tiers. The WebCOMMERCE option is the one featured in the video and fully enables your website with online business capability.