Advice from Web Design Experts to aspiring Internet Entrepreneurs
Online business has had a lasting history in Toronto, and as Toronto web design professionals, we have witnessed quite a great deal of successes – as well as some memorable failures. The many different online businesses we have seen come and go have taught us some important facts about doing business online.
Some markets benefit a great deal from being online, whereas others only receive some benefit to their sales mechanism. For the business that can sell and ship its goods through the use of an eCommerce website, they can literally double their market. However, a business that relies on street customers, will only benefit by gaining extra exposure, brand image management and lead capturing for walk-ins. It won’t be able to sell products right there on the spot, but it will be able to draw a bigger market through greater exposure.
While not quite a doubling of your market, having a website to showcase your business and achievements online is a very good idea for your advertising strategy. In fact, today it is outright essential for any business to have a website dedicated to at least showcasing the business online.
In order to increase your likelihood of becoming an online success, here are a few tips that our seasoned web design professionals have to offer, based on their considerable experience:
Do Your Ideas Help to yield Profits?
Any business plan, strategy, or tactic needs to be asked an essential question: how does this help me make money? The answer to this question may help you focus your time and attention, and can even help you realize whether a particular plan actually adds up. This principle ought to apply to every aspect of your business, and it is particularly relevant to the design and creation of your online presence.
A lot of would-be online entrepreneurs tend to think up grandiose plans. They want to be original, they want to be cool, and they want to be the absolute best in their niche. Sometimes they have overly ambitious plans to make their websites the “best” for their customers. However, these ideas, as cool as they may seem, aren’t all that necessary in helping a business become a success. In fact, some of these ideas can cost you money as well as waste your time and energy and in the worst case, yield no benefit at all.
As a business owner you need to ask yourself; what does my market want to know about my business when they search online? Does your car repair shop website really need a forum, or a big flash intro? Or would it benefit more from a simple gallery of your work, some customer testimonials, a strong home page with common prices listed, company history and an “about your business” page? Does a church website need to have all the features of FaceBook? Or, could it benefit more from having a simple forum for its flock to converse on?
Simplicity is Key
Too many start-up businesses these days can’t seem to launch online properly, and that’s because they don’t understand enough about how Internet business works. Without educated expectations they end up putting their goals on a pedestal, making them harder than necessary to reach. They want to have a “highly interactive” experience, without thinking of cost or the value of their desires. They want to have everything, and they want it done now, like entitled children. What they get for such impetuous behavior, is a business that fails to get off the ground properly. A failed website and promotion, because of too many complicated factors to incorporate into their lofty desires.
So for those who want to start an online business, here’s a simple bit of advice from our experts: start small. Put the basics of the website in first, then operate this online aspect of your business a little while, before you begin to put new features and services on your website. This gives you time to understand your market, clients and online presence better, before taking big functionality plunges! After all, it is functionality that drives up the cost of web development, not the art or structuring. The greatest cost is the development of functionality and features, that may take a long time to develop as well.
For example, let us suppose you want to sell electronics via an eCommerce website. That is a very good idea, and it can also be quite simple. Your site can be set up to showcase and feature the products, with lots of pictures, a product description, and a secure payment method. Later on, additional (more advanced) features can be included such as customer reviews, ratings, chat, etc.
The website may not launch successfully if you insist on putting in all the “bells and whistles” immediately. Those features can take some time to incorporate, and it is better to launch the site with the basic and fundamental features first.
Making your website functional as intended for its most basic capacity, instead of placing everything all at once, ensures that money is not wasted. When you put in special features one by one, at least you can monitor which one is really helping your business to grow, and which features you can leave alone. You may be surprised to see that many of your “cool ideas” were actually worthless for your particular market or product.
Forget About the Irrelevant Details
Sometimes would-be online entrepreneurs want to be so involved with the details of coming up with a website that their efforts are misplaced. They start obsessing about which fonts to use on the site, which pictures to put up, and even which shade of blue should be the background for a particular page.
These decisions are indeed the right of the owner, but they may also undermine the work of the professional developer, and nobody likes to have their work subverted. Especially not by an amateur!
We are not saying the design of your business site is irrelevant, or out of your hands. We are saying that you have more important things to consider. Don’t you have a business to run? Focus on running your business, and trust the professionals to take care of the website design for you. After all, true professionals will give the proper time to mocking-up and giving different visual choices. You will have ample time and help with deciding on the best look for your website and you have the help of artists for those decisions. Utilize them properly, and your website will be an all-around great success!