the busy business owners guide to having a successful website

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The Busy Business Owner\'s Guide To Having A Successful Website

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  • 1. The Busy Business Owners GuideTo Having A Successful WebsiteBy Lynda Nicholsonwww.StLouisWebsitesThatWork.comThe Purpose Of This GuideThe purpose of this guide is to help business owners to have a website that attractsmore customers and increases sales and profits. Its what I call a website that works.Technical jargon makes it hard for business owners to make the right decisions so Ivetried to keep things simple.Who is Lynda Nicholson? I was born and grew up in England. I studied for my degree, Physics, at Newcastle University. After University, I worked in industry as a Software Engineer in Technical Sales. I later worked as Regional Sales and Marketing Manager for a chain of Harley St plastic surgery clinics and for a large home-goods company. This has given me a great background of both technical AND marketing skills. I moved to St Louis in 2006 and have been working in Internet Marketing since then. I specialize in helping small to medium sized local businesses get more business online. This is one of my passions! My other passions are horses and the country lifestyle. When Im not taking care of or riding my horses, I spend time volunteering in the community and being with friends.Copyright Lynda Nicholson 20121 of 17

2. The Three Big Issues Involved In Having A Successful WebsiteTo succeed on the Internet, you need three things: 1. An attractive website that feels appropriate to your customers. 2. The effective use of tactics to attract visitors to your website who have aninterest in buying your product or service.This is an important distinction. Trying to get visitors who are not interested inbuying is pointless but people do it and others sell services to help them. 3. The effective use of tactics to encourage the website visitors to start arelationship with your business in the way you want.The formula for success is simple.More Visitors x Better Conversion = More Customers, Sales & ProfitsIf you keep focused on that simple formula, you wont go far wrong.Theres a financial saying - sales is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is reality.In Internet marketing, visitor traffic statistics and Google rankings are vanity issues ifthey dont turn into more customers, sales and profits.Please Do This Quick ExercisePlease go to www.google.com and type in the type of business you own and your area.Look at how many results Google shows as matching the query.Because this guide is written mainly for businesses in the St Louis area, my examplesare focused on this region.This is what I found when I tried it for accountants, printers and office cleaners.Copyright Lynda Nicholson 20122 of 17 3. Google pulled up 3.1 million, 3.3 million and 2.5 million website results for thesethree common services.The message is clear.Just having a website isnt enough.The odds are that it wont be found by people searching in Google and the othersearch engines. Your website has to be promoted by using the most effectivetechniques for attracting visitors... and thats still only the first part of the process inhaving a website that works.The Internet Isnt Full, But Theres Plenty Of CompetitionFifteen years ago, Internet marketing was easy.You paid for a website to be developed and people found it easily in search engineslike Yahoo, Altavista and Lycos because so few of your competitors had websites.These days it is very different.If youre going to have a successful website, you need to start planning to beat yourcompetition from the very start.Thats why this guide is so important.It will help you to focus on the few key things that will help your website stand out,attract visitors and get you more customers and sales.Just in case Ive reduced your interest in having a website, lets have a quick look atthe alternative marketing methods.Copyright Lynda Nicholson 20123 of 17 4. Traditional Marketing Is Expensive & It Isnt Working As Well As ItUsed ToTraditional marketing methods like: Direct mail Telemarketing Newspaper and magazine advertising Radio and TV advertising Yellow Pages and other printed directoriesare expensive and mostly rely on interrupting the thoughts and intentions of yourprospective customers and imposing your agenda on theirs.The big problem is that people resent it.They are irritated by getting so much junk mail.They hate it when the telephone rings when theyre eating their evening meal or theyare relaxing after a hard day at work.They think of marketing as a waste of their time and fast forward through the TVadvertisements theyve recorded on Tivo.Even worse, people have seen so many irrelevant marketing messages, theyvedeveloped a way to automatically ignore them so they dont even go into the brainand have the effect that the marketers want.To see what I mean, if you watched live TV last night, try to think back and see howmany advertisements you can remember watching?I bet its not many.And thats despite the fact that TV commercials with their sight and sound have theability to reach into our emotions and are the most powerful weapons a traditionalmarketer has.But most of the time they dont work.Even when they do, its normally on a drip, drip basis through repeated exposure.Copyright Lynda Nicholson 20124 of 17 5. The end result is that traditional marketing methods are in trouble.Thats because we know, both as consumers and business buyers that we can findwhat we want, when we want it on the Internet.We dont have to play the marketers game of interrupting us anymore.The Internet has given us confidence in our power to stick to our agenda and ignorethe marketing messages that are thrown at us every day, regardless of what we want.Our new way of buying is much more efficient on our time.When were ready to think about making a purchase or want to investigate a problemor opportunity we can go to Google and very easily find what we want.The Internet has given customers power and freedom.Its attractions are irresistible and unstoppable.Its also helped suppliers who can spend much more of their time and money focusingon potential buyers who are ready to buy or getting ready to buy.Traditional marketing is a scatter-gun approach... occasionally it hits a target andfinds a new customer.Unfortunately you have to pay for all the misses.Internet marketing is much more focused at helping people who are looking for theinformation to support their buying decisions when they are thinking about buying.To take advantage of the opportunities that the Internet gives to businesses to get theiroffers in front of people who want to buy, you need a website. [Strictly speaking thereare other ways to have a presence on the Internet but they dont have the credibility ofhaving your own website.]To make your investment in your website pay-back, you need a website that works.Part 1 An Attractive WebsiteYour website should look good and be easy for your visitors to use and move aroundlogically to find what they are looking for.It should also be easy for you to use and to update. You dont want to find yourselfCopyright Lynda Nicholson 2012 5 of 17 6. paying a website designer each time you want to make some simple changes.Whats an attractive website?We each have our own opinion so if you have strong views on the kind of design youwant, its a great idea to keep a record of the websites you like and why you believethey are attractive.Is it the color scheme used?Is it the header that appears on every page?Is it the basic design?Is it the way the words and pictures are used to reinforce the message?Is it the way attention is drawn to an offer that makes readers want to act?When youve got a good list, share this information with your short-list of websitedesigners and listen to their feedback.An attractive design is important but please be aware of one thing.Sometimes there is a trade-off between attractiveness and success.Youve probably seen websites that make you shudder.The best Internet marketers are very savvy and test what works.Sometimes it is the plain (even ugly) websites that sell best.Pretty websites for the sake of being pretty leave little impression other than it looksnice or you have a great website designer.There are a few things to avoid which make it very difficult for your visitors to getthe information they need to buy and may even scare them away before they startreading. 1. A poor contrast between the words and the background.This is easy to read.This is more difficult.Generally be careful of reverse print where the writing is in a paler color thanthe background. When it works well, it can look striking and different...Copyright Lynda Nicholson 2012 6 of 17 7. White on black can look distinctivebut it is harder to read and will be tiring on the eyes of your readers. Theres agood reason why most books and newspapers keep things simple blacklettering on a white background. 2. Using the wrong fonts.Again, in an attempt to make your website look distinctive, some websitedesigners use a fancy font.Like this.Or this.But as youll have noticed, even a few words are hard to read.The general advice is to use sans serif fonts (without the curly bits on theletters) like Arial and Verdana for online messages and serif fonts like TimesNew Roman and Georgia for offline communications.Here are the examples of popular fonts:This is Arial a sans serif fontThis is Verdana another sans serif fontThis is Times New Roman a serif font and used as the main font for thisdocumentThis is Georgia another serif fontYou can prove the general advice for yourself by looking at how huge Internetcompanies like Google and Amazon use sans serif fonts and how newspapersand books use serif fonts.You shouldnt change font styles very often on your website. Using one stylefor headlines and titles and another for the main text can be very effective. 3. Using the wrong font size.As people get older their eyesight generally gets worse and they wont toleratewebsites that make them squint because the words are too smal

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