The Do's and Don'ts of Launching a Small Business Website

Written by Adil Wali


Continued from page 1

The Doís

Do have a marketing budget for your website. Launching a website without a marketing plan usually always results in a zero return-on-investment. Why? Because there are millions of sites onrepparttar internet, and if you donít market your site, no one will come. Unlike a typical brick-and-mortar establishment that benefits from exposure to passersby, your website will not be seen by anyone until you tell people that it exists. Take advantage ofrepparttar 142514 fact that your website can reach more potential customers than a small storefront ever could. Set aside marketing funds atrepparttar 142515 onset of your project.

Do prepare a timeline forrepparttar 142516 project. Many developers work virtually, that is, directly throughrepparttar 142517 internet such that you may never meet them in person. This style of work is very different thanrepparttar 142518 conventional, andrepparttar 142519 lack of face-to-face contact makes it easy for both parties to simply forget aboutrepparttar 142520 project as time goes on. Ensure that your project wonít stagnate. Prepare a solid timeline with clear milestones, expectations, and deadlines so that it is easy for both you andrepparttar 142521 developer to stay on target.

Do provide feedback in a timely and detailed manner. Although you are paying a design firm for its creativity, remember that ultimately what you say goes. You must be sensitive ofrepparttar 142522 fact that development is a step-by-step, layer-by-layer process. If you donít respond with feedback immediately, developers will have already completed other layers ofrepparttar 142523 site before your feedback reaches them. This means that they must not only re-workrepparttar 142524 layer in question, but alsorepparttar 142525 following layers. Some developers have been ďburnedĒ so many times in this manner that they will wait patiently for your feedback before they go on torepparttar 142526 next layer of work. This means that development comes to a screeching halt until they hear back from you. They may get so fed up that they take on another client while they wait, leaving you at 2nd priority.

Do research developers before setting a budget. There are two reasons to do your homework before you decide on a budget. First, setting a budget without understanding a particular industry is simply nonsensical. You must knowrepparttar 142527 price ranges of development and also what type of service to expect within each range. Second, a small business website, unlike a typical personal expense, is an investment. The goal of launchingrepparttar 142528 site should be to aidrepparttar 142529 company in making more money. Ifrepparttar 142530 site wonít make money, donít create it! If you limit your budget at $1000 without understandingrepparttar 142531 investment or industry, you may get an excellent site in that price range that makes no money. You would be better off if you do your homework, however, and find that spending more will likely yield a return. For example, you might spend $4000 on a site that actually makes you and additional $20,000 annually.

Do plan to keep your site up-to-date. One ofrepparttar 142532 biggest advantages to having a website is that you can quickly and easily update information. Nothing sends a more powerful message to a potential customer than a website that hasnít been updated for several months, or even years! You are telling people thatrepparttar 142533 business is defunct or unpopular. Make it a point to update your site frequently, even if you donít have much to say. It will let your customers know that things are going well and that your company takes an active interest in keeping them informed.

Althoughrepparttar 142534 above Dos and Doníts are definitely not comprehensive, they are a good set of guiding principles for any individual or small business owner looking to create an online presence. No set of rules if foolproof, however, and there are always exceptions. My suggestion would be to always err onrepparttar 142535 side of caution. Many ofrepparttar 142536 clichť statements weíve all heard will come in handy: there is no such thing as a free lunch, and, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Finally, donít be afraid to ask questions to people who know more than you. In fact, feel free to contact me if you ever get into a jam: adil@steezo.com. Good luck!

Adil Wali is Chief Operating Officer of SteeZo Media, a company founded in 1999 that focuses on consulting small and medium sized businesses in their efforts to create or revamp an on-line presence. Under Adilís leadership, the company shifted away from broad-based IT consulting to a more specific focus on matching clients with the most capable and cost effective developers. SteeZo Media also manages web development projects on behalf of clients.


eBay buys Shopping.com - Boon or Bust to Online Merchants?

Written by Scott Smigler


Continued from page 1

- Upside to eBay Shoppers: Access to more products and increased price competition.

- Upside to Online Merchants: Access torepparttar lucrative community of eBay shoppers.

- Downsides: eBay sellers will face increased competition.

2) eBay could be buying Shopping.com to simply enhance its value to both eBay shoppers and eBay sellers. Shoppers would benefit fromrepparttar 142480 product reviews and price comparison technology that Shopping.com owns. Sellers would benefit fromrepparttar 142481 enhanced shopping experience because demand for their products will further increase.

- Upside to eBay: Increased customer loyalty and listing fees.

- Upside to Shoppers: Better version ofrepparttar 142482 service theyíre already comfortable with.

- Upside to Online Merchants: None. Many online merchants have been reluctant to establish an eBay presence because theyíll have to maintain two separate stores.

- Downsides: Online merchants wonít haverepparttar 142483 streamlined access theyíre looking for to reachrepparttar 142484 eBay community, andrepparttar 142485 value of advertising on Shopping.com would be diminished.

My Take

I canít imagine that eBay would spend $620 million on Shopping.com only to disband its network of online merchants who pay a lot of money to be featured there. Accordingly, my prediction is that eBay will maintain a version of Shopping.comís current advertising network where merchants acquire clicks from buyers (contrary to eBayís model where buyers never click to leaverepparttar 142486 eBay website).

If Iím right, eBayís acquisition of Shopping.com will be huge for advertisers. Advertisers will be able to advertise on Shopping.com like they always have. The only difference will be a massive influx of quality traffic from eBay.

I am concerned because eBayís press release only talks about creating an enhanced shopping experience for current buyers, and mentionsrepparttar 142487 new opportunity for current eBay sellers. The press release does not mention Shopping.comís advertisers at all, which makes me question eBayís true motives. In other words, I may very well be wrong.

Bottom line: Watch this closely. eBayís acquisition could be a tremendous boon to online advertisers, opening up a fertile new market for online marketing. Or, eBay could be acquiring Shopping.com purely for its technology and product review network withrepparttar 142488 singular goal of enhancing eBay.com. If so, online merchants will be missing out on a big opportunity.

Online merchants should watch this very closely.

GA-002

Scott Smigler has been an evangelist for a serious, ROI-based focus on the online channel since he founded Exclusive Concepts in 1997. Exclusive Concepts provides integrated online marketing strategies, Internet brand consulting, search engine marketing campaigns and results-oriented web sites for hundreds of clients that range in size from small ecommerce firms to public companies.


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