Seven Free Tools for Your Web SiteWritten by Dianne Reuby
A search utility makes your site look more professional, as well as providing a useful service that will make your visitors return. I've been using FreeFind, http://www.freefind.com/ , which will spider your site on request or by schedule, and sends an e-mail report of search terms that your visitors have used. You can also have a "What's New" link and page, with an icon if you want. You can set member-only pages not to be spidered.
Visitor feedback is also a good idea - though some of responses I've had have been confusing to say least! If you don't want to create your own form, a ready-made feedback form provider is FreedBack - http://www.freedback.com/ Once you have chosen your options, form is generated on-line. You then copy-and-paste code into your web page.
Adding these two options to your site also provides an excellent (and unique!) article for your ezine - I describe how in my free article "Use your Feedback". Get a copy by e- mail from mailto:email@example.com
One of greatest source of free webmaster tools is Bravenet - http://www.bravenet.com/ Guest books, forums, polls, feedback forms, site counters, and more. Call in and sign up for as many free tools as you need, all fully explained to help you install and customise them to match your site.
A site counter is a must - or how will you know if anyone is visiting? I've used SiteMeter http://www.sitemeter.com/ for my sites. They e-mail weekly stats, and by logging on to site you can find out who, when, where, what with, how long, and of course predictions for future! The help is set off as a default - to get explanations of diagrams scroll down and click on "Help" to turn it on.
If you are offering freebies such as e-books or demo programs, it's handy to know how many times they are downloaded. I check my e-books this way to see which are popular, and which I should remove from library. LinkCounter http://www.linkcounter.com/ is very easy to use. Sign up, and enter URL of your download file. Then copy generated link code, and paste it into your web page to replace your direct link. Choose to receive reports daily, weekly or not at all. Use it to check affiliate or reciprocal links too.
One-to-one Relationship BuildingWritten by Daryl Clark
The Internet is a fantastic way to have an international business with minimal investment. Many companies spend a lot of money to automate entire customer interaction process. As your products become more specialized, larger your requirements will be for providing opportunity for your customers to conveniently interact with you. The more convenient interaction is, stronger your relationship with customer will become. This convenience is not limited to purchasing process. You need to have specialized technical services, order tracking and customer service that exceed what your competitors are offering, or else your business life on Internet will be very short and unsuccessful. Before you learn how to offer these services, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to offer them? Start by asking yourself these two questions.
Are you in business to conduct transaction based relationships?
Are you in business to build relationship based transactions?
If your answer was yes to first question, we recommend that you invest your money somewhere other than Internet. Everyone cannot offer lowest prices. The lower your prices are, higher your volume has to be. Eventually all of your competitors will be offering products below cost with free shipping and so will you! Ultimately, there will only be a few survivors in your category and most if not all of those companies won't be making a profit.
If your answer was yes to second question, congratulations! You already have an idea how create a foundation for building long term business relationships. If you build relationship first, transactions will follow, not just one transaction but many transactions!
How can you build relationships with people or customers you never talk to? Here are steps we recommend you implement.
1. Make your web site easy to use.
Nothing is more annoying to a customer than a web site that is difficult to place an order on. If your customers cannot complete their order in 4 - 5 screens or pages, then your shopping cart system is too difficult to use. Make sure customer receives a copy of their order automatically once order is placed.
2. Provide your customers with a confirmation message that order has been received.