The Do's and Don'ts of Launching a Small Business WebsiteWritten by Adil Wali
Launching a new small business website is often a long and painstaking process. And for most small businesses, endeavor rarely ends in success. The terrain is mapped with freelancers, firms, and consultants that donít offer same services and most certainly donít charge same prices. Projects are often riddled with unclear expectations, missed deadlines, and ridiculous hourly rates. Whatís worse is that many developers have audacity to ask for even more money halfway through project. Even after all of hard work is complete, most companies donít even see a return on investment.
If you havenít been there, you probably know someone who has. IT outsourcing and procurement is often times so traumatizing that many of us vow never to deal with it again. But whole process need not be so difficult and fruitless. The purpose of this article is to aid you in launching a successful website with minimal pain and effort. Who knows, if you play your cards right, it may even be within budget and on time!
Donít spend too much on web hosting. If you are a small business that is just beginning to define your online presence, you donít need a whole lot! You most certainly donít need 10,000MB (10GB) of web space and 100,000MB (100GB) of bandwidth each month. So donít pay for it! You might be thinking, ďWell, if itís relatively cheap and I may need it in future, why donít I just spring for it now?Ē That kind of reasoning paves road to overspending. Besides, web hosts making such offers are hoping that you wonít really use massive set of features. Expert web developers and power users will use that kind of space and bandwidth, however, and end result is a bogged down and slow web host. Go with something economical and reliable; itís probably even faster.
Donít mold your website to a pre-defined package. Although your local newspaper advertisement for development of a ď5-page website with logo design for only $995Ē may be tempting, donít fall for it. Any company that sells you pre-set web site packages (or charges based on number of pages) has wrong idea. Web development should be a custom-fitting job. Your website is a business tool, and should be developed to exact specifications that enable it to complement rest of your business. If you compromise your websiteís functionality, you compromise its ability to help you make money.
Donít start project until you are fully prepared. The easiest way to ruin a web development project is to get started before you are ready. Everything does not need to be in perfect order when you are shopping around for development; however, once you select a developer and begin work, being unprepared will only slow your project down greatly and drive up costs. Avoid this by purchasing your domain and web hosting, writing out all content, and deciding on general layout you desire, all before project begins.
Donít compare apples to oranges. Not all web developers are created equal, so it is unfruitful and unwise to compare them on a single benchmark (such as price). While some ďfull-serviceĒ firms will create your website, upload it to your domain, and maintain site to make sure itís up-to-date, others will simply e-mail you a folder full of files and expect you to know what to do from there. Similarly, some firms will revise finished product over and over until youíre satisfied while others believe you are paying them for one draft of work and no more. Be mindful of these differences and understand what is built into different prices of each provider.
Donít focus too much on eye-candy. Remember what your website is for. Unless you are exception to rule, purpose of your site is either to a) give information about your product/service or company, b) allow users to buy directly from site or c) both. In all cases, site must be easy to understand, navigate, and operate. If your site is so new-age and graphic intensive that users have no idea how to get around it, or worseóit takes too long to load, youíve defeated purpose of its creation.
eBay buys Shopping.com - Boon or Bust to Online Merchants?Written by Scott Smigler
My first reaction: This could be big
Largest online auction site where buyers bid to buy products. Arguably most well-known e-commerce site with over 100 million registered users. Billions in sales are transacted here worldwide.
Shopping portal that helps shoppers find least-expensive merchant to buy their desired product from. Shopping.com is one of largest shopping portals on Internet. They achieved success by implementing a model that allows online merchants to acquire targeted clicks from shoppers by paying a per-click fee.
Individuals, small businesses, and some larger businesses post products for auction on eBay, and also maintain ďstoresĒ within eBay website where shoppers can make purchases without bidding. eBay sellers must maintain a presence on eBay to participate. This means that shopper never leaves eBay to make a purchase, and sellers must coordinate a system to process orders through eBay.
Internet stores, large and small. Stores ranging from independent specialty stores like Surray Luggage, to huge mass-merchants like Amazon.com. Many online merchants do not do business on eBay because it requires them to maintain a separate store, which has both branding and logistical consequences.
eBay is buying Shopping.com for $620 million. Shopping.comís key assets include its product comparison technology, large network of product reviewers (formally EPinions.com), brand awareness, and of course, its advertisers.
eBay was originally founded as an online auction where individuals offered used (and sometimes new) products to highest bidder. Over time, EBay has introduced services to allow merchants to sell directly to buyers through eBay stores that bypass bidding process. Since everything is done through eBay, merchants are required to have a presence on eBay that is separate from their online store. In other words, merchant must have two stores: Their current store, and their eBay store.
This could go one of two ways:
1) eBay could be buying Shopping.com to monetize its targeted traffic by sending eBay shoppers outside of EBay to Shopping.com portal. In other words, they will funnel traffic from eBay to Shopping.com, which will then be funneled to online merchants who currently advertise on Shopping.com.
- Upside to eBay: Increased advertising revenues.