Online business tips
For this reason, I recommend that people always focus on marketing first. The website can start out as a bare-bones, basic site that has good content and presents your company or product in the right way. But don't spend hundreds of hours on your site before you even know whether or not you can get people to come to your site. Therefore, after, building a basic site, you should shift gears quickly and begin focusing on marketing.
In today's world, there are two main ways you can obtain Internet traffic. The first is to purchase traffic by buying ads. Google Adwords is probably the most cost-efficient way to buy ads on the Internet. Bing Ads is another good, targeted ad program to consider. And if you have a rather large budget, you might consider purchasing banner ads as well. For this, you'll need a few attractive banners designed. Whatever ads you purchase online, make sure you track your results closely. Give each ad buy a week to a month, and if you aren't getting results from a certain ad placement, simply remove that ad and move onto other options.
The other major way to get traffic to your site is by getting high rankings on search engines. Many people think of this as the free way to get traffic, but I disagree with this notion. In the hyper competitive online marketing environment we face today, nothing is free. And don't be fooled - Everyone who has a high position on Google or Bing paid in one form or another to get there. Some may have spent money guest blogging or lots of time networking online to get people to like their site in Facebook or link to their online presence. Others may have invested in marketing software to build links to their site. And last but not least, many people spend thousands of dollars a month hiring consultants to help promote their site. All these options cost a great deal of money.
Make sure your business is active on Social Media sites like Pinterest, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Youtube. (See a full list of the top social media sites here.) Creating videos is one great way to promote your site. If the site becomes viral, you stand to gain hundreds of thousands or even millions of views for your video. Granted, making a viral video is not as easy as you may think, but if you have any unique ideas, the cost of producing a video is not very high, and you should give it a try.
Promotion doesn't have to just be online. Print your URL on business cards and other printed materials your business may distribute. You don't need to rely too heavily on printed materials, but you should have some. If you need cheap printing services, consider printing items on your own, and buy your ink from online stores like Inkjetsuperstore (read our review here).
It's often said that content is king when you have an online website. This has been said for many years, and it remains true today. However, the nature of content has changed quite a bit. Blog posts are still quite popular, but you must include videos and interactivity via Social Media comments, etc.
Once your website starts receiving traffic, you must switch gears and focus on the content of your site. More than anything, your site must be user-friendly. People don't care about snazzy designs as much as you think, so don't spend thousands just to make your site look pretty. Instead, make it compelling so people continues to return to your site day after day, week after week. If possible try to capture the email address of your visitors so you can keep in touch with them. The best way to capture emails is by offering something to them for free. This can be an ebook, a tool, a coupon, or just about anything else.
I hope these suggestions help you get off on the right foot with your online business. Doing business on the Internet is challenging, but with a bit of hard word and creativity, you have a good chance of building a site that gains a good deal of popularity. Most likely, you won't build the next Facebook, but you don't have to. There are thousands of people who make a good living building more modest, niche sites that manage to garner a relatively small but loyal audience.
For other tips about online marketing, I recommend visiting this page on Entrepreneur.