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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 18, 2010

Six New Year resolutions for businesses taking the plunge online

No doubt, there are many companies out there whose New Year resolution is to take their business online. That's right, there are still businesses, big and small, who have not yet made the leap. But leap they will and while some will soar, others will dive. Here are six suggestions to help you work toward success online.

by Helen Leggatt

It's not hard to get a business website up and running these days. In fact, it seems so easy that many don't put too much thought into the development and maintenance and see it only as an "online presence".

Design aside, where many businesses go awry is when it comes to building traffic, acquiring customers and keeping website content fresh. It's not a case of "build it and they will come". Far from it.

To that end, here are a few New Year resolution suggestions for those businesses who, in 2010, will embrace the Internet.

1. I will not simply build a website and hope people find it.

In other words, just by having a website doesn't guarantee you will get any traffic. You need to work at this using various online marketing techniques such as social media, SEO optimization, display advertising and email.

2. I will only email those who have requested it.

When collecting consumer data via your website or other means, ensure consumers have to actively "opt in" to receive your communications and follow this up with a verification email. This is often referred to as "double opt-in".

3. I will allow my website to evolve.

Don't develop and design a website and simply leave it to fester. As technologies and marketing tactics evolve -embrace them. Your website, in particular the homepage and landing pages, are store windows and often-changing displays keep consumers peering in. Smaller changes on a more frequent basis are often more effective than big make-overs.

4. I will not spam.

While it can be tempting to kick-start your online business by employing loudhailers in forums, via blog comments or on other people's social networking pages - don't. You could very easily damage your reputation by being seen as a spammer. Converse, don't convert. Join in forum conversations and offer advice or add value to blogs via constructive comments that relate to your business, but don't overtly promote your wares.

5. I will create a blog.

Creating a blog is an efficient way to increase traffic to your site and keep consumers informed of new products, services and promotions. Remember, most traffic comes from search engines, like Google and Yahoo, so if you optimize your blog it will be indexed, categorized and ranked by a search engines and can become a gateway to your main website.

6. I will monitor, test and measure ad campaigns.

To be sure your advertising budget is being spent wisely ensure all advertising is tracked and measured. In order to optimize your ads you need to be aware of basic metrics such as click-through rates, keyword performance and conversion rates. All the while, test ad elements such as copy, placement and imagery to see what works best.

Tags: blogs, ecommerce, online marketing, spam, website development

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