We are WonConnect, a website and e-commerce design company based in Glasgow, but available anywhere online. And in this blog we will be going through some of the main things that you as a business owner need to consider before embarking on your website and ecommerce journey. We believe that building a web site isn’t something that is really cut and dry, or cut and paste, as it needs to be tailored to your personal needs, your business goals, and your customer base.
Thankfully, there is a huge variety of products and services that can ideally help you get your website and e-commerce site where it needs to be, but unfortunately this abundance of choice can sometimes be confusing. This is why it is important that you make the right choices from the beginning so you don’t end up having to restructure your whole website later on because of something you may not have considered before. The level of time and investment necessary to master a lot of these software packages can range from very little to a VERY significant amount. Because of this, we feel that it’s important to lead people in the right direction. We want to make sure you don’t spend time in the wrong areas, or learning some software that might not be all that useful for you later on (*coughs* Frontpage *coughs*).
Where you should start greatly depends on what you plan on using an online platform for, your e-commerce and website design and build needs, your business goals, and also the needs of your customers and clients. Most importantly, you need to think about how much time YOU are willing to invest, and how deep you want to dive into all things coding and design related. For a moderately professional, clean looking website without a lot of automation or intensive animated graphics you can probably get by with some basic knowledge of html, an ability with a good WYSIWYG editor, and an image editing program. On the other hand, if you’re someone that is looking to build something that will really wow your audience then you might consider spending time in developing animation skills with a program like Macromedia Flash. We are great believers in aiming for what we believe will bring the maximum profit without maximum time and effort. Therefore, we suggest investing time in learning how to use WYSIWYG editors, and basic image editing to accompany this.
What is a “WYSIWYG” editor?
A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor is one that allows you to get by with minimal knowledge of HTML or coding in general. Yes, that means you don’t have to know EVERYTHING about HTML to have a decent looking website. When you use a WYSIWYG editor it interprets what you’re doing (inserting an image for example) as being a certain series of HTML tags with attributes, and does it for you. Thus, what you see on your screen is what you get on your site. So instead of seeing a bunch of HTML code in text format, you’ll see what the design will actually look like in a browser once your web site is up WHILE you are still in the process of making it. Think of it like in the Matrix movie, instead of seeing the green code and needing to interpret that, you will be able to see what is happening in the Matrix directly. We highly recommend using the latest version of dreamweaver — it is well-known as one of the best HTML editors by general consensus. Dreamweaver’s interface is very friendly, has a built in FTP client, and is specifically built to be flexible enough to suit both the coder and the everyday amateur webmaster.
Ok, what about image editing? What do I need that for?
So let’s be realistic here: If you’re going to make a professional looking website it’s important that you can make some basic, decent looking graphics and images. There’s a lot of graphic and image editing programmes that can get the job done, but as far as power and flexibility goes nothing beats Adobe Photoshop. Adobe Photoshop definitely takes some time getting used to, but in the end it’s VERY rewarding in terms of quality and versatility. You can use Photoshop to not only make graphics for multiple web sites, but also touch up photographs and portraits, make business cards, flyers, other online advertisements such as banners, and also create custom logos and design. In fact, you can use it for everything except animation, but it also comes with Adobe Image ready which is very good with animation. This software is amazing, and if you’re going to learn ANY image editing software we recommend you start with Photoshop because of the endless possibilities.
Ok, now get me some sales!
So let’s say you are now ready to kick off your new website you’ve created from your knowledge of webmastering and image editing with a few new sales and customers… Sounds like a plan? Well, a great way to do that quickly is with pay-per-click advertising. BUT WAIT! Doesn’t that cost money? Well, yes. But with tools from some of the biggest pay-per-click advertisers out there you should be able to make a good evaluation of how much profit you’re going to make without much investment upfront.
The biggest question behind pay-per-click advertising is whether or not it’s worth the cash when you can simply get traffic from regular search engine ranking (otherwise known as organic traffic). After all, there are plenty of companies out there who promise to help get you all the traffic you need through optimizing your web site for organic ranking. The answer to this question however is quite simple: profit is profit. Through conversion tracking tools such as those offered by Yahoo! Search Marketing and Google Adwords anyone can calculate exactly what their profit is after the cost of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is taken out. In our opinion, Google Adwords has the most user-friendly interface among the PPC advertisers. Google Adwords’ interface makes it very easy to see which keywords are pulling you in the most sales, and which ones aren’t even worth your advertising money. You can also analyse how these trends change over time and adapt your advertisement strategy quickly and effectively.
Let us not forget, however, that in order to make those conversions into sales you’re going to need somewhere for those sales to go, like a shopping basket. There’s a lot of diverse software packages out there you can use, and we have used Woocommerce’s E-Commerce Free shopping cart for a number of years with great success. The cart’s server is hosted on their machines so that means you not only get away with not having to pay for the software itself, but you get out of having to buy an SSL security ticket too! Nothing’s a better bargain than free, eh?
So, I have everything I need to get people interested in my products and services, and I have the infrastructure in place. How do I get them to BUY?
Once you’ve scored a few sales it would probably be a good idea to start using some kind of lead management services. We highly recommend the use of autoresponders for this purpose. Autoresponders are, essentially, a newsletter sign-up that allows you to strategically determine what you want to send each lead after a certain allotted amount of time. For example, let’s say someone visits your web site and you offer them a free newsletter. If you were selling an ebook on some very complicated topic, you might consider sending them only information on the most basic concepts at first to get them interested. Slowly but surely, you can turn those visitors that might have left your web site and never have returned into some serious revenue!
As far as autoresponders go, we highly recommend the use of Aweber. Their customer service is superb and can be contacted at any point during the business day via online chat or phone. They also offer tons of free information, and guides on making the most of their services. Check out their month long free trial at http://www.getaweber.com/.
If all of that sounds interesting to you, and you like what we have to say, contact us today for a consultation. We can offer our own web design services, and also give you the training and expertise to build the website of your dreams.