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A Checklist Leading to a Successful E-Commerce Website|
Copyright 2003-2005, Bill Platt
To succeed in e-commerce, the following eleven steps are those
that every business owner should tackle when developing their
new online business:
THE BASIC ONLINE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CHECKLIST
1. Determine your products or services - Know what products and
services you will be offering and define the common thread that
will tie all of your products and services together.
2. Research your products and services marketplace - Find out
who your competitors are and the differences in the product
offerings they deliver to their customers. Find out your
competitors price points and value offerings. Find out who
your customers are. Find out how many customers exist in your
market and how you can reach them.
3. Establish your site goals - Determine how you are going to
use your website in the quest to develop your customer base.
Are you going to use it as a billboard on the Internet Super
Highway? Or, are you going to use your site to develop long-term
relationships with your customers? Or, do you intend that your
site should provide everything necessary for an immediate,
4. Plan your site layout - Understand how you are going to
utilize your site to the fullest of its potential. Make a
pre-determination as to the different sections of your site,
which will be vital to meeting your goals.
5. Plan for growth of your site - Understand that your site
will grow and change to meet with the challenges of the future.
Anything that you can do now to simplify the transition into
future design changes will increase your overall productivity
in the maintenance of your online storefront.
6. Take a quick lesson in HTML -
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/teachingtool/ HTML design
software can help you build your website fast. Learning the
basics of HTML firsthand can improve your effectiveness in
modifying your website. If you ever need to make minor changes
or troubleshoot display or formatting problems in a web page,
you will have the basic understanding of the technology to
work through those problems without outside assistance.
7. Build basic HTML template - Your HTML template should be
thought of as your custom letterhead. Each page on your website
will be demonstrated with a basic visual format to secure the
cohesion of your website. It is this basic visual design or
letterhead that you want your HTML template to represent.
8. Build e-commerce section - The payment area of your website
is the most important element of your entire design. Without an
effective payment processing system, your customers will not be
able to pay you for your products or services.
StormPay is a third-party payment processor that enables small
businesses to provide secure payment options to their customers.
Learn for yourself the advantages of using the StormPay program
on your website: http://www.stormpay.com
Paypal is a more popular payment processor from which I take
90% of my own online payments. You can register at Paypal by
visiting the following URL:
9. Build customer support section - While a FAQ (Frequently
Asked Questions) page can be a very useful tool in keeping
support requests to a minimum, it cannot stand alone as your
customer support system. Some people need one-on-one human
contact to answer their sales and support questions. As a matter
of trust, some folks simply will not do business with a company
that does not offer some type of human contact point --- either
by email or by telephone.
10. Build site content - Once you have developed the bulk of
your site structure, the time will come to tackle building your
content pages, which will include your sales pages. As you
conclude building your page content, it may also be helpful
to undertake an understanding of the use of Meta tags with
your web pages. For a quick tutorial on the subject, visit:
11. Begin Promoting - There are simply dozens of ways in which
you can promote your website --- both online and offline. We
simply do not have enough space here to go into all of the
methods available to a website owner for the purpose of
promoting their website. Our primary goal is always to sell
products or services through our business. Online or offline,
it is important to remember that sales cannot happen where
there is no traffic. To draw traffic to our business, we must
promote our business.
My hope for you is simple. I hope that you will be able to
develop your own online business and you will be profitable
in doing so. It is my hope that this checklist will serve
to help you reach that end.
Bill Platt owns http://www.LinksAndTraffic.com .
It can be tough to build one-way, inbound links to your website.
But, you need them in order to improve your link popularity and
your website's inbound traffic. Through the "Links and Traffic"
Link Development Systems, we can develop 100's of one-way,
inbound, Natural Links to your website. If you are unsure of the
what Natural Links are, please read our Natural Linking Tutorial.
This article was originally written: February, 2003