In days gone by you could register a domain, throw together a website based on a free template and drive your search engine optimziation program hard in order to rank well in the search results. It has worked for a long time too. However, this strategy doesn’t work now and will not work into the future and there are many reasons why – the main one being that users are just becoming more sophisticated now.
To be successful with an online business, you now need a strategic plan that covers a complete business approach. Like a bricks and mortar business, you need careful product planning, but that is only the first step.
An integrated strategic plan includes:
- Product planning including sourcing and pricing:
As with a bricks and mortar business, you need the right products at the right price at the right time.
- Web design that is user friendly:
Online users are now accustomed to speed. They want to be able to find the right information first time every time.
- Web design that is search engine friendly:
One of the hardest aspects of web design is to ensure it also search engine friendly without detracting from being user friendly. Fortunately clear links assists users and search engines, unfortunately, it’s only one part of search engine friendly design.
- Web design that is conversion friendly:
This is the one area that is becoming the most important. Once a user has made a decision to buy, you need to facilitate that sale quickly. For those that haven’t as yet decided, you need pages that give them every reason to decide quickly.
- Search engine optimization:
Search engine friendly pages are just the start. Link building, search marketing and other SEO techniques such social networking, article marketing, online publicity and much more will all help to gain the all important search placements and with it, visitors.
- Social media marketing:
Online marketing is slowly maturing. Social media is exploding, however social media marketing is struggling to find an approach that is truly successful. You still need to be involved, but flexibility is the key as you try to find what is going to be successful for your business.
Measuring, analyzing and tweaking are a continuous role in any business – online or offline. Knowing how to use the data is perhaps the hardest component to online analytics.
- Lots of hard yards:
The build it and collect your millions is just not going to happen. Creating any business involves a lot of hard work, little return in the early days, and often lots of frustration. Work hard and you may succeed.
Sounds daunting? Remember, this is a business we are talking about. Why should an online business be any different to an offline one? Careful planning and having a documented strategic approach will at least give you the best chance to succeed. However, even the best SEO, a steady stream of traffic and good product won’t guarantee success. No one can guarantee success – you can at least give it your best shot.