Discover the secrets to building a profitable online business, with my free guide to the....
5 Key Ingredients of Online Success
When you break it down, there really aren’t that many things that you need if you want to build a successful online business. But there are five elements that are crucial to get right if you want to make a profit online.
Element #1: Dynamite Copy Writing
Your text is the most powerful aspect of your website’s presentation — more than anything else, creating convincing text will bring you the response you want from your visitors.
If your website is well written, it’s guaranteed to be more successful than sites that rely on mediocre writing, no matter how amazing their graphics may look.
Powerful headlines and snappy, active sentences will capture your reader’s attention, and focusing on the benefits of what you are offering will keep it. Always keep in mind that your reader’s primary interest is what’s in it for them, so it’s much more effective to satisfy their needs than to write much about yourself.
One of the most important steps is to know your target audience, and keep them in mind throughout the writing process. Stay clearly, concisely focused on what they want, remove their fears and objections, and give them all the information they need to make a decision.
It takes a professional Internet copy writer many hours to craft each web page, especially core sales pages. But it’s time well spent — if you expect success, your text needs to be refined until every word is perfect!
The resources listed on the right are my favourite references for copy writing, and are written specifically for the Internet. They’re all excellent, but if you’re torn between them, Make Your Words Sell is probably the best value.
The next step in creating your website is to give it a professional image:
Element #2: Effective Presentation
When you start to develop graphical concepts for your site, remember the benefits of simplicity. It’s easy to get carried away with web graphics, but having too many flashy visuals can be very distracting — and they can take ages for browsers to load.
So unless you’re an artist or designer, it’s much more effective to use a minimum of graphics & animation in your site layout. A creative designer only needs a few images to make a site look highly professional.
Keep in mind that your graphics are mainly there for presentation. For most sites, their purpose is to reinforce the credibility of your text, so that you can present yourself as an expert who will fulfill their needs.
Your logo often has the most influence on your site’s credibility — more than anything else, it symbolizes the professional image that you want to portray. If you don’t have one yet, have a look at my logo design tips to help make it outstanding.
You might also consider adding some high-quality photos, a header, some custom buttons and dividers...
...and that’s probably all the graphic design you need.
Next, you need to help your visitors get around!
Element #3: Focused Navigation
For your website to be successful, it’s important to identify the response that you want from your visitor, and make sure that every page directs them on a clear path towards it. Creating easy-to-follow navigation is crucial to getting this response.
Good navigation helps people to orient themselves in your website and find what they’re looking for. Each page should also give your visitor easy access to all of the different features of your site.
There are many options for laying out your menus — they can be text or graphics, horizontal or vertical lists, simple links or drop-down menus. There’s no “one right way” to do it, but it’s vital to keep your navigation simple, clear and consistent throughout your site.
You can get more detail on results-based navigation from my web design page....
....or discover the single factor that can give your site 4 to 10 times the volume of sales:
Element #4: Seamless Sales Integration
No matter what the purpose of your website is, at some point you need to ask your visitor to say yes. The easier it is for them to make an order, the more likely they’ll be to go for it.
Purchasers make decisions based on their emotional response to your site. If you get them excited about what you’re offering, you need to take their order then and there — or you’ll lose 75 to 95% of your customers.
So on the net, you’ve got to provide your visitors with straightforward and secure ordering options — especially credit card processing.
Depending on the number of items you sell and your sales volume, that can either mean getting an Internet merchant account and installing shopping cart software, or setting your site up with a third-party payment processor like PayPal or Moneybookers .
It’s also still a good idea to allow people to order by telephone or check. Many people are cautious about providing credit card information over the Internet, so why not give them alternatives?
Creating a pleasant sales experience is critical for the success of your website. My page of web design tips has more detail...
...and then, when you’ve got your site ready, there’s one more thing you need to do:
Element #5: Traffic Generation
You can have the best website in the world, but if nobody comes to visit, it will still be a failure. This is the #1 reason why 99% of the sites on the net today don’t make any money: they don’t know how to attract visitors.
One of the most effective traffic-building techniques is to bring in visitors from the search engines. This means giving your site a search engine optimization — which starts with finding the most profitable keyphrases for your site, and embedding them in your web pages.
You can also buy traffic through pay-per-click services. These are the ‘sponsored listings’ that you see in search engines, and can be a highly cost-effective way to market your site.
And there are many more strategies to bring in visitors, including link exchanges, online publications, newsletters, offline promotions and affiliate programs. I’ll go into more detail on these strategies in my traffic building page.
There! Those are the 5 essential elements to creating a website....
....so how are you going to make it all happen?
Putting it together
I've identified eight different ways that you can follow to get the website you want — varying from doing everything yourself, to hiring a design firm to build you an online content management system.
But regardless of the method you use to build your site, I would strongly suggest learning as much as you can about Internet marketing so that you can keep on building your online business.
I've put together a page of my top recommendations of Internet marketing resources for you — I've tried a lot of different ones, some of which are quite mediocre, and I'd like to save you from going through the same trouble and expense!
And finally, if you ever need any help with building your online business, you are always welcome to contact me personally to see how my team and I can help you build your online success.