Many online businesses exist across each and every industry. It is hard work to design and develop a site, hard work to source or make the products, and even harder to establish a brand. However the hardest part of running an online business or any business for that matter is the push to make it successful and work to market your business so people know you even exist.
An online business must be designed in such a way that it attracts custom, this relates to strong photography, reliable hosting, excellent branding and a clear, easy to use layout.
On top of this there are some steps you can make to increase your traffic and improve your website.
• User testing
A great way to gain a realistic critique of your website is to invest in some user testing. This will soon highlight any faults with your website. You can set your user tester a series of tests such as ‘find product X and add it to your basket’ or ‘find out what our returns policy is.’ The user tester will then complete the challenge while filming their screen, and narrating as they complete the challenge. You will soon learn if they find your menus difficult to navigate or spot spelling errors, or checkout problems.
User testing is affordable and will provide you with a set of realistic changes you will need to make on your site. Guessing what the problems might be or asking friends and family could lead to you making uninformed changes to your website which can cost you time and money, and you might end up making tweaks in the wrong areas of the site. User testers are experienced to provide you with true improvements.
Blogging is an excellent way to gain more traffic to your website. It indicates to Google that your website is updated regularly and is therefore current. Therefore you will be favored in search engine results over those sites which do not update their content. It also allows you to add more content to your website which increases your chances of appearing in a wider range of searches as you are offering Google more content to ‘read’.
• Social Media
Social media is of course an excellent way to gain traffic to your website. However you must use social media wisely to make the most of it. Firstly avoid wasting hours of time of your profile page, not only do fans/followers dislike too many updates, but it is also drawing away valuable time from your business.
When launching products or informing fans of exciting business updates; always remember to link to your site. If you have an announcement, write a blog post and then update your status telling fans to read your exciting news on your website blog. This encourages visitors to your website which will then hopefully lead to sales as they should hopefully be tempted to explore your site further. The main aim of social media is to humanize your business, market your business as a whole, and to most importantly gain website traffic.
• Never assume the work is done
Your site will always need tweaks and it will never be finished. Re-design your homepage occasionally to keep regular visitors interested with new products or news so it’s fresh. Also continue to tweak designs of pages where necessary so you can make it as easy to use as possible so there is no customer doubt. Make sure photographs are strong showing products at a variety of angles and on a model if applicable and with the ability to be seen on a large scale. Make sure your product descriptions answer every possible question a customer might have in a clear concise way.
In general make any improvements you feel need to be made to increase your sales. Not everything can be addressed at once due to financial strains, however if you feel your site needs product zoom buttons, a related products box under each product, or better photography, make sure it is on your agenda to do it when possible.
• Unique written content
Your content must be unique. Not only will you be better off ranking in searches as Google favors unique content, but it also makes your site stand out particularly if you sell the same products as other sites. It is of course easy to copy the generic manufacturer’s product description, but while it may save you time when setting up your site, you won’t succeed in generating website traffic, so take the time to be unique and stand out.
Image credit: SEOPlanter
What factors do you consider for success in your online business? Do share your opinion in the comment section, we’ll be glad to hear from you.
Written by Kirsten – Edited by Nizam Khan
This is a guest post by Kirsten who works for whoishostingthis.com, a hosting review and ratings site which is a useful online tool for business owners to assess which hosting company is best for their online business.