Back to the Basics
by Diane Hughes
As someone who has been running a full-time Internet business for
years, I often have to remind myself that there are thousands of
business "newbies" who are just starting out. As I get farther
and farther into the realm of online business, I find that the
basics for starting your own business still hold true.
If you begin with a solid foundation, you increase your chances
of success. With that in mind, Iíd like to share some of those
truths with you now in an effort to help you get started on the
Build a Professionally Designed Web Site
One of the biggest mistakes startups make is to save money
by creating a Web site themselves. Unless you are graphically
talented and have a good deal of experience with Web design,
I would not recommend this.
Your Web site is ALL that your site visitors have to base their
decisions on. Your siteís design simply must give your visitor
a sense of professionalism, trust, security, and ease.
A "homemade" looking site screams "Iím a startup business
who has no money and may go out of business at any minute!"
You donít want to portray that type of image.
If you canít afford to hire a pro to design your site, that
leaves you with one of two choices. First, wait and save some
more money. Or wait and learn to do it yourself properly.
Yes, You DO Need To Know at Least a Little HTML...
Whether you have someone else design your site or you do it
yourself, youíll need to have a good knowledge of HTML basics.
No... you donít need to be able to write full-blown code in
HTML, but you DO need to be able to make changes to your site,
load scripts, and handle several other minor administrative
HTML basics are very easy to learn. Once you get a handle on
this language, youíll be in a much better position to save time
and money when it comes to keeping your Web site fresh and
Content Is King
The saying may be out of date, but the principle is definitely
still accurate. People come to the Internet for information.
Buyers need to be convinced in order to purchase. Search engines
rank your site based primarily on the words on the pages.
The whole virtual world revolves around content.
Not to sound like a broken record, but if you arenít able to
write compelling copy that persuades your visitors to take action,
you would be better off waiting to launch your site. Just as with
Web design, you have two choices. First, wait and save some money
in order to pay a professional copywriter. Or take the time to
learn to do it yourself properly.
Never Use a Free Host
Free Web hosting companies trade you space on their servers for
pop-up ads on your site. In many cases, the host uses several
pop-up ads. How annoyed do YOU get when you visit a site and
seven or eight pop-up or pop-under windows launch? Then donít
put your customers through that same aggravation.
There are a multitude of hosts now that charge less than $10 per
month. No pop-ups, lots of features, and good service, too.
Use one of those as opposed to the freebie hosts.
Pursue Free Search Engine Listings
Search engines (such as Google and AOL) can be an exceptional way
to drive traffic to your site. By incorporating just a few "rules
of the game," you can rank quite highly in most engines.
It will be VERY worth your while to learn about search engine
optimization basics. This can be an ongoing source of qualified
traffic for you for years to come.
Above all, donít rush! The Internet isnít going anywhere.
Those who hurry to throw a site up quickly find themselves with
all sorts of problems. If you take your time and get a decent
"Internet business education" before you launch your site,
youíll bypass many of the struggles most startups have. Youíll
also increase your chances of success and find that profits
come much more easily than you thought!
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