Web Business Success: From Zero to Profit In Seven Days
by David Howlett
The week before I planned to launch my website, I had some products to sell and an ecommerce system in place to take the orders and process the credit card payments, but, unfortunately, like many new websites I had absolutely no visitors on the site.
Just one-week later I had visitors on the site and have made sufficient sales to give me a good margin of profit over my cost of goods as well as repaying a portion of the web business set-up costs.
So how did I achieve this in such a short space of time? Has it been just luck, good judgement or maybe I’ve just discovered the secrets to setting up a successful small web based business that I can pass on to you.
In truth I’ve just following a few simple common sense rules: keep the start-up costs to a minimum, design the site so its very easy for people to buy and be prepared to spend some money on promoting the site.
Mark Hockings of DesignerMark kindly designed basic template for the site at very low cost. I’ve set to and learnt how to use Dreamweaver so I’ve been able to build all of the rest of the site around this template thus saving me at least a thousand pounds on what the cost could have been.
The most difficult thing has been to find a low cost ecommerce system that works effectively in processing the sales and offering you the support you need in the after-sales. In the end I opted for a shopping cart from Mal’s e-commerce and the payment gateway services from 2checkout.com.
I’ve always believed that you need to have full control over the buying process to be able to make the changes needed to get the best possible sales conversion ratio. Mal’s e-commerce offers simple buy-now button that you can add anywhere on the site and link it to the shopping cart customised to look like you own site. The whole process is so simple.
The other great thing they have is M-Orders that is a downloadable application that will help you handle you after sales service. The basic version of Mal’s is free to use, but if you want to link up to a payment gateway and take credit cards you’ll need to pay a small monthly fee.
Promoting the site was much easier than I thought it would be. First I set up some Google Adwords that would appear when people entered keywords relating to the products I am selling. So far this has cost me just over £30.
Then I invested £60 with Overture on their Sitematch program. Sitematch seems to be very effective. Within days I had a good listing for the keywords in my website on most of the top search engines. These included: MSN, AOL, ASK, Yahoo and Excite.
So where has the profit come from? In the first week I had 60 visitors on the site mostly from the Google Adwords. During this time I made 3 sales adding up to a total of nearly £200. Because I’ve kept the cost of the website so low any profit can go a long way when reinvested in the website. For instance just the profit from the sales in the first week are enough to pay the cost of the shopping cart and payment gateway services for a whole year!
So if you yearn to start your own online business, but aren’t sure you have the funds to start, don’t despair it can be done. Do your research and look around for reliable low-cost ways to develop you web business. So once the sales do start coming in you’ll have more money available to reinvest and grow the business faster.
David Howlett has been helping businesses with their website's for the past seven years. He has used many of the skills he's learnt when developing his own website that specialises in selling unusual garden plants: http://www.gardenmania.co.uk
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