When Do I Start Making Money From My Web Site?

The million dollar question! Of course, the dream is that I put up a web site and within 6 months I’m living in a condo in Southern Spain, rolling high on the profits. I’ve been in web development since 1997, and I haven’t even had a two week vacation in Southern Spain. Either I’ve been cheated or there is something wrong with that model!

The problem with the dream perception is a lack of understanding of web models in 1) how long it takes to build a web site, 2) how long it takes to make a profit from a web site, and 3) how much work it takes to keep both the web site and the profits rolling. I worked for one non-profit with a very viable web site model, but totally unrealistic expectations. One particular board member started asking me, “How are sales?” from the first few weeks after the site “went live.” I always wanted to tell him, “You are asking the wrong question.” One of the questions he should have been asking is, “Now that the web site is up and running, what do we need to do to make a profit?”

One of the results of not understanding the web model timeline was that there were not enough resources allocated to make the site profitable. And, the lack of a plan with specific steps to get there made it very frustrating. The only goal was to make a profit; there were no acknowledged intermediate goals to show steps toward success.

7 Basic Web Models

  1. Very small, static, informational site to market a brick and mortar business.
  2. Very small, static, informational site with some programming (feedback form, newsletter signup, calendar, etc) to market a brick and mortar business.
  3. Small site to market a business without a brick and mortar business.
  4. Website with shopping functions to expand a brick and mortar business.
  5. Website with shopping functions without a brick and mortar business.
  6. Website to generate advertising revenue.
  7. Web services web site (online stock broker, online conference registration, online sales management, …)

An Example: a small, static, informational site to market a brick and mortar business
The benefit for this site is that your business is already known. People have walked into your facility and made purchases. Your website is another way for them to interact with you. You can start web traffic as soon as your site is up, just by making sure your existing customers know about your web site. This is a case where the timeline from beginning to profitability can be relatively short (months).

For many businesses, this is a great place to start. A small site allows you to gather your ideas and try them out without the time and expense of a large site. A larger site can be part of your long term planning.

Planning Steps

  • look at your competitors sites to see what they are doing
  • ask your staff and customers what would be helpful for them on your web site
  • decide what pages you want and what photos and content they should have
  • gather photos and write text
  • learn about the technologies available for you to use for development
  • learn about how the technologies you choose will affect your search engine optimization
  • decide what you would like your web site to look like, a rough sketch on paper will do (notice this is last!)
  • Don’t be surprised if this takes several months!!!

Building

  • find out what human web resources you have available (the people who can build your site or classes for you to do the development)
  • learn the up and down sides to your possibilities and make a choice – remember, you will have to live with this one for a while!
  • start the development process
  • TEST EVERYTHING
  • This could take from an afternoon (if all your photos and text are ready) to several months, depending on schedules and how many changes you want.

Marketing

  • while your web site is in development, write your title and alt tags
  • make a schedule for weekly (preferable) or monthly updates to your web site – forever
  • get at least one new link back to your site from another site each week – forever
  • get good feedback on what your viewers think about your web site – forever
  • People have to find your site before it becomes an asset to your business. Even if you do Planning and Building perfectly, if no one finds your web site, there are no profits from it. This one is a forever process.

Success Points! (have a little toast at the end of each one of these)

  • Plan with list of pages and rough draft of “look and feel” is finished.
  • All materials are gathered
  • First iteration of the site is up and running online
  • Staff and selected user tests have resulted in good feedback (is. changes that need to be done)
  • Feedback changes are finished.
  • 1000 visits in a month
  • 5000 visits in a month
  • 1st sale that can be directly attributed to the web site.
  • etc!

If you don’t recognize the small successes, both you and your staff will become very discouraged, waiting to make it big. Each success point represents a successful outcome.

Hire Only A Well-Known Development Partner For Superior Results

You should know that the online performance of your business will depend a lot on the kind of website it has. If the website is technically adept, it will then help the business a great deal. On the other hand, a poorly developed website often mars the prospects and stops businesses from achieving their targets in a timely manner. More so, websites lacking features and functionalities often make businesses lose their audience in a gradual manner and waste great chances on the internet. All this clearly points towards the need of having only a good and feature-rich website for the business.

Before getting a website developed, you should first understand the requirements and goals of the business. Based on that, you should hire a top development company to turn your ideas into reality. A good development company knows about all those features that often boost the online performance of your business and help it realize its true potential. You should also know all those features needed by the business to win the trust and confidence of users on the internet. First and foremost, the website should be developed to support multiple devices and platforms so that it can reach to more users.

More so, the website has to support all screen sizes so that it can reach to more users and bring more prospects to the business. It should also support all popular browsers around to let users access it easily from the source of their choice. What’s more, a good website is one that is developed to provide users ease and comfort of browsing and navigation. It should list all products and services in a clear-cut manner so that users can search and find them in relevant categories and save a lot of time in the process. It should have visual clues so that navigation remains easy for visitors.

More so, a quality website is one that is free from any errors including dead links. It should load faster or it should not take more than two or three seconds to load. This is only possible when it curbs the usages of heavy images and videos. Likewise, all elements of the website should be easily viewed on all screen sizes without making visitors scroll left and right in a frenetic manner. What’s more, the site must have SSL certificates and it should have latest technology in place to secure or encrypt all communications from users.

Overall, a good website is one that has all the standard features that help users search and browse its products and services with ease. All those features and functionalities should be present in a website so that it can help businesses realize their true potential. All this is possible only when experts are hired for the task of web development. Only experienced coders, programmers or developers know the art and science involved in crafting a technically superior website. It’s therefore important for your business to hire only the best web development company and realize it targets with ease. So, let only experts develop your website and give your business an edge.

Research & Analysis – Must for Web Application Development

Millions of websites vie for user attention in the online marketplace. Therefore, to be successful here, you have to be different and unique, especially in terms of content and design. This is the reason why services like search engine marketing and web development are becoming increasingly popular. Online businesses are using them to change the way visitors perceive their sites, so as to generate increased traffic and revenues.

However, a number of service providers have not been able to deliver satisfactory results. This is mainly due to the dynamism of this field that demands constant upgradations to latest technologies, and adaption of the same into business operations. Before taking up a project, it is important that developers undertake research and analysis to find out the feasibility of the same.

Listed below are a few essential factors that ought to be taken under consideration by service providers into design and development activities:

1) First and foremost, find out if the solutions desired by your clients are practical enough, especially in accordance with the budget allotted for the same. Estimate costs incurred, resources and man-hours required, etc., so that you can present a clear picture to your client. Try and figure out potential threats that could hamper the project, and feel free to discuss them.

2) Find out what the client’s competitors have been doing; what has or has not worked for them, etc. This will give you an insight into the workable solutions for a particular project. It will also help you stay away from mistakes that can mar the entire development campaign.

3) Testing is one of the most crucial stages of web application development. Before giving the go-ahead to your clients, you have to ensure that the application has been tested and scrutinised on varied parameters that determine its functionality. This will help you rectify mistakes and ultimately deliver better results.

As a developer, you should also make sure that you give the application enough time by following a natural course of progression. Do not try to rush things in order to meet client deadlines. Rather, set deadlines that are easily reachable. This will establish you as a credible service provider in a marketplace that has numerous fraudulent entities.