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.

Planning and Research – Important Part of Web Design

A ‘website design’ requires a lot of planning and research along with good bit of effort. But with the march of the time, now we have some excellent and easy procedures and measures, which help a lot in course of website designing. Now it is not a tough job any more to create a good and professional website with not so advanced skill (still, at least a minimum level of designing skill necessary though) and in very less amount of time. When you are designing a web site, then you must have a good collection of web logos, web templates and some other important components, which are very much important in case of web designing.

Now, it is very much important to have a particular plan much before designing a website, depending upon your goal to design the website. Now along with the planning it is also quite important to realize the goal, for which you are designing the web site. Now, if you are not clear to these objectives, your intention of good website design may fail. It is also essential to collect through data about your business strategies, pricing and the customers before starting to design the website. If possible try to conduct a market survey and obtain the proper result before designing.

Now, start to make and execute the plans, which are to be made after the decision of the website development. When the whole thing is decided, at first you have to choose the proper template so that it can match your requirements. You can find many finely designed web templates in various websites, which are totally free of cost and free for circulation and modification. Otherwise, you can buy templates too. There are lots of companies, who are providing nice web templates in very reasonable rate. While buying, you will have the options of buying a ‘copy-right’ template or a ‘non copy-right template’. Certainly, the price of the ‘copy right template’ is in the higher side. One thing should be noted that a website needs thorough up gradation and total maintenance. While up grading, you may add several new contents, new links or images, and updates to your website. Now, since these inclusions are necessary, so it is also essential that web-template is easily upgradeable. In fact, edit some portions of the web development template as par your necessity.

Now, you have to put then related contents to the web template you have. The contents include the images, texts, flash objects and many other things. Now it is important to add contents considering the physical web space you have. You content should be limited within the physical space. Now you can add the contents to the template by using various editors like MS FrontPage or even Dream Weaver. Now after these works you have to link the template (filled with various contents) to a certain domain address. It is important to have a domain address, which is simple to pronounce.

Now, some people are designing the websites in professional basis. In fact, web site designing is simple job if the mentioned tips are followed thoroughly.

5 Must Do’s When Looking For A Good Ecommerce Website Development Company

Check Out The Portfolio

A reliable ecommerce website development agency must have lots of stores highlighted in their portfolio. As most of the websites that are developed are deployed over the Internet, look at the active portfolio of the company and if you are happy about their work than only proceed further. Also, be sure to examine their work simply by visiting the websites make sure the company has the expertise to deliver the results that you are expecting. Bear in mind that an agency with more than one eCommerce site in its portfolio is probably to have a stronger base of knowledge and experience to work from when any issue arises.

Check Background

Must know how long the company is providing their services in this industry. Keep in mind that a company that has been offering web development services for a long time is the best to deal with because it has highly skilled and proficient web developers with vast experience. Apart from this, also find out whether the firm has a portfolio or references of the e-commerce websites that they developed in the past.

Look At Experience

The premier thing that you should observe is the experience of the website development company. This is because an experienced company without any doubt helps in formulating marketing plans and strategies that would definitely help your business reach new heights of success. Also, check out the best work of the company and get reviews from past clients as well. Keep in mind that a professional, reliable and experienced company will want to get to know your company and goals so that it can design a site that conveys your message in a clear and effective way.

Check Quality Of The Services

Choosing the right web design & development company is a very important job because the future of your online business and brand completely depends on your selection. A business website will reflect negatively on your company and vice versa. So, the eCommerce web development company must maintain a high quality level for their services, right from web design and website development to website implementation and customer service as you want a service that is worth the value of every penny that you invest in it. Thus, look for a firm that assures you top-notch quality and flexible e-commerce website development services at cost effective prices. A dependable service provider will also make sure that the final website that you get completely meets your business requirements.

Check Cost Of The Web Development

Everyone who need to develop an website obviously want to know is how much should they have to pay for a website? So, before you make your agree to anything, ensure you understand what is included in the price. Some development companies include development and design in a single package, while others only offer design. Besides, don’t go with the lowest price because if web service company are providing low rates, then there’s a good chance the development work will either be cheap looking with an ordinary template or outsourced to a third party.