A Website Is Not Enough

Beginning entrepreneurs assume setting up a website is all that is needed to start earning money. The internet is a crowded place. It takes a lot of work to get noticed. Even more work to sell products to customers.

Here’s a brief guide on what is required for a modern eCommerce website.

1. Brand – Know who you are, what you are selling and why you are selling it. Communicate what you do in one or two sentences. If you cannot explain it within 3 seconds you’ll fail to grab your visitor’s attention.

2. Technology – Whether you use WordPress, Squarespace, or Shopify. Make sure your website is mobile friendly. 80% of all web traffic comes from smart phones. You’ll need to hire a web developer to build your website if you are not technical.

3. Customers – Who are you are selling to? What demographics do they belong to? What problem does your product or service solve for them? Why would they buy from you instead of someone else? What value do you provide? The answers to these questions are the basis for your website content. Or you could hire a copy writer.

4. SEO – Search Engine Optimization is the process of building your site so it ranks higher in Google and other search engines. This is a huge topic. There are companies that specialize in SEO.

5. Analytics – Learn how to use Google Analytics so you can track how many visitors you are getting on your site and if they are leaving quickly (bouncing) or staying around for more than a few minutes.

6. Marketing Funnel – Your website is where people come to learn about your products and purchase them. Getting them to your website requires a marketing funnel.

7. Email List – No matter what business you are in you will add your visitors to your email list. You can setup a free list using MailChimp. Once your visitors join your mailing list you can alert them to new blog posts and/or YouTube videos. As well as send them offers to buy your products.

8. Shopping Cart – Most websites have shopping carts so customers can add or remove items while they browse a site. Stick with convention and setup a shopping cart.

9. Payment System – You will need to setup a secure system for your customers to pay you for your products. Paypal, Stripe, or selling on Amazon are all good options. Make sure to direct these payments into your business account and pay applicable taxes on this income.

10. Blog / YouTube – These channels are used to build an audience by providing free valuable content. This creates authority in your chosen field. The more people that follow you and join your mailing list. The more sales you’ll receive.

11. Social Media – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are where you post product ads. Potential customers will be introduced to your brand and your products. Social Media Marketing is last thing you do after your website, email list, shopping cart, and payment system are in place. Don’t try to build a following with an empty website. Pages with “Coming Soon” kills interest and makes you look like an amateur.

12. Feedback – Make sure to connect with your customers through emails, comments, Facebook groups, or something else. Understand what they want and then sell it to them. By keeping up with your clients needs you’ll build a better brand and continue to gain more customers.

13. Exit Strategy – Most entrepreneurs are so focused on building their company and making it successful they don’t stop to consider what happens if things go wrong, or if things go right.

These are large complex topics. The trick is to be patience and take your time learning. Avoid listening to anyone who is not successful. They haven’t done it, so they cannot advise you how to do it.

Research how successful people are doing it. Look for people who are already successful in an industry you want to work in. Read their books, follow them on Twitter, and watch their YouTube videos. Attend any webinars or seminars they host. Surround yourself with successful people and emulate them.

Here’s a few books to get you started:
1. Will It Fly? by Pat Flynn
2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
3. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss