Knowing what your site is and isn't likely to achieve is the key to success.
As any business owner with a web site knows, the Internet is far from a 'get rich quick' medium. For most businesses, especially those that are hard to find online, their site generates much less new business than they were expecting.
When setting out to have a web site created, it definitely pays to have realistic expectations of what the site might, and definitely will not achieve.
Basically, everything online is a percentages game. Understanding these will help you plan for your best possible chance of sales.
First, you need to be found if you are going to make any new business online. If you can be among the first page results of the thousands, or millions, of other companies offering exactly the same products or services as you, you will have an immediate advantage.
Even then, you need to understand that this is only the first stage, because on the Internet, 500 more visitors a day doesn't necessarily mean 500 more sales. It just means more potential for sales.
Search engine users search the Internet for many different reasons. They may be doing research on a problem they may have, or reading up on something they have heard about. These people, possibly as high as 60%, are immediately unlikely to become customers.
Of those who are left, more will be further disqualified if, for example, you are a local business and they are out of your area or even country. This again narrows the field, until you finally end up with the percentage of people who are looking for exactly what you offer and are exactly in your area.
Then the comparisons begin. These visitors will then compare you to the other search results, judging your site and products or services. You will be judged on how professional you look, how fast the site loads, how easy it is to find what they want, and how your prices compare to those of the other results.
Of course, that's if everything shows up correctly. I have seen many first page results sites that have coding and layout errors if you view them in the wrong browser. The realistic bottom line is that the search engine visitors who actually 'convert' to become purchasers is low, usually only 1-2%.
Even the top ten percent of ecommerce sites in the world only
average around a 3% conversion rate.
This is the main reason that we do not sell our clients Pay-per-Click campaigns.
With such low returns percentages, I have never in 13 years come across any company that has actually been able to make back their Pay-per-Click costs, even those selling 'big-ticket' items.
That's why we work alongside clients to get first-page search results using our FirstPage system, which employs traditional and, more importantly, free methods. To target your content more effectively and retain as many visitors as possible, you need to understand how many visitors you are realistically likely to get, and how they are likely to react to the different elements of your site.
Also, analyze how your competitors are doing things, including pricing. This will help you plan your online strategy to make sure that in the comparison shopping arena you will come out on top.
If you are ready to grow your business, now is the perfect time to consider our WebUpdate systems, which employ advanced marketing, promotion and security features designed to give businesses the best competitive edge online.
Terry Young is the founder and CEO of Internet Marketing and Design,
the award winning web and multimedia design agency in Chesapeake.
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