Increasing Revenue Through Your Website: Part 1 of 5 : Under30CEO Increasing Revenue Through Your Website: Part 1 of 5 : Under30CEO
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Increasing Revenue Through Your Website: Part 1 of 5

| February 3, 2010 | 20 Comments

As the leader of a business, a constant concern is always increasing revenue. Of course the two primary ways to do this are to either increase the revenue current customers provide, or to increase your total number of customers. The simplest and most direct way to reach your audience, and allow them to reach back, is through online media. Through this 5 article series, I hope to enlighten you on the 5 most important facets of online media and how to leverage them to benefit your business.

We’ll start with your Website.

Many people believe just having a website is enough for their business. Unfortunately that isn’t the case anymore. With increased competition and noise within the marketplace itself, your website has to stand out above the others to give you a chance. Think of a website as retail space – you need to have a good location (domain name,) you need visibility (search engine rank,) it has to be easy for shoppers to navigate (user experience, design and layout,) a professional and courteous staff (instant contact options, email, livechat, callback and phone number) and much more.

Your website is as much a sales tool as it is anything else, and you need to remember to treat it as one. Technology is always moving forward, and a site that was cutting edge in 2006 is quite aged by now. To make better use of your website there are two paths you can follow. If you have an available budget to invest in your website, hire a professional web design and development firm. Take your time, talk with several of them and work with the one that best matches your company in attitude and understanding. Beware of instantly siding with the cheapest firm. Remember the old adage “You get what you pay for.” Your website is your most visible marketing tool and you only have one chance to make a great first impression.

If you don’t have the budget to hire a firm and would prefer to do what you can yourself to get started, there are a wealth of tools available to help you do just that. These tools will help you cover the basics from selecting a domain name to building the website itself, as well as reviewing analytic reports and monitoring user interaction. Some of our favorite tools are outlined below and will give you a great start to establishing your web presence.

To start, select your domain name:

Domainr – http://domai.nr/ – a great tool to help you find the domain name that best fits you. If the name you want is taken, this will help you find usable alternatives as well.

To purchase your domain name:

GoDaddy – http://www.godaddy.com – while there are several registrars available, GoDaddy is one of the cheapest and easiest for most users. If you ignore the additional services they attempt to force on you during the checkout process, you’ll find yourself quite happy with your transaction.

To build a basic website for free:

There are many options, and again the best will generally be to have a firm of your own custom build your website to meet your needs. These are two of our favorite free services for basic website creation.

Moonfruit – http://www.moonfruit.com – Moon Fruit offers you the simplest linear process we’ve seen to build your website. From picking the template to the internal pages, multimedia and text content as well as limited SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)

Webs – http://www.webs.com – Formerly Freewebs, Webs allows you to build your website in a simple manner and offers more complex options that Moon Fruit doesn’t. If you need a simple shopping cart added to the site, or want to attach social or email elements to it, Webs supports those. Unfortunately, they also place ads on your site unless you cough up the dough for a “pro” account.

Tracking your visitors:

While Webs and Moon Fruit offer limited analytics of their own, if you’re looking for more advanced options there are several available to you. If you have no experience in dealing with website analytics, the two options we suggest here will help you get started.

Google Analytics – http://www.google.com/analytics – Google offers a number of great free services and their Analytics package is one of the best around. Easy to learn, difficult to master is the best way to put it. With the simple reports they provide, you’ll quickly gain a visual understanding of how your website is interacting with the world, and make the changes that will best benefit your business.

StatCounter – http://www.statcounter.com – While Stat Counter isn’t quite as polished as Google Analytics, it has been around for a long time, and offers a simple way to learn a lot about how users use your website.

We hope these tools get you off to a great start building your online presence, and remind you not to neglect your website! If you’d like to share your favorite tools, please share them in the comments.

Author Chris Yoko is the president of Yoko Consulting, an interactive marketing firm that helps clients make the most of their web presence, from website development and social media to email and mobile marketing. You can also find him right here at Under30CEO.

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  • http://twitter.com/NickThacker Nick Thacker

    Chris, good post. I believe that it's adamant now for new small businesses to have a well-maintained website. Phonebooks are out, Google is in.

    However, I don't ever condone getting a free site built and hosted. I certainly think open-source software packages like Joomla! and WordPress are the way to go if you've never built a site before and need to cut your teeth on something, but BUY HOSTING SPACE. For as little as $5/month, you can have the same quality hosting space that corporations are using for their sites. The benefits far outweigh the costs, like owning your own domain name, “owning” your own space (like if wordpress.net ever stops hosting free blogs), etc.

    Of all the investments to make in your new business, purchasing hosting space and some basic marketing (article submissions, SEO, StumbleUpon campaigns) are the most important and will pay off the quickest in my opinion.

  • http://www.scottdjonesonline.com/scotts-blog.html Scott Jones

    Chris,

    This is great information as a new owner of a website. http://www.scottdjoneonline.com . Also another free web development site that I used and is extremely user friendly is weebly. http://www.weebly.com . I purchased the domain from GoDaddy.com and it was really easy to switch it over to Weebly's servers. It has really been a great way to personal brand myself and build a name on the internet at a very low expense. In the tune of $10 a year for the domain.

    Thanks,

    Scott

  • http://twitter.com/mike_key Michael Key

    Being a designer, I'm kind of opposed to using freebie web templates. I think you can get a great and UNIQUE design with a small investment. A great help to me has been to purchase a couple of the very plain yet highly customizable templates like Thesis, this way I can always create something different in a similar fashion.

    Great post, looking forward to part 2.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Agreed Nick. Pay up for the hosting space. Its really cheap and does provide a lot of benefits down the road.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    I've used a lot of freebie web templates and I think they def. work just fine. But in the end paying up to get some kind of professional design work done almost always turns out better. Its always up to the person but if you make the investment I think you usually see the positive results.

  • http://www.rockstarlifestyledesign.com/ Greg Rollett

    I agree here too. You need to host your own site, own the data and have a unique design. With things like WordPress there is no reason you can't have something up in a few minutes (1 click installs from hosting accounts help too).

    Good starter post in the series. Looking forward to see where this is headed.

  • chrisyoko

    Nick, I totally agree, it is a very small price to pay to have complete control of your information.

  • chrisyoko

    Hi Scott, thanks for heads up on Weebly, I'm not too familiar with them but will have to check them out.

  • chrisyoko

    Hi Michael,

    This is one of those interesting gray areas in web design. We employ quite a few web designers, and I have absolutely no doubt that our custom designed sites, materials and campaigns make a better impression and convert better than templates themselves. I was hoping to use this post for the brand new bootstrapped business who needs something and doesn't have a budget available to invest in the business' image.

    Long term, I believe it is in a company's best interest to have their own look, and invest in design that not only makes an impact, but converts visitors into customers. We do a lot of continued testing and tweaking of design with on going clients and the difference it makes over as little as 3-6 months is major.

    Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/mike_key Michael Key

    Being a designer, I'm kind of opposed to using freebie web templates. I think you can get a great and UNIQUE design with a small investment. A great help to me has been to purchase a couple of the very plain yet highly customizable templates like Thesis, this way I can always create something different in a similar fashion.

    Great post, looking forward to part 2.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    Agreed Nick. Pay up for the hosting space. Its really cheap and does provide a lot of benefits down the road.

  • http://Under30CEO.com Jared O'Toole

    I've used a lot of freebie web templates and I think they def. work just fine. But in the end paying up to get some kind of professional design work done almost always turns out better. Its always up to the person but if you make the investment I think you usually see the positive results.

  • http://www.rockstarlifestyledesign.com/ Greg Rollett

    I agree here too. You need to host your own site, own the data and have a unique design. With things like WordPress there is no reason you can't have something up in a few minutes (1 click installs from hosting accounts help too).

    Good starter post in the series. Looking forward to see where this is headed.

  • http://www.YokoConsulting.com/ Chris Yoko

    Nick, I totally agree, it is a very small price to pay to have complete control of your information.

  • http://www.YokoConsulting.com/ Chris Yoko

    Hi Scott, thanks for heads up on Weebly, I'm not too familiar with them but will have to check them out.

  • http://www.YokoConsulting.com/ Chris Yoko

    Hi Michael,

    This is one of those interesting gray areas in web design. We employ quite a few web designers, and I have absolutely no doubt that our custom designed sites, materials and campaigns make a better impression and convert better than templates themselves. I was hoping to use this post for the brand new bootstrapped business who needs something and doesn't have a budget available to invest in the business' image.

    Long term, I believe it is in a company's best interest to have their own look, and invest in design that not only makes an impact, but converts visitors into customers. We do a lot of continued testing and tweaking of design with on going clients and the difference it makes over as little as 3-6 months is major.

    Thanks!

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  • http://webmama.co.uk/ Ecommerce Software

    Wow it is amazing.I think I should try it into my
    Ecommerce Website that it can get a lot of visitors..
    Thanks for this blog.I’ll share it with my facebook friends