Running a business online is much different than running a regular business. For starters, everything is virtual. If you will have employees working for you, you will likely have them work remotely, so hiring people that you can trust to help keep your business running is essential. But other than that, there are some other key elements you should know when setting up and running an eCommerce web site.
If you already own a business and would like to market your products and/or services online as well, a lot of the work has already been accomplished. For one, you don't have to figure out what type of business to open up or which market to cater to. If you business is already well established, all you have to do now is let people know that you are now available online. If your business was only local, this is your big chance to become a national or even international company. Getting started
To start, you will first need to register a domain name. Try choosing a name that best describes your company; if the name isn't already taken. Or consider buying out a domain name that is already in use; that's if you really want it. Next, you will need to find a server and host for the web site you will be publishing. Once that has been accomplished (likely finding a host is the longest and hardest process, depending on your needs and budget), you will need to upload the web site's content, i.e. the text, images and other content.
Depending on what you are offering your clients will determine the set up of your site. Whatever it is, you need to make sure that visitors are able to find everything very easily. Place a site map in plain view and with easy to read and understandable links. Keep graphics and large files at a minimum to increase the load up speed of your site. You must also keep in mind that everyone is using different computers, software and internet speeds, so not everyone will be able to view large files or view everything the same. Web browsers are also a factor when considering what to put on your site. Some people use Netscape, other's use Internet Explorer and Firefox, which views various files differently. Promoting your ecommerce website
Once your web site is up and running, you will need to generate traffic to your site. To do so, you will need to register your web site with all the top search engines. The text on your site should contain relevant keywords for your products and/or services, so if you are running a vacuum business, include keywords like vacuum, vacuum cleaner, carpet cleaner, etc. Web surfers will type these keywords into search engines when looking for services and products similar to yours. Search engines will pick up the keywords on your site and link surfers to your business. Search engines and other popular web sites offer advertising services, so consider paying for ads to help increase traffic to your eCommerce site.
There are also free access to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) sites that help you look for poplar search terms to use for your keywords. It is important that you use keywords that are searched for constantly and use them in your site evenly (you don't want the keywords to be used sparingly or too much). You must be careful because if you overuse keywords, search engines will rate your site poorly and will be ranked low on the index, making it harder for web surfers to find you.
Next, once your site is properly optimized, you will need to focus on catering to your customers. There are numerous online marketing and advertising tools to help with your business's success. First, payment methods will need to be established. To be a true success, you will need to offer your clients a way to pay online. Credit/debit cards, Paypal and Western Union are all ways of allowing quick and easy payments. The more options you offer, the wider your clientele base will be. Don't leave anyone out and don't limit access to your services or products.
When advertising for your eCommerce site, you can either hire marketers or use your own methods. Blogging (web logging) is a form of advertisement. Different web sites offer blogs for people to post comments and alert others about what's going on. It isn't good to strictly post your ad on someone's blog, so take care to create conversations and coolly mention your web site. Don't make it seem like a cheesy commercial, just simple word of mouth advertising. To help keep your post on the blog (moderators will remove if inappropriate), go to relevant sites and post to blogs that pertain to your products and/or services.