Getting your website off to a great start

You have a great line of products, you worked very hard on getting it manufactured, creating a logo and getting all the branding.
Your company set up a nice office, hired the right staff, now you need an e-commerce website so you can just sell your product.

You did a thorough  Google search, spoke to your neighbor’s son and asked your brilliant cousin who works for a marketing firm and you’re committed to  spending money on setting this up properly.
You’re not rolling in dough (yet), but you figure this is a one time expense, it’s a major and crucial part of your success, so you want it to be done right the first time and be over with it. You’re thinking that once you put up the website you will be done with it – just like your letterhead.

You are dead wrong, and I’m glad we can help you figure this out now before you step into something you can’t manage.
Simply putting up a website, as beautiful and as functional as it may be, is not going to generate serious sales in the long run.

Owning a website is like buying a car, when you bought the vehicle, you knew that down the line you’re going to have to do oil changes, get new tires and replace the brakes every so often.
The same is true for your website, after you put it up, there will be constant costs involved in updating, tweaking and maintaining an effective online presence.

We know what you’re thinking –  You’re an entrepreneur, not a millionaire or you’re willing to do things yourself and after someone sets you up with the right tools or platform you’ll take it from here. I commend you for being willing to do all or a lot of the work, but if you’re creating an ecommerce site and you’re unwilling to continuously invest in your website, then you’re better off having never created your site.

We have seen this happen and it is true for three main categories.

Old and established websites

Some businesses put up their e-commerce 10 years ago, when the space wasn’t as crowded, and they established themselves as a presence. Because of their past success with a minimal investment and a website that has been dormant for the most part, they are convinced that they’re doing it all right and they’re satisfied with the steady revenue income. Now think about it for a second, if the business model is that lucrative, how long will it take for someone to start selling the same or similar products? And when that competitor launches, how much effort will he spend trying to get as much of the business as he can? Who will be the primary business to be negatively impacted by this drive for success?
Unfortunately, we have seen it too many times – the original business owner only wakes up and decides to take action when the competition has already eaten up a majority of their business and by then we’re left climbing an uphill battle.
If you have a website that is selling nicely today, you MUST be on top of your game and make sure that your site is up to date with the latest recommendations and online shopping trends. Don’t wait till your competition takes business away from you to realize that your site needs to be mobile friendly, it needs to load fast, it needs to be as user friendly as possible etc, the time to act is NOW.

Websites that are successful

Other stores set up an e-commerce, spend a lot of money on ads and marketing campaigns, they generate a lot of traffic to their site and they have a decent amount of sales every month.
The owner is satisfied, the marketing manager gets a raise and everyone is happy. On any given month, the revenue is higher than the spend, so the company is doing well, everyone is getting paid and everything runs on auto-pilot. But wait, what if we can turn this same monthly spend and turn it into much higher conversion rates, what if we can convince the customer to buy 2 items instead of one?  What if we could reduce fraud orders? They are a lot of possibilities and opportunities that are being left on the table – and someone else is going to get them.
Getting the “low hanging fruit” was definitely an achievement,  but if you’re not focused on growing and getting the most revenue possible from your site then you are losing money every month.

New websites, a.k.a. startups

New businesses tend to only look at the original dollar amount it will cost to setup their site – especially if it’s their first time going through this process, they never envisioned or no one told them that this is not a one time deal, it’s an ongoing commitment. No one never told them that once they start selling a decent amount they will need to spend money on returns management or review generation. Having constantly updated content was never explained as an important factor in success and site speed was never an issue when you only had 10 visitors per month.

Some of our readers (and by the way we thank you for stopping by) are thinking that we’re crazy, and that of course everyone knows that. We can point you to different sites and show you the obvious opportunities that are not being exploited, or better yet, I can let you answer the phone calls and emails @ our office for one week. You will be amazed at how many people think that we’re just trying to generate more work for ourselves and that’s why we’re recommending different things. There is some truth to that thinking but with a slight twist – we need you to be successful, we want your business to exist and thrive as much as possible.

If you have a site that’s selling stuff online, take a look at it now – what can you improve? Take a deep look at your sales, can they be higher? Take a look at your bounce rate, can we lower that?  Are you analysing heat maps and conversion funnels? Don’t wait till your financial bottom line forces you take a look at these things, even if you’re doing well now, you must act before it’s too late.

If you don’t have a site yet, and are looking to build one, we just want to let you know this won’t be a one-time shot, you must be committed to a long term and continual investment.
We aren’t suggesting that you allocate thousands of dollars every month to pour into your website, the amount you spend is obviously tied to what you can afford, but if you can’t afford anything then stop while you’re ahead.

There are always a few exceptions to the rule, look @ craigslist or drudgereport and you’ll be surprised (or not) at how much revenue their site generates, but without getting into the if’s and why’s , chances are you won’t have the same success with your site, you’d call us lunatics for even making the suggestion you try it.

Finally, it’s almost never too late, people are out there looking to buy your product, you just have to up your game, get and retain as many of these customers  as you possibly can and make sure you’re always maximizing the great potential you’ve already invested so much effort into. Don’t let someone else come in and reap the benefits of your hard work.