Profit from a Powerful Web site

Farrah Gray | 6/4/2009, 6:40 a.m.

Today, over 230-million people visit the Internet in the U.S. Although many talk about Internet Web sites, just how effective are they? The answer is: a Web site can be very effective; if done right it can generate sales leads by expanding your market reach through €search engine optimization€ (SEO) and social networking techniques.

Have no fear - most Web design software and online applications walk you through the initial development stages, therefore it is not necessary that you learn programming such as €Hyper Text Markup Language€ (HTML) or €Extensible Markup Language€ (XML).

As an entrepreneur, you should decide at some stage of your business plan whether it makes sense to build a Web site. If you are working your local neighborhood €" a person to person referral sales strategy may be more effective, and a Web site may not be necessary. However, if you are selling products or consulting services, it is valuable to consider building a Web site as a portfolio of your product or work samples.

As you proceed with your Web site development one of the first steps is to secure a €Domain Name. Example, www.€Insert domain name€.com.

Be creative in selecting your unique domain name, as it will serve as a calling card to define your small business to potential customers. Get to know your customers better by posting an outline of your professional skills and experience with a formal photo introducing yourself.

To start, try using a pencil and paper to visually sketch out a drawing of your new Web site prior to any online design. Visually organize the necessary Web site sections, such as the home page online menus, about us, services, products, contact us, shopping carts, and press releases. Most Web design applications offer pre-set templates that make the development process much easier by instantly suggesting appealing fonts, graphics and background color combinations.

Your Web site content should grab people€s attention by clearly and uniquely communicating the business mission.

The Web site user interface includes button menu link options in a logically placed fashion for quick Web site navigation. It is valuable to insert hyperlinks to external Web sites that offer additional information resources enhancing your products or services.
Keep the Web site font sizes readable in consideration of people with poor eye-sight. Brightness, color and lighting all play a factor in appeal that ultimately can affect generating business leads online.

Clearly post in the Web site footer or header the business contact information. As small business entrepreneurs make time to be available by phone, there€s nothing more annoying than endless voice messages. Make yourself or an assistant accessible to quickly answer customer questions and build sales relationships.

Why would a customer want to spend money getting your product or service? Does your small business support any worthy local community efforts such as after school programs?

Draw a clear picture of how your business not only benefits the customer but also adds value to the local community. People are much more likely to support your small business particularly with our current economic crisis if they know their money will really make a difference in the community.

Spend time writing articles, press releases and blogs and get involved in other social networking media that will highlight your small business, using tags or key words that enhance your company€s listing in search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Wikipedia. Use key word titles that reflect current trends and news to enable wider audience customer exposure.

Effective small business Web sites offer consumers the ability to sign-up for FREE e-newsletters. A monthly marketing e-newsletter is an available marketing tool that is e-mailed to your database of customers updating them on new business or sales offers, and other valuable information. E-newsletters are a low cost way of advertising to build long-term sales relationships.

It is important to view your Web site as a long-term investment in the success of your business. This may mean building a long-term relationship with a Web site developer who will manage all of your updates, or it may mean hiring your Web site developer to integrate a content management system into your site so you can manage it yourself or have a virtual assistant manage it.

Whichever route you choose to take, most entrepreneurs should integrate an effective Web site into their business plan.

Farrah Gray is the author of €The Truth Shall Make You Rich: The New Road Map to Radical Prosperity,€ €Get Real, Get Rich: Conquer the 7 Lies Blocking You from Success€ and the international best-seller €Reallionaire: Nine Steps to Becoming Rich from the Inside Out.€ He is chair of the Farrah Gray Foundation. Dr. Gray can be reached via email at fg@drfarrahgray.com or his Web site at http://www.drfarrahgray.com.