Website in 10 Easy steps

For any business, website is as crucial as stock/service. So why not follow a functional path and create one website in 10 easy steps?website1

A functional and well designed website can be one of the most critical factors in building an interface with your customers, suppliers, partners – and potentially investors. Below is how you can create an effective online presence:

WEBSITE 101

  1. Understand the purpose of your Website: Start by determining the purpose of your website. Generally, company websites are a platform to share company’s story – giving visitors a general overview and tour of the products/services. Alternatively, it could also be to generate online sales, where you would create an e-commerce gateway for customers to directly make purchases. Remember that even if you decide to start with a basic/static website you can always upgrade your offer at a later stage.
  2. Decide your Domain Name: The is the URL you will be sharing with your visitors, so it needs to be catchy and something that they will remember. Key insight here, keep it short, concise and free of complicated abbrevations. Very often, it is the case that the domains ending with ‘.com’ have already been registered and you would need to work with alternatives such as ‘.net’ or ‘.co’. This step involves careful research and planning – invest some time in coming up with a suitable domain for your business. It is also worth consulting an IT expert at this stage to ensure that you aren’t using a domain name that has already been copyright by someone else.
  3. Select your Web host: After you’ve decided on your domain name, you will need to choose a web host. Your choice of website host will depend in part on the software you choose but also on the speed and number of visits you expect to receive. With some companies, you can start off with less expensive but less powerful share hosting services, if required, you can step up to faster and more powerful dedicated hosting. This option is something you should consider when choosing a host, even if you start with less expensive option. Another consideration, particularly if you are setting up your website yourself, if whether your host provides for automatic installation of your chosen content management software. Most of the popular hosting services will enable you to do this with the click of a button. And in most cases you can use the same host for more than one website. If you are doing it yourself, the host’s support services should be an important consideration. While few, if any, will support the software, the hosting application related issues can be complicated.
  4. Choose a Web Content Management System: A web content management system is a software that allows you to create and manage your website content, without the need to have detailed programming knowledge. A basic software would allow you to upload information, edit content and manage participation. The primary advantages of using a web content management system are that it is accessible at a low cost and is fairly easy to use. There are several options available today – varying based on your need. Popular ones WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and so on.
  5. Select a pre-made design template: A simple way to get a ready template would be to purchase it online or choose from the free templates already available and ready to use. Think from a visitor’s point of view What would they be looking for when they first visit your website? What is the first impression you want to leave on their mind? Select one theme and stick with that throughout the website. Your website should be simple, consistent and easy to navigate. If there’s too much going on, it could be a distraction to visitors. The navigation should be intuitive and not too complex. Having a lot of unnecessary images and links can turn off visitors. Lastly, don’t make frequent design changes on your website: let users build familiarity with your web portal, remember it and revisit it in the future.
  6. Update the Content, Content is the King: What you’re saying to your audience is of paramount significance as this directly impacts their interests in your page. Ensure that the information you are sharing on your page is relevant to your audience and more importantly a good indication of your brand value. Have a content strategy in mind – (4 easy steps)
    1. How often does the website need to be updated – weekly or monthly or bi-yearly.
    2. Who is responsible for managing all the online activity?
    3. Who is your target audience?
    4. How is your brand positioned in the market and how can you reinforce this with your website?
  7. Setup a Payment System/Gateway: While this step won’t apply to all business websites, companies that want to offer the option to pay online will need to integrate electronic payment systems into their websites. The easiest way to do this is through e-commerce software or third-party payment processors, often called gateways. Some web hsts offer an in-house option for e-commerce integratuon but not all do. So if you hav e to choose one on your own, be sure to do your own research. PayPal, is a popular and cost-effective option to facilitate easy payments.
  8. Ensure Compatibility: It’s imperative to ensure that your company’s website is compatible with all mobile devices and browsers and also platforms. Not only does this enable quick and easy access, but it offers your customers and enjoyable viewing experience. Compatibility means that your website is completely optimized to work on a mobile device. This includes design changes; does it fit on a mobile screen? Also, interface changes; making information accessible in a click of two versus a comprehensive options menu.
  9. Promote your Website: It’s surprising how many businesses forget to promote their website. It should be prominent across all your marketing activities. This could include business cards, brochures, emails and social media. Basically anywhere you have your business logo, your URL should be there too. Implement SEO strategy to drive traffic to your website and to rank high on search engines. There is also the option to use Google Adsense, which will show Google ads on your website. Of course, don’t forget to supplement these activities with a solid social media campaign – targeting your fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter.
  10. Review your Website: Once your website is up and running, it’s time to check how well you did! Simple tools like Google Analytics can help you get feedback on what areas if your website work and those that don’t. It also gives you insights on your demographics, page views, returning visitors, time spent on each page and so on. Regular discussions with your web developer on these analytics is truly time well spent. Remember that having a website just for the sake of it is as good as not having one. Take time out to review the working of your website and it can work wonders for your business.

Finally, it is very easy to overthink and complicate things when building your website. So try to keep it as simple as possible. Your website should give your visitors a clear depiction of who you are as a company and leave them with one solid call-to-action. Have is as user-friendly as possible and think about user-journey as if you were your own customer/visitor.

button-do-not-forgetFor an entrepreneur or small business owner, a website is a great boon – an easy, cost-effective and efficient platform to communicate with a mass audience! Therefore, it’s only fair that you give sufficient attention and time to ensure that you are making the most out of it. DO NOT FORGET how Social Media can be beneficial in the whole process, historically and currently it has seen, working charm for a lot of businesses.

Essentials for e-commerce

When it comes to e-commerce portals, 1st thing which clicks to our minds is “Online Shopping” & so it is in today’s time. E-commerce has been a bit of a buzz word for the last couple of years now. Trading on the Internet is a hugely complex business and extremely simple at the same time with many aspects to consider when designing a successful ecommerce site. The e-commerce websites are planned with different stages and so when created they stay raw until they are surfed for a while and the developer checks for the client feedback. It should completely coincide with the business model and should have no rest because with almost everything changing in this world drastically, the webpages needs to be updated on every second, every minute… so on & so forth basis. Basically, it is a complex methodology to apply.

The major threats before even penning down a dot for e-commerce websites:

a) If the concept already exists? – Web Analysis should be used.

b) Even if we are targeting the same concept for different region, do we have the scope? – Market Analysis tools is should be used.

c) What you are launching has the demand or not? Is your target audience a particular age group, demographic or generic? – Market Analytics & Surveys should be taken into account.

The reason why the above three things are called threats, rather than stages, is the daily changing world. We all know the story of the biggest Social Media Website “Facebook”, thanks to The Movie – The Social Network. Similarly, every idea is important and even more significant is the implementation and extremely critical is to market and keep a check so as no one hinders the growth.

The essential stages of e-commerce website are:

e-commerce stages

1) Thought – Think upon 100 times

2) Brainstorming – Calculate possibilities over & over again

3) Identifying Audience – Strictly “No” mistakes at this stage

4) Pen the Layout – User-Friendly Interface

5) Market Research – Risk Management

6) Web Analytic’s – Calculate the successful & unsuccessful models till date

7) Content Development – Significant, precise and smart

8) Marketing – Focus on it to the core & spend a lot on it for the start

9) Branding & Merchandising – Good strategy to sustain in a thickly competitive market

It is a viz-a-viz process of and each stage has its own complications. Every stage needs to be given equal attention. Apart from the essentials there are some more things which need to be taken into a fair account. They are:

Research & Strategy:

Key factors here are: Customer Interview, Understanding of the target Audience,  Competitive Analysis, SEO Keywords Search, Managing Objectives & Client Experience

Planning:

Key factors here are: Prioritization of target audience & creating persona’s, Functional Requirements, Content Requirements, Technical Requirements, SEO Requirements, User-friendly interface, Creative Brief

Information Architechure:

Key factors here are: Navigation Tree, Schematic Diagrams, Labeling Architecture, Detailed functional design, User Experience guidelines, Pricing strategies.

By keeping these e-Commerce essentials in mind when drafting the new e-commerce site, a strategic approach can always give the best results no matter what expectations you have today. In the computer savvy world of today, everything of this sort gets the market by Social Media and if the offerings made are good enough, it catches fire. In the end, following a well-rounded e-Commerce site development plan will ensure your new online business keeps customers (and search engines) coming back while opening the door for more expansive growth in the future as the e-tailer landscape continues to evolve.

Not only once built its over and you don’t need to see it for a while or like that but there is a constant process or should I say the e-commerce cycle which needs to be followed to keep in line with the market & to stay the least affected by the competition. On the left hand side, given, is the e-commerce web-cycle, each of the stages in this cycle are significant but the two most crucial ones which needs to be up-to-date are the Usability & Security.

There is a special feature of e-commerce portals, “PAYMENTS”. Now, again going to the 1st stage of thought process & coming over to the integration part, payments section is very crucial & it completely depends upon the kind of portal which is about to be launched and what does it demand to sustain. Like, if it is a online retail store, it will demand all types of payments, such as “payment by Credit Card, Debit Card, Net Banking, Cash on Delivery etc. It should be as user friendly as possible because after one, chooses what to buy, no one has a habit of wasting more than required time. But on the other hand if it is just one thing, such as “book store” or “gemstones”, which fall into different pricing analysis may require different kinds of payment types.

We also have some live examples of such websites which have gained immense popularity and profits  in a very short span of time. To name one of two would be rude but I am sure we all know them very well. Always follow a process/procedure. Shooting in the air would have 1% of the chance of getting a hit. Planning a shoot, has 99% of chance of the hit.

Always remember: “CONNECTING WITH YOUR AUDIENCE IS THE KEY FOR E-COM WEBSITES”

So, give them all reasons to trust you, to befriend with you, love you, accept you.

Tesco.com

Whilst all my research and analysis on various domains is on, retail segment caught my eye on a special note when I considered Europe’s recent economic ups and downs. The entire community was worried that should we be hit by the 2008 wave of recession, it would be a suicidal call for middle-man, no chance of survival for the poor anyway.

Things eventually shaped but situation wasn’t that bad and I could see a rosy picture back in early FY-13. The spending power of people comes from what they earn and obviously the earning comes from the business houses which are expected to sustain profits by the last quarter of FY-11. There is an excellent trend emerging, that of online shopping for almost everything in life. Be it any country, it is emerging at a rate of 208%/month. In this league, Tesco.com, the no. 1 retailer chain of UK, is following certain trends withing their web-portal which are fascinating on one end but there are some more things I would like to jot down for especially Tesco but it may apply to other retailer chains, online shopping portals etc. also.

|| ANALYSIS OVER TESCO.COM ||

First of all, I would like to compliment the web-designing team of Tesco for doing a great web-work for Tesco.com. However, it is rightly said that “Implementing imperfect thinking perfectly, is perfect” so, every time you make a change, there is scope of another change. Hence, I am coming up with my analysis over Tesco.com

I will be segmenting my analysis into 3 phases.

Phase I – Limitations & Suggestions

Phase II – Analytical Pointers

Phase III – UI pointers

Phase I

Limitations and suggestions I felt:

1)     To reach the end product, is taking time, resulting waste of resource

2)     Options of listening a clip of a song

3)     First time buyer should be equally treated to a regular buyer

4)     Suggestion box, apart from the feedback box.

5)     Project a cart: Prompting to buy – Pushing the idea into a head – Advanced marketing

6)     Have a flash of offer of the week, month

7)     Hourly ticker deals – if you find a offer less than this

8)     You can sell everything at one roof but not banking, it’s a separate domain & should be separate

9)     Mid-season sale – should be highlighted, not a pop-up window but as a cover ad – Too much of red shouldn’t be there – Red is considered to be the color of #Danger

10) About Tesco should be placed in bar at the upper side

11) Grocery look/shelf look as soon as you say “Start Shopping”

Phase II

1)     We can introduce something called as express shopping; this may also promote tesco.com over the other websites

2)     65%-70% are researchers, locking them there would be a great deal by uplifting a ticker

3)     Brand loyalty or showcasing the high value brand in gift area as a dummy

4)     A rectangular look can also be geometrically changed into a circular view with a family into it, like at one coordinate it’s the mother/housewife, opposite to that sits father/guardian, then a child, then a teenager

5)     Do not scare off the crows as soon as they sit on the bench you want, therefore, the 1st line of free standard delivery only on spending $15 should not be the 1st you read, in Tesco Books

Phase III

1)     16:9 / 4:3 – What about the empty space? More decoration is possible

2)     A Halloween Curtain by which we enter tesco.com

Also, if I had to name a new market for Tesco at this point of time or early FY-12, United Arab Emirates(UAE) focusing the very upcoming, capital city, Abu Dhabi and the all-time cosmopolitan city of Dubai.

Disclaimer: The above analysis, views, suggestions, propositions are solely done by me and no market-research company is involved in the same. Also, it has no-criticism and no relation to any individual or business-house.