Web development is quite complex, because there are so many disciplines involved. It takes some skills to build a web site that delivers exactly what you want, with a good layout and with community building and you need to know technical aspects as well as research and marketing, promotion, writing, etc. Web development also means hard work. It's an ever-ongoing effort as you will see below and if you don't have enough (human) resources for it it's going to be hard. It's not the money that count so much (the site will be a reflection of your budget, but lots of small budgets already have been very successful) as well as time, energy, persistence and a great will.
Let's try to break it down to the basic elements. Why? A very popular reason to create a web presence is . to have a web presence. "Competitors have it, so should we" is often heard. A defensive strategy.
That is definitely the wrong way. Companies or small businesses should have a better reason to be on the Internet. You should plan that carefully. Most of the time it starts with an idea, a product or a service. And unless you want a personal home page, you better find out first if there's a market for that idea, product or service.
Internet presence comes down to three things: marketing, promotion and (fresh) valuable content. Step 1 So, if you have an idea, product or service suited for the Internet, first find out if there's a market that wants to pay for it. Just use the Search Engines and Directories to find similar ideas or similar markets. If you do not have an idea, product or service yet try to find a (common) need or dissatisfaction in a certain group of people that want to spend money to solve their problems (niche, target market).
Lurk in Discussion Groups and Forums. Post some questions about what is needed most. Develop a solution to fill a need, relieve a pain or satisfy a desire. Step 2 Develop a USP, a Unique Selling Proposition. It should be a unique aspect of your business, something that separates you from your competitors.
And locate where your customers are, what they do, what they read, what interests them, in short: how you can reach them and where. Define your keywords and keyphrases. This may seem trivial, but if they can't find you, there's no business! This is crucial for the concept. Target your audience! Step 3: Build It! Sounds easy. It is when you exactly know how to do that. And even than it's quite complex.
Develop a site that sells with deadly precision, build content, write sales letters, the technical stuff (CGI, Java, etc.), prepare Auto responders, make articles, get references and so on. Try to automate as much as possible.
It gives you more time for the actions in the next steps. And make sure that you can stay in touch with prospects. Your newsletter can do that.
Have the content ready. Step 4: Get traffic! Here's the promotion part of the process. Search Engines and Directories are great to get targeted traffic. Despite of all remarks regarding constant changes of algorithms it's still worth while. Press releases, articles, forums and if you want to banners and advertising are all in place here.
Select your resources with care by using the information from Step 2. Step 5: Test, test, test! Check the results. Does the system work the way you planned? Can you improve it? You will not know unless you test it.
Try different sales letters, prices, guarantees, other layouts or navigation (only change one thing at the time) and check the results again. If nothing works, go back to Step 1 and start all over again. If it works, go back to Step 2 and refine the whole system. After that go back to Step 1 and develop the next product, because now you are well situated for back end products.
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