As the owner of a small business, you're constantly looking for new ways to sell your product and the internet seems like a great way to expand your reach.
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The only problem is that you don't know where to begin. But before you throw in the towel on internet sales, you should realize that selling on the web might not be as complicated as you think.
To help you get started, here is a basic step-by-step guide in terms that even the most technologically-challenged business owner can understand.
STEP 1: Design a Website
The first step toward entering the world of e-commerce (selling on the internet) is to create a website for your business. Don't worry - you don't have to create it yourself. There are literally thousands of web designers available to assist you. In addition to designing your website, a web designer will also be able to walk you through the technical requirements of hosting and maintaining your site.
STEP 2: Create Content
After you have established a general design, you'll need to create the content for your website. Web content can be in the form of words (web copy) or images (photos, graphics, logos). Your web content will be determined by what you are trying to accomplish. If you have chosen an online ordering format, you'll need to produce photos and short descriptions of your products. If you have chosen a design that to directs people to order by phone, the website becomes more informational. Its content should be designed to educate people about your products and convince them to take the next step by picking up the phone.
STEP 3: Establish Payment Options and Site Security
If you've designed your site with the ability for customers to place orders online, you'll also need to establish online payment options and provide online security to protect their financial information from online fraud and identity theft. Don't skimp on this! Make sure your web designer has considered your security needs and taken the appropriate measures to allow you to collect payments in a secure and timely manner.
STEP 4: Attract Visitors to Your Website
Getting your site up and running is only the beginning. You'll also need to find ways to attract visitors to your website. One of the most obvious ways to accomplish this is to print your web address on your receipts, letterhead, newsletters, promotional products, and other materials. Another way is to attract visitors to your site is through search-engine optimization or SEO. SEO increases your visibility and ranking in search engines like Google and Yahoo, making it more likely that potential customers will click on your site instead of someone else's.