I was recently asked to give some advice to a friend who wanted to have a web designer design her website. My friend runs a salon and she was one of those people who knew that she needed a website but didn't know about the business...
She had no idea what Web Designers charge, she didn't know how her website would work for her, she hadn't thought about what content she was going to put there, she just knew it was 2010 and every small business needs a website. Well, it was time to teach her a couple of things as a favour and help her with her strategy for her website.
I went through 5 strategies with her when I explained the opportunities with a website:
Goal 1: Selling Online
The most well known goal for eCommerce Businesses where you're looking for an extra channel to sell your products and services.
: To reach sales targets and reduce shopping cart abandons, you'll need to focus on an all-in-one eCommerce site
complete with catalogs, products, shopping cart, shipping and a payment gateway and that provides an interesting and seamless shopping experience. Don't forget to add extras like upselling, recommended products, product galleries and plenty of credible product information to help meet your sales and orders targets.
But what happens when you can't sell online because what you sell is a physical service or you're not running a for-profit business? There's 4 other goals you can set for your Online Business to get return on investment...
Goal 2: Build Your Community
This goal applies particularly well to non-profit organizations like Churches, local Neighborhood organizations, Community organizations, Charities etc - they need to have online conversations/discussions with their current members and attract new ones.
: To build an online community, you'd need to nurture a social site with a discussion forum and post regular news on a blog to keep visitors coming back. Make a space for photo-uploads to show what's going on in your community, post podcasts of speeches or presentations for your visitors to download in a members-only area. Make sure members know about your site and that they contribute as well!