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Friday 15 April 2011

Here there are Lions

In days gone by, when creating new maps, cartographers would label unknown regions with
whimsical entries such as “Here there are Lions”. Understanding how to best utilise the internet, to benefit either an existing or a new business, can be very similar to charting unexplored territories. Within this article we hope to cast some light into what may be a scary and uncharted new area.

In the 21st century, considering that approximately a quarter of the worlds population have access to the internet, having a website for your business should be a priority. Of course using the internet and being a part of the internet are two very different kettles of fish. To try and help you get started you should try to answer the following questions in the order in which they are presented.

What do I need my businesses website to do?

The answer to this question should be either: to increase sales or to reduce cost. Sometimes it can do both. At this stage keep it that simple, the detail will become clear further on.

Who do I want to visit the website?

If you know your business then you'll know who your customers are. If it's a new business then this of course will be your intended clients, which might be quite a vague demographic at this point but that's fine. It's still better than not knowing at all.

How will the website do what the business needs it to do?

If your website needs to increase your sales this could be achieved in a number of ways; direct
online sales or making contact with your company that could lead to a sale.

If your website must reduce your costs this will most likely be by replacing another information
format within the business. For example your website might display latest company information or
product availability, thus reducing or even negating the need for printed and distributed information.

So with this question answered you should know how the website needs to be structured and
presented to achieve the desired result.

How will people find my website?

Every website, regardless of it purpose, needs visitors. There are many ways of driving traffic to
your website but they can all broadly be separated into two groups; paid and free.

Clearly you are best placed to decide on the best method of advertising for your website and you
may even have a budget set aside specifically for online advertising. Of course if you could
advertise your website for free then your marketing budget becomes counted in your profits as
opposed to expenditure. Choosing the right advertising medium is a complex and expansive subject. You will find reviews and explanations of many different advertising mediums in the Learning Zone. Your influencing factors will of course be your demographic and budget.

Having worked your way through the key questions, you should now feel like you have a little more
direction as you set off on the path into the wilderness of the website ownership.


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