The Only Reasons You Should Have A Web Site

Wally Bock
©2003 All Rights Reserved
A web site makes sense for your business only if it improves your profit and your operations. There are only only three ways to do that. Use your site to -- increase revenue, decrease expenses, or make things work better.

Increase Revenue

There are five basic ways you can use your web site to increase revenue.
  1. You can sell things on your site.

  2. If you do that you should offer secure options for credit card sales. That helps folks who are comfortable using their credit card to order know that you’re watching out for security.

    You should also offer options for folks who don’t want to use their credit card. Allow them to print out your order form and fax it in. Let them call in their order. Or let them place their order online, but do the credit card part by phone.

  3. You can sell advertising.

  4. Advertising is audience delivery. If you get lots of visitors to your web site, or if you get many visitors of a particular kind, then other businesses may be willing to pay to use your site as a way to reach your visitors.

    Remember that the best ads, for you, for your advertisers, and your visitors are content ads. Let advertisers provide an article or other form of information that helps your visitors solve a problem or answer a question they’re likely to have. Then link to the advertiser from the content.

  5. You can have memberships or subscriptions.

  6. Members and subscribers sign up for some kind of ongoing benefit. They might pay you, for example, for access to special information. Or, you might have them trade you information (which you can use) for access to benefits.

  7. You can charge a transaction or other fee. Some web sites handle transactions for other sites and charge a fee for doing that. You might allow customers of yours to let their customers use part of your web site and charge them for each usage. Or you might handle sales transactions for another business through your web site and charge them a fee.

  8. You can generate commissions or royalties. Programs like the Associates Program at work like this. They have you sign up to be an associate. Once you’re on board, you send folks to their site, using the code they give you. If those folks buy, you get a commission.

Consider signing up for associate programs for sites that sell things of value to your visitors.

Decrease Expenses

Look for places where one person in your business reads to another one.

They might be reading from a computer screen, or reading from a manual, but if they’re reading, there’s two people involved. If you can use your web site to provide the same information, you free up staff time for more productive work.

Look for places where you've got lots of printing, postage, phone or fax costs.

Information that’s shared through your web site or using automatic email doesn’t cost you a dime in postage, phone or fax costs. Check where you have the largest expenses in these areas and then look for ways to use the net and web to get the information out.

I’ve found that folks who receive information in both print and digital form almost always prefer digital after they get used to it. That makes sense. Digital information doesn’t take up space, it’s searchable and easy to use. Don’t expect folks to know this in advance, though.

Send them information both ways, and offer the option to eliminate print if they choose. About two thirds will do so within a year.

Make Things Work Better

Make your marketing more effective. Lots of marketing is simply information sharing A web site gives you a way to tell more about yourself and what you sell than you ever can in a brochure or conversation. Not only that, you share your information with folks at a time when it’s most convenient for them and when they’re most interested.

Cut your sales cycle. All that information sharing can have a dramatic effect on your sales cycle. With a web site, especially one that uses automatic email response, you can cut down the number of sales calls necessary to go from first contact to closing the sale.

A web site can help people get routine information without tying up your people or your phone. Things like your hours of operation, hours and special services are out there twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.

You can build relationships with your customers and prospects. Start that with interactivity on your web site. Let them tell you things about themselves that help you serve them better.

You can give folks special attention. Separate areas of your site can be set up for different groups of customers. It’s like having several front doors to your shop, each with a special message and display. You can set up private areas of your site for your top customers to give them special attention.

Three Reasons are Really One Reason

That’s three solid reasons to have a web site, but they all boil down to one reason. Your business should have a web site to improve your business results. Anything else is a waste of time and money. And that's bad business.

Wally has an extensive collection of articles and other resources on his Resource Web Site.
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