Autoresponder Software, Low Cost Web Hosting, Small Business, Starting An Online Business February 23rd. 2010, 6:54am
You already know that you can use inexpensive web hosting to quickly and easily set up a web page and start a business online. And you may already know that you should keep your website fresh and appealing to customers by updating it periodically. But updating it how? What should go, and what should stay? And what should you add next?
You can use email marketing through automatic responder software to generate traffic for your website. You can also blog and tweet and keep a Facebook page going to take advantage of social networking. And you can make sure everything you write and everything you post everywhere includes great keywords to raise your site’s profile. And more.
But when someone gets to your web page, what will they find?
That can seem like a fairly scary question if you’re doing your website all on your own.
Even if you’re using templates or have hired a consultant, the final decision about what your website looks like is up to you, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. It doesn’t mean you have to spend your days monitoring the latest web design trends and usability studies, either.
Instead, this is your chance to have the competition work for you, instead of against you.
After all, your competition is working as hard as you are to have a great web page and draw lots of customers. So why not take a look at what they’re up to? You can easily find their websites. You may even already have their websites bookmarked so you can see what they’re offering, what their sales prices look like, and so on. As long as you’re there, take a look at their website design, as well.
Using your computer’s “print screen” function, or free screenshot software, you can capture images of your competitors’ websites. Then, you can take some time to look them over and think about them. Do you like their colors? How about the way their navigation is laid out? Which features or areas on their pages draw your attention? Which features or areas make you react negatively?
Find out what others think, as well. Show your screenshots to business partners, people in your social or business networks, friends, and family. If you’ve hired a consultant, use the screenshots of websites you like to better communicate your wishes.
I’m certainly not suggesting that you copy your competitors’ web pages. But you’re free to get great ideas wherever you find them. And if you and your competitors are all selling to the same market, the people visiting yours and your competitors sites may have similar tastes and expectations from a website.
After all, other entrepreneurs are evaluating your website, as well. In fact, you should talk to them about it! If you find a competitor who has a design or feature on his site you appreciate, why not let him know? You may find you have other common ground on which to trade ideas, as well. Before you know it, you may have moved from competitors to colleagues in a relationship that benefits both of your businesses.