Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell, and advertise
Before you do anything with your website, you need to decide what, exactly, you want it to do for you. Perhaps along the way you may revise your objectives, but you have to start with a clear framework of performance criteria. If you are just having us make a personal site, it's goals are very likely to give you the amusement of knowing that your words and pictures are out in public domain, and perhaps your goal might be as simple as seeing how many hits you can generate, how many folks you can get to sign your logbook, or even maybe you might want a small website to help you land a job.
But most likely you're want a website for your business. For goals, how about making money and saving money.
For the most part, most company websites are advertising. Their goal is simple: to make sales. When you are selling on the internet, you need to understand the fundamental nature of the medium. When you advertise in print or broadcast, you are hitting a lot of people, and you hope that a significant portion of the people who get your message are potential customers. The internet is totally different. You try to make your site as available as possible, keeping in mind that thousands of businesses are also doing so every month. But once someone comes to your site, they are yours, as long as you can hold their interest. This determines the best way to present yourself.
Another way to make money on the net is to consolidate your existing customer base, in the same way that many businesses retain their customer base with newsletters and catalogs. This meant that you have to update and promote your website, but more on that later.
And there is other money to be made on the net. Some companies have used websites to draw in investors. Some websites make money advertising on their sites, a revenue stream that is still very much in it's infancy.
Many small resort owners have already found that staying in touch with their customers over the net is one of their best ways of attracting visitors. But some of them find that answering their email takes more and more time every day. If you spend a lot of time answering email from your customers, congratulations, you are halfway there to making a successful website. You already have a pretty clear idea of what your customers want to know. A website will allow your customers to answer their questions themselves. This does two things, actually. It makes getting information from you easier for your customers, and saves you time. Time is money.
For businesses with international clientele, a website is a significantly more inexpensive method of keeping customers up to date than the expensive prospect of regular mailings. There is a very real place for mailings, to be sure, but a website offers a powerful new method of posting news that doesn't require a single cent of postage. the internet is a godsend for companies who actively maintain their public relations.
Many businesses have found that by maintaining a website, they have had unexpected cost savings, such as being approached by new suppliers that they would never have contacted any other way.
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