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Tips on e-Business

Improving Your Web Site

  • Visit the sites of other companies to find out what you like and dislike. Do some sites seem to "work" while others don't?
  • Decide what objectives you want your site to meet. Do you want it to be fun, funny, educational, "cool," or all of those things?
  • Consider your corporate culture and your company image. Your site should support both.
  • Design or re-design the site to meet your objectives. Unless you have a real expert on staff, hire a consulting firm to do the job.
  • Get feedback. Ask customers how your site can be made more useful to them, and keep making improvements.

Marketing Your Web Site

  • Think strategically. Your Web site should be a part of your overall marketing plan.
  • Choose a Web site address (URL) that's intuitive and easy to remember. Your company's name (if it's short) or the name of your main product might work well.
  • Put your Web address on all your printed material, including business cards, letterhead, press releases and invoices. Include it in all your advertising.
  • Don't forget offline media and traditional publicity techniques. Send news releases promoting your site to newspapers, broadcasters, and magazines.
  • Speak at conferences and trade shows, and write informative articles for trade publications. When you do, mention your Web address.

How to Get Closer to Customers With Technology

  • Use your Web site to build solid, trusting relationships with customers. Trust helps bring customers back.
  • Enhance communication with customers. Some small business CEOs put their email address on the company Web site so customers can contact them directly.
  • Don't forget the basics: Post your company's address and phone number on your Web site.
  • Remember that the Internet is educating your customers and making them smarter buyers. Keep pace with their knowledge.
  • Respond to emails promptly.

Running a Web Site

  • Find ways to attract customers. Link up with a variety of search engines so that when potential customers are searching for your product, they'll find your company listed.
  • Make it easy for people to "navigate" your site. Hire a good Web site designer.
  • Help customers trust you. Provide information on the company's history, mission, and values.
  • Enable customers to get in touch with you easily-via email, phone and regular mail-and respond promptly.
  • Provide top customer service along with the speed and good prices that technology offers. Think about how you will keep customers coming back.

Taking Your Small Business Online

  • Your product line should be able to be delivered economically and conveniently through the mail or over the Internet.
  • The Web allows you to market to customers outside your geographical location. Your product should appeal to people nation-or-continent-wide.
  • Compare new "technology" costs to current bricks and mortar costs, e.g: rent, labor, inventory and printing costs.
  • Realize that the World Wide Web levels the playing ground-you can look like a big company with a great Web site. 
  • Draw visitors to your site cheaply. Establish and grow alliances that will hotlink to your site for free.

See If Your Web Site Is Up to Snuff

  • Simple, clear and fast-think of your homepage as a billboard. Tell them exactly what they need to know up front.
  • Leave plenty of white space around text. A simple font on a light background works best. Separate wide blocks of text into columns.
  • Sub-headings make for quick reading. Make sure pages are easily skimmed.
  • Let your best customers sing your praises. Display their testimonials prominently on your site.
  • After each update, click through your entire site. Mistakes or broken links will only send visitors away.