Sunday, November 02, 2014

Websites and E Commerce Expained Simply by Julie Allen from Biz Yourself

We are done!

After months of preparation, I've finally managed to put together all the wonderful business blogs about Product- Designing, manufacturing and selling. We have six fabulous designers coming up over the next two weeks, so make sure you pop in every day to see who's blogging.

If you have been thinking about selling product or are doing so already, I hope that the up coming blogs will inspire and motivate you to go out there and make it happen. It's hard selling product, there's a lot more to it than people think, so I  hope the blogs can help in some way. I'm sure they can!

I thought we'd kick the series off with a blog about websites and e commerce. Lots of people get confused and frustrated when thinking about putting their website together, so I've asked Julie Allen from Biz Yourself to write a simple 'How To' blog to get you going.

Julie has helped me out many times, tweaking my Wordpress website and I can highly recommend her.

Julie Allen is a Website builder and trainer specialising in WordPress.  She has a passion for people, business, and finding solutions.   When you engage Julie to get your website up and running, you’re also getting a cheerleader for your brand, a promoter to help you put your ideas into action and a small business owner who knows what it feels like to build a business from scratch.  

She also provides a range of other support services, including web content writing, web conversion, email marketing and small business mentoring.  Julie’s favourite part of each project is getting to know her clients and their businesses.   

You can connect with Julie here


So you have decided to create a website for your business but have no idea what all those geeky technical terms are. What do they mean and how do you get it all happening? Well, I was at the same place you were in 2009 when I needed a website.  I pretty much had no idea how the images, words, sliders, buttons and all that stuff appeared on the internet. So, I started to learn what it was all about and the rest is history! 
So to get started, you will need hosting.

What is Web Hosting?

Web Hosting is the service providing space on the Internet for your websites. When you make a website and want other people to see it, you will need to publish (or upload) it to a web hosting service. 

Think about the files and folders on your computer. They are stored on the hard disk of your computer, ready for you to access them whenever you like.  A web page is a file, just like your word processing documents but the difference is that web pages are intended to be seen by all the peeps in the world therefore you need a service to show your website off. A computer on which web pages are stored is called a web server (because it serves pages, on request, to users on the Internet).  You need hosting to get your website content out into the World Wide Web (www).

What Kind of Web Hosting Do I Need?

The hosting package you choose will depend on what kind of website you wish to set up, how big you think it may get and how much traffic (people visiting your site) you will get.   Cheapest is not always the best and can cost you in the long run.  With so many hosting businesses out there, it can be hard to figure out which ones are reputable and reliable.  So shop around and ask other people who they use to host their website.  Don't shop for a host based on their plans!  Shop based on recommendations and experience! 

Next thing you need is a domain name.

What is a Domain Name?

A domain name is your identity on the Internet which a lot of the time is the name of your business.  One tip, is register one that is easy to spell without hyphens and numbers.  You can purchase domain names from various companies.  Here is a link to some accredited Registrar partners of Ausregistry where you can buy your domain name.

Once You Have Web Hosting How Do You Get Your Website On-line?

Once you’ve decided on your web hosting package and your domain is registered, you need to connect your domain name with your web hosting.  To do this, ask your web hosting company for the name servers of your site (they will know what that is!) and then put this information into your domain account against the section called name servers.  Just ask your domain company for support if you’re not sure.  And if you purchased your domain and hosting from the one company, just ask them about this although it is likely you do not need to do this if purchased together.

What is an easy way to get your website online?
My recommendation for your website is self-hosted WordPress.  There are many ways out there but I find WordPress has so many features and is capable of creating brilliant websites at a fraction of the cost of a custom designed site.  And if you don’t want to spend an hour or so getting up to speed, it’s easy to find someone who will set it up for you — easily, quickly and at a cost you can afford (like me!)
To get a design happening in WordPress, you will need to install WordPress to your domain and then install a theme (layout/design) in WordPress.  Almost all reliable and well-established hosting companies have integrated WordPress 1-click-installations.   Simply browse around on your hosting account or contact support and ask them (much easier to ask first!).   WordPress is one of the popular content management systems on the Internet (and it’s free), it has tons of different free themes/layouts to choose and there is so much support.   WordPress runs in your web browser, so you don’t have to download any software onto your own computer and you can edit your site from anywhere in the world.
For a collection of premium WordPress themes to use, check out Themeforest or for free themes - WordPress

And if you want eCommerce too.
Wordress is very capable of adding eCommerce capabilities to your website.  What’s eCommerce?  Simply, it is adding the ability for people to click on “add to cart” to your site and make a payment to you.  eCommerce does not only refer to the selling of physical products, it can also refer to the selling of services where payments for the services are made online.  Basically, if you would like to be paid via your website, you will need some kind of eCommerce function added. 

Some Basic Steps to Remember When Building Your Website

Have a plan. 
No matter how small or big the plan is, just have one.  Not having a written plan in place for how you would like your site to be is like walking in the dark and you’re most likely to bump into something that will trip you up.  Work out what you want to tell your customers, what pages you want to have (like home, about, gallery, contact, shop, services, blog etc.) and the layout of each page.  Work the layout on paper so you have a guide before using the software.  It will save you a lot of time in the long run. 

Know your customer
Who is your customer?  What do they look like?  How old are they?  Create the ideal customer and promote to them on your website.  How do they shop?  What are they attracted to?  You need to be clear on this so your marketing/content can be pitched to THIS customer.  The more you know them, the easier it will be for you to create a message which speaks to them in exactly the right words and images.

The images on your site must be the best they can be.  To me, this is not negotiable if you are selling products.  People are very visual and if they cannot touch the product, they at least want to feel the product through the images you have in your online store

It needs to be GOOD content and just what exactly do I mean by "good content"?  If your content isn't good - it won't help you progress your business in the direction you want to take it or it won’t take your customers to where they need to go, to purchase from you.  Crappy content doesn't get shared.  It doesn't get links. It doesn't rank in search engines.  And it doesn't CONVERT your visitors to paying business.  Also well written content specific to your business helps with search engine optimisation - SEO. 

What is SEO? 
SEO is the process of getting traffic (people finding you) from the search results on search engines.

What are search engines? 
They are programs that search websites for specified keywords and return a list of sites where the keywords were found.  The term is often used to describe systems like Google, Bing and Yahoo! Search that enable users to search for documents on the World Wide Web.  You most like use the term, “just google it!”

And the last one
You need to have analytics on your website.  

Two of the most powerful tools (and they are free, yeh!) are Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.   Google Analytics will allow you to track the traffic to your website and how people are finding you.  It will give insight to how your marketing campaigns are working, where people are coming from and what pages they are looking at on your site.
Google Webmaster Tools, allows you to see how Google views your website and how you can improve it.  It is an extremely valuable tool to use to grow your online business and to make any required changes along the way.  
So I hope I have helped you understand a little more about how to get started in getting your business online.  Just remember . . . .

“Be you and don’t try to make your idea or business into what someone else has.  Make it yours and stand out” 

Thanks Julie. If you'd like to connect with Julie, please use the links at the top of the blog. She can help you with many aspects of business. 

Tune in on Wednesday for the first in the series of designer blogs about selling and designing product. We have the lovely Angie Spurgeon from Artwork by Angie blogging about her successful on-line business. Don't miss it!

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