Make your Website a Profit Center
Why your current site is costing you money and what you can do
By Jeanette S Cates, PhD
Doing business online is a relatively new process. It's only within
the past 7 years that businesses have created websites to market and
sell their services and products. Naturally, new business models and
new processes are constantly evolving. With this rapid change, it's
important that you keep up-to-date on the latest methods and models
for creating your online success.
Currently there are several types of websites that businesses choose.
These include sales sites, information sites, and information sites
What is an information site?
The traditional business website is an information site. It provides
information for the prospect and customer on topics such as:
What is a sales site?
In its purest form a sales site is a 2-page mini site. It consists
of a sales letter and an order form. A mini sales site is perfect for
selling one product or service.
Larger sales sites are online stores. They provide a catalog of products.
In both large and small sales sites there is little information provided
beyond that which will sell the featured products or services.
You've probably seen a lot of sales sites online. As an example, look
at the Sales
Site QuickStart or Online
So what is an information site that sells?
This is a combination of the traditional information site with a sales
process that offers relevant products for sale - usually within the
context of the information provided. For example, if you have an article
about how to create a marketing plan, then you'll also include a link
to a software product that can help you create the marketing plan. It's
not a random item being advertised; instead, it's a product that is
relevant to the information page.
and Lifekits are
good examples of information sites that sell.
Why is it important to have both sales and information?
First, many businesses are more comfortable having an information site.
They want to use their site as a way to provide information for their
prospects and clients, and to provide ongoing support for their customers
and vendors. So they already have an information site.
Second, if you're in business, you need to make a profit. While you
could consider your website an advertising expense, why not make your
website a profit center? You can do this by integrating sales opportunities
into the site.
Third, if you provide information to your target market, you want to
provide quality information in as large a quantity as they need. Some
of this information requires an investment on their part - whether through
you or another company. If you're referring people to another business,
you should get a referral fee (or an affiliate commission, as we call
it online.) And if your site visitors are purchasing in-depth information
from you, you'll want to have everything in place to take advantage
of that opportunity.
What are the elements of an information site that sells?
Naturally, you have a well-constructed website. That will include attractive
pages that load quickly, an easy-to-use navigation system, and plenty
of relevant information.
Next, you'll want to create or locate products that help fill your
clients' needs. These may be digitally-delivered products such as special
reports or ebooks. Or they may be physical products that need to be
shipped, such as books, audiotapes, and other products. Either way you'll
want to be sure that if you refer clients, you receive appropriate credit.
Finally, you'll want to employ an effective online sales process. This
involves gathering emails, staying in contact with prospects, accepting
orders and payments online, then following up with customers.
Where do I start to create an information site that sells?
There are four stages to developing an effective online business, assuming
you already have a business website.