Don’t buy a website!

Man looking in at shop window

But I need a website!

Every business needs a website!

Yes, I know, we all need to be online. Without an online presence we would be missing out on so many opportunities. Everything happens online. In fact, for the younger generations, their social life, entertainment and communication mainly happens online.

So yes, we need to be on t’internet, but it’s a very different beast these days and just buying a website is not an option.

What you need to buy is an online shop

And just thinking about your precious web space in this way will change the way you approach it and interact with it.

Man looking in at shop window

I get so many enquiries from people looking to buy a website for their business. They know they have to be online so people can find them and they have to explain what they do. And there it ends. This is the brochure site. A well designed poster for the business that customers can go and look at… but that’s it.

Instead, think about your web space as a shop. You need to constantly update your stock, talk to your customers, change the layout and the advertising, rearrange the shelving and deliver a personal service. And to do that, you need to be in control of your space so that you can update, change, rearrange and get more sales.

So here are 6 things you need to make sure you can control when buying your online shop:

1. Greeting your customers

You need to understand which door your customers are coming through. Are they landing on your blog or your home page. Are they coming from social media or google? Once your website has been set up you will need access to your statistics so you can visualise how people are moving through your shop and whether they are finding what they need.

2. Updating your products and services

You will need to constantly update your offer to attract new and keep old customers so make sure that you are buying a website that allows you to make changes quickly and easily

3. Adding new product lines

Online business is constantly changing. You will need to add more shelving and more signage so make sure you can add new pages and items to your menu that do your brand justice.

4. Advertising special offers

A new sparkly website is a wonderful thing, but you need to be able to update your brand and create new advertising across your shop and across social media and search engines. Getting your designer to create easily reusable backgrounds and elements to decorate your brand will make creating new promotions easy.

5. Rearranging your shop

Make sure that you have full control of your shop. You will have to move the shelving around at some point and you don’t want to have to wait for expensive website designers to get every little thing done for you.

6. Building relationships with your regulars

Understand how your blog and email software works. This is a powerful way of keeping top of mind with your customers and getting them to come back to your shop. You need to be able to update this yourself and personally interact with your customers.

photo credit: Alison Christine

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