Just like anything else you spend money on for you business, a good website is an investment, and one that should ultimately pay for itself. At Watermelon, we are acutely aware of this, and have been working with new and existing clients to maximize the return on their investment for 12 years.
When I make an new acquaintance and tell them that I’m a web developer for Watermelon Web Works, they often have the same response: “Oh, we have a website. We had it made a while ago by my nephew – he’s really great at all that computer stuff”. When I ask them if the site has had Search Engine Optimization (SEO) done to it, they usually are very familiar with it, yet their response indicates that they don’t really grasp the details (and the challenge of finding someone who can do it effectively): “Yeah sure, when you type in ‘Jim’s Widget Sales, Boulder CO’, it comes right up – like the 8th result on the page”. When I try to explain that this is really not a good indication of effective SEO, they inevitably inform me that: “All we need is a web presence”. As soon as I hear those words, I know that I’ve come across an opportunity to be of service, and proceed to educate my new friend on the various ways in which you can (and should!) make your website work for you.
The bottom line is that no matter what your business is, if no one can find your site and/or you’re not taking the opportunity to make and maintain contact with existing and potential customers, you’ve missed out on the incredible sales power of the web, and are essentially throwing your web hosting and development fees out the window.
Here are some of the top ways to make your website work for you:
This is the most obvious way to monetize your site, and also the most powerful. Web sales as a percentage of total sales in the US have gone up substantially in the last ten years, and they continue to climb. Consumers are becoming increasingly web savvy, and for many, the web is the marketplace of choice in shopping for and buying everything from toothpaste to new cars. We’ve helped our clients sell birdseed, cooking classes, high end audio/visual equipment, horse saddles, buttons, beauty products, and even trees on the web, and are well versed in the best e-commerce platforms available including WooCommerce and Magento.
This is another popular way to do business on the web, and if you can find the right market niche, it can be a real gold mine, and a great complimentary service to a brick and mortar business. The key to success here is to create a good product, and then promote it effectively with web marketing and professional SEO, both of which we are experts at.
Perhaps you don’t have a product or service that can translate to sales on the web, but there’s a good chance that there is a complimentary product or service which does. This is an excellent opportunity to generate some additional income (often substantial) through an affiliate marketing program. The way this works is that the complementary business provides you with a link for their product which you post on your website. Any sales originating from this link will earn you a commission (usually over 50% for digital product, less for physical products). Often the affiliate business can provide you with a discount, giving you an excellent opportunity to offer your customers a great value on a product they need. It’s essentially an opportunity to provide a good value up-sell for your customers, without any of the overhead associated with the product or service you’re selling.
Mailing Lists / Newsletter
When we design websites, we often talk to our clients about “calls to action”. This simply means encouraging a website visitor to do something on the site that can eventually lead to a sale. If you don’t have a physical product (or even if you do), keeping in touch with a new potential client by means of an e-newsletter mailing list is a great way to promote your services, offer discounts, and build your brand.
There is nothing more important to make sure your website is working for you than professional search engine optimization. Quite simply, if your customers or potential customers can’t find your website, it’s as good as directions to the greatest party in the world being “Somewhere in Manhattan”. Very few visitors will access your site by typing in your web url from your business card or memory. Google is how they will find you, even if they know what they are looking for. At the most basic level, your site is a multi-page color advertisement for your business, the difference between it and a billboard being that it will be forever hidden behind a tree if proper SEO work isn’t done upfront, and on an ongoing basis (think trimming the trees around a billboard). There is much more that you can do to monetize your site than good SEO, but if you don’t make that initial investment, most of it goes out the window.