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Old 27th April 2007, 05:24 PM   #1
lauramak357
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Default Challenges In Designing And Marketing An Ecommerce Website?

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Hi,

I'm going to try to make my questions/concerns much clearer -

1) What should I look for in a company in designing and
building my website? Do you feel like the design of
the website should even matter?

2) How much should I pay for a website? I've received quotes
anywhere from $500 to $15,000 - not sure who to go with? what
should I look for in a website developer?

3) What has been your biggest challenge in marketing your
website?

4) Should I find an internet consultant to take all the guess work out
of marketing my website - or is this something I can do on my
own?

5) What are some keywords I should be using in finding internet
marketing information on the web?

If you are a small business owner yourself, please help me by listing some concerns and obstacles you have faced in getting your site online and marketing efficiently.

LauraMak

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Old 29th April 2007, 12:38 PM   #2
topout
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lauramak357 View Post
4) Should I find an internet consultant to take all the guess work out
of marketing my website - or is this something I can do on my
own?
It takes a lot of money to find an internet marketer who is that knowledgeable and it takes a lot of knowledge to identify her.


Last edited by topout; 29th April 2007 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 21st June 2007, 02:47 PM   #3
texwebdesign
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1) What should I look for in a company in designing and
building my website? Do you feel like the design of
the website should even matter?

The design of a website is very important. Beside of user friendly/ search engine friendly, your website should also be design to attract customer from 1st visit

2) How much should I pay for a website? I've received quotes
anywhere from $500 to $15,000 - not sure who to go with? what
should I look for in a website developer?

I don't know with what products you have, how much web function you want to include into your website but the price about $1300- $1500 should be resonable for an average ecommerce website. My advise is you should get your product online first, and try to save your budget for marketing and SEO after the site complete, then update your site later when it 's needed.

3) What has been your biggest challenge in marketing your
website?
SEO; get customer to know about you

4) Should I find an internet consultant to take all the guess work out
of marketing my website - or is this something I can do on my
own?

If you have time, and do some research, you can do it by yourself.

5) What are some keywords I should be using in finding internet
marketing information on the web?

Go to the website seochat dot com ( sorry they do not allow me to post the url, because I am new member). and type some of your competitor web address to see what keywords they are using, so you will have some idea.

Good Luck

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Old 1st July 2007, 08:49 AM   #4
Lace
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Another thing to remember when choosing a web designer, is you are going to be working fairly closely with them, so its important that you feel comfortable with them. It's also a good idea to get testimonials from previous clients to make sure they are reliable and can stick to their estimated time frame.
Personally I think design and function are equally as important.
Marketing you can do yourself quite easily, it will just take research and a lot of patience. Find out what has worked for other people, forums like this one are good!
The hardest thing with an online shop for me was the getting the word out, and gaining trust.

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Old 1st July 2007, 08:38 PM   #5
torka
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1. what to look for: an emphasis on usability and conversion marketing, as opposed to being totally about visual "look and feel." It's good if they have some sort of feel for good site optimization practices as well. Any design firm that suggests a splash screen or a totally Flash site, for instance, is to be avoided.

For an ecommerce site, you may also want to consider hiring a copywriter in addition to your designer.

2. How much to pay: $500 is probably too low, and $15,000 is probably too high for a small business startup (although it would be quite cheap for a corporate site). What exactly you will pay would depend on how many products you have, how complex they are to set up, whether you can use a shopping cart "out of the box" or if you'll require a custom-developed (or at least heavily modified) cart to handle your special needs. It may also depend on where your designer/developer is located. (i.e. Are you more comfortable working with someone you can meet with face-to-face, or can you work with someone halfway around the world as long as the price is right?)

3. Biggest challenge(s): getting qualified traffic and converting that traffic to sales

4. Consultant? It depends on your level of experience and how comfortable you are with running tests. That's really the only way to know for sure what will work for your site and your business, and it's going to be an ongoing process. You might want to consider having someone help you get started with the testing and evaluation process if you don't have much experience with it, but in general it's something you can do yourself if you're willing to work at it. Check out grokdotcom.com for more information about maximizing conversions. Marketing Experiments is helpful for gaining insight into the types of tests you can do and how to ensure the tests you run are valid.

5. Keywords: Try WordTracker or Keyword Discovery for keyword research. These two resources are widely used by most professional SEOs I know. Both offer reasonably-priced short-term subscriptions. If you're not comfortable doing your own research, it may be cost-effective to consider hiring a keyword research consultant (Here's one I've used successfully)

HTH!

--Torka

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Old 5th July 2007, 02:32 PM   #6
pbx123
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Just another thing. It depends on the complexity of yoru cart engine. It took us lot of time and lot more $$$ for our site before there are lot of business logic involved!

Further, website designer cannot program your cart unless its very generic and has some expertise in installation. There are few carts which come free - OSCommerce is the best of them with many mods available.

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Old 7th July 2007, 11:36 AM   #7
SeattleCPA
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LauraMak357 asked, "How much should I pay for a website? I've received quotes anywhere from $500 to $15,000 - not sure who to go with? "

For my CPA firm web site, I paid somethink like $300 using a designer from the Philippines... a contact I made via elance.

I don't think I'm allowed to post the URL here. But if you Google on "Stephen L Nelson CPA" my CPA web site will be the first one listed. You can then poke around and see what $300 bought. BTW, I had all the content... so this was really just a redesign... Also, note that I had hundreds and hundreds of pages to "port."

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Old 7th July 2007, 03:22 PM   #8
pete
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Laura, here you go -

1) What should I look for in a company in designing and
building my website? Do you feel like the design of
the website should even matter?

You did not give a hint as to what you are selling. If you are selling your own high-fashion clothes, yes design matters. If you are selling plumbing supplies it doesn't matter very much, if any. Two extremes, but you need to understand that the product and the audience matter.

There are a number of web designers on this forum, many of whom would have you believe that even selling plumbing supplies you need a high-dollar web design. Of course, that is their business and they have to get you to believe them, just as the newspaper ad salesperson has a job, or the Yellow Pages rep, etc.

And, they probably believe what they say.

But the fact of the matter is that for most e-commerce - meaning shopping cart - type sites the design matters little. For the most part they all have the same general look, just a different template/header. Header up top, menu down the left, specials, search box / whatever down the right and products in the center. Just the header and the colors down the side change.

So, no you do not need to pay a lot, if any for designing a shopping cart site. Again, I assume that is what you are calling an e-commerce site.

2) How much should I pay for a website? I've received quotes
anywhere from $500 to $15,000 - not sure who to go with? what
should I look for in a website developer?

There are a number of free shopping carts available. Just get a hosting account and you have a choice of several shopping carts. OSCommerce is mentioned above, and is sort of the standard. There are hundreds of free and low cost templates available for OSC, so you can easily change the looks.

You do not need a developer for this, just a hosting account. There are many who will help you for free via user forums or for a low fee.

3) What has been your biggest challenge in marketing your
website?

While few here will acknowledge it, one of the biggest challanges is to forget being Number One with Google and actually getting some sales. Again, it really does depend on what you are going to be selling and what your market is. Do you want to service local customers, do you want to sell glogally, etc.

You can get way more business by joining forums, blogs, groups and submitting articles relating to your industry than spending countless hours chasing #1 on Google. And, as unbelievable as it sounds, I can tell you of many small online retailers who get a lot of business by just passing out business cards, putting up flyers and such mundane off-line activities.


4) Should I find an internet consultant to take all the guess work out
of marketing my website - or is this something I can do on my
own?

In most cases, you know your market better than any consultant. Again, this is about "small business", not Amazon. See # 3 and then pay me. First, find or develop your "niche", the group you really aim for. You may have several, but "drill down" as far as you can. Not just "Dogs", where you are one of millions, but "Rhodesian Ridgebacks", even if what you are selling is for all dogs, work a narrow niche at a time. Forums, blogs, articles, ezines, newsletters, FREE. All devoted to your niche. Send me $ 100!

5) What are some keywords I should be using in finding internet
marketing information on the web?

Do not use the term "internet marketing", it has evolved into meaning those selling ebooks and courses in, of all things, internet marketing. Where the few hundred doing the selling are making all the money.

Or, better yet, do not be drawn in. Be very selective in what you read and attempt. There are thousands of experts and gurus out there, all with a different story to sell.

If you are a small business owner yourself, please help me by listing some concerns and obstacles you have faced in getting your site online and marketing efficiently.

Laura, you just need to dive in. The costs are low, the learning curve steep.
If you're not moving forward, you are going backward.

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