Rather than wait around until I design the perfect site – which could take the rest of my life – I’ve decided to get something online for the business. It will be a simple “brochure” style site with 4 or 5 pages and some static content. Although it’s nothing flash, at least it gives the business an online presence. But the question of how we can utilise the power of the web to build an online business still remains.
I read a great article today from a Jon Symons entitled Why I’m Giving up on Making Money in which he suggested that money was a poor motivator and that there are other much more fundamental reasons why you’d want to build a website and write a blog. His thoughts are endorsed by Darren Rowae at Problogger in his post Giving up on Making Money where suggested that it’s best to focus on providing content that will solve a readers problems. Although he concedes that this can be a frustrating – and at times unprofitable – way to proceed he suggests that it’s the best way to proceed. Although many of the comments attached to this post argued that it’s important to focus on making money one of the more thoughtful posts suggested that content is king, and that leads to traffic, which then leads to a pre-sell and that leads to an income stream. Makes sense.
Where does this leave the website for our retail business? Well it all comes back to that Marketing 101 discipline of market research. We have an existing customer base, we sell products in real life, and now the job is to find out what customers would want to know about online. It would be worthwhile to listen to the sorts of questions customers ask about products in store, especially the more obscure requests that can’t easily be answered. Perhaps a little bit of in-store market research wouldn’t go astray.