Part Four: Taking Your Biz Online in 2015

By Stefanie Neyland, Small Business Content Developer at


This February, as part of a four part series, we’ve been teaching you everything you need to know to help you put the proper planning and foundations in place to bring your business online and, most importantly, make it a resounding success. In our final instalment, we show you how to select a shopping cart system (if you sell your products online), and generate site traffic.


Selecting a shopping cart system

If you’d like to create an ecommerce website and sell products online, the first thing you'll need to do is choose which shopping cart software you will use. An ecommerce shopping cart system is at the heart of any retail site. When selecting the right shopping cart for your business, it’s important to choose a solution that can be customized to meet the needs of your business and is flexible enough to grow along with you.

Shopping cart solutions serve many roles on a website. Not only do they act as an online store product catalogue, provide the customer user interface (UI) and handle the ordering process, but they also act as the interface of the company website, and provide the backend inventory infrastructure and payment gateway. When choosing your shopping cart service provider, look for a solution that offers clear navigation for users. Make sure the solution offers an intuitive design and layout and also a secure service, and be sure to do your research and identify the ideal shopping cart system for the needs of you and your business.

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Choosing an online payment system

Finding the best online payment solution for your business is a necessity. Different payment processors offer different features that meet the needs of the diverse range of small businesses out there, so it’s important to understand your company’s requirements before making a decision. To select the best solution for your business, think carefully about the goods or services you’re selling and consider how your customers will most likely want to pay for them. Nowadays, credit and debit card payments are most popular. It’s wise to try and offer as many payment method options as possible so customers have a wide choice to choose from. This will mean you’ll be less likely to lose out on any sales.

Generating site traffic

Just like the traditional marketplace, online businesses can’t be successful without customers. For online businesses these customers come in the form of site visitors, and generating the highest amount of traffic possible on your website will create the highest chance that those visitors will become customers. By registering with search engines and using keywords throughout your website, you’ll be able to drive more traffic to your site and boost your conversion rates. You can do this two ways: with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and with Search Engine Marketing (SEM).


Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

The majority of first-time visitors to websites come from search engines, and Search Engine Optimization (or SEO for short) can help your business get found by those people. By taking some simple steps, you can help your site get listed higher in popular search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo when people type in certain keywords. The higher up your business appears in the search results page, the more likely it is that potential customers will visit your site. When you hear the term ‘SEO’, it’s likely that people will be referring to organic search rankings; that is, a search engine ranking that has been achieved by producing informative, good quality content. As with most things in business, achieving good organic search results doesn’t happen overnight, so when starting a new online business it might be an idea to consider exploring other options, such as Search Engine Marketing (SEM).


Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and sales approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results. For more information and a step-by-step guide on how to improve your site’s SEO, check out the ‘Free Beginner’s Guide to SEO’ from Moz.


Email marketing

Email marketing is a powerful and cost-effective marketing method that small businesses can use to boost their sales. An essential component to any Internet marketing strategy, it enables you to regularly keep in contact with your customers and prospects and make them aware of any deals, offers or promotions you may have. Pricing usually depends on the size of your database, and when you first start out, your marketing email may even be free. Check out popular email marketing services like Vertical Response, Constant Contact and MailChimp.


Landing pages

Looking for a way to send web traffic to a specific page to do something, such as buy a product or sign up for your mailing list? You need a landing page. This web page performs a single function: to get visitors to take that action. To find out more about how landing pages can boost your sales, refer to this in-depth guide provided by Copyblogger.


Call-to-action buttons

A call-to-action is a message that encourages a visitor to take action rather than simply read and leave. Whether you want your visitors to buy, call, get a quote or sign up to a mailing list, you need to have clear messaging to let your customers know exactly what you want them to do. Ensure call-to-actions are highly visible, easy to understand, convey a sense of urgency and are consistently placed throughout your site.



By Andrew Patricio

February 25, 2015