Website Profits: Dreams vs. Reality

by Tim Parker

Is your website doing everything for your business it could? While you probably aren't going to get rich overnight from it, these tips can help you make the most of your website's potential.

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Image source: BigStockPhoto.com

Here we go with another article to add to the untold thousands (maybe millions) that have the perfect plan for making money with your website. All you have to do is follow a few simple steps and, poof, here comes the money.

Rest assured this isn’t one of those articles. It’s true that your website can produce income through a variety of online means. Those can include selling a product or service in exchange for a commission payment—called affiliate marketing, placing ads on your site, or being paid to include links to other peoples’ websites.

However, as you have read on our site before, a “get rich quick” vibe seems to overarch all of these strategies. First, you need traffic and a lot of it. That will take a significant investment of time and money to pull off. Second, if you plan to market products, finding the right product that will produce revenue is about as easy as finding the next hot stock that will fund your children’s education.

Here’s what might be the most important point to understand. If your business is your website, these strategies are likely your revenue model. If you’re like most business owners, you use your website as a marketing tool.

The blunt truth is this: if you are not in the business of Internet marketing you do not, and probably should not, have time to pour the energy into your site that it would take to turn it into a profit machine. If you are a doctor, you should spend your time with patients. If you’re in the retail business, you should spend your time running your store, managing employees, and negotiating better terms with suppliers.



What do I do with my website?

You are still going to use your website to make money, but in a way that complements your business. Here’s how.

E-commerce - If you want to sell products, go for it. It’s a great idea, but sell your products. You already know your products so why would you try to sell somebody else’s? In addition, your e-commerce site strengthens your bricks and mortar business because customers can receive advice and support form a live person in their community if they are local and via email or over the phone if they are not.

Take advantage of the fact that you are a small business by offering personalized service even online.

E-commerce is complicated and expensive to set up, right? It was a decade ago, but not anymore. Do you have a PayPal account? You can set up a virtual store there. Even if your computer skills aren’t as advanced as you would like, you can figure it out. All you pay are the normal PayPal fees.

If you don’t like PayPal, there are plenty of ways to set up your store free. You only pay customary fees that come with one of your customers using a credit card.

Products and Giveaways - You already know that contests drive traffic, but sometimes it’s not the right kind of traffic. You don’t want the person who makes it their job to enter every contest without purchasing anything or providing valuable market data.

That’s where your website can help. In order to enter your contest, they’re going to have to register. At the time, ask them to opt-in to your email list or take a survey. You can also offer special deals on your products or service. Coming to your site to register for your contest diminishes the annoyance factor that comes with unsolicited advertising.

There will be people who sign up for your contest who won’t be future customers, but some will and it doesn’t take many to make up for the time and expense of a contest or giveaway.

Communication - If you think your site has to produce a direct profit in order to create a revenue stream, say goodbye to that theory. Remember the contest where you collected information and asked the entrants to opt-in to your email list? It’s time to put it to work. Use services like Constant Contact to create autoresponders, newsletters, and email blasts.

If you have a mobile business, ask for permission from your customers to text your location. (And, tie it in with a giveaway.)

Of course, traditional means of communication through a company blog, social media, videos, and images are still powerful tools for customer engagement.

Finally

Unless you base your business model on article marketing, pouring multiple hours per day into your website probably isn’t cost effective. If you have the goal of directly monetizing your website, hire somebody to take on that task.

You’ve grown your business because you’re an expert in that field. That’s the cornerstone of your revenue stream. Use your website to drive business to your company rather than committing the time and money it will take to build enough traffic to generate revenue from ads and affiliate products.

© 2013 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

Editor's note: Not using email marketing yet? Or not happy with your provider? BusinessknowHow.com uses and recommends Constant Contact. We are also a Platinum Solution Provider and receive commissions for sales from Constant Contact. Try it free today.

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