Table of Contents

1. Website Design

Every day, there are millions of people that are browsing the internet reading news, searching for services, buying products or watching videos and if your business does not have a website, then people are not going to find your business online. More importantly, this means that your competitor (who has a website) will attract this online traffic and will have an advantage over you.

2. How can I build a website?

When it comes to website design and development, there are a few options to help you:

  1. Wix

If you want to build a static website (i.e homepage, about us page, services page, contact us page) by yourself, then you can use Wix. Wix is an easy drag and drop builder that anyone can use and requires no coding experience.  

Visit the following links to get started:

https://www.wix.com/

  1. Shopify

If your company sells products and you are looking to start your own online store, then Shopify is an option worth looking into. Shopify is also a drag and drop builder that does not require any coding experience and has many features tailored for online stores.

https://help.shopify.com/en/manual/intro-to-shopify

https://www.shopify.com/blog/topics/guides

  1. Outsource

If you do not have time to build your own website, consider outsourcing it to a local website design agency.

3. Tips for creating your website:

  1. Content:

Before you begin designing your website, start with writing your content. Many people tend to overlook this when creating their website. Your content should focus on how your business can add value to the customer. The content must be easy to read and engaging. At the end of the day, you want your website visitors to spend as much time on your website and engage with you rather than engaging with your competitor’s website.  

  1. Value Proposition:

In order to stand out from your competitors, you need to ask yourself, “what makes you different?” Your value proposition needs to be clearly shown on your website. Remember, your website needs to convince people why they should support you and not your competitor.

  1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

It’s pointless having a beautifully designed website when no one can find it on the Internet. SEO helps rank your website on search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing.

For example: If you own a coffee shop in Pretoria East and I type, “coffee shops in pretoria east” in Google, your website should rank on the first page of Google’s Search Engine Results.  If it does not, then you need to invest time in SEO.

Read the following guides to help you with SEO:

https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo   

 https://moz.com/learn/seo/what-is-seo

  1. Build Credibility (Trust)

This can be achieved by adding the following to your website:  

  • Video testimonials of your customers
  • Your social media links/profiles (i.e Facebook, Instagram etc.)
  • Your contact details and physical address
  • Photos of you and your staff
  1. Have a strong CTA (Call to action)

When designing your website, you need to ask yourself, “what is the objective of this website?” For example, if the objective of your website is to generate more bookings for your hairdressing business, then include call-to-action buttons on your website that states, “make a booking”.

  1. Setup Google Analytics on your website

Google Analytics measures the following:

  • The amount of people that visit your website
  • The amount of time they spend on your website
  • The amount of time spent on each page
  • The type of device that the website visitors use i.e mobile, tablet, desktop
  • The location of your website visitors

To setup Google Analytics on your website, checkout: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1008015?hl=en

  1. High Resolution Images

Having poor quality photos on your websites makes it look unprofessional and provides a poor user experience. Instead, take high quality photos or purchase images online.

Links:

www.shutterstock.com

4. Ecommerce Website

An e-commerce website is an online store where you can advertise your products and allows people to purchase products from your website.

Advantages of an online store:

  • Open 24/7

With a physical store, you can only sell your products between a certain time (9-5). However, when you have an online store, you can sell your products at any time of the day.

  • No Location Barriers

Anyone around the world can see your online store and can purchase products from you.

  • Convenience for your customers

Many people prefer to purchase their products online rather than driving to the physical store.

When designing your online store, make sure that you have the following:

  1. Take high resolution photos of your products

Whatever you plan on selling, your product photos need to be of a high quality. More importantly, take photos of the product from different angles. Poor quality images of the products affect your buyer’s perception and can negatively impact your online sales.

To edit your photos, you can use the following tools:

  1. Product descriptions

You need to write compelling descriptions for each of your products as well as include any technical details of the products such as size and weight of the products. By just having a picture of the product without any description makes it much more difficult to convince potential customers to purchase from you. If writing is not your strong point, consider outsourcing it to a copywriter.

 

[Show screenshot of a good product description]

 

  1. Product Reviews

Once your sales start rolling in; ask your customers to leave a review on your website. These reviews help build credibility on your website and it makes it easier for new customers to purchase from you once they see other people buying and leaving reviews of your products.  However, you must always be alert to reviews on your website. If a customer gives you a one-star review, make sure to contact that customer as soon as you can and politely ask them for feedback.

 

  1. Courier

Before you launch your online store, you need to find out who will deliver your products to your customers.

           

            Here are some tips for choosing a courier service:

  • Find out about pickup and delivery times
  • Find out about which areas they can deliver to
  • Get clarification on pricing
  • What delivery options are there?
    • Same Day Delivery
    • Next Day Delivery
    •  
  • Types of delivery
    • Road Travel
    • Air Travel
  • Insurance

If you are shipping high value products/items, then make sure to find what insurance options the courier company offers.

  1. Packaging

Receiving damaged products is something that definitely ruins the customer experience. Damaged products interfere with your profit margins because now you have to send another product to your customer as well as cover the shipping fees. It is therefore important that you use strong packaging to avoid any damages during the delivery stage. Damaged products can also lead to negative reviews about your business.

 

 

  1. Payment Gateways

Everyone uses different methods of payment and it is important that your online store accommodates the various payment methods.

 

You should consider the following payment options for your online store:

  • Credit Card
  • Debit Card
  • EFT

 

These payment methods are by far the most popular options when it comes to e-commerce.

 

Tips for choosing a payment gateway:

  • Find out what payment methods are available
  • Find out how much it costs to open an account
  • Find out if there are any monthly fees
  • Processing/transactional fees – most payment gateways take a commission from every sale you make; therefore, it is important that you query about the processing/transactional fees.
  • Clearance times – There are payment gateways that do fraud checks on each transaction and can take a few business days before the money reflects in your account.
  • Pay out fees – Typically, payment gateways also charge fees for transferring the money from the payment gateway account to your business bank account.

 

  1. Return and Refund Policy

It is advised that you include a return and refund policy page on your website.

 

Tips for creating a return policy:

  • Specify a timeframe when customers are allowed to return an item
  • If a customer returns an item, will they receive a full refund, store credit or a voucher?
  • Specify the conditions of the return
    • For example: if your company sold a TV, then the TV must be returned in its original packaging.
  • Specify any return restrictions
    • For example: no returns on software.
  • List who pays for the return shipping
    • For example: If the product was damaged in transit by the Courier Service, then the company/business should rectify the issue and send another (new) product to the customer free of charge.
  • Specify any restocking fees.

 

  1. Shipping & Delivery Times for your customers

Many website visitors look at the shipping speed before they purchase the products from your online store. It is vital that you clearly describe how long you will take to process and ship the products to your customers.

 

  1. Setup Google Analytics

Google Analytics measures the following:

  • The amount of people that visit your website
  • The amount of time they spend on your website
  • The amount of time spent on each page
  • The type of device that the website visitors use, i.e mobile, tablet, desktop
  • The location of your website visitors
  • The products your website visitors are looking at
  • The amount of sales you generated

 

To setup Google Analytics on your website, checkout: https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/1008015?hl=en

 

 

  1. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A FAQ page lists common questions that your customers may have.

 

Here are a list of questions that you can include on your FAQ page:

  • How can I track my order?
  • Can I change my order?
  • Where do you ship?
  • When will I receive my products?
  • What payment methods do you accept?
  • Can I place an order online and pick it up in-store?
  • What if I am not at home?
  • Do you accept returns?
  • Can I exchange an item?
  • Are returns free?
  • How long does it take to process a return?
  • Is there a warranty?
  • Do you have a physical store?

5. Digital Marketing

Once you have setup your social media profiles, you now need to advertise your business online to generate leads and sales by making use of the following:

  1. Google Adwords

If you recently searched for a business on Google, you might have seen a few different websites with an “Ad” next to it.

The above image is an example of Google Adwords. Google Adwords allows you to rank your website right at the top of the search results for certain keywords. For example, the companies (in the screenshot above) are targeting the keyword, “coffee shops” by using Google Adwords.

The benefits of Google Adwords are:

  • Pay per click – You only pay each time someone clicks on your website
  • You can rank your website in the top 3 search results of Google by targeting certain keywords
  • Increases website traffic which can generate customer leads on your website
  • You can measure performance analytics of the keywords that you target.

To learn more about Google Adwords, visit:     https://ads.google.com/intl/en_za/home/

  1. Facebook Ads

If you have a Facebook Account, chances are you have seen a “Sponsored Ad” appear on your timeline.

This is an example of a Facebook Ad.

 

Benefits of Facebook Ads:

  • You can create a niche audience
    • Facebook has tools that allow businesses to target a specific group of people based on age, interests, gender and location. By making use of these tools, you can build an audience that is genuinely interested in your products or services.
  • Flexible Budget
    • You don’t have to spend tens of thousands of Rands to advertise on Facebook. You can run a Facebook Ad for as little as R50*.
  • You can run various forms of Facebook Ads
  • Performance Analytics
    • It’s pointless spending money on advertising if you cannot measure the performance of your ads. Facebook provides businesses with tools that monitor how your ad budget is being spent.
    • To learn about Facebook’s analytics, visit: https://analytics.facebook.com/

 

            To get started with Facebook Ads, visit: https://www.facebook.com/business/ads

 

  1. Instagram Ads

 

Instagram is another great social media channel that businesses should take advantage of.

 

Here’s why:

  1. Instagram has higher engagement rates than other social media platforms.

Engagement rate refers to the amount of people that interact with your Instagram posts through likes and comments.

 

  1. You can create a shop catalogue on your Instagram profile.
  • This feature allows your Instagram followers to browse through your products on Instagram without visiting your website.

 

  • Quick checkout: If your Instagram follower wants to purchase the product from your shop catalogue on Instagram, then Instagram has a “quick add-to-cart option” that redirects the customer to the checkout link on your website.
  1. You can tag products in your Instagram posts and stories which links to your online store and makes it easier for your customers to purchase products from you.