If you have a Web site, you understand the sheer hard work it takes to build the site and then to maintain and update it. It is such hard work that most sites get built and then never get a facelift. This is the wrong way to go about maintaining your presence on the Web. But, it is the way most Web-preneurs go about putting up their site.
When they don’t make any sales, however, they wonder why. I want to give you an overview of what it takes to create a dynamic Web site that practically operates itself and brings in sales for you automatically with low to zero maintenance so that you can concentrate on marketing and developing products.
First, let me say this: if you think that you are going to get into any business, especially this one, and money is just going to fall out of the trees while you lounge on the beach, I have to burst your bubble. It is not going to happen. But, if you are willing to invest your time, blood, sweat and tears into creating your Web site and automating it from the start, then your downtime spent answering e-mail and configuring your Web site can be cut down to almost nothing.
One of the first mistakes my wife and I made with this business was trying to maintain everything ourselves. We put in countless hours designing and redesigning and finally building our site. It has been a very lucrative venture to this point, but, it could have been smoother. Certain methods of automation could have been put in place that would have made the maintenance and administration of our site as smooth and seamless as possible and we could have spent our time marketing instead of programming.
Automating your Internet business means taking advantage of the technology that is available right this moment. It means that you can have tedious, manual tasks handled by technology rather than yourself. There is much to be said about relying on technology. Most of it good but there is always one warning: What is designed and maintained by a machine has a tendency to fail. As long as you are aware of that and accept it, you will be okay.
The tedious, normally manual tasks that you should automate to make your life easier are:
Credit Card Processing: – This is one of the smartest tasks that you can and should set up from the beginning to make your life and your customers’ much easier. If you had to process transactions manually, it would be an administrative nightmare once you get to the point where you are receiving more than an order or two a day (that point often arrives quicker than you expect). The confidence that a secure transaction instills in your prospective customers is often an instrumental factor in getting them to do business with you. Put yourself in the customers’ shoes as you imagine these two scenarios:
You visit a Web site that focuses on a topic you are interested in, you get all juiced up to buy their product, pull out your credit card and get ready to place an order — when you see a button that says e-mail me with your credit card information. Or even worse, fill out our non-secure credit card form and we will process your information. Do you risk it? I doubt it. Most customers would not waste their time with this kind of operation.
Same scenario, only when you get to the order page, you are transported to a secure site that accepts VISA, MC, AMEX, and Discover and you can process your order immediately, receive confirmation and a receipt, and know when you can expect your order to arrive. I know for a fact that more customers would purchase from this site than from the site in the other scenario.
Accepting credit cards and processing them automatically is a vital part of your automated online business model.
It builds credibility for you as the merchant and your customers will have no problem referring you to their friends.
It makes tracking and processing orders easy.
It enables your business to run on auto-pilot since money is deposited straight into your bank account while you sleep.
The size of your marketplace will increase tremendously since it would now be easier for people from all over the world to order from you.
You will be able to satisfy the instant gratification needs of online shoppers encouraging them to return to your site often.
We will continue this article in the next issue with two more of the five steps to “Automating Your Internet Business.”
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