Understanding the Business of Web Development

Internet reaches out to a wide audience and is used to publish personal and professional information with some engaging user experience. Web development or setting up a website or enthralling web application and hosting it on the Internet has become simpler through the use of cutting edge technology. In fact the technology is meant to be used by the web developers as well as the end users for improving the overall web experience. This trend can be seen clearly as more of websites are being posted online. The Internet can be easily distinguished from other popular technologies such as television and radio as the web gives an ample space to the user for personalization with an unlimited scope for extending their creativity and reaching out to large number of public audiences.

The Internet can be seen as a collection of a wide variety with a frequent mix of personal and professional web spaces. The Internet was meant to be a platform for imparting knowledge to the masses at the time of its birth. But now it has come a long way to be a place where the users worldwide connect, interact, and communicate themselves through websites and web applications. Today even the businesses run online with their online productivity overshadowing their real world productivity. The web has become an inimitable marketplace for people to buy and sell all kinds of products and services.

Web development lifecycle starts with the inception of a thought for having a web application that does the business processing for the individual or the company. The ideas are revised and reevaluated before going further and determining the scope and requirements of the web application. On specifying the business requirements the companies move a step ahead in starting with the actual web application development. Web development is a specialized area of work which involves an understanding of the web development technologies and all other related processes. Web developers do not automatically produce a fine website on demand. They must be communicated and made to understand the exact expectations of the web application. On learning the features and functionalities of the web application the web developers build a precise web application and deploy it online for faster business processing.

The web development technology is in itself a collection of technologies and computer programming languages that are used to create and run a computer program. Some of the popular and essential custom web application development technologies to be learnt by the web developers are HTML, XML, Flash, Perl, CSS et al. A computer language is a way to communicate to the computer by the user to process the output in accordance with the desired logic. Web application development is much more than just writing computer programs in specific programming languages and running the program to get the desired outputs. Web development is a branch of computer science that involves connecting thousands of millions of computers together and running an intercommunicating program on them.

Leaving the intricate details of the web development technology we discuss the general public usage of the Internet. Cutting edge technology today enables the end user to develop a fully functional website and publish information online. There are many content management systems like Joomla, Drupal, and WordPress that help the users get a personal and professional website and manage it free of all the inner development hassles. The web developers materialize the complexities of the web development by creating a user platform that helps the non-technical users to become web enthusiasts. Though, the technical personnel are always called up to troubleshoot problems encountered by the users.

Talking of web applications there is always a mention of fast applications that improve the user experience by processing the output swiftly and presenting it without the need of refreshing the webpage. Such client-server web applications are called Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and are built using web development technologies such as Adobe Flex, Microsoft Silverlight, and AJAX in collaboration with server-side scripting languages like ASP.NET, PHP, Ruby, and others. All the rich Internet applications are enthralling and provide an engaging interactivity to the users. A typical RIA is a web-based application that runs on the client browser and synchronizes data with the server database while functioning as conventional desktop based software. Hence the users get desktop like features and functionalities from the web.

For a professional web development company having comprehensive knowledge about the web development technologies like.Net and PHP and having significant experience and commendable expertise over developing custom web applications is a prerequisite. The web development company can cater clients globally as the company can reach out to a maximum target audience through the Internet. Before delivering the final application these companies need to look for a resounding web presence by resolving issues like browser compatibility, accessibility, and web standards. Web standards in particular have been put in place to ensure that websites meet their fundamental purpose if communicating with a user.

The business and markets for web development is not new. Web development has always been there since the time of the Internet itself just that it has evolved over the time and is accelerating its evolution every time. With custom web application development being a wide prospect, more and more web development services providers are partnering organizations around the world in getting their businesses superior web representations.

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10 Web Development Tips to Better Your Website Success

The most common mistake any company or individual can make when venturing out on a new website project is to assume that design is everything. I can assure you that your website’s design on its own is not what will make you successful.

A quality and professional web development service is what will affect the success of your site and its online objectives. High standards (above industry) are developed for a reason, and that is to ensure the product and service you receive is of paramount quality and to a professional level, so that your website will function as intended and provide the right return on investment.

Too many businesses that are relying on the success of their website to help drive their business will bypass the crucial step of dealing with a professional development company based on price.

In this article I will reveal 10 tips to choose the right development company and how it will better your project’s success.

10 Tips to Choose the Right Web Development Company

Track Record – Choose a company that has an established track record. Generally a web company that has more than 15+ websites that they have designed or developed in-house with case studies to show their achievements. Any qualifications or awards won will also help establish this.

Methodology – Ensure your chosen company has a strong web development methodology or process. This means that when your chosen company develops your website you can track the progress of your project and ensure all key quality standards are covered.

Usability – Design does play a heavy role in the development of your web project. Ensure the company you choose has strong visitor usability and user-friendly interaction knowledge. Usability is how visitors will interact with your website and how effectively they reach your end goal.

Development Team – The company you choose should have an in-house development team. Don’t use a company that is going to send your project work off to another country or other out-sourced web companies. You don’t want to be chasing an invisible rabbit down a hole should things be affected by an unforeseen event.

Design Team – Your web company ideally should have an in-house design team, unless you are dealing with another individual or company for design. This tip relates to tip 3, if your web company has a designer in-house this will better the success of the project as the development will mirror the design better and its objectives.

SEO – Choose a web development company that has an understanding of search engine optimization. Another important factor to any web projects success is making sure the company you deal with knows about SEO and how it will affect your website.

Social Media – Social media is a new form of marketing and can drive great results. Dealing with a web developer that understands this can help you drive better traffic and alternative forms of login.This tip applies to socially active websites and e-commerce based projects.

Content – Content is the biggest thing that pushes your website and draws in your visitors. Content will be the main thing that will sell your services or product, the company you deal with should have good development techniques to structure content effectively.

E-commerce – Choose a web development company that has e-commerce experience. E-commerce is fast becoming the biggest way to make money online, how your customers make payments is very important. Make sure you deal with a development company that can recommend and implement the best payment methods available.

Support – The most important tip to date, your development company must be able to support you as a customer and provide ongoing maintenance and service. Work with a company that is going to be around a year from the time you employ them, too many customers I have met have been left in limbo because the company or individual they were dealing with has gone bust or skipped the country to leave you in the middle of nowhere.

In summary there are a number of aspects to take into consideration before making your web developer choice. I am confident this article with the above 10 tips will help you qualify the best company to deal with for your new web project.

The majority of the 10 tips should already be covered by your chosen development company, but it does not hurt you to double-check. I highly recommend you ask your chosen company questions based on my 10 tips above, this will help establish them as the right business to deal with.

All successful web projects are a result of planning and evaluating, failing to plan and evaluate your development choices could mean failure of your website.

Choose wisely and approach everything smartly, remember if you put in the leg/foot work to start with, you will reap the benefits later.

Ben Davis is the sales and project manager for MediaCore a Specialist Web Company based in Auckland, New Zealand. He has had 6+ years of experience managing web design and development projects for his clients. He is also the author of ’5 Tips To Search Optimize Your Business’.
MediaCore is Auckland New Zealand’s Leading Specialists for Web Design and Web Development. We provide professional and high quality web design and web development services that will meet all your online business needs. We are specialist Magento eCommerce and Joomla CMS web designers and developers.
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What Makes a Good Web Development Company

The world of web development is still very much misunderstood. We’ve even heard people call it a “dark art”. So when you need help turning your ideas and designs into a high quality website or web application, how do you know who you can trust to get this done?

The purpose of this post is to provide some key points on what makes a good web development company, and will help you understand the kind of questions you should be asking development companies.

This is going to be a very opinionated post and we make no apologies for it. If you disagree with anything we are certainly open to discussing it further.

Now to get on with the post. Below are the key areas we are going to be looking at, and what you should be looking for in a web development company.

Able to do both front-end and back-end development
Don’t specialise in one back-end technology
Should follow best practices
Understanding of marketing strategies surrounding the projects
Invests time in research and development
Has a rigorous testing process, including automated tests
Flexible to change
Use source control

Able to do both front-end and back-end development
We don’t subscribe to idea of developers that do front-end development and developers that do back-end development. That’s the equivalent of having a plumber who only fits pipes and leaves the fitting of the baths, showers, sinks and toilets to someone else.

We agree there is a separation between web developers and web designers, there’s a completely different thought process going on there, but the separation between front-end and back-end is just wrong. To be a good web developer you need to understand the full development cycle and to be able to get involved in the project from start to finish. There is also much to be learnt from the working with the varying technologies, but we’ll come on to that.

Don’t specialise in one back-end technology
There are a number of good back-end technologies that are appropriate for web development including Ruby on Rails, ASP.Net and PHP (and others). They all have their strengths and weaknesses and not one is perfect. A good web development company should be flexible in which technologies they use, so that they use the most appropriate one for their clients’ needs.

The key reason we have spent time learning a number of technologies is to able to pick and choose the bits we like. Over the years the developers involved in The League have been able to take the good parts of each technology and formulate a number of best practices and use them across all platforms.

Should follow best practices
The key to being a good web developer is not the technologies that you use, but the best practices that you follow. As technologies come and go in our very fast moving industry those best practices will remain, or at least evolve. As a developer if you have a good grounding then you can move with the times and technologies fairly easily.

So what are these best practices that we are talking about. Below are some of the key ones we follow.

Writing semantic HTML
Follow web standards for all front end coding
Automated testing of both front-end and back-end code
Use of a MVC framework

Understanding of marketing strategies surrounding the projects
We’ve heard this complaint many times that web developers don’t think about the marketing strategy of a project. This is generally because developers don’t care. Well they should. How can they advise clients and think about helping clients produce the right solution, if they aren’t thinking about the “bigger picture” (sorry, we know it’s a horrid phrase, we’ll go wash our mouths out now). If a developer blindly does the work, they are not offering the client a service, they are just being a meat puppet.

The most important question a developer can ask is “Why?”. Take time to understand the client’s requirements fully, and advise them, after all the client doesn’t understand the ins and outs of web development, you do. Make the development cycle a two way conversation.

Invests time in research and development
As everyone knows the web industry is a very fast moving industry. Things come and go in the blink of an eye. A good web development company gives it’s developers allocated time each week to look at new trends and technologies. Admittedly some of these trends and technologies are dead ends, but you won’t know unless you look into them.

If you want to know if a web development company knows there stuff, simply ask them what their developers have been looking into recently. You don’t have to understand everything you are told, note them down though and look them up on the internet to understand if the company are looking at new trends or not.

R&D is probably the most important time each week for a developer. If developers don’t evolve, the solutions they build will become stagnate and dated very quickly. As a client do you want an out of date solution before you even start?

Has a rigorous testing process, including automated tests
Too often we have seen the client is the tester for a project. If this is happening, then, to put it bluntly, the development company don’t understand your project well enough, they are just “banging out” code.

A good web development company should be writing automated tests (integration tests, unit-tests etc) for all their code, both front-end and back-end. On a simple level, tests help developers to concentrate on the code they are writing at that given time, they also help developers to write more concise code. More concise code means the code base is easier to understand and cheaper to maintain.

The major benefit of a test suite to a client is that when changes are made to the code in the project there can be a lot more confidence in the fact that the change, or new code, hasn’t broken anything else.

We are not saying automated testing is the silver bullet of web development, and tests are only effective if they are written well, but they certainly should be part of any web developers toolset.

Automated tests aren’t the only important aspect of testing. The web development company should also have a level of human testing as well, and this is certainly something clients should be involved in. User stories are key to this process. As part of the development process, clients should work with the web development company to put together User stories, so that all parties involved understand how users will interact with the site or application and the results of those interactions.

Flexible to change
We’ve all heard developers complaining how their clients’ change the requirements of a project midway thought a project. Developers need to stop complaining about this, it happens to us all and it’s never going to change. A good web development company should have processes in place to cope with change. If you are a client, ask how change requests will be handled.

Web developers should work to short release cycles, preferably 1 – 2 weeks. The worst thing that can happen to a project is that the developers get the brief, start the work and then 2 months later they announce it’s finished, only for the client to say “This isn’t what I asked for!”. By working to short release cycles, clients can be involved at all stages. At the end of each release the client should review the project so far and submit any change requests.

Use source control
Our final recommendation is a pretty obvious and simple one, to most people, but we still speak to developers who don’t use any form of source control. This seems more prevalent with freelancers as they don’t see the need as they are the only ones working on the code. If that’s how they see it, then they are missing the point.

There are lots of reasons why all code should be source controlled. We’re are only going to mention a couple of key points here. Firstly it’s a great way of keeping a log of changes made to code. (As long as developers put a comment into the commit). Secondly and most importantly is allows developers to change code without the fear of losing already work already done. This is especially useful when trying out other possible coding solutions to a problem.

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Outsourcing Web Development Advantages

In this recession hit period, due to stringent budgets and lack of professional expertise, these organizations are moving to countries like India for web development. Good IT infrastructure and high level of English speaking employees is another reason for these organizations to come to India for their web development. Moreover web development companies in India are changing their working hours so that difference in time zone does not prove to be a hindrance for both parties while communicating with each other.

There are number of advantages of web development in India:

Reduced Development Cost

Web application development at reduced cost is the key reason for organizations to offshore their development work to India. Organizations in Developed countries like U.S, U.K, Canada, Australia, Denmark, Sweden etc find it very expensive to develop web applications at their own workplace because of high wages. Suppose Development of web application in their own country cost them 100,000 dollars than in India it will cost them round about 40,000 dollars. Henceforth they appoint offshore website Development Company from India for their work.

Highly Skilled Developers

Cost benefit is major factor driving organizations to India but apart from that access to highly skilled and experienced web developers is also a major factor for these companies to transfer their work to web development companies in India. This skilled web developers use their creativity and experience to develop web applications that meet your business requirement.

Focus on Core Competency to Maximize Profit

Once you have appointed Web Development Company for handling web based work you get extra time to explore those fields which until now have been untouched. You get two benefits, first is your development cost is reduced as wages in India are low and second is you can maximize profit by focusing on your main work area. So it proves to be a win-win situation for organizations who appoint web development companies from India.

Timeliness:

Time is one of the key factors during application development. Web Development Company in India is capable to deliver successful web applications on time with high level of accuracy attached to the project.

Quality Work:

Professional web developers develop web applications or websites for your organization. This web developers use all their experience to develop high quality web applications that meet all your requirements.

Scalable Applications:

Thorough requirement analysis of your business needs is carried out to plan and develop applications that can be used for a long time and can be modified easily in future at a very nominal cost.

Development in various fields:

A large number of web development companies in India specialize in a wide range of verticals. Some areas where web application development is possible are Banking, Medical, Hotel, Ecommerce, Finance, Marketing, Retail etc. Web developers in India have a high quality of domain and technical expertise. Hence they are capable to develop web applications of high complexity regardless of field it will be used.

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How to Determine Who to Hire To Be Your Next Ideal Web Developer

Critical Benefits and Drawbacks You Need to Know About Different Web Developer Types

I get asked to do website estimates a lot and sometimes it’s downright heartbreaking to hear about the struggles and challenges entrepreneurs and business owners face when trying to find the right web developer.

Too many times I hear about people who feel they were ripped off by their previous webmaster and are very reluctant to hire someone new for fear of the same thing happening again.

Some of these people decided they better do all the work themselves, struggled terribly trying to literally learn a whole new profession. They end up calling me out of sheer frustration that nothing is working and things are worse off than before.

One time I was having a conversation with someone on a completely unrelated topic and he asked me what I did, when I responded he blurted out, “I hate web developers.”

I cringed.

I’m sure this happens in every industry where there are people who are really great at what they do, some who do enough to get by, and some who only THINK they know what they’re doing!

The web development industry is no different.

If you are unhappy with your current web developer or are in the process of finding someone that you can trust and depend on to fulfill your web development needs, this article will provide some valuable tips that will help you find the perfect complement to your team.

The first thing to get clear on is exactly what kind of help you need.

When hiring a web developer, first get clear on what kind of help you need:

There are many different types of “web developers” out there and making the wrong choice can be very costly. So be sure you understand “who” you are hiring first and then your selection process will be much easier from there.

Here are four common types of web developers:

The WordPress VA (Virtual Assistant)

This person has figured out WordPress pretty well. They know how to install a WordPress theme (either free or purchased) and can make some modifications to that theme to help match your brand colours. They will have a good understanding of what plugins are available to match your needs as well.

Benefits: Usually hiring someone for this work charges less per hour than a fully qualified web developer. Putting together small-sized sites are their specialty.

Drawbacks: Often WordPress is all that they know and rarely do they know HTML or CSS to customize your website for any extra bells and whistles that you want to have.

Often purchased themes are so rigid that even moving an element from one part of the page to another is impossible to do with this type of limited knowledge.

When to hire them: You would want to hire a WordPress VA when you are not interested in a fully branded/customized website. You realize that any customization options are limited and you basically get what the theme preview shows aside from some colour, text and image changes.

You would also want to make this choice if you are already well versed in marketing strategy, copywriting, and branding and can simply tell your VA what needs to be done. Anticipate them having limited knowledge in some or all of these areas.

The Programmer

This person is what I lovingly call a “techno geek”. We have a few of these people on our team and we would not be able to be as successful as we are without them!

The Benefits: They know programming inside and out. They live, eat and sleep programming.

The Drawbacks: They can most definitely build you a fully functional website, no problem. But don’t expect it to look pretty! Branding, copywriting, design layout and marketing are rarely found in their list of skillsets.

You will probably need to hire someone else to help with those areas if you are not fully versed in them yourself.

When To Hire Them: You would want to hire a developer of this caliber if you have a complex website in mind that needs to be customized to fit your needs. Whether it’s an eCommerce engine, membership site or a database-driven tool, a fully trained and experienced programmer is your best bet.

The “All Round” developer

This again is a single person who has built enough websites to have a pretty good understanding of the bigger picture. They are what is called “a Generalist” where they have enough skills to be able to design and develop a decent website.

The Benefits: Having one person have knowledge in the different areas needed for web development is a big plus.

Usually this person has enough programming acumen to be able to handle most customizations and challenges that come up and will not need a plugin for every functionality (which will bog down your site’s performance).

They also are knowledgeable enough about branding and visual design that your site visitors will enjoy the experience of being there.

The Drawbacks: Even though they may appear to know a lot about web development, it’s impossible for one person to be really good at everything. It’s rare to find a really good designer also be a good developer (they do exist but they are a rare breed.) So you will still need to be, or have someone else on your team who is, well versed in online marketing and copywriting to help offset any weaknesses the person you hire has.

When To Hire Them: If you are lucky enough to find someone who has these skillsets AND is dependable, then you will have a great asset on your team. You will need to be aware of what their limitations are so that you can offset those areas with other people on your team.

The Web Development Agency

There several different types of web development agencies and for the sake of this article, I’ll focus on the kind that we are, a boutique web development and digital marketing agency. (If you’re looking for a big name agency that only multi-billion dollar corporations use, you wouldn’t have read this article to this point anyway!)

The Benefits: A boutique web development agency is not a one-man show. They are a team of professionals who can offer, as a collective group, all of the different areas of expertise that your business needs from a marketing perspective.

These areas generally include:

Brand Identity Design

Website Design and Layout

Copywriting

Online Marketing / Lead Generation

Video/Audio Editing

SEO

(Note some agencies only have 2 or 3 people on their team so be sure to ask questions to find out what everyone’s expertise is and if any skillset is lacking that you require.)

The other big benefit to using a web development agency is that they are very knowledgeable in your brand, your positioning and the message that you want convey to your ideal clients.

With every request you give them, they will already know what is needed and can discuss options with you to create something for you that is a perfect fit for your needs.

This avoids you from having to know what is needed yourself and also have to ensure other people on your team remain consistent with your brand message and design so you can focus more on what you do best.

The Drawbacks: Depending on who you find, the price point might be outside of your budget. Do your research: ask for and talk to referrals to help you decide if they will deliver what they promise. If they have a good reputation for being on time and on budget, then the extra costs will balance out in the long run.

When to hire them: Hiring a boutique web development agency can be one of the best things you can do as a new business. Doing this will assure that your new venture will get going on the right foot right off the bat. You will save a lot of time and money in the long run if you make this initial business investment.

If you already have an existing business and website but area ready to step up to the next level, this is the time to bring in an agency that can help you with not only the “doing” but also the strategizing to ensure you get to where you want to be without wasting a lot of time, money and energy.

You will also want to look for an agency when you want someone on your team for ongoing, consistent support. After your website is built, you will want someone you can contact at any time for website updates, creating new campaigns, doing SEO work etc.

My final piece of advice is to be sure you do your research on who you approach. You want to find someone with experience and skill who will partner with you to help you build your business.

Unless this is what you’re looking for, you want to avoid programmers and developers who only do exactly what you tell them. Having someone who can offer ideas and suggestions and be a part of your team to be a valuable resource when needed may be more ideal for you.

References are very important in this industry: Always ask to talk to their clients to see what their experience was working with the developer.

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Small Business Marketing Hacks Every Business Owner Should Use

There’s a lot that’s changed recently with online marketing. Most people now go straight to Google to search for something they want. The phone book is out and Google, or search traffic is in. If you are a small business owner you can benefit from the internet as a source of business. What’s even better is that you can tap into this resource for free if you have a physical business.

Google Places

Google Places lets you advertise your local business for free in the search results. When someone searches for a local business in your area, your results will come up first for many searches. This is a simple cost effective strategy you should definitely be employing in your business. With Google Places, you list your local business and Google will send you a confirmation postcard with a Google verification code on it. Once you have verified your listing with this code, Google knows you actually reside at this address, or run a business from it.

Google Places works wonders for small business owners who work from a certain location. If you’re not on it you are definitely missing out on business. Plus, your competitors could be using it which means they could be taking your potential customers. To use Google Places just do a quick search for it on Google and it will take you through the setting up process.

Bing Places

Bing also offer this same listing on their own search engine. It’s just like Google Places so not much to add here really. Simply fill out your details on the online platform and verify your listing when you receive a code in the post. When you create your listing you will have to list your business within a certain category, or two. Look through the existing categories and find the one or ones which are the best fit for your business. This is the same as Google Places. By listing in more than one category, if the platform allows, you can benefit from a number of searches within your local area.

Other Listings For Free

Yell and Yahoo also offer free listings for businesses too. Also do a ‘Google search’ for local directories and free listings and you will find a range of sites which offer free business listings in your area. In some cases even the extra links back to your website can make a difference to your ranking, even if the link itself doesn’t bring you more business.

Blogging

You may well not have the time or inclination to start a blog. However, in some business areas blogging is a good way to increase your business reach online in a fairly cost effective way. Depending on your business, and whether it opens itself to a blog, you can get some good results by targeting some keywords in your business niche, or simply writing compelling content and sharing on social media.

Keyword Research

You can use Google’s free keyword planner to search for terms which are already getting hits on the search engine. By finding long tail keywords in your business niche and writing good content for them, you stand more chance of being listed on the search engine. If you can find untapped keywords which bring in customers to your business, you can write articles which will bring in customers for free for years to come for free.

Paid Advertising

After you have exhausted the free methods of advertising, you can start looking at paid advertising methods. Many business owners try and fail with paid advertising. This is why it is worth learning properly the do’s and don’ts of paid advertising.
Pay per click advertising can make a massive impact on your business. But you should also be very careful. Make sure you start out with a small budget and get properly educated on how to create adverts and which keywords to choose. In particular look at the different types of keyword matches. Get this wrong and you can easily burn through your budget and list your advert for entirely the wrong audience.
However, paid advertising is remarkably scalable. Once you have a campaign which works you can easily increase your budget and you are in a position to pay for new customers.

Return On Investment

When I started with pay per click I didn’t understand return on investment. I ‘dipped my toe in’ and dabbled very tentatively. If I didn’t see an immediate profit, I stopped altogether. This is a mistake. Initially there is a lot of testing and measuring to do with paid advertising. After a while you get an advert which successfully brings you customers. However, knowing the return on investment from successful doing this is a game changer. If your customer goes on to purchase again and again, how much are they worth to your business over a year, or 10 years? Knowing this is a huge key to having the confidence to put money into an advertising campaign. Even if you lose money in the short term, your new customers will bring you new business over the long term. Learn the average spend from each customer over a year and then 10 years. Then decide what each customer is worth in terms of advertising. Does this change your view on what you can afford?

Paid Advertising Methods

There are various paid advertising methods available to use for small businesses online. Start with one method and become good at that before moving on to the next. Facebook advertising lets you target potential customers down to their interests, location and other variables. Pay per click advertising lets you target intent driven adverts. With pay per click you start with the keyword your visitor is looking for online. Once you have tested and measured an advertising method and you have a profitable model, you can leave it running and scale it easily. Then move on to the next one.

Even if you only use a couple of the methods suggested in this article, you can dramatically improve your business with only a small amount of effort. Once you have learned all these methods, you will know how to scale up your business and increase your profits. You can then invest in other forms of advertising, testing and measuring as you go. Whether these are on the internet or offline, using the same strategy (which lets you measure the response of a customer) means you can gradually improve all your advertising methods over the long term, increase profits and grow your business.

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10 Reasons Why You Should Start An Online Business

Whether you are attracted to an internet business because you hate your current job, want to improve your circumstances, or would like a more flexible lifestyle, the internet offers all these opportunities.

Why An Internet Business?

1- Flexibility

Many people come to find themselves with an internet business through necessity rather than deliberate creation. For me, I needed a flexible job which I could work around contract work. It didn’t come in often but when the phone rang, I needed to take the work. This presented all kinds of problems. Normal work didn’t pay as well and employers didn’t want me taking large chunks of time off when the other work came in!

I tried juggling several jobs over a number of years but nothing seemed to fit. At around the same time I was attempting to use e-bay to buy and sell for a bit of extra money. It wasn’t until later that I discovered affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing, for those who don’t know is a kind of referral selling. You point links from your website to other people’s goods and services. The link is tracked so that when you make a sale you are rewarded for it with a commission.

Once you know how to do this you can set up links from your online content to other people’s products and services. You can also use paid advertising to find people all over the world to sell to. This was perfect for my work because I could take my laptop anywhere with me and as long as I had an internet connection I could work. It didn’t interfere with the work when it came up, I had no boss to answer to so it was the perfect solution.

2 – Automation

There’s also a number of other reasons why I chose an internet business – and why you should too! The flexibility of the business was my primary concern. I wanted to be able to choose my own hours so I could take work when it came without any complications. But the other reason I chose this particular model was the ability to use technology to ‘leverage’ my time and income.

Once I had a website and content up and running, it kept going and I was able to make sales and deliver products without being physically present. This is the ‘magic’ of an online business. The automation involved with an online business means that you can do the work once and let that work keep running in the background. You can make sales and deliver products over and over through the same piece of content or advert, which can run an virtual autopilot 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year.

Each piece of content you create can send people to a landing page and sell a product. By creating many pieces of content and sharing them online you can build multiple sources of income which can all run continually, working as your own ‘automated sales team’.

3 – Ability To Scale

Along with this amazing automation is the ability to scale your business. Because there is no human intervention in the ‘sales loop’, multiple sales can happen instantaneously through the same platforms. Your content and advertising can be grown over time and scaled instantly (in the case of paid advertising). As your content gets more shares and more people flow through your website and content, your sales grow as a result. If you use paid advertising you can also scale a profitable campaign up easily by increasing your daily budget.

The automation of an online business makes it very easy to scale. In the case of a physical business this often means more staff, sales tools, larger office space and a whole lot more expense and hassle. With an online business everything is already in place. You simply need to send more customers through the automated sales systems with content and/or paid advertising methods.

4 – Low Startup Costs

When I started an online business I did it from my own pocket. I didn’t need a massive loan and I worked at a level which suited my budget. An internet business is very cost effective and you can start from scratch from pretty much any budget. If you have more to invest you can grow it faster with paid advertising. But, if you are on a budget like I was when I got started, you can get started easily and cheaply.

With a regular ‘bricks and mortar’ business there are many overheads to consider. Your costs include a business premises, staff, hardware and stock. Then there’s advertising and delivery costs. With an online business you just need a laptop and an internet connection – two things many people already have. Your main cost is getting the right education and learning the best strategy to build on.

5 – Simplicity

Technology has made it much easier than was previously possible to set up your own website and learn how to use simple online platforms to connect people to products and services. Advertising and content creation is now available for anyone to use. Websites can be set up with a few clicks and anyone with an email can learn to use the tools and strategies of online marketers.

Whereas previously website building was the domain of the tech savvy programmer, now anyone can use simple user friendly platforms and programs. An online business sounds like something for a technical person, but anyone can now learn the skills needed to build their own online business.

6 – Control

An internet business gives you control over your life. Of course it takes time to build up to a stage where it can replace your current income. But the flexibility of an internet business means you can work it around your existing employment until you can make this happen.
Once your income is beyond that of your employment, you are in a very good position to take charge of your life. You don’t have to do the daily commute, or put up with an uncomfortable working situation. If you don’t like your job you can quit. Don’t like your boss? Fire him/her!
One of the very best things about an internet based business is the control it gives you over your life. You can also build your work around your lifestyle, rather than the other way round. Most people are forced to put work first in everything they do. Family time, holidays and hobbies all tend to depend and evolve around work. An internet business allows you to prioritize the things in your life which mean the most. It can put you back in the driving seat of your life, both in terms of what you earn and how you spend your time.

7 – Work From Anywhere

Not only does an internet business offer great flexibility in terms of working hours but it also offers you the choice to work from anywhere globally. This appeals to many people who would otherwise be more trapped by conventional work in a localized workplace.
For me, it was the flexibility of being able to choose my own hours and not have a boss. But for many the ability to travel anywhere globally is the most important factor to owning their own online business.
Take your laptop anywhere with an internet connection and work while abroad and travelling.

8 – Learn Life Skills

The skills I have learned from building my own internet business also make me much more employable. I also worked for an internet based company with the skills I learned from my laptop while sitting at home!

Being able to reach people globally and target specific types of people is a great skill and very desirable in business too. I was also able to use the knowledge I learned online to build one of my other physical businesses much more quickly by using both my website building skills and paid advertising.

The internet is a fantastic opportunity for anyone to be able to improve themselves, learn new skills and build another source of income. Skills learned are yours for life, whether or not you continue down the path of building an online business.

9 – Independence

We might believe ourselves to be independent but many of us are very dependent on our work for income. As such, our employers tell us how much we can earn, how much holiday we can take and what we will be doing while at work. Financial independence is the ultimate freedom.

When we are financially independent we can take a holiday whenever we please and work in our own time and on our own agenda. An online business gives you the automation and independence to live life on your terms, without the agenda of an employer running your life.

10 – Sovereignty

Being an owner gives you sovereignty. The ability to call the shots in your business is what many entrepreneurs aspire to. As a business owner your actions determine whether you make a success of your business or not.

Having a successful online business gives you the kind of freedom which most people will never see in their lifetime. The ability to create your own life on your terms is the reward of having worked hard on your business and on yourself.

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How to Evaluate the Performance of Your Company Based on Your Business Plan

A business plan is one of the most important documents that is needed for the betterment of the business. It includes all the need to know strategies, marketing techniques, sales techniques and financial forecasting methods that will be used to increase profits and revenue of the business. However, writing a business plan is no walk in the park. It takes a lot of time and concentration and is one of the biggest responsibilities that will be undertaken. For this crucial task there are dedicated people called business plan consultants. They will be the people who take the ideas that the entrepreneur has and converts it into a document that will be viewable by the whole world. Since this is a very big responsibility business plan consultant fee is a bit high. There are many factors that affect a good business plan and a great business plan will help the business clarify the business idea, identify potential problems in the business, find out objectives of the business and monitor the progress of the business. Since this is a very important document it is vital to keep a keen eye on the following factors when writing the business plan.

Executive Summary

The executive summary is the highlight and the brief description of the entire business. This has to be highly detailed but short enough so that a potential investor is able to read and understand the status of the business. It does not mean that it has to be limited to one or two pages.

The executive summary will include the highlight of the business concept which will describe about the product or service and the market that they are being offered. Then there are the financial features which talks about all the sales, profits, return on investment and cash flow. Then the summary has to mention about the financial requirement that is need to invest in the business and talk about the capital and how to expand the business. The current position of the business will be stating about the business’s present state and how it got here. Finally, the major achievements of the business is needed to be mentioned so that the potential investors could be impressed by the achievement that the business has done.

Business Description

The business description is about the details of the business. This should not be a highlight about the entire business like the executive summary but the in depth analysis of the business. The description has to start with a short introduction which states about the past, present and future of the industry. Here you should mention about the markets that the business will be interacting with and the future market places that business will be willing to interact with. The products or services that the business is still developing should be thoroughly discussed here so that the potential investors who have got an idea and are willing to invest in the business can get a thorough knowledge about it.

The structure of the business has to be described in the business description. The hierarchy of the business and the business places should be described in detail. The legal considerations of the business should be thoroughly stated so that there is clarity for everyone.

Market Strategies

When developing the market strategies there has to be a lot of market research done on the market place. This will give the business entrepreneur a very good idea about the potential market and how he can use the market to increase the profits of the business. After observing the market the company will be in a position to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the business and will be able to develop a system in order to identify the potential opportunities and threats. These studies will also be able to develop strategies to forecast the market place’s prices and when to supply more goods and services. These has to be clearly mentioned in the business plan so that these strategies can be used when necessary.

Pricing and Distribution

The process of pricing and distribution has to be clearly detailed in the business plan. The descriptions about all the prices must be mentioned in detail in this section. How the business can lower the prices when necessary and how t react to the fluctuating prices has to be mentioned in detail. The process of distribution of the products until it reaches the hands of the customer has to be clearly stated.

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Small Business Benefits of Training Employees

Small businesses aspiring for growth need to keep an eye on performance improvement through online business training courses. To measure up to the ever evolving business world, small businesses need new skills to facilitate workforce gains and to generally meet the competent needs of operations in tandem with its competitors.

Small business training for employees provides an additional skill and exposure to the individuals and to the business. It is more flexible and less strenuous to do an online business training course. This consequently improves your company to continue effectively. Most small businesses fail to recognise the beneficial aspects of training its employees. Among many other advantages that come with training are the following benefits:

To Effectively Improve Your Company’s Competence

Training your employees will result in a better customer service, improved business skills, and growth in productivity. This ultimately makes your business more competent and competitive in the market. It is important to always advance the skills of the employees as the business world is dynamic and overly competitive. The direct tragedy of non-trained employees is the incompetence to match up the necessities of a contemporary society. It is important to consider an online business training course if the difficulty is time or cost of doing a recommended training.

Improving Loyalty and Staff Retention

As a business, staff retention is a saving to the business and its future prospects. Employees have their own aspirations for growth and they may want to venture out to look for that satisfaction. However, if the training opportunity is available to them, they find their professional growth in the business and are likely to stay longer. It is a fact that such training will definitely add them new skills and promote their contribution to the business as well as building their self-esteem. Giving them a chance to improve their skills makes them realise that you value them enough to invest in them.

Improved Business Prospects and Profits

The ultimate objective of running a business is to maximise an opportunity to make profits. Training employees makes them more competent and qualified to promote your business in the marketplace. This will have an effect and an increased business means more profits.

Makes Your Business Competitive

Stagnating is the worst effect that can kill your business, so by ensuring that your staff are constantly advancing, you continue to grow in business and remain competitive within the industry. It is expensive and very disorienting to employ new staff. An online business course for your employees can make them more eligible for internal promotions. Unlike new employees, you will have the benefit of a complete and knowledgeable staff for your business, who are people you know and you can trust.

Exposes Business Weaknesses and Skill Gaps

Training makes the business realise what they have been doing wrong and henceforth, the business can more easily identify any skill gaps in the market and even within the existing employees. This will propel your business to work on filling the gaps which will assist the staff to fulfil their role effectively.

Conclusion

Training is therefore a valuable and profound investment for the business. For the many businesses that may not have adequate time, an online business training course would be more appropriate. The staff will have a much higher sense of job satisfaction, which will improve their motivation towards their work and the business generally.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Business and Initial Steps

Buying a business is considered as a safe haven by many entrepreneurs as it involves a lesser risk than starting a new business from scratch. Even though buying an existing business seems to have lesser hassles in many aspects, one should practice due diligence to ensure a successful landing.

It is true that business brokers can help you in completing business acquisition deals, but to make it in your best favor, you should make yourself fully knowledgeable about the process and also should gain a solid grip on the purchase to make it profitable.

Advantages of buying an existing Business

The major advantage of buying an existing business is avoiding the huge startup costs. It is not just all about the cost involved, but the time and effort to be invested in terms of start-up establishment is way too high when compared to acquisition of an existing business.

As the business concept, fundamental works, brand establishment, and customer base are already set, you can jumpstart with cash flow instantaneously on the basis of the receivables. You can also enjoy the benefits of having a solid and loyal client base.

Disadvantages of buying an existing business

Even though buying a business seems to be beneficial in many aspects, there are also some downsides to it. The cost of purchase of a profitable business can surely be much higher than the establishment cost of a business.

There may also be underlying problems associated with the business you purchase such as their debts, deterioration of assets, problems with receivables etc.

Starters’ right approach

Anytime when you are getting on to buying a business, there will be thousands of opportunities popping up. It is you who know it at best about which type of business you need to pursue and what your priorities are. Here is a right approach to narrow down your choices and land up on a perfect deal.

It is important to rightly identify your interests and area of expertise while getting on to buying a business. If you are totally blank about what type of business to invest, the best move is to eliminate those which don’t seem to be interesting to you to shorten the list.

Consider your expertise while you are planning to buy a business. You may not be able to run something which you are fully ignorant about. Such a filtering also will help you narrow down your considerations to the best acceptable businesses.

Do proper groundwork to come up with a set of conditions as location, timings, size of the business etc.. Only consider the business satisfactory meeting your demands. While considering a business, just drop those which don’t at least meet 80% of your conditions to end up with the best in hand.

You also need to quantify your investment before searching for opportunities for buying a business. Check out for reasons why the business is put on sale and take a decision accordingly.

Keeping all these in mind, you need to perform due diligence while planning to buy a business and if not confident on doing it on your own, consider the option of reliable business brokers to take it up on your behalf.

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