You have a fantastic idea for a business online. You know your industry and your products inside and out. You have a great marketing plan and you even shopped around and got the best rates for your merchant account, your shopping cart program for your website and you even calculated the shipping for your products so you got the best deal possible. Then, you bought a domain name, web hosting and your brother-in-law offered to do your website for free which saved you thousands of dollars.
You held your breath as your site was loaded onto the server and ......nobody came. You can probably go back to two reasons that your site isn't working for you. Number one, the pages on your website aren't targeted so the search engines can index them for relevance. This means if you're selling electric dog polishers on your website, then you should name the specific page with the subject, mention that subject a few times on the page and if you have an image of an electric dog polisher - use the alt text option to describe the image as well because not all web surfers use images when they are checking out web pages.
If you want the search engines to index your pages properly, give the text robots (called "spiders") food in the form of keywords that pertain to your website So the next person looking on Google for electric dog polishers will find your website. Number two will be a bit more labor intensive to fix. Your website needs to look professional. This means no blinking text, no flashing police siren lights over your specials and sales, no dancing dog graphics; in fact - your site should be as fast loading and low graphic as possible.
Look at some of the top sites on the internet such as Yahoo, Amazon, and MSN, they all have light backgrounds, graphics are kept small and most of all, their pages are text rich. Don't copy any of these designs for your site but rather learn from then and incorporate those winning techniques on your own pages. You may have to make the hard decision to hire a web designer if you're not proficient in html yourself. You need someone that can make your site clean and fast loading.
Use graphics on your site but keep them small - offer the option for someone to click and see a larger picture of an item. Also, create a text only page that is a site map listing every single page on your website so people can look up where they want to be quickly and the search engine spiders can index your website just as quickly. Make sure that your shopping cart is easy to use and all the pages work.
If your sales method isn't easy to use - your customers will go elsewhere where the shopping carts work quickly, are easy to use and don't require a lot of labor intense information giving. Also, put a privacy statement on every page - if you don't sell your customer's information to third parties, let them know. The more people know about your site and what your policies are, the more comfortable they will be doing business with you.