Starting an online business is not a simple thing, though there is the 3U rule bearing the following three simple points, which should be obeyed to make your online business successful: Unique Offer, Unique Service, and Unique Design. As you can see, Design is not the first, as Offer and Service go before it.
Make a Unique Offer
After researching your competitors, you may feel rather confused, as there are so many of them and each one states that he is the best in the field. Don’t despair. The information you gather is necessary only to help you build your offer. You should not use it to build a case against yourself! Simply, you need all the information you can get. A competitor’s website is not the only source of information. Try to find out what his customers think about him. Do not trust testimonials; try some posts on forums, where you will get real testimonials! Find your competitor’s weaknesses and try your best to avoid them. His weaknesses should become your strong points. Your offer, however, is not the only thing to make your customers return. Your service should be unique as well.
Provide a Unique Service
The key point of Unique Service is constant feedback. Find out who your clients are and what they like or dislike about your service. This is the information for improving your service.
Do a little research on how your competitors work. Competitor monitoring is the best way to be up on what’s new on the market. You shouldn’t miss anything about them: who their customers are and why they stay with your competitor, details about their affiliate programs, who their partners are, where they get traffic, etc. – any kind of information that may be useful.
However, competitors are not the only source of ideas for improving your services. Try to study how hosting companies work. They have been in the business from the very beginning, so their experience will be of great use to any newbie to online business.
Create a Unique Design
One of the problems which rise before a newbie is the creation of a front office or website, which is almost the same thing as a front office on the Web. This is not a big problem.
Online business is not limited to website design. While having a unique website design is good, it will not make your brand unique. The real question is how can you make your brand unique?
There are several ways to solve this problem. But first you must understand that as the process of site development is rather complicated, it usually requires a team consisting of a project manager, designer, coder, and programmer. And you need only go to any one of them to begin your project. The only thing that may hamper you is the budget, as it usually costs $1000-$3000 to develop a really good website.
Very often money becomes a real problem for newbies to online business, as their budgets are not equal to the cost of website development. They should pay for not only hosting but also domain registration, an advertising campaign, etc. But this not a dead-end situation; there’s a solution that a newbie can afford – website templates. A ready-made design is the only thing you need. Simply convert it into your website by filling in the content. Though you may assume that using a website template will dilute your brand to nothing, as you won’t be the only one with this template, it is not the case. The number of downloads, which is usually displayed on a website templates provider’s site, is not the real number of the sites which have been built on the template.
How can it be so? Do website templates providers knowingly lower the number of downloads to stimulate purchases? The answer is no, as reliable providers regularly update databases with new templates. The problem is, the moment you put your site online is the moment it can be ripped off by anybody! Besides, the largest templates providers, such as Template Monster, Cool Home Pages, OSWD and others, constantly suffer from piracy.
Therefore, unique design is virtually impossible because anything can be copied or stolen and used with slight alterations. Even custom web design is not safe from intellectual parasitism and predation.
Which is preferable? Should you choose a Web Design Company or use ready-made templates? It’s up to you to decide, though using templates is not as frightful as it is considered to be. It greatly saves your money. Remember that Unique Design is not the synonym for Unique Brand.
To stand out from your competitors, you should obey the 3U rule, which will deliver you the best and cheapest advertising – word of mouth advertising.