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Improving how the website can be found
For e-business to be successful, it is important to market the most significant tool it posses, the website (Amor 1999). It is impossible for a random consumer to buy the products online if there is limited attraction on the site. Getting customers or traffic in a site is the most significant challenge Internet marketers or web designers’ face in e-business.
The fundamental principle is if the products cannot be seen, then they cannot be bought (Jones 2011). To improve how potential online shoppers can find the site, it has to be highly ranked on search engines like Google (El-Aleem, El-wahed, Ismail, & Torkey 2005).
To secure high ranking in Google or any other search engines, it is important to provide as many links as possible to the site. A highly linked site produces more and specific results on a search engine (Barnes 2000). When designing a site, it is important to consider exchanging links with other webmasters depending on the nature of e-business.
On a site, links that depict active interest on another site are called back links. Getting as many back links as possible will persuade search engines that the website is important. It is also important to choose the key words carefully; it should reflect the content of the website (Jones 2011).
The most applicable way of getting back links is by writing articles based on relevant keywords. The next step will be signing up to blogs, article directories and other related sites and posting the articles. The biggest challenge is that the search engine has to see new links on a regular basis; the articles therefore will be continuously posted. However, the process can be automated, a key concept of online marketing (Brinck 2002).
Another method of improving how potential customers can find e-business site is through social networking. Social networks connect millions of people around the world where they interact and share information. A new research indicates that social networking sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are defining the next competitive generation of online marketing. Studies indicate that a good number of social networkers trust their friends before making a major online shopping (Jones 2011).
Metrics for measuring the success of e-business site
Many businesses can easily measure the income and profits but find it hard to measure the success of e-business (Barnes & Hinton 2004). To measure the success of e-business sites, some metrics have been identified to give specific counts of particular elements (Jackson 2010). In traditional business metrics, financial reports give a steady stream of calculations that allow businesses to compare their performances from one period to another (Chaffey 2004).
E-business is primarily different from traditional business and is the reason why inexperienced online companies have augmented market valuation (Cohan 2000). E-business allows easy connection between buyers and sellers and this decreases the cost of doing businesses (Barnes & Hinton 2004).
Market trends indicators are recorded continuously as they continue to happen. For instance, an advertisement in form of a banner placed on a portal site develops click through statistics in seconds. Navigation enhancement in a website for e-business alters shopping activities on the site instantly (Afuah 2000).
In addition, a media awareness of a new brand that used to take weeks or months to impact the consumers can now take a few hours. E-business is essentially a platform of all kinds of businesses that can be conducted with decreased costs to give a significant return on investment (Jackson 2010).
E-business metrics are designed to give insights in the behaviors of e-business consumers. E-business metrics, sometimes called e-metrics include stickiness, focus, slipperiness, seducible moments and velocity. All these metrics shed some light to a different aspect of e-business. Stickiness is an e-business metric that is related to both duration and frequency. Stickiness holds the site visitors consistently to capture the effectiveness of the site’s content. Basically, stick e-business sites are more effective than non-sticky sites (NetGenesis 2000).
Slipperiness highlights some sections of the site that have very low stickiness. For example, the e-business management requires consumers to spend minimal time in consumer support areas. It is in the best interest of the business for the customer to visit the site, get what they are looking for and then get out very quickly. Another section that requires slipperiness is the “check-out” portion since it means that an additional click might give potential consumers opportunities to change their minds (NetGenesis 2000).
Focus is an e-business metric that is related to page visit behavior within an e-business site. A focused visit in a site will touch less number of pages in a section. Focus is categorized into narrow and wide focus representing smaller values and large values respectively. Interpretation of focus is based on the section applied; for instance, a narrow focus is desirable in the customer service area. On the contrary, a wide focus is desirable for an online auction section in an e-business site (NetGenesis 2000).
Another metric in an e-business site is called velocity and it provides the information required for site improvement. Velocity gives a measure of the speed taken by a consumer to move from one cycle to the next. The final metric of e-business site is called seducible moment. This is a juncture where a prospect is remarkably susceptible to an offer. Consumers’ profiles from various market segments reveal different characteristics of fast and slow buyers (NetGenesis 2000).
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Jackson (2010, p.1) identified five e-business metrics that can serve as warnings when e-business site is not performing well. According to Jackson, exercising control over these metrics can improve the bottom line of e-business as an enterprise. The first metric is average sale price; the business person can directly change the price of the products to affect the average sale price.
The second metric is the profit margin in that, the overheads can be reduced or sales increased to improve the profit margin. Jackson suggests that margin can be reduced if it is necessary to reduce the price and there are no other options. More visitors will buy on the site due to low prices and this means higher net profit.
The third metric is overhead in that by reducing the overheads, profit margin is improved. Low overheads can enable an e-business site to lower the average sale price while the profit margin is retained. The fourth metric that Jackson (2010) identified is the conversion rate. This can be controlled by use of good web analytics tools that determine the consumer behavior on the site. Problems can be identified and fixed to give the consumers enough reasons for buying the products (El-Aleem, El-wahed, Ismail, & Torkey 2005).
The fifth metric that Jackson identified is the visitors. The level of visitors obtained in a website depends on the marketing that has been conducted. Search can be optimized with critical key words in the site. A press release and an advertising banner can also improve consumer awareness. The bottom line is obtaining the relevant traffic that is interested in buying the products (Jackson 2010).
Technical issues that affect the performance of e-business sites
E-business sites are faced by a number of technical issues that directly affect the performance of the e-business. Sites visitors in many e-business sites have complained about slow websites, crashed websites, temporarily down site, and sites that cannot complete transaction (Reiss 2001). All these challenges give the traditional business scenario a competitive advantage over e-commerce and affect the performance of e-business (Smith 2001).
To improve the performance of e-business, the manager must be keen on a number of technical factors. These include in comparison to performance ratio (Parreiras 2010).Technological obsolescence is a product of evolution in technology making the old technologies to become less useful.
This is a technical issue that can make e-business sites to perform poorly (Barreca 2010). For instance, evolution in media for storage of digital data will affect the way consumers will access information in the site. Software developments render the old systems obsolete and therefore e-business sites are forced to abandon not only the old software but also the hardware due to compatibility issues (Parreiras 2010).
Increased innovation of new technologies is related to technological obsolescence. It is important to ensure that e-commerce website is not running on outdated technologies since information might become inaccessible (Parreiras 2010). Information overload is a technical issue that happens to sites which have been overloaded with a lot of information more than they can handle. This makes it hard for consumers to navigate through the site and reduces their chance of buying (Barreca 2010).
A lot of effort is applied to attract the customers to e-business site. Poor performance of the site does not only result in loss of brands but also result in loss of revenue. Studies have identified the causes of these problems as poor coding of the website, inability of web hosting service to handle the load, poor coding of the shopping cart, and lack of proper indexing of the database (Brinck 2002).
Poor coding is caused by inexperienced programmers who might produce poorly performing sites. Slow ability of sites to accept updates, read and write instructions is caused by lack of proper indexing (Kalakota 2000). Inability of web hosting services might be caused by shared hosting and high traffic. A busy site will also be affected if consumers add a lot of products on the cart; the database will be slow in responding (Lord 2002).
A software system that can be use to improve how e-business websites can be found is NetSuite E-commerce Solution Software. This software can be used to optimize the websites through search engine optimization. Interprise suite is fully integrated ERP software that can be used to solve the technical issues in e-business sites. The software can also be used to monitor the performance of the site. Epicor Web 2.0 and abas eB provides solutions to e-business by providing a good webshop and a highly flexible Internet solution.
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