So many startups assume Internet business as part, or all, of their revenue stream, sadly, without really figuring out how that’s going to make money. Put up the website and wait for the money to flow in. Now say “yeah, right!” and maybe roll your eyes.

Step back for a minute and realize it’s not possible to do everything at once. Once you’ve built your website, the first thing you should do is make your sales process watertight.

There’s no point spending a ton of cash on pay-per-click ads to drive targeted traffic to your site if none of those visitors buys anything.

Yes, I’ll second that; well put and right to the point. That’s Derek Gehl on e-business at Entrepreneur.com, in 3 Secrets to a Site that Sells. His secrets make a lot of sense. They certainly match what I’ve seen from my company selling on the Web since 1998.

  1. Get your sales copy in top shape. You’ve got less than five seconds to persuade people to stay on your website, so your headline has to grab them and compel them to read on. But don’t let your readers slip through your fingers once you’ve grabbed their attention with a hot headline. Good sales copy funnels your readers through a tight sales process and doesn’t give them a reason to click away. Take a look at your own and see if all the elements are in place, and if not, give it more of the attention it deserves.
  2. Collect testimonials. Testimonials prove that your product really works–that it does exactly what you promise. And if you run a small business and haven’t built your reputation, testimonials are indispensable.
  3. Make it easy to buy. According to market research from the Gartner Group, more than 50 percent of Web sales are lost because visitors can’t find what they’re looking for. Don’t make that mistake.

Good stuff. All of which should be obvious, but isn’t.

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.