Do you have a moneymaking idea and yearn to start your own online business? Maybe you’re sitting at your home computer, excited about offering some product or service, and have even figured out a way to sell it profitably. The problem: you don’t program, don’t want to learn, and don’t want to invest a lot of time and money in creating a spiffy web storefront. What you really want to do is test the market by getting your offering online quickly, cheaply and hassle-free. You are a micropreneur, and there many of you out there.
The new order of things
Creating custom websites used to be the province of system designers and developers. The effort was expensive, time-consuming, and often a minefield of misunderstandings and bruised feelings. That is so 2012! A lot has happened since then – you might say the whole cottage industry of web development has been disrupted by the latest generation of automated and simplified website generators. The new web builders are so convenient and friendly, it’s become exceedingly easy to get up and running in a few hours without knowing a stitch about software.
The breakthrough is the realization that shoppers want simplicity as much as you do. Fancy menu structures and multi-step navigation that requires an attention span greater than 15 seconds is an obstacle to success. The solution: distill your website down to a single, well-designed landing page that acts as a virtual space to display and sell your offerings. Let’s call it a microsite, the perfect solution for the micropreneur. Customers click and buy –thanks to the website’s built-in checkout cart and integrated payment facilities like PayPal, Bitcoin, Conekta and other processors of credit/debit cards, online wallets, bank transfers, alternate currencies, or whatever. Naturally, if you’re selling subscriptions to a weekly newsletter or a cheese of the month, you’ll want the website to handle recurring payments automatically.
Minimum solution set
We’ve just defined the minimum solution set for online selling:
1. A single, automatically generated and good looking landing page. The generator should be exceedingly easy to use and exceedingly inexpensive.
2. The web page should be automatically hosted by the producer of the website builder or an associated company.
3. Ability to upload images and text.
4. Ability to enter and price your product or service information.
5. Built-in customer billing, shipping and email functionality.
6. Built in payment processing functionality.
7. Automatic notification when your attention is needed.
In point of fact, there are many website developing solutions available to you, and many offer a host of bells and whistles. The ones with rich solutions are more complicated, more expensive and require more of a commitment. On the other hand, a minimal solution should be cheap and easy to use.
It’s complicated under the covers
However, do not confuse ease of use with simplemindedness. The good website builders are really complex under the covers – it’s hard to make things look easy. Do you care? Sure you do, because even when you start simply, you might just need to grow in size and sophistication if your micropreneurial enterprise takes off. Therefore, we might want to add a few more items to our minimal solution set to accommodate growth:
8. The ability to easily integrate other software, from mailing lists to customer relationship managers to accounting packages. This may include the ability to enter custom programming code without changing the underlying platform. For nerdy types out there, we call this property extensibility.
9. The ability to run on various devices, operating systems and browsers, a property known as interoperability.
10.The ability to respond to triggering events with a follow-up action, a property known as automation. For example, a purchase might be followed up by sending an email or eBook to the purchaser.
11.The ability to quickly create a call to action to elicit and capture email addresses from website visitors.
12.The ability to resequence the different sections of the landing page.
13.Availability of templates and examples that can serve as the inspiration for your own design.
14.The ability to quickly add, delete and change the prices, text and images of your offerings. Also, the ability to specify product variations, such as size or color. It should be possible to assign a different price to each variant.
These are secondary considerations and may or may not apply to your endeavor. But be assured that there are well over a dozen website building systems available to budding entrepreneurs, artists, writers and all sorts of people who choose not to spend a lot of time and money to set up shop.