Making e-Commerce Work
e-Commerce is not simply the hosting of a website with the company catalog for the content. There is however no doubt that the website is the heart of any e-Commerce initiative. In e-Commerce the website is not a passive host of digital information, but rather a lively and interactive entity that represents the company in spirit and matter. “Today the Web environment has evolved to the point where in a website may be deemed as a virtual salesperson.
The challenge lies in developing an ‘intelligent’ website” (Singh, 2003). Since the website is the company on the Net, it is imperative that the company put in the necessary efforts to make it as popular as possible in the World Wide Web over the Internet. The measure of a website lies in its capability to attract traffic, to the number of hits that it registers. The rate of success or failure of e-Commerce depends on the number of Netizens that visit the website associated with the e-Commerce effort.
“Promotion is an important part when selling the product; it is a necessary function for e-commerce companies” (Lee, 2003). Many factors contribute to the popularity or success of the e-Commerce website. The design and content of a website, the speed of the server on which it is hosted and the speed of its network connectivity, the ease with which it can be navigated and the range of services and facilities that it offers to the browser and the customer, all affect its performance. Search Engine Optimization
What is perhaps the most essential is that the website show up when people are searching for the contents that it contains, or in other words, it is most essential that a majority of search engines list the website or its individual pages when a potential customer is browsing the Internet for information which is available in the particular website. “If you run an e-commerce site, then you know that it’s important to make sure that your products show up in the organic search results ahead of your competitors especially if your competitor is selling the same products” (Hartzer, 2006).
The process through which websites are tailored to be listed by search engines is known as Search Engine Optimization. Ensuring that the metatags have the right keywords, that the pages have good content with the appropriate keywords, that there are links to other relevant web pages from the particular web page and that there is no duplicate of any other page on the website, could go a long way in ensuring that the e-Commerce website is listed by the leading search engines crawling the Internet.
An e-Commerce site needs to have a unique domain name to be search engine friendly. A site which redirects from its home page tend to listed far less by search engines than a site that utilizes the full functionality of its homepage by including the most important and comprehensive content on the home page. Similarly there are shopping carts that are more search engine friendly than others, and cookies that could actually turn away the search engines.