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A Collector's Guide To Internet Success
An Overview of Creating a Successful Website

The Internet is a fantastic promotional tool, but there is so much to read and comprehend, it can all seem quite overwhelming. You really can make the web work for you. It's really as easy as you hope it is.

Now it is going to take some work. Simply transferring your brochure or uploading your inventory onto a web page is not enough. Collectors need to take advantage of the Web’s flexibility and create innovative ways of presenting their merchandise.

Web sites aren't just something people read, but something they do; an experience. This is a new medium and using it effectively requires a different way of thinking. Creating your website from a template is a great way to start. That is only the first step. In order to create a truly successful website you need to provide quality content and a commitment to customer service.

Would you rather start today, or let your competition keep the lead?

What do surfers want? They want information, and they want it fresh, creative and fast. They are looking for deals, deals they can’t get anywhere else. They will spend an average of 45 seconds sizing up your site. (if you manage to get some visitors) It's up to you to grab them and make them take notice. More importantly, you’ve got to find a way to bring them back.

Your goal is to turn surfers into visitors, visitors into repeat visitors...and eventually into loyal customers.

Now, I would like to stress this point: Even though there is a potential to reach 50 million collectors worldwide, you won't. Guaranteed. Companies who cleverly word their ads to make you believe you will are intentionally misleading you. If you have 50 million people visit your page, let me know. I want to work with you.

Competition in the antiques and collecting community is as fierce as ever. Driving traffic to your site is a challenging task, especially when 3,000 new web sites are created each month, and thousands of people are going on-line every day. Even if you have the best merchandise at the lowest prices, interested buyers may have a hard time finding you.

So what’s the key? How can you make sure collectors find you?

Internet Malls. Collections of related on-line stores are the solution to your Web marketing obstacles. Unlike traditional antique malls, there are plenty of parking spots up close and no strollers to fight. As a store owner, you enjoy higher visibility, shared expenses, increased "walk-in" traffic, and search engine indexing.

Think of it this way... Would you rather build your business by yourself, at the end of a lonely street, or place it in a high traffic location, where you know customers will come looking for you?

The premier mall for antiques and collectibles on the Web is The Internet Antique Shop. They offer literally thousands of searchable items.They combine the convenience of hundreds of shops and services with the information collectors want. Their visitors know where to find the best deals on antiques and collectibles.

What about classified and display advertising?

This is another misconception about the Internet, and one reason why I feel people are unhappy with the results from their current web page. I love classified ads. They perform a very useful function: They are great to promote your website, not function "as" your website. A one page listing with your phone number and email is not going to bring in much business.

The first step on your path to success is to get out there and see what others are doing. Browse through some shops and research your interests. What catches your attention? What sites make you want to stop in and browse? What stores can you find?

Remember and copy what you like. When you find a site you find particularly interesting or entertaining, place a bookmark on the address. The next time you go shopping you will be able to access your favorite places easily. This is the same process others will follow (ideally) when they come to visit you!

Now, of course, the most important part of your website is your merchandise. This part is fully up to you. How you display your inventory can make all the difference, and this is where the Internet can work to your advantage.

If you want success on the web, you are going to need to create an interactive, content rich website, and you're going to have to work at it.

Here's some ideas...