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Tips for Managing Website Business

Tips for Managing WebsiteManaging any kind of business demands a great deal of time and effort, but managing a web business is slightly different. It's different in the sense that the skills required are specific to a web based environment, and will largely determine whether your venture is a success or a failure. Here we will be addressing several web management tips to make life as easy as possible for your e-commerce business.

As in any business environment, you'll need to have good organization to keep your website comparable with the current state of your business. Many serious companies will opt to use a Content Management System (CMS) as a means of staying in control of their activities.

CMS is a compact environment whereby it's possible to maintain your website and implement user accounts for other authors and editors to add content. It goes without saying that there's a security risk in letting anybody go in and edit your HTML source code. Larger E-businesses simply can't afford to rely on one webmaster making widespread changes to the company website, so it's necessary to use a GUI which allows multiple users to add and edit content.

By installing a CMS, you can make your website 100% maintainable in a web based environment. You don't have to drill employees or fellow web developers on the working of your code; you simply let them manage the front end of the website. This is an extremely desirable situation if your web business extends beyond your own personal activity.

Content Management Systems also provide a diverse range of functions for a web manager. A few of these have been outlined below:

  • Task scheduling : The ability to program a web action to take place at a certain time.
  • Editing permissions : The ability to dictate who is capable of changing certain areas on your website.
  • Flow diagram overviews : An automated chart of your website's design architecture.
  • Log analysis: Built-in support for tracking visitors and gauging the most popular features of your website.
  • Template handling: The ability to use CSS to ensure themes are provided by default, and a built in WYSIWYG editor for content.

Obviously, CMS solutions come in various different shapes and sizes. You can find freeware packages available for use. You can also find fully fledged business solutions such as Serena Collage which will provide a radically hands-on involvement over every last area on your website. Just be warned that the enterprise packages can take a fair chunk out of your wallet!

If you're serious about your business, or believe that it might be necessary for other users to work on your website in the future, you should definitely consider a standard CMS package.

Most CMS solutions, however, can only run effectively in unison with a database. The most common web databases that you'll find are MS Access and mySQL. The later is increasingly popular with open source programming languages such as PHP, and regularly used in small scale business applications.

So what are the advantages of using a database alongside your business website? The most obvious incentive would have to be the ability to store long-term data. On a static website, changes and form submissions are purely client based without the inclusion of a data storage mechanism.

But with a database, you can track form submissions, a shopping cart checkout for example, and store this information in an environment where you, the site admin, can go in and analyze how the website is performing. Databases can also be used to control the entire template of your website.

Many commercial businesses use a dynamic site design where content is generated via a database rather than hard coded in to HTML pages. The advantage of this, if you have thousands of products on sale, is that you don't have to download and edit thousands of HTML pages to make the changes required! You can simply edit in a user-friendly database administrator such as phpmyAdmin or Microsoft Access.

While CSS layouts are still a strong attribute for template driven websites, they really pales in comparison to the incredible flexibility of database applications. By managing your business through a single database, you can eliminate HOURS of redundant admin work that holds no relation to the job that you're trying to complete.

If you're not too keen on getting technical and managing the whole scope of your website, you can quite easily stick to a familiar HTML environment. There are many complimentary tools on the web that offer traffic logging and visitor tracking capabilities. Freeware programs such as Mach5 and WebLog Expert can be installed on your server and used to generate monthly or daily reports which provide great insight in to where your website is succeeding or failing.

Logging is extremely important in terms of managing your business. A trademark of most successful managers is their knowledge of how the business is operating outside of its own environment. By tracking user activity, it's possible to pin-point the pages where users are entering or exiting the site.

Of course, by analyzing simple statistics on a monthly basis, you can determine whether your company is heading forwards or backwards! Every web business should have some form of analysis software installed.

Security and data protection should also be a primary consideration for your web business plan. Perhaps the biggest problem with e-business is the risk of losing or corrupting data. If your server crashes, or you get a hacker maliciously damaging your business, it can have catastrophic effects. Always keep regular backups of files, and be sure to hold a copy of your data on a removable storage device where possible. It's better to be safe than sorry!

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