Does your site contain all the basics? Hours, phone number and address… all pertinent contact information. Is it easy to navigate? Allow secure purchases? Is it secure – do you see HTTPS:// in the address bar? For the tourist industry, does it allow a secure purchase of gift certificates? Invite comments or reviews? (You can learn a lot from a contact us page.) If you are a restaurant, do you have your menus, special events, directions, banquet menus online? Do you visually sell the restaurant? Allow online sign up for email specials? What about takeout menus? An email sign up would be perfect for this if it is a big part of your business. Does the site list a dress code? How to make a reservation? And don’t forget added benefits for you: links to other area businesses, employment opportunities, printable employment applications. Good Internet marketing will impress your market audience and provide you with a website that does more than look pretty.
What’s more, if your visitor likes Amazon.com, he is likely to go directly there the next time he wants to purchase a book, and Amazon.com has potentially gained a customer for life. (Of course, if the same visitor uses another link on your site to purchase another book, you’ll get credit for that purchase also.) You can learn more about affiliate programs from a merchant’s standpoint in Web Commerce Today newsletter, Issue 8, “A Merchant’s Primer of Affiliate Programs” (http://www.webmarketingtoday.com/wct1/issue8.htm), where I explain how to set up such a program.
Your small business must pay state income tax in the state you operate in. Depending on how your business is organized, you could pay corporate tax or a limited liability company tax in addition to your personal income tax. You may pay taxes in the state the selling company is located in if that state taxes entities who earn money within their borders (even if the earner is located out of state). Your affiliate marketing company is considered a separate entity from the selling company when it comes to figuring state income taxes.