Does My Business Need A Website?
In one word, yes! The Internet is the most effective marketing tool in existence and it gives your business the ability to reach far more people than paper flyer or advertisement in the local paper ever will.
Should I build my own website?
It all depends on your skills, if you have the ability to produce a site that looks good, then go ahead, it will save you money and will work wonders as a marketing tool. However if your skills are limited then I would seek out someone who has experience with this. However, today with free software platforms like WordPress, even someone who has never built a website before will find it fairly easy. Today, it is even possible to find a middle or high school student who will have more than enough capability to help you setup a website.
Do you need to spend lots of money?
You can turn to websites like www.Fiverr.com or www.elance.com to find someone who can build you a basic website for as little as $5.00. Granted for that little money it will not be a stellar web destination, but as long as you have it built on the WordPress platform, then it will be very easy to edit and expand on it later on. If your business requires that you are able to sell products and process payments online, then you can count on it costing you a little more for your site. I, personally would stay away from a lot of the build-it-yourself website programs and offerings on the internet as they are typically build on some form of a proprietary platform which will make it very hard for you to move you site at a later date if need be.
What content do you need?
This all depends on what you want from being online, if you want to sell online, have your products online is going to be very useful! If you’re just looking to get your company online, then there are TWO elements that I believe are imperative:
- Information about your company
- How to contact you
If your website does not contain at least these two pieces of information, then no one is going to know who or what you are, or how to reach you for more information. Even the most basic of websites should have this information.
Keep in mind that on the web, you can appear as large and professional as you like. When someone visits a website, and it is properly designed, the visitor will not know whether they are dealing with a one-person operation or a multi-million dollar corporation. Putting some effort on your website at this point will allow you to stand apart from the competition, even if you are just starting out.
What to do now?
There are a few things that you need to do at this point if you wish to setup a website for your business. First, visit godaddy.com and do a search for your company name to be the URL for your website. If your company name is Johnny’s Ice Cream, then see if johnnysicecream.com is available. You might need to try different variations, such as adding a dash (-) between the words. I would try for the .com first before the .net or. org.
Once you have your domain name, then you need to sign up for web hosting. I use Ipage.com and have been very happy with the service, speed and features.
Next, you need to decide if you are going to setup your site or if you are going to hire out. I won’t get into that here because there are tons of videos and blogs on the net explaining how to setup a website.
You should come up with some basic information for your About Us page to let people know who you are and what you do. Working with a good web designer will help you in properly setting up your site with all of the pertinent information.
I can say with the utmost certainty that you SHOULD have a website if you have a business. There is NEVER a downside. Even if you just setup a simple site and never touch it again, you have the benefit of your site being indexed by Google which will allow someone who is searching for what you do or sell to find your business in the search results.
Having a website today is just as important as having a telephone!