Many small businesses question whether or not they need a website. The experience of many small- to mid-sized businesses has been that their websites provide them with a firm ability to reach out to customers in the way they want to be reached, increasing accessibility and delivering a well-rounded plan for marketing and sales; many of these business owners credit their websites with reducing those marketing costs in the process.
Is Your Small Business In Need Of A Website?
If you haven’t considered obtaining a website for your small business, you should reconsider based on the primary fact that you are indeed competing with other companies who may be offering the same services as you, who are maintaining websites for business and marketing purposes.
The key to any business is marketing and reaching a wide range of potential clients to whom you can show off your skills and services. A professional website gives you an easily accessed, always-on location for providing essential business details, giving information about services, pricing, and policies, and showcasing your business with photos and service or product highlights. This is also a place to give information about you, the small business owner, and how your service can be of benefit to your clients’ lives or businesses.
In effect what you are doing when you build a business website is creating an image of a well-established business while reaching consumers locally, nationally, and internationally, depending upon how you target your website. What’s more, all of this is accomplished at a very low cost; whereas traditional advertising is very expensive and only allows you to disseminate a bare minimum of information, business websites have virtually no space limitations and can actually be used to generate income as they advertise your business.
Your Website – To Build Or Not to Build?
Many small business owners don’t know the first thing about building a website or even where to start. Should you build it from scratch or purchasing web design packages with drag and drop templates? Or should you hire a professional website designer to do the job?
Whether you choose to have someone build your website for you or you do it yourself, you want to present a strong professional website and not have it look as though a novice has built it and risk having potential clients base their decision solely upon how your website is crafted, in spite of the excellent products or services you offer. You need to look at your options and decide what you are and are not capable of (as well as what you have the time to reasonably do). There are many choices, including some very inexpensive template-based website options as well as mid- to high-level expertise programming, and professional services for hire. Some examples of these include:
- Website and hosting packages developed with novice web designers in mind such as Homestead, GoDaddy and Host Gator. These types of web design templates offer hosting as an additional part of whatever plan you choose, or may include it as a package deal.
- For those who are a bit more adventurous and have a bit of time to invest, there are alternatives to website templates such as Dreamweaver, FrontPage, Microsoft Expressions, Notepad and Adobe Photoshop. For this, it is best to have a working knowledge of HTML as you will have a better understanding of things.
Building a simple web page may be easier than you think if you use one of these template-based programs, but hand-coding a website can be a big deal to someone just learning the basics of HTML; and the additional processes of adding drop-down menus, photos, calendars, links, and navigation bars can become quite tedious even for the skilled coder. When budgets allow, this is the point where most small business website owners decide the job is better left to a professional.
Enjoy The Fruits Of Your Labor
Once you have finally overcome the obstacle of building your professional site or having it built by one of the many pros in website design, you can enjoy your new web presence and feel confident knowing that you now have the ability to be located by scores of potential clients both near and far. But even with great website design the job is not yet done. You will have to stock that site just as you would stock a store with useful, meaningful web content (articles, information, reviews, and more) to deliver the information web searchers are looking for. Much as with web design, you have the option of developing this content on your own or hiring out the job to freelance writers and ghostwriting services. This, too, can be accomplished very economically, particularly when you consider the large return on good website content (because without content, there is nothing to find and no way for clients to find your new website).
Once you have built quality content into your site, you now have a resource that is open and ready for business. You’ll have an inviting business with information your target market is looking to find. You’ll have all the pieces to the website puzzle, and be firmly represented in your competition and peers.
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