A Website Is A Must In Today’s Small Business World
Whether or not you sell online your neighborhood small business could use a website. Whether your small business is actually a traditional brick-and-mortar storefront, or exists entirely on the Internet you can expect to benefit considerably having an online presence. Customers can find and easily learn more about your company as well as the goods and services you have to offer from your own web site.
How often do you search in the internet based yellow pages for a particular small business, only to discover that they don’t have a web site? How frequently do members of the business community hand you a business card with an email address @hotmail.com, @gmail.com or the like? In today's business world it is amazing to see how many small businesses still don’t have a web presence.
I guess that they must be unaware of how much the Internet has swung from global type searches to local searches… a huge paradigm shift. This has mostly been brought about by the tremendous increase in the sales of smart phones, and the power available within them.
Lots of small businesses around the world currently are operating their company with no web-site. When the Internet keeps moving forward and advancing, your business needs to advance as well. If companies do not own or operate an online business as well as a physical business, they will lose out on sales and additional profits.
Numerous consumers these days research products online before they buy from a brick-and-mortar store. If you provide them with the information they seek as well as the ability to purchase immediately if possible, you may capture customers that would otherwise have ended up buying from your off-line competition.
A well-designed web site can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company onto your local small business. Internet marketing research firms predict that the number of online consumers will grow at a rate of 40 to 60 percent over the next few years. These numbers alone should be enough to persuade you that your business should have a website presence.
Right now there are so many valid reasons why owning and operating a website is important. Reaching your target market in your own neighborhood is one thing, but having a website allows you to reach your marketplace more than just locally. In some cases, a broader market doesn’t matter that much if your a plumber, painter, dentist, etc., but a website is still a must.
If you have a business and it is not online, this is a sizeable negative that needs to be dealt with immediately. Not only will having a web-site help your present clientele, with items such as your office hours, prices or services available, it will allow your online audience to see what great products and services you offer, and possibly inspire them into action!
Several additional folks and small firms are getting to be computer and Internet savvy, this means to stay atop of the competition, you need to have a website that is not only informative but functional and professional. If marketed properly you should have sales or contacts via your website that are valid and valuable.
Every business needs to have an advertising campaign, including your current website, because it is important to achieving success on the Internet. It's not good enough to just have a website, you need to invest time and money into your online business. Between pay per click advertising and search engine marketing, it is more important than ever to keep the online public aware of the services and goods you provide. Whether you decide to hire out the website creation tasks to a web design or marketing company or do the job yourself, it is very important to get your website presence out there.
Regardless of whether you’ve just decided to go into business for yourself, or you want to update your online information, you’ll absolutely need to take into consideration getting a website to help promote your small business. Here are some of the things you’ll want to include in your new website, as well as some tips on how you can build the site from scratch.
While you’re developing the content that you need for your new website, you need to make sure that you include as much information about the company as possible. This means putting your contact information on every page of the site, including an email address that customers can use, and a phone number that customers can call for sales or support.
A web-site is a fairly cheap business tool that serves a purpose for both you and your clients. For you, it is a fairly inexpensive way to advertise. Obtaining an appropriate domain name for your business does not cost very much any more. In fact, you can obtain a domain name from about $9 – $10 a year.
As soon as you have the domain name it can be yours forever, as long as you do not let it expire, but you are also going to need a webhosting provider (this is where your website is housed), at about $100. per year.
When you have a website you can list your website address on your business cards, flyers, and pamphlets, bulletin boards and even the company sign that you have hanging on the side of your building. In fact, you can save money on other marketing tools by having a website. For example, you can feature an electronic version of your catalog on your website, with no limit on size. You can describe all of your products and services in greater detail because space on your website is significantly less expensive then full color print. And what happens if you need to make a change, such as if you delete or add products or services? Are you going to reprint all of your printed marketing materials? On a website, you have the ability to make the necessary changes at no additional costs.
Your clientele will have the benefit of reading about your company and the goods and services you offer on their own time. In today's world, people lead very busy lives when you consider the commitment of their careers and family. By having a well displayed website, you lend yourself to the convenience of your clients. They can come to you when they want to. If you add a "Contact Us" link onto your website, it gives your customers the capability to contact you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can drive traffic to your site to learn all about your company and what you have to offer. Your potential clients can get a much better idea about your business because you can feature multiple pages on your site with greater details about the different aspects of your company, products and services. You can even provide directions to your place of business, making it easier for customers to find you.
By having a web presence, you expand your market place a great deal. You make yourself available to people in other time zones and even across the globe rather than the limited market audience you can reach in your local geographical area. And at a fraction of the cost! With a website there is less need to send out expensive mailings to purchased mail lists that are often unreliable. Even those mailings that do make it to the target audience are thrown away without ever being looked at.
Internet marketing and advertising is more relevant to a specific audience. The clients who visit your website are there because they have a specific interest in your company's product or service, which you can use to your advantage. You can allow customers or potential customers to sign up for a newsletter or sales flyer, which you can send to them via e-mail. By collecting e-mail addresses from willing visitors to your website you can stay in touch with them without having to pay for printing or postage.
The bottom line is this… whether you are a small business operator, entrepreneur, or specialist, you need a website. In the world we live in increasingly people are turning to the Internet to find information, and if you don't have a presence on the Internet you will not only be making it more difficult for people to find you, but you will be sending the wrong message.
Here is a “quick hitting” list of positive aspects that are a consequence of having a website for your business:
- Create an experienced and reputable image. Your organization must make the leap into the 21st century if it is to be considered qualified in today’s marketplace. Today, customers, employees, and suppliers expect to be able to find and communicate with a business online. It is very much like being listed in the yellow pages, if you do not have a listing, potential customers will not be able to find you and trust you? Organizations that still do not have a web presence are inadvertently making a statement about their ability to embrace technology and adapt to change in today’s dynamic environment. For a small business, a well-designed website is a great way of creating credibility and looking bigger than you actually are. You can look like one of the big corporations at a very small cost. When one compares the cost of establishing a website to what it costs to promote a business on the traditional media (newspaper, radio, television), it is evident that a website is the cheapest form of marketing ever created.
- Access new markets with a worldwide target audience. The Internet is the most cost effective way to trade nationally and internationally. A web-site will widen your horizons. You can generate more and more clients for your business without doing additional marketing. Today, more and more customers are making purchases through the Internet. Why should you limit your business to your immediate locale when the whole world may be your potential market? Thanks to the Internet, it is as easy to sell halfway across the world as it is to sell across the street.
- You’ll be open for business 24/7. Your company is open to the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with no labor costs to watch it.
- Your own Internet identity – your own domain name (www.yourcompany.com) establishes a strong online brand identity, and allows you to set up email addresses specific to your own company. Today, email is the most common method to communicate successfully and professionally with the remainder of the world.
- Enhanced customer care – you can provide 24 hour customer services without hiring any additional employees. Your customers are better served when they can access information about your product or services immediately via your website rather than waiting for a mailed brochure or a return telephone call. In today’s fast-paced market, how quickly and conveniently customers can access the information or purchase the product is frequently the factor that determines who will win the sale. Provide answers to frequently asked questions on your website. Information requests can be processed immediately via online forms and autoresponders whether someone is in the office or not.
- Develop a services or products showcase – provide photos and detailed descriptions of your services and goods. Make clear why your services or products are superior to your competition. Show them how your goods and services will help them in their personal or professional lives.
- Automation, productivity, and profitability – through Internet automation you can increase productivity and profitability. Online automation can reduce costs for advertising, sales personnel, and other support staff. A website increases your company’s productivity because less time is spent explaining product or service details to customers since such information would be available 24 hours a day on your website. A website saves costs by allowing users to download invoices, proposals, and other important documents. Your website can also allow the customers, employees, and suppliers to have their email address added to your mailing list. Sending an email to your entire email list can be done at virtually no cost.
- Spend less on publishing and distribution costs – a website is your online brochure or catalog that can be changed or updated at anytime at a much cheaper and faster rate than print material. It saves you money on printing and distribution costs.
- Market your products and services on-line – selling through your website is much cheaper and a great way to supplement your offline business. Providing secure online ordering is very affordable today.
- Harmony – you could move your place of business, change your phone number, or even change your hours, but your website address never changes, and your website is always open.
- Promote your services – lawyers, doctors, financial consultants, entertainers, realtors and all service oriented businesses should take advantage of the massive reach of the Internet. Millions of users are logging on to the web to compare various specialists and practitioners before they purchase a specialized service.
- Customer comments – you can gather information about your existing and potential clients by using online forms and surveys. Provide a feedback form to make it easy for your customers to send their input. Conduct surveys to find out how you can improve your products and services. Your site statistics can also help you understand how your visitors and customers use your site.
- Worldwide exposure – there are lots of methods for you to market your website to boost prominence, drive targeted traffic, and get worldwide exposure for your business. You can register your site with various search engines and directories that reach more than 800 million Internet users around the world. Most of the search engines and directories allow free registration of websites. Leverage the massive reach of the Internet and the precision targeting of the search engines and directories. You can send press releases to news media about your website that features unique aspects of your organization. You can also promote your site through free banner advertising on various link exchange networks.
- Make money using your internet site – you can also earn income for sales, leads, and traffic driven from merchant links and ads placed on your site. Take advantage of free access to various affiliate networks on the Internet.
- Fantastic recruiting tool – you can post job opportunities with your company on your website. Your website is a great recruiting tool for building your business.
- Viral marketing without a marketing cost – you can have your satisfied customers refer you to their friends and relatives through an online form on your website.
- Boost your marketing effectiveness – your website address on all of your promotions will give your company a cutting edge corporate image and it will encourage the viewers to check your site for additional information. The addition of your website address on your ad increases your exposure without adding any cost.
- Instruct your potential customers – your internet site can supply free advice about your services and products including ideas and suggestions for maximizing the benefit of your products.
All varieties of individuals and freelancers can achieve the same above-mentioned benefits from a web presence. Lawyers, doctors, financial consultants, entertainers, realtors, and all service oriented professionals and freelancers should take advantage of the massive reach of the Internet.
For an individual, a website and a personal domain name can be useful in many ways. Here is another “quick hitting” list of benefits that result from having a website for your profession:
- Long-lasting identity – a domain name is your personal and unique identity on the Internet. You can set up a personal or family website that may feature your family history, resumes of family members, family photos, travel photos, etc.
- Custom made email address – you can have an individualized email address such as email@example.com. Your personalized email is lifelong as long as you keep your domain name and website. You never have to worry about updating friends and family with a new email address when you change your job or Internet service provider.
- Help to make contact/keep in touch with family members – your website can help you establish and maintain contact with others and network with your peers. Many families are spread across the country and around the world. Family members often miss out on precious moments such as new babies, first steps, graduations, birthdays, weddings, etc. If you have a website, you can post pictures and videos of your family on your site so that everyone can keep up to date.
- Showcase for your hobby or craft – set up a website around your hobby, sport or craft. You can feature your work or collections. It may even be the beginning of a home-based business.
- Club or local community organization – set up a website around a community organization or a club you started.
- Children’s web-site – give your children a head start in the information revolution by giving them their very own website.
- Domain name as an investment – you may keep your personal domain name as an investment. Many common personal domain names will become scarce and valuable assets that are likely to increase in value. The personal domain name registration rush has begun. Most of the common first and last names in the world have already been registered. You may still be able to get some variations of your name or your family name for your domain. Act now before it’s too late.
- Share material – on your website, you may post information that would be helpful or interesting to others around the world.
- World-wide exposure – there are numerous ways you can promote your site to get worldwide exposure. You can register your site with various search engines and directories that reach more than 800 million Internet users around the world. Many of the search engines like Google and directories allow for free registration of websites. You can send press releases to news media about your website that features unique aspects of your club or hobby. You can also promote your site through free banner advertising on various link exchange networks.
- Make money from your internet site – it’s also possible to produce revenue for sales, leads, and traffic driven from merchant links and ads placed on your site. Take advantage of free access to various affiliate networks on the Internet.
So, How Can I Help You?
I am a website developer, websites are one of my specialties, and I help thumb area small business owners bring their business into the online world.
You took the first step by reading this article. This is great for you, believe me you are one step ahead of others who still have no idea about the importance of having a website for their business. Now, it is up to you to take your second step, which would be to create a website for your business, and better serve your customers.
Let me help you in this process by creating a great website for your business. You can have your website up and running within a few days from now and start interacting with your customers in an improved way.
At the moment, I am offering a very special discount for a limited number of businesses and if you act soon you will be eligible for that discount.
If you have any questions about anything related to the Internet, websites, or if you want to discuss the details please contact us.