How often do you do an internet search for a particular business, only to find that they don't have a website? How often do members of the business community hand you a business card with an email address @yahoo.com or the like? In today's business world it's amazing to see how many businesses still do not have a web presence. You probably know some businesses that do phenomenally well without a website . I do, too. But if often wonder how much better they could be doing if they did have one.
- Professionalism: Having a website lends your company an air of professionalism that just can't be had with a Gmail or Yahoo email account. Yourname@YourBusiness.com is so much more polished! One of the best benefits of having a well-thought-out website is that it adds credibility to your business--no matter how young or small your business is.
- Visibility: By creating a website you stop being invisible to the people trying to find you online. No one with any kind of spending money uses a phone book anymore. Instead, they let their keyboards do the work with an Internet search. If you don't have a website, there's no chance of you showing up and you never even enter into their thought process. Can you afford to be invisible?
- Sales Tool: The main objectives of a website should be to inform, engage and convert your audience. Your website can be a powerful sales tool, one that allows you to address your customers' concerns and and give them the information to make a decision. Your website is a place you can go to seek out trusted information about your company. Use it to build confidence in your brand and give customers important buying information.
- Convenience: Your clients will have the convenience of reading about your company and the services and products you offer on their own time. Your clients are just as busy as you are. By having a well-presented website, you lend yourself to the convenience of your clients. They can come to you when they want to...even if you aren't open for business.
- Market Expansion: By having a web presence, you make yourself available to people in other time zones and even across the globe rather than the limited market audiences you can reach in your own geographical area. The people 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.
- Changeability: Printed material, while still very necessary, can be expensive and troublesome to keep updated. With a website, you can easily let the public know of changes to your hours of operation, product or service offerings, business address or phone number, staff, etc..
It's not difficult to get a website anymore. In fact, you can get a domain name and hosting for $100 a year or less. Designing a website takes time and a bit more money, but if you're a business that can do without a custom-designed website, you have some very inexpensive options at your disposal. At the top of my recommendation list is a Wordpress site. You don't need to know HTML or CSS to build a website for yourself, just a little time and dedication. If you are without an ounce of technology intuition you could contract the work out for a small fee. Then have the designer show you how to run the back end so you can maintain it yourself.
The moral of the story is this--whether you are a small business owner, inventor, entrepreneur, artist, author, musician, or band, you need a website. Increasingly people are turning to the Internet to find information. If you aren't there, how will they find you? Without an effective internet presence, your competitors are the winners.