Many small businesses are put off from using a website because they have a number of concerns that they feel may make setting up the website more trouble than it is worth. However they are an important part of the business as a whole and also a crucial part of any marketing strategy. The ten most common questions that businesses have about using websites are answered below.
1. Is A Website Really Necessary?
Whether your small business needs a website will depend on your objectives for the business. If you are already happy with the amount of customers you have, or your workload is too heavy then you may not want to use a website because it may lead to attracting customers that you will not be able to help. However, for most businesses, attracting and communicating with customers is vital and having a website can help you achieve this. It is a chance to show the world what you can do for your customers that other businesses can’t. It can also be updated as often as is needed which provides you with the opportunity to keep your customers informed of the latest developments within your company. A small business will often need to take as many opportunities as it can to get it’s marketing message out and a website can present such an opportunity on a daily basis.
2. How Much Will It Cost?
There are three main costs associated with using a website. The major expense is developing the site which can cost anything upwards of $500. However, this is only a one off expense and once the website has been developed it is yours to use for life. Hosting a website means the website can be found on the internet by your customers. The annual cost of this is usually no more than $100. Finally you will need to pay to register your domain name which is the address that your website will have on the internet which is unique to you. This is another annual expense and will usually cost around $20. If you decide to have any additional services for your website such as multiple email accounts or marketing services then this may cost more but it is possible to find a hosting service that can offer these services as part of a package with the hosting included which may save you money on the overall cost. A website developer can advise you about which services your small business will benefit the most from and about the price that you should be doing.
3. Do I Still Need A Website Even If I Have A Page Elsewhere?
If your small business has a listing on Yellow Pages or a similar directory site then this is one way that your customers will be able to find you. However, this listing is only likely to give basic contact details and may not give customers all the information that they are looking for. It will certainly not give all the information that they would find on your website. There is nothing to stop you using these types of sites once you have a website and in fact they can complement each other as part of your overall marketing strategy. By including a link to your website as part of your listing then you are giving potential customers the opportunity to find out exactly what you can offer them. Customers who use these types of site are more likely to use a company that has a link to their own website as these companies are likely to be perceived as legitimate by customers. A website developer will be able to arrange for you to post your links on directory sites as part of your listing.
4. Do I Need A Website If I Don’t Sell Merchandise Online?
A website should not just be viewed as another avenue for you to sell your goods but as a way to connect with your customers. Your small business may not have anything that can be sold online, for example if it is a restaurant or a hotel. Even if you have nothing to sell, allowing customers to make reservations online through the use of a website is a service that is likely to be appreciated by your existing customers and may help attract potential new customers. More people than ever before are using the internet to find specific types of businesses in an area and the use of mobile phones and tablets has only seen this trend grow. It is important that your small business has some form of online marketing as part of their advertising strategy and a website can help you achieve this. A website developer can help you design your site so it is more likely to be found by potential new customers.
5. I Don’t Have A Computer So How Can I Obtain A Website?
If you do not have a computer then it may be time to consider purchasing one. Having access to a computer can make all areas of running your small business easier, from ordering stock to record keeping. Even if you do not feel comfortable using the computer yourself, you may have an employee that would be able to do the work on your behalf. Maintaining a website is also something that can be done by the company that developed it, if such a company was used. This may be the best option for you to use as this company will often have a team of website developers that are all experienced in helping a small business set up and manage their websites. Any new information or marketing messages that you want including on your site can be passed onto that company who will make the necessary updates for you. In order to be able to respond quickly to your customers, you or an employee should have a basic understanding of how to send and receive email.