You know that your friends have launched new websites for their companies. You've thought about doing it, but you weren't sure how it would benefit your company. But now's the time to secure a web presence to help grow your small business.
Here are few a things a website will do for your business:
1. Broaden your potential customer base to the entire online world. You're not limited to local people picking up a phone book or reading your print ads in the newspaper. Anyone with internet access becomes a potential customer. And who doesn't use the internet to do research, these days?
2. Answer questions and explain the benefits of your business 24/7. Your potential customers don't have to wait until office hours to call you. They don't have to wait for a return call if you're on another line. By searching your website they can find out exactly what you're offering to do for them, read your company's mission statement, see your answers to the FAQ section, and find out where to email or call you for more information.
3. Make you an expert. People go online to find out information from someone who knows what they're talking about. You can be that expert if you provide current, helpful information. It increases your credibility and positions you as an authority in your industry's knowledge domain.
4. Create an interactive environment for your customers. Your site can have a place for comments or questions or even a survey asking what your customers would like to see added to your page or to your product line. If you aren't inviting dialog with your customers, you're missing out on an opportunity to get them engaged with your company and build your brand.
5. Keep your information current. A website isn't like spending thousands of dollars to print full-color brochures that are obsolete before you finish distributing them. Websites can be set up with reasonable fees and expanded when needed. You can update content whenever you choose to.
6. Sell your services night and day. Your page can be set up to directly process orders online. You get up in the morning to find out you made sales while you were sleeping. You can make your website work for you to develop a passive income stream.
7. Explain your service in as much detail as your potential customer wants, or as little. Some people want to skim web pages and read headlines or lists. Other people want all the details. A good webpage is set up to make both happy.
8. Show you understand technology. A webpage brings your company up to speed with other companies. It shows that you "get it", and know how to use technology to improve your level of customer service.
9. Increases awareness of your business to people who normally wouldn't seek you out. People might not scan the phone book, but they do scan the web. And if your webpage is set up properly and optimized with the right content, you can pull in customers who weren't even aware they needed your service. Until your webpage explains to them why they do!
10. Test new products and advertisements quickly. Instead of sending out an expensive direct mail package to a few thousand people and then waiting to find out the results, you can test new products and marketing ideas on the web cheaply and quickly. If it doesn't work, you can easily tweak the ads and try again.
Choosing a Web Design Company
Now that you're convinced you need a website, you have to choose a web design company. This is a large subject and outside the scope of this post, so I will give you a brief overview.
A good web design company will custom tailor your website as a solution to your unique business problem. They will discuss your goals and initiatives moving forward and how a website fits into that plan strategically. They will openly discuss the cost-benefit analysis of different website features and can give you a detailed quote explaining exactly how much a webpage will cost your company.
Perform due diligence and find someone that you can trust and rely on, not just the cheapest provider. After all you don't want to have to redesign your website 1 year down the line because the initial website is just sitting there rather than working for you to accomplish your business objectives.