Do Small Businesses Need To Have A Website?
In one word, yes! The internet is the most effective marketing tools in existance nowadays. It has the capability of reaching far more people than any leaflet drop or advertisement in the local paper ever will. It works for you 24/7 and simply put, is your shop window. The lights are always on!
Should you produce your own website?
It all depends on your skills and whether or not you have time. If you have the ability to produce a site that looks good and works well, then go ahead, it will save you money in the long run and will work wonders as a marketing tool. However if your skills are limited or non-existant then I’d say no. Why? No, not because I want your money (although I don’t mind if you want to spend with me of course…), because if your site doesn’t have a professional look, then it is going to reflect badly on your company’s image. I see plenty of sites out there which have been cobbled together. They probably work but they look unprofessional and clunky. There are plenty of online B.I.Y. (build-it-yourselves) website companies and you can get a pretty good looking site for a low cost or free. However it seems that some will drip charge you for wanting extras and SEO and Ecommerce etc., which can raise the costs. To have your website well placed on the Searches takes time and can cost quite a bit.
Do you need to spend lots of money?
It really depends on the size of your intended website. If you’re looking simply get a presence on the internet, then you can easily get something for around £200 to £500 if you take the time to look. If you’re really getting into the idea of being online and effectively having a shop existing in cyberspace, you’re going to be looking at spending more money.
What content do you need?
This all depends on what you want from being online. If you want to sell online, having your products online is going to prove very useful! If you’re just looking to get your company online, then there are TWO elements that I believe are imperative:
- Information about your company
- How to contact you
Without these two vital elements, no-one is going to know who or what you are, what you do and where you are. This is your chance to sell yourself. Remember when people look at a website, if it’s well designed they won’t know if they’re dealing with a multi-national company or a one person organisation. Your site needs to demonstrate what you do and how you can solve other people’s problems.
What to do now?
So you’re convinced a website is the way to go? Excellent, this can only be of benefit to you! Now you’ve got to find a designer (hello… there’s one right here!). What kind of style are you looking for? Find some websites that you like the look of then find a designer and see if they can produce something along those lines! If they can, you’re on the way to bringing into being what can be one of your best employees!
I think that pretty much everyone looks for a website when they are searching a service or product. It also creates a form of reality for those people. Something tangible. It’s a bit like walking into that shop on the high street and seeing for yourself what the business does and can do for you. Of course, once upon a time no one had a website. We used brochures! Printed and glossy. Your website can do all this for you now and you don’t have those print costs… every time you want to run an update!
MD Web Design Imagineers