It's easy to build a Web site. Anyone can do it
for little or no money. What is not easy is building a successful
it. So how do you do it? Start by asking yourself: "Why do I
need a web site? What will it accomplish for my business?"
The biggest mistake you can make is to build a Web site that doesn't
do anything for you. This may seem obvious, but too many companies
build Web sites simply because they believe it would be neat, or
because their competitors have one. Without a real purpose, a Web
site is just a complete waste of time.
By the way, there is always a good purpose for starting a web site
- you just have to discover it. Just look at all the great things
that will happen to you when you start your own web site:
will be open 24 hours a day. This means you won't have to stay
open on Thanksgiving or Christmas day. If you live on
the East Coast, people from California will still be able to shop
in your store after you close. Any time someone wants to know your
hours, location, directions, or any other details about your company,
they can get it without disturbing you.
costs. When you have a web site, you can offer your products and
services without hiring any extra employees. You won't
have to spend any resources on compensating or insuring your new
staff members and still be able to maintain the same level of sales
and customer service.
new customers. Because anyone in the world can see your web site,
you will gain customers from other states and
countries while you are putting in the same amount of effort and
image of a well established company. The Internet is a great medium through
which you can create any image of yourself
you want. It is all in your hands: design a professional web site,
add helpful content, and your company will immediately take a step
up in the image it represents. No matter how small your business
is, with the right tools and a great desire you can make it look
like a corporation on the Web!
Save on postage
and printing costs. Think of how many cards you mail out to let
customers know about your sale. All of that can be
eliminated by putting the sale information on your web site and inviting
your customers to visit it. You can collect your customers' E-Mail
addresses and keep in touch with them about special events in your
store via E-Mail.
advertisement. If you ever advertised in a local newspaper, you know the costs.
You are being charged per line, per inch, and
per color. On the Web, there is no limit to how much you can put.
You can add pictures, articles, newsletters, rates, product images
and so much more! With just one web site, you can have almost unlimited
advertisement for the same low monthly cost (under $25 a month!)
Improve communications. If you have employees or suppliers, your web site is the best way
to communicate between you and them. Changes
take effect as soon as you post them on the Web, and everyone can
see updated information without having to wait for a new database
of products, and without contacting you directly.
customer service. This is a dream of any
my product and leave me alone". By this I mean that business
owners do not like to spend time explaining to customers how to use
the product, how to install it, troubleshoot it, clean it, move it,
turn it, and whatever else can be done to a purchased item.
A web site
will become your best friend in meeting the needs of your customers. It
will answer all their questions. Simply create
a page of "Frequently Asked Questions" and include its
address on every receipt. This way, before they come to you for help,
they will come to your web site for answers.
presence - in step with your competitors. You must
think of the Internet as a gigantic Yellow Pages book. More
people use the Web to shop for information, services and products.
If you are not there - your competitors are! Can you imagine not
being in Yellow Pages and try to reach local market? Unless you spend
a lot of money on newspaper ads and other local promotions - no one
will know your business exists. The same thing with the Internet.
If people can't find your company on the Web, you might as well not
alternate purchasing method. Many people do not like
to shop in the stores, malls and any other noisy places (I am first!).
They are afraid of long walks, pressure from sales people, sneezing
customers and bumping shopping carts. Once they discover online shopping
- they will never go back to the stores unless absolutely necessary.
By putting your products online, you satisfy the needs of such customers
and therefore succeed in one more niche.
work. Whether you are a real estate agent, construction business
owner or a beauty salon specialist - you can put your work
on display when you have a web site. Anytime a potential client wants
to see your past work and projects, simply refer him or her to your
site. No need to scan and mail pictures, or bring your client to
a finished building project.
Costs are very low. When I interviewed
the manager of NY State Nissan dealership, he shared with me the
costs of running
an online ad compared to a newspaper or any other printed advertisement.
He said, "We can run a whole month of advertisements online
for the same amount of money we pay for one newspaper ad!" That's
right, on an online promotion you can spend $97 a month, while paying
10 times that much for a one-time large ad in a magazine!
competition to the top. Competition online is huge today! There are over 3,000,000
sites on the Web and this number is growing.
Still, I see at least 5 businesses a month who are not online and
getting a web site is not in their near future plans. Why am I telling
you this? Because if THEY don't get a web site - YOU have a better
chance at succeeding. Insurance, home improvement, gift shops and
other companies are among those I see dragging their feet in putting
their businesses online. This means if you do it now, before EVERY
company is online, you will be among the pioneers!
Yep, that's right - Internet is still in its babyhood, no matter
how many web sites there are out there. It has been less than a decade
since companies decided to use web sites as part of their marketing
strategies. Can you imagine what it will be like in 20-30 years??
Even if you are not planning to sell directly online, people will
find your web site and contact you about the services you offer.
You can place your web site address in your newspaper ads and any
other promotional materials to make people aware of your web site.
ABSOLUTELY NEEDS A WEB SITE!
us to request a quote, or for
more information about our website services.
Nastetskaya, (author of this article) is a full-time web developer
author of 3 books: "Create Your First Business
Web Site in 10 days!", "65 Instant Web Answers!", "How
To Install and Troubleshoot CGI scripts"