A Website? Do I really need one?

Q: My business is very small, just me and two employees, and our product really can't be sold online. Do I really need a website?


A:
That's a good question. In fact, it's one of the most important and most frequently asked questions of the digital business age.

Our answer would be: Yes, if you have a business, you should have a website. Period. No question. Without a doubt.

Also, don't be so quick to dismiss your product as one that can't be sold online. Nowadays, there's very little that can't be sold over the internet. Tens of millions of shoppers are now online, purchasing everything from books to computers to cars to real estate to jet airplanes to natural gas to you name it. If you can imagine it, someone will figure out how to sell it online.

Let me clarify one point: I'm not saying you should put all your efforts into selling your wares over the internet, though if your product lends itself to easy online sales, you should certainly be considering it. The point to be made here is that you should at the very least have a presence on the web so that customers, potential employees, business partners and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer.

You also mention that yours is a small business, but when it comes to benefiting from a website, size does not matter. I don't care if you're a one-man show or a 10,000-employee corporate giant; if you don't have a website, you're losing business to other companies that do.
 

THE PAST

In the past, when your customers were looking for a product or service, their first choice would be to pull out a phone book and search for a store or company in their area that provided the product or service they needed. Sometimes they only found a name and phone number. Other times they would get and address. Rarely would they find a photo advertisement with a list of services or products offered.
 

TODAY

With the Internet today, that same customer can go to a search engine like Google or Yahoo and be presented with a list of businesses that fit their needs, with links to their web pages. Those web pages are loaded with product pictures, descriptions, instructions, price lists, maps and phone numbers, and even online shopping which allows the customer to order products and services all without ever leaving their house or office.

Perhaps you have a "service" oriented practice such as accounting, consulting or law that's already doing well and you're wondering why you should burden yourself with the added expense and effort of a Web site. Simply, not having a web site will soon be like not having a listing in your local phone book. In the Web world, this is referred to as a "corporate presence." Even if your best business comes by word-of-mouth, your potential customers may still want to check you out. A well-designed, professional web site will give you added visibility and credibility. The cost of maintaining a Web site is probably the most cost effective advertising you'll ever do. A quarter page ad in the phone book can cost hundreds of dollars per month, a 30 page website may only cost twenty.

Today, the Internet is one of the first places a person who has access to a computer will go to get information. The Internet 'IS' information. Whether it's information on weather, travel or a specific product or service, the Internet is THE place your customers look to for information.

That said, it's not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously. Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer. If your site looks like it was designed by a barrel of colorblind monkeys, your chance at making a good first impression will be lost.

It's actually better to have no website at all than to have one that makes your business look bad. Your site speaks volumes about your business. It either says, "Hey, look, we take our business so seriously that we have created this wonderful site for our customers!" or it screams, "Hey, look, I let my 10-year-old nephew design my site. Good luck finding anything!"

Your website is an important part of your business. Make sure you treat it as such.

 

Okay, I am convinced, I need a web site... what do I do now?

First, you need to decide what information you would like to offer on your site. This can be as brief as one page describing who you are, where you are, what you do and how to contact you. It can be as comprehensive as you wish. You can include as many pages as you like describing your products and services or offering information you feel is relative to the needs of your customers and prospective customers.

 

Web Designing

You need someone to design your website for you. That's where we will help.  We take your information and pictures, brochures, or other graphics and combine them to make a professional website. We’ll work closely with you to make sure you get what you need and want.

 

Web Hosting

Next, you need to have someplace to store your pages so they can be accessed by all Internet users. This is called a Web "Host." EyeDeoSol offers several hosting packages that can facilitate the needs of your website.

Once the design is complete we will load it to the web host server, test everything and make any last minute updates or corrections necessary. We will also assist you in setting up email accounts and demonstrate how to get the most out of your site.

 

Maintenance

Once your web site is up and running, there will still be maintenance and update issues. You may want to add pages or other services. Perhaps you need to make a few changes in the text of your pages. If you have someone in your company who is able to do this for you, you're all set. If not, you'll need someone to take care of these things for you. We can do that too!

 

Advertise your website + SEO

Now you have a website, it is hosted, updated and ready to go. How do your customers or potential customers find you among the millions of sites on the web? The first thing you should do is place your site name or URL (ex. www.eyedeosol.com) on all your printed material (invoices, checks, business cards, etc.) on your vehicles, on your ads and anywhere else it makes sense. Do a press release and send an email announcement to all your customers.

From here you may want to be listed in search engines like Google. We offer several services which will help you get your site listed on the major search engines. We also use advanced SEO (search engine optimization) techniques to get your site a forceful web presence.

Now you are ready to go.

 

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