If you still haven’t set up a website or blog for your small business, here are some ideas from the Bytestart team which may show why having an online presence is now essential rather than optional for most enterprises.
You may think that there is no point setting up a website for your business if you don’t conduct sales online, or even use email on a mass scale. These days, more and more potential clients and customers use the web to research products and services before approaching vendors or suppliers, which means that even a simple website can provide a useful window into your business world – rather like a brochure. You can provide the most basic details about the services you offer, as well as your contact details and even a map to help people find you.
The web provides a very low cost way of doing a variety of business tasks. The cost of buying a web address (domain name) and web hosting is also very cheap. You can pick up a .co.uk name for 2 years for £10, and shared server hosting should not set you back more than £80 per year. The only thing you might need to pay for, depending on your own level of expertise, is for some help designing your website and making it live.
Ease of Updating
Pre-Internet, you would have to update any published business information by hand, such as reprinting brochures or adverts when things changed. With the web, you can update your contact and product information in an instance. Content Management Systems do pretty much everything for you – WordPress being the most popular open source software out there currently.
The web has changed the world of retail more than any other sector. You can buy anything from shoes to car parts online, and the associated costs to retailers themselves have fallen dramatically, giving small businesses more of a chance of competing with their larger rivals.
Open All Hours
To state the obvious, your website will be live 24 hours per day, all year round, so potential customers may be looking at your pages while you are asleep. Of course, if you’re selling online, an eCommerce system can be taking care of any orders which are made whatever the time of day.
Due to the ease with which you can update your own website, you can test new ideas online without having to outlay any cash, or pay consultants. For example, if you are running an online shop on eBay, you can test new descriptions, graphics and prices safe in the knowledge that you can revert and changes with the flick of a switch.
By setting up your own business website, you will almost definitely save money, even if the savings are not immediately obvious. By creating an online presence, and spending some time promoting your site, you can contact a global customer base for just the cost of your own time. Aside from the obvious savings you can make by selling online, you can also access thousands of online tools to help you manage your business more efficiently – such as online accounting, webmail, and customer relationship management systems.
Moving your business (or just a part of it) online will save you money. The savings can be as small as the difference between corresponding with clients via email, compared to the cost of a landline call. If you spend time on web marketing, you can also gain new customers via search engines (such as Google and Yahoo!) – at minimal cost.