While promoting my website design business I contact many small and medium size enterprises who don't have a website. Sometimes it is the perceived cost of a website that puts them off, but more often it is the belief that no one will want to contact them via the internet. The same companies would be horrified at the thought of not being in the telephone directory, but they don't appreciate how pervasive the internet has become and how important it is to have a presence.
Here are my 9 compelling reasons for having a website.
Customers expect to see you on the Internet. Many people (that's customers and potential customers) prefer to search for a company on the Internet rather than search their local Yellow Pages or newspaper.
To many, a business that is not on the Internet, for all intents and purposes, simply doesn't exist.
If you cannot meet this expectation then they will go to someone else. If you have no web site you have no chance to compete.
Open 24 hours a day
Anytime a customer wants to know about your company, it's products, opening hours or location they can get it with ease.
You business or organisation will be promoted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to the whole world. Nothing else offers this flexibility. Your web site won't take holidays, have time off sick or ask for a pay rise.
You can even save on your time or your employees time by adding a "Frequently Asked Questions" page. This way customers can get answers before calling you.
A Web site is an highly available, high-quality, interactive, full-color brochure listing all the goods and services you offer. It is a very effective and efficient way to communicate not only with potential customers, but also with employees and suppliers.
It can be easily updated, keeping your product listings and prices always accurate. Changes take effect as soon as they're posted online and everyone can see updated information without having to wait .
Improve your Businesses' Profile
You can build reputation, credibility and trust with potential customers. Web sites offer an ideal way of showcasing your previous work and accomplishments to potential customers.
There is also a large amount of prestige to having a website. It gives people the impression that you are savvy and smart enough to take your business up a level. Since a website is such a major convenience it also tells people that you are interested in sharing information with them.
Expand Your Business
The Internet takes away traditional business boundaries. When you go online people from all over the country, or even from around the world, will show up.
Somebody always wants your product or service. Promoting through the internet and drawing them in will help you expand.
If you are a not-for-profit organisation then a website will raise awareness and attract more donors. You can replace the distribution of costly printed materials and cold calling for support. You can attract a willing audience to your website and impress them with your message once they arrive.
Improve you Competitive Advantage
On a computer screen all companies play by the same rules. No matter what your size, a website offers your business the same advantage as your biggest competitors. A well designed website for even a one man operation can have the same presence as a multi-national corporation.
A web site is very cost effective. While it cannot replace your existing sales, advertising, retailing, customer support and public relations efforts, it makes all these business functions more effective. And though web site development is not without cost, the cost is limited. However the reach of your web site is worldwide and 24 hours per day. Publishing on the web is very inexpensive. Changing the information on your web site is also fast and efficient, whereas changing printed material can be costly and time consuming.
Compare the cost of a small ad in a magazine (which is only available for a limited time) or the cost of printing and mailing catalogues versus the cost of having a Web site, which is available 24 hours a day. Your customers can have the current information or price list for your goods or services at any time, just by looking at the relevant page on your website.
In addition your site can include features that no printed brochure or newspaper ad can offer, such as video and sound.
An interactive online catalogue makes your company's products accessible everywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Selling online is a cost-effective ways to sell anything. It comes without the customary overhead of a physical store, like building leases, employees who need to get paid whether or not the register is ringing, and the myriad of costs associated with keeping the store running (utilities, supplies, maintenance, etc.).
While there are certainly costs for hosting your site, keeping it secure, sales transactions, hiring a Web developer, and more, the costs of running an online store are predictably lower than having a physical store.
If you have a specialty product or service and working within a limited geographic area then you may be wasting a lot of money promoting your business to an audience that is largely uninterested. Move to online advertising and promoting and, apart from removing those geographic boundaries, you have access to the special interest groups that are on the Internet for virtually any subject.
By advertising exactly where your audience is, every penny you spend immediately becomes more valuable. So when an enthusiast sees your advertisement or reads about you on a message board, they go straight to your website. Never before has attracting a specialised audience been so direct and efficient.
Chris Johnson - firstname.lastname@example.org . Chris runs C.Itoi Ltd., a web site design and development business. Visit his site www.c-itoi.co.uk for more information.