Do you know why you want a Web site? Can you articulate in a few words what you want to accomplish with it?
Back in 1997, I was asked by a professional acquaintance if I thought every company should have a Web site. (In 1997, having an entire year of website experience under my belt, I was considered a leading expert in my professional circles.) At the time, my answer was, “Well, not every company necessarily needs a Web site. Here are some things to consider in deciding if you need one ….”
Today, my answer would be a definitive, “Yes, you absolutely need a Web site. If you’re not on the Internet you don’t exist.” These days, if you’re only listed in the Yellow Pages, for a lot of people you simply never appear on their radar. If you don’t have a Web site, you’ll lose customers and clients to businesses that do.
As more and more people turn to the Internet first for information, your presence on the web becomes ever more important. More and more folks use the Web to find out movie times, look up the local dry cleaner’s hours, search for a home, compare prices, find a plumber, and do their holiday shopping. Even if your product or service doesn’t lend itself well to selling online, you need an internet presence so that customers, potential customers, investors, and others can quickly and easily find out who you are, where you are, what you do, how to contact you, and when you’re open for business. Nearly every type of business and organization can benefit from having a Web site.
Your budget doesn’t have to suffer, either: We’ll work with you to develop a site within a budget you can afford. Buying your own domain name (www.example.com) has dropped to record low levels: You can pick up a domain name for about $15 a year. You can probably get suitable hosting for a few dollars a month.
Here are just a few of the reasons you might need a Web site:
- Online sales (also known as e-commerce or e-tailing) — you can supplement your bricks-and-mortar operation with your online store.
- Customer service and support — This can include anything from a special area where customers can sign in to place orders or seek assistance, or it can be as simple as an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) to answer many of the most common questions that tie up your sales staff.
- Provide business location and contact info — Even the simplest Web site will allow you to list your hours of operation, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail addresses, maps to your store, restaurant menus, store sales, and other information.
- Stay in touch with your customers — By offering a mailing list or newsletter that your customers can sign up for, you can stay in touch with them throughout the year, letting them know about sales or other special offers, offering industry information or buying tips — and keeping your name in front of them on a continuing basis.
- Make yourself more available to customers or potential customers — Give your customers more ways to reach you and find out about you, at their convenience. No longer will early risers have to wait until 8 am to call and find out what time you open. No longer will people be unable to get simple questions answered just because it’s after hours.
- Answer pre-sales questions and provide after-sales support — You can include on your Web site product specifications, manuals, instructions, and many other types of information that will help keep your customers happy.
- Supplement other advertising and promotional efforts — Ad space and airtime in traditional media can get expensive, as can direct mail. You may not always be able to include all the information you’d like to in your other advertising efforts. But you can always include a single line with your Web site address so that people who are interested can get more information.
- Reach a wider audience — A bed-&-breakfast, restaurant or nightclub, car rental company, or other business that gets lots of out-of-town business may advertise with the local newspapers and radio stations. But can you afford to advertise in the thousands of media outlets where your out-of-town visitors come from? Probably not. Travelers frequently use the Web to find local businesses they’ll want to visit while traveling, and your Web site helps them to find you.
The better able you are to define clearly why you want a Web site, the better able we’ll be to create a Web site you’ll be happy with. And we’ll be happy to work with you to define and prioritize your goals — Because deciding you need an online presence isn’t enough… You need a professionally developed Web site that will be effective at meeting your goals and helping your business prosper.
Contact Tropical Web Works today for your free initial consultation.