Are you one of the few retailers without a website? Actually, half of our customers don’t have one. You might feel you don’t need a website because your business is very small, or you think your customers already know how to find you. Or maybe you don’t have the time, money or expertise to do it. Let me tell you why you can’t afford to wait any longer.
Last year, online sales were up 14%. Most consumers research products online before they purchase. More importantly, 60% of the world has a mobile phone, and half of those have internet access thanks to smartphones.
Why Every Business Needs a Website
- 1. People expect it in today’s world.
- 2. If you have an e-commerce site, it’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days week.
- 3. Opens up a world of new business.
- 4. Gives you a place to direct customers with common questions.
- 5. Showcases your products with photos, video and what you’re about.
- 6. Allows you to get personal through conversational blogs.
- 7. Promotes your business so you can list your web address on all advertising media, stationery and business cards.
Completely Custom Design
If you have the budget, I recommend hiring a professional to design your website. This will allow you to focus on what you do best which is running your business. The one downside is that updates and changes may require going through them.
If you have the time and want more control, you can create a website yourself. Our IT and Graphics Departments recommend using Word Press. This free online software can be configured as a portfolio site to showcase products, a blog site or even an e-commerce site for low volume items. Many web hosts provide a one-click Word Press installation at no additional cost. You can find online tutorials to educate yourself like this great one – Build Your Own Business Website. We also recommend StartLogic and WIX for easy website templates.
Another great option is hiring a professional to customize a Word Press site for you. This is the best of both worlds: you get a professional-looking site which you can update yourself. Many web designers offer Word Press customizations and then turn the site over to you. With minimal instruction you will be able to post news, photos and other content as your business grows.
However you decide to build your site, you will need to have it hosted on a server so it’s live for the world to see. Hosting is less than $10 per month and there are dozens companies out there like GoDaddy and Yahoo who host. Many even offer inexpensive web design services or free domain registration.
Taking the First Step
Your very first step will be to secure your domain name or URL. Purchase your business name as a dot com (.com) if at all possible. You can see what is available through companies like Go Daddy. If your name is already taken, try using your business name with a slight variation like your city, for example, www.AtoZGiftsNashville.com.
The bottom line is this – you must view your online marketing efforts not as an expense but as an investment. Get the very best you can afford since it’s a reflection on you and your brand, and always give your customers every reason to do business with you.
Please share your website suggestions with our other customers by commenting below.
Internet Advertising Manager