- It really doesn’t matter what business you operate. It could be a shoe store, a B & B, a photography studio, grocery store, bakery or you offer lawn mowing. You must have a website – if only to list your services or products and contact information. That is the minimum you must have on your website if you are a business looking for new customers or maintaining your current one.
- Let’s look at the reason why many businesses don’t have a website. In doing some research and speaking with many small business owners many are still intimidated by the process, do not understand the importance of having one or think they can get along without one. And yes, they can probably still operate without having a website but think how much better their business could be if they did have one.
- Let’s use a shoe store for example. You own a local shoe store and since you live in a small town, everyone knows you and come to you when they need shoes. Wrong. Yes, your regular customers probably will still come to you because they know and like you. What about those potential customers who are searching for a specific brand of shoe that you carry but don’t know anything about you? Today’s customers do not get in their car and drive from store to store looking for something. They do a search online for exactly what they are looking for and when they find it (online) they will either contact the business directly via email or telephone and arrange a purchase or get specifics. By not having a website you have just lost that potential customer who prefers to shop online. They will probably be shopping at your competitor’s business or purchasing from another business hundreds of miles away.
- A local bakery usually has weekly specials or promotions they like to offer their customers. What better way of getting the message out than posting promotions or sales on your website maybe offering coupons, contests, etc? This is a form of advertising you cannot neglect. Combine this with a bit of social media and you will get results you could not have seen without advertising online with your website.
- Don’t let the website terminology scare you. It’s not a foreign language, even though it may seem so. Here are some descriptions to help you understand what is involved.
Think of having a website as the same as having a physical location.
- You need an address – IP address/website
- A physical location – domain name – usually it is the name of you or your business and must be purchased.
- A landlord – web-hosting company – I usually recommend that the domain name and hosting company be different
- Different areas of the store – web pages
- Doors that people enter and leave from – bandwidth
- Janitor – website designer / maintainer
That’s enough for now. Next, we will break these down further and I will show you how easy it is to have a website for your business with an effective domain name and have it hosted with a reliable hosting service. We will discuss what are the bare bone basics of what you need on your website and how easy it is to make it happen. How will you get your mail? What shopping cart or shopping basket will you use and what do you want to use for a cash register. Really important is your security system.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of having a website for your small business – it’s possible to have one up and running in a matter of hours and it doesn’t have to cost a small fortune. Just think of it in terms of having a physical address for your store and what it intails – its the same when you operate online.
We will be talking about the same things that are important to your physical business – how will you receive your mail? What furniture do you need? Do you want shopping baskets or shopping carts? What type of cash register do you need? Do you need a security system? It makes more sense when you break it down into small bite size pieces.
All the best,