It always stuns me when a small business operator tells me how much they spent on a web site, and after spending so much money, they did not get any results.
A web address (domain name), web site (home page and other web pages on the hosted web site) and E-mail (something @ your domain name) is a global address, focal point, and basically an on-line brochure about your entity. It does not matter where you actually are located, as it is an information resource (and in some cases, a virtual store, which has its own set of hazards).
If your business has a limited geographic service range, an expensive web site may not be cost effective or gain the return on investment you desire.
Consider this opinion: web sites are not billboards, and expensive glitzy home pages do not stop traffic on the "information superhighway" (i.e. the Internet).
Unlike real highways where advertisers can use signs and glitz to get your attention, the only way anyone will find your web page is if it is a destination, PERIOD!
With millions of web pages on the Internet, your web site is like a small face in a crowded football stadium – no one can spot you from the other side unless they first know where to look, i.e. the destination for their gaze. If they are not sure where to look, most use a quasi-directory, i.e. a search engine, to see if they can stumble over where to look.
Hence, a key concept: your web site is a destination. Use it to provide more information about your entity.
How do you make your web site a destination? Make it easy to find for those you want to attract, and target your marketing communications accordingly.
Be sure your web site supports your message and objectives (and if you want to operate an on-line store, it is still the "wild wild west" and the stigma of dot-con instead of dot-com makes most potential customers very cautious of small business operators on the Internet).
Your web site language should express clearly the benefits you offer your potential customers. Smart operators use their web site as an alternative to running up large printing and mailing bills for informational items that are important to their customers. On-line brochures, product or services descriptions, how to use products and services, how to find a location, business hours and contact information, etc., are examples.
Finally, be sure to add your web site name to all of your printed materials, telephone directory listing, etc., and give it to those who ask you to send them more information, etc.
As you consider the impressions you make, be sure to add your founding date to reflect your experience. Think about it: when you look for someone to do work for you or to deal with, do you want someone who knows what they are doing? If a business has survived more than several years, the founding date is an asset (I have been doing what I do since 1981).
Again, save time and money: Use your own web site as your source of literature about your company. You can print it out as you need it. A basic web site can be easily updated. It sure beats being stuck with a pile of soon outdated literature from a print shop.
So, do not start out by spending a fortune on your web site! Keep it basic. You can add to it as you gain insights into how it best serves your customers, and potential customers.
Feel free to call me with your questions, or if you wish, click the "Learn More" flashing icon for Network Solutions (good way to get a FREE domain as part of your purchase).
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