Why should I have a website?
Like many small business owners, you may believe your business cannot benefit from having a website or that a website is not within your budget. Some of you may even run your business based completely off of referrals and do not think a website may benefit your business. Or maybe you think because you don’t use a computer, neither do your potential customers. These are misconceptions. Here are a few reasons why you should consider having a website.
1. YOUR SMALL BUSINESS WILL GAIN CREDIBILITY
Today, more and more consumers use the internet to search for the products or services they need. Your small business will gain credibility by having a website. Without one, potential customers will go to your competitors that do. If you already have a website but it is “home-made”, having it professionally redesigned will provide your business with a professional image which will inspire even greater confidence. For home-based businesses, this is particularly beneficial since you do not have a store front to promote your products or services.
2. A WEBSITE IS YOUR FULL PAGE AD
As a small business owner you probably think you can’t afford a professional website, but you can’t afford NOT to. Although the cost of designing a website varies, once it’s up and running, a website for a small business generally costs under $100 a month and, in some cases, as little as $20. Compared with the cost of a newspaper ad, when you consider the potential market you can reach with a website, it is a very cost effective way to promote your business.
3. IT WILL ENABLE YOU TO KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS INFORMED
Think of your website as being your online brochure or catalogue. It is much easier and quicker to update information about your products and services on your website than in print material, making it an effective way of letting your customers know about the arrival of new products, upcoming events, special promotions, or any new services you now offer. Unlike print ads which quickly become outdated, your website can provide current information and news.
4. IT IS ALWAYS ACCESSIBLE
A website is available to both your regular and potential customers 24/7/365 providing them with the convenience of reviewing your products and services when your store or office is closed. With today’s busy lifestyles, this is a great selling point when making a purchase decision.
5. A WEBSITE MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO TARGET A WIDER MARKET
Whether you provide products or services, your website will provide an alternative location to sell them. As a retailer, a website (eCommerce) is a great place to sell your products to a wider market; even services can be made available globally. Don’t think you’ll be able to sell your products or services online? Don’t forget, even cars and houses sell online!
6. IT PROVIDES A MEDIUM ON WHICH TO SHOWCASE YOUR WORK
No matter what type of business you’re in, a website is a great place to showcase your work. By including a portfolio or image gallery, as well as testimonials about your work, you can demonstrate what makes your business unique.
7. A WEBSITE SAVES YOU TIME
Providing information to your customers takes time, whether it’s on the phone, face-to-face, in a brochure, or in emails. With an online catalogue you can provide lots of information about your products and services. Once your website is up and running, it is available to your customers indefinitely, saving you time. And what is time? Time is money!
8. IT IMPROVES CUSTOMER SERVICE
Maybe you sell real estate and would like to share tips on how to sell your home, or perhaps you are a restaurant owner and want to give your clients an online menu. By adding newsletters you could collect potential customers email addresses and convert them into leads. Adding articles or uploading valuable information can convert a basic website into a destination for resources. What better way to provide potential clients with value added service than by sharing information on your website.
Understanding The Difference in Websites
It is 2016, many people can probably admit to spending more than a few hours a day online. Thus, there are many companies that offer a variety of services. But understand those services can sometimes be difficult. Lets take a look at a few common options when planning a website.
This section should prove useful for both potential clients deciding on whether or not they want to hire help. If you are tech savvy and spend enough time, cost can be kept to a minimum and it can be accomplished. A domain and hosting will be needed, you may also need to purchase a theme and plugins to connect to social media and realize marketing potential.
A typical breakdown of expenses required to get up and running might look something like this:
Hosting: $10/month – $30/month
Premium Theme: $50-$200
Premium Plugins: $15-$200 (each; some are one-time purchases, others are monthly/annual licenses.)
Rough Totals: $200-$1,000+
The Builders and Turnkey
There are many builders that come with a domain/hosting and sometimes other services provide them. Generally, these are very affordable if not free, but often look as if they were free. They can be a good way to start your digital presence at an affordable rate. However, there could be limited options for content, customizations, marketing, and may not have plugins.
Turnkey websites are another option. They are websites that a company has created a template and provide template customization. Providers accept limited customizations, may provide a basic logo, and are very limited in options. The designs often could have a negative impact on your professional business confidence. Companies like DexMedia Provide these services, they offer a very basic 5-15 page website for a $149 startup fee, $199/Month to $399/Month and $79/Month for digital presence. The prices can add up very quick once marketing is added on for another $250-$600/Month. (e.g. a basic website www.homerealtyonlineil.com has a total cost of $199/Month + $79/Month or $3360/Year)
I’ve seen a few pricing models work here:
Flat Rate: $500-$1000+
Monthly: $30-$399/month (in addition to the hourly or flat rate fees)
A-la-cart Extras: $100, $200, etc. per strategy document, training course, and so on.
Rough Totals: $500-$2,500+ (plus possible monthly or a-la-cart services)
Hourly: $50-$100 (for design and customizations plus possible monthly)