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Why Every Business Should Have A Website

Sunday, January 17th

Why Every Business Should Have a Website

Fifty years ago, business and industry had to work hard in order to drum up new business and get the word out about their product or service. Cold calls by phone to potential clients, as well as the well-placed newspaper or billboard ad, were the main ways business and industry got the word out.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and getting the word out about a product or service is as simple as the click of a few keys on a computer.

The internet has become a major marketing tool. The internet was invented in 1969 by ARPANET, followed by the World Wide Web in 1989. One year after the World Wide Web was invented, the first website was launched.

As of April 2013, the World Wide Web contains 15.03 billion pages. Programs such as Google Analytics allow individual website owners to track how many people have viewed their pages, clicked on links or responded in some way to what was posted there.

Small businesses often make the mistake of thinking they don't need a website. But the truth is, if you're in business at all, a website can be a major marketing resource and you should consider creating one.

So who, exactly, needs a website?

  • Small Business Owners. Competing with the big fish can be hard, so small businesses need every advantage they can find to compete. Even for companies who only have one or two employees, a professional-looking website can help bolster your bottom line.
  • Independent Contractors. Small business owners have a hard time competing, but it can be even harder for independent contractors, who often are one-man shows. Setting up a website and using the correct search-engine optimization (SEO) tools can help to direct traffic your way and produce new clients in markets that would otherwise be hard to reach.
  • Restaurants and Stores. Customers are doing more online shopping these days, so providing the ability to view your products and order them online can boost your sales. Diners thinking of going out for the evening may decide where to go based on menus they see posted online for local restaurants. Providing customers with the option of placing their order online, and picking it up curbside or once they arrive at the restaurant to be seated, can help make any restaurant more user-friendly.
  • Online Sales. If you produce a product or service that is designed to be sold online, then it makes sense to have a website. Websites of this nature should not only provide a clear list of the products available for purchase, but also a secure site from which customers can feel comfortable providing the financial information necessary to complete the online purchase.
  • Service Personnel. If you are a massage therapist, offer pet-sitting services or any other service-based product, a website can help you to secure new clients.
  • Artists. Musicians, photographers, graphic artists, hobbyists and other creative minds can benefit from sharing their work with others. In addition to creating a place where like-minded individuals can come to discuss your art, you also have the opportunity to drum up business should you so desire.

Even if you advertise your business or service elsewhere, such as the yellow pages or in local publications, the internet has become the go-to place for most people looking for information in a hurry. Failing to provide them with a place to find you online could be dooming your business or service to failure.

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Website Builder FAQ

Yes, but free website builders should generally be avoided because they fall short of many features that paid website builders include. There are exceptions, such as WordPress, which is free (if you download and self-host your own copy) and is a very powerful and flexible website builder.
It all depends on how comfortable you are with the features of a particular website builder. Some are easier to use than others. For example, some will build your website for you after you fill in a form with your business details, resulting in a new website in just a few minutes. Others will require you to have a basic understanding of the common parts and pages of a typical website, which can take up hours of work on your part.
It depends on the website builder you choose. There are several that offer a full package, including the ability to register your domain, build your site, and host it on your domain right within the same service. Others split up domain registration and hosting into separate concerns.
Anyone who is approaching the task of creating a website for the very first time, especially with little knowledge of how to make successful websites, should consider hiring someone who has that expertise. In spite of the ease of use promised by many website builder companies, websites can be quite complicated when it comes to things like user experience, proper calls to action, image rights, color coordination, search engine optimization, and accessibility for people with disabilities.
Generally, professionals prefer to have creative input prior to any work being done on your website. If you've already done some design or content placement, you'll find it more difficult to find someone who is willing to finish what you've started. If you want a professional to do it, but still want to use a website builder for easy content maintenance, engage their services before you sign up for a website builder plan. Your professional may have some ideas of which one to use and how to make it easier to use your website builder.
Using a website builder can definitely harm your search ranking if you are not careful. Be sure to follow all the guidance the builder may give you on search engine optimization. If the builder doesn't provide that information, or the capabilities necessary for better SEO, you should not choose that builder. Do your research into which builders provide better SEO than others.
The number one reason to use WordPress is content portability. Many website builders want to lock you into their services, so while they may make it easy to import your content from another builder, they sometimes make it difficult or impossible to export your content for importing to another service. If you start with WordPress, you'll have the most content portability.
WordPress is very popular. It currently runs 35% of the websites across the entire Internet. Even though it's very easy to get a new website up and running with a default theme, free theme, or paid theme, it can sometimes become more complicated and frustrating as your content grows or your needs become more advanced.
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