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The Small Business Website Guide

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Busting myths associated with small business website success

Discover the myths about small business website success

With the Internet becoming an essential part of everyday life – for work and play in the UK, having a website for your company makes good business sense. A business website can allow customers to find out about your business (products/services), contact and communicate with you and even make purchases.

Spending time and effort to create a website for your business is therefore a worthwhile investment that may help boost visibility, your business and customer satisfaction. Otherwise, the business could face the risk of being outpaced by the competition that comes in the form of young, open minded entrepreneurs, willing to embrace and use technology to their own advantage.

If your business has not embraced an online presence, is it because of reasons such as high costs or not being technologically-savvy? Or do you think your business is small and may not benefit from having a website? These myths could be preventing you from maximising the potential growth of your business. This article helps to bust these myths and walks you through some of the steps towards opening your business to the Internet world and helping to grow your business.

Learn the truth behind these common myths:

1. I won't know how to use my website

A good website will help grow your business in many different ways. A website will offer you the most advantages in terms of flexibility and control—and it can be very, very simple.  A website can help project a more professional and well-established image of your business. A website is a great way to keep in touch with customers, disseminate information on your products and solutions and sell products online. It could be your first point of contact with customers and prospects, investors and even people you want to hire.  Think of your website as your business card in action 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In today’s world it’s a simple fact—your business has to be online to be found online.

2. My business is too small for a website

A small business juggling between ”trying to reach enough people to make the business grow” and ”keeping up with the current work” is a good candidate for a website.

Let’s take the hypothetical case of a designer furniture shop owner. He has a beautiful selection of cupboards, tables, cabinets, sofas, and other furniture at his warehouse. As the shop is not in the heart of the city and he is busy designing and getting the goods made for his current customers, he does not know how to find his next set of customers.

There happens to be a consumer exhibition in town, and he pays a large amount of money for a stall to display his goods. While a great number of people see him and like his designs, they are not ready to make a purchase decision immediately.

If the furniture shop owner had a website where he regularly displayed his latest designs, he could have shared his website address with interested people and potentially made customers out of these contacts.

The furniture store owner can also use his website to keep in touch with existing customers to inform them of new designs that he introduces. Additionally, he could use his website to receive and resolve customer queries on upgrades.

3. I am not technologically-savvy enough

You do not need to be technologically-savvy to own a website for your business.

Here are the basics you need to know.

Think of a website as a 1-page flyer or an ad for your business. A website in its simplest form can be your company brochure on the Internet. The pages of your brochure are called web pages when they are in the electronic format!

Once you decide on the content you want on your web pages and what you want your website to do for your business, a web designer can assist you in creating a website. There are also some website building tools available online which are easy to use. With these tools, you can make a simple website in a short time.

After you have done this, it is time to put your website up on the Internet and create your virtual address on the web, called a domain name (web address). Try to come up with a domain name that represents your business name and choose a domain extension, the final part of the domain name that is highly recognized and credible such as .com, .net, or .tv. The key is to keep your domain name simple so it can be easily found on search engines like Google or Bing. There are many companies that offer domain name registrations and can help you build a simple website that will get your business online.

4. I can't afford a website

It is important to keep in mind that the set-up cost for a website is an investment; but any additional business generated by your website may well be enough to pay the ongoing costs of maintaining the website.

There are basic costs that as a business owner you will need to budget in order to own and maintain a basic website.

Registering a domain name and hosting of your site. The key to any online presence will be your domain name—which usually costs less than most lunches. Many of the companies that offer domain name registration also offer low-cost monthly services for company-branded email, web forwarding to a social network or e-commerce site, and all-in-one bundles. In order to register a .com domain name you can visit a registrar’s website. The minimum registration term for a .com domain name is one year. There are many kinds of hosting plans available. You can visit a registrar’s website to get details and costs of a hosting plan.

The design of your site. The cost of the design and development of your website will vary on your requirements. There are some website building tools available online which are easy to use. With these tools, you can make a simple website in a short period of time. However, for bigger and more complex projects, there is the option of engaging an expert. From a very basic project, such as a website with informative content and some pictures, to a portal with many features such as search and online payment, there are options in all price ranges.

5. I've got enough work at the moment

Websites aren’t only about just winning new business. In fact, they also help you build and maintain good client relationships - a key for long-term business success. One of the most convenient and beneficial advantages of having a website is that it’s available even when your business is closed or no one is available to answer your phone. No more turning customers away when it’s time to close for the day or on a public holiday. Instead, you can now direct them to look at your website for certain information. Potential customers can come to your website 24/7 to find out information such as business hours, maps and directions, contact names and numbers. They can also shop when it is most convenient for them. If you are selling online, customers can be placing orders even while you're asleep!  Your website will work for you beyond your business hours.

In this day and age, having a website can be an important advantage. It offers convenience, lends credibility, and it is one of the most affordable forms of advertising -- all while working for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A website is a means to communicate with millions of Internet users that surf the Web and may be interested in your company and your product. As compared to other forms of advertising where costs may be prohibitive, a website makes you visible to your customers and partners in a cost-effective and simple way. As the number of Internet users and online purchases continue to rise, ask yourself…

Can your business really afford not to have a Website?