Today, it is common for people to think about running their own business, and small businesses have been sprouting in many places. These businesses have a wide range of goods and services and often rely on word of mouth first to gain more clients. A lot of them also rely on their social media accounts to boost their sales. But are these enough to keep a small business going? In this digital age where almost anyone can be online, is it a good idea to set up an official website for a small business? The answer is simple yet may have some complexities: it will all depend on you – the business owner. A lot of considerations must be made when thinking of setting up a website for your business, but if you know your business well, you can readily know what to do.
First, think about the costs. Making a website often has 3 main costs: its development, hosting, and registration of the domain name. Website development is often the most costly as it means putting together its content: text, graphics, links, and codes. Hosting a website means having a server that is large enough to store the website’s files so they can be reached by the public when they go online. Registering the site’s domain name is the cheapest as it just means getting a unique web address through a public registry. Extra costs may include email services, Internet marketing, and maintenance of the website.
Next, review the products you sell or services you offer. Even if you do not sell anything online, are they stuff that people would search for? For example, you are a distributor of popular branded clothes. Often, there are customers who would search for sellers of the brands they prefer in their local area. When this happens, will your items appear in the customers’ search or will your competitors’ offerings be the ones they will see? Or let’s say you run a restaurant. Travel itineraries are often made by searching for places to eat way before a trip happens. If travelers cannot find information about your restaurant, how can it become a go-to dining place?
Third, not all people are tech-savvy and using a computer may be a challenge for some. Are you one of them or are you willing enough to learn even just the basics of modern technology? Even if you can hire someone to set up and maintain a website, you must know something about computers and the Internet to at least convey what you want to include in your site or how it would look.
Fourth, you must check who your customers are. You need to identify whether or not a lot of them know much when it comes to using the Internet. There are still people who do not use computers, but there are higher chances of having more clients who are up-to-date when it comes to technology. However, even if there are more people who have Internet access, you will only benefit from that fact if they can find your website.
Fifth, if you think that setting up a website is an advertising tool for your business, think again. A website is not an advertising tool; it exists to support your advertising efforts. You pay for advertisements to be posted, seen, heard, or read for a certain amount of time, after which, they are put down unless you pay for them again, and the cycle goes on. Make a website if you wish to run your own marketing tool that you can use continuously since it belongs to you. You can also use a website to show the testimonials you have received from customers who are pleased with your products or services. People often seek out reviews when considering potential purchases. Plus a website can also be a way for your customers to do window shopping but online, and if they see something they like, you can expect more sales to come in.
Sixth, aside from being a tool to market your goods or services, a website can also serve as a tool for your clients to share their needs, suggest something, or comment on other things that can help your business improve. Even if you have an actual store, it most likely operates within a certain time frame. A website, on the other hand can be reached 24/7. You can have your website customized with a chat support system at certain times or have a contact page that consumers can go to in case they have any questions, reservations, clarifications, etc.
Generally, big or small businesses can benefit from having a website as it can make them more competitive and allow the buying public to get to know them more and what they offer.