One of the most important tasks in running a business is letting your potential customers know about the existence of your business and your value proposition for them. Traditionally this meant depending on advertisements - physical and electronic media based - which would result in you having to channel reasonably good percentages (especially when you are a small or medium sized company) of your revenues in creating and deploying them. The scenario changed with the advent of internet. You can own and operate your own websites for a very small amount of investment which in turn could generate revenues for far longer than traditional advertisement based marketing.
Less than 50% of the small and medium businesses in the world have any kind of web presence. The main reason for this failing is the lack of awareness on the part of the small business owners and the disinterest from the part of established IT companies to educate them. For in educating the small business owners lies the ruin of an exploitatory market, viz. building websites for a small minority of the SMBs at very high rates. Here we take a look at some of the aspects about owning and operating a website for a small company and why it makes business sense to have a website.
1. You dont have to be a technology company to have a website. Lot of small businesses shun the idea of creating a website just because they are not technology companies. A website is just like your brochure for others to see. In its most basic form a website would describe your products and services and provide your contact information. Any running business would have a set of products and services and would qualify the requirements for having a website. Not only that your business does not have to deal with IT you don't even have to know technology to have a website for your company.
2. It doesn't cost a lot to create a website. Even today there are companies that charge exorbitant amounts to create websites. Not that these websites don't cost as much as they charge, but that you probably won't need all the funny features in a custom made website for your business to start off with. This is the age of Web 2 - the age of user created content and highly interactive and configurable web applications. You could have an open source blog like WordPress or an open source portal like Drupal at the click of a button.
3. You don't have to wait till you collect all your content before you create your website. Once you set up a ready-to-use system like a portal or a blog you can create the content at your leisurely pace. To start with you will probably need only a few pages of basic information as to, what your company does, what your offerings are and what your contact information is. With that much as your basic data and the framework ready you can add more content as you go.
4. You don't have to be an SEO Guru to create content for your site. Stick to basics and create clean, relevant and nicely written content for your site. If you have good content, you will get good google-ranking and with good pageranks you will have good hits on your site that you could convert to good business through your site. You really don't have to worry too much about creating lot of content if your target market is not net-savvy or even net-connected. However you still would want to start building your web presence as the world is moving online more and more each day.
5. Register your domain and reserve your real estate in cyberia. It is said that all the words in the dictionary have already been registered as domain names. Also all two and three letter combinations of alphabets and most meaningful two word (small-word) combinations have already been registered. So go grab your domain and reserve your company's identity on the web. Even if you don't plan to create a website immediately it would be a wise idea to register your domain name as soon as you figure out a name that is not already registered. Also don't settle for the free subdomain offers that gives you yourcompany.somesite.com instead of the www.yourcompany.com.
6. Start with an entry level hosting plan and upgrade with your need. Select a hosting plan that allows you to install one of the ready-to-use content management systems out of the box and then set it up and get your website up and running. Upgrade your website and your hosting plans with your requirements. Hosted space is very cheap these days. You could host a simple CMS for as little as what you pay for your domains for a year.
7. Customize as little as possible if you really have to. When you start your website you would most probably not have a very clear idea about what you need and how everything should work. So don't try to have the perfect solution the first time. If you have to go for website customization services from another company then go for as little customization as possible. Not only would it reduce your costs but also it would make it much more easier in upgrading or customizing in the future.
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