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Why should I have a website? (or why it’s inexcusable to not have web presence)

You could consider me a little biased on this topic, but really there’s no reason not to have a website for your company / charity / cause / yourself. It’s relatively easy and cheap (possibly free) to get started, and the benefits greatly outweigh these minor concerns. With much grander online endeavors, you will be looking to put more time and money on the line, but here I’m focussing on what you need to get going.

Why Should I Have A Website?

Before I give a list of very good reasons as to why you should get a website together I’d like to start with a little story.

Some time ago I had a carpenter in to replace the frame of the backdoor. After awhile he came to ask if I had a Yellow Pages as he needed to get something. I told him that I didn’t, but I asked him what he was looking for, which happened to be a locksmiths. I was already working on my computer at the time, so it was just a second or two later that I had a list and map of all the local locksmiths on screen. “Blimey! That was fast.” he said “That’s brilliant. There’s one just around the corner. Thanks.” And off he went.

The moral is that traditional methods (telephone directories and enquiry services like 118) of finding local businesses are rapidly becoming obsolete, as people have increasing access to the internet wherever they are due to soaring sales of tablets and smart phones.

The devices we own are changing the way we access information and find what we’re looking for. Having a web presence is a must.

1. The internet is now the main way we find information

Whatever we’re looking for, whether it’s furniture, an accountant, or a plumber, online is usually where people search first. Also, as google offers up lists of local businesses when people search, you’re missing out if you don’t have a website.

2. It’s expected that a business will have a site

Even if someone is already aware of your company, they’ll try and find your contact details online. It does seem strange when you come across a company which doesn’t have a site, and your customers are likely to go elsewhere.

3. It’s cheap advertising

Look at it as cheap advertising. It’s not expensive to get a basic web presence up and running, and it can be done quite easily. See the resources on the right of the page.

4. It lets you educate your customers

It’s a highly effective way to let your customers know about your services / products, and what the benefits are of doing business with you, rather than your competitors.

5. It will let you gather potential leads and other information

You can provide newsletter sign-ups and gather analytics information about your website vistors, enabling you to tailor your services.

Also, if you have a site, potential customers can contact you via a form on your site, meaning that you’ll catch contact information and enquiries that you have otherwise missed.

6. Let’s you reduce your time spent performing task that could be automated

If you find that you’re handling the same sort of customer queries, or wasting time doing other tasks, have a think about what tasks could be performed by your website instead. You could add FAQs or let potential customers download product spec sheets etc.

An example of this on my site is the client area where I store files for my clients. I found that clients frequently misplace files I’ve sent them, so I decided to make them available online for them. This doesn’t just save my time, it means my clients can get their files without having to wait for me read their email and reply. If I’m out of the office, it could be some time.

7. Cheaper to update that print materials

If you do provide catalogues or other expensive print items, they’re quicker, easier and cheaper to update and get to your customers if they’re provided digitally.

Are you convinced yet?

I hope so. There’s really no reason not to get a website up. It can be done very cheaply, and very quickly for something relatively basic, but the benefits can be great. Check out the the information below.

It’s Go Time – A Rough Guide To Getting Up And Running

– Find a reputable hosting provider. Bear in mind that the cheapest usually isn’t the best option. You can get something that will suffice for a small site for under £60 per annum.
– Once you’ve found several potential providers perform a search using google to check for reviews by searching for [hosting provider name] reviews.
– Ideally choose a provider which will include email accounts, databases, and offer simple, automatic installations of WordPress.
– Sign up and choose a relevant domain name. It may time a few attempts as you’re preferred name may have already been taken by someone else.
– Install WordPress, and get creating your site, by choosing a nice theme and adding your content. (WordPress is pretty easy to get to grips with)
– Create a Google account and get listed on Google Places.

Sounds like too much effort?

I’ll admit that it’s rather simplified, but the basics are there. There is an even simpler option available to you by not using your own provider, but using the hosting option that WordPress offer. You can sign-up for free, but some functionality will need to be paid for, and it would certainly be worth to purchase your own unique domain. Check out wordpress.com.

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