How to Promote Your Business with a Website


Almost all businesses need a website, to be seen to be up-to-date and to display their products or services to sell, whether on-line or in some other way. A website increases the potential customer base enormously, allowing you to sell world-wide if you wish.

Website design

It is important that your website is professionally designed by someone who knows what they are doing. If your business is computers, your customers may well expect you to be able to design and maintain your own website, but most people starting i in business will need the expertise of a professional. Most I Business Links and colleges run courses on website design, which is helpful if you are setting up a website for a local club or society, perhaps. Professional website designers will probably advertise in directories, or on-line or through networking. Personal recommendation is often the best.

Business with a Website

Your designer will need to know your purpose in having a website. Is it to sell on-line, to give information and contact details about your product or service, or to demonstrate, through animation, what you can do for your clients? For example, a garden landscape designer may wish to conduct you round a garden he or she has designed.

Websites usually start with a Home Page, giving a broad view of your business, and leading your customers into the other pages. It is important that the site is well designed so that potential customers who enter your website can find what they want quickly; if they struggle, they will probably give up. If you are selling on-line you will need a good customer ordering system.

To start

You will need:

  • A modem, linking you to the internet. These are integral to most modern systems
  • An ISP (Internet Service Provider), such as BT, AOL, tiscali, etc.
  • A domain name – the name a website visitor keys in to enter your website. This should be as short and simple as possible, incorporating your business name. The domain name for our business, Chester House Productions, is www.chesterhouse.net. Your website designer will advise you on all these things

Broadband or not

Broadband is a package which allows you to upload and download files and graphics far more quickly than the original ‘standard’ method of transmitting information. If you are likely to transmit or receive long documents, complicated graphics and/or photographs, broadband is highly desirable. For animation it is essential. You pay for the level of service you need. Again your website designer or your Business Link will advise you.

Website maintenance

Once your site is designed and up and running, you must make arrangements to maintain it, keeping it up-to-date, making sure your ordering and payment systems for your products (if you are selling on-line) is working efficiently and providing you with the statistics you need to monitor your site’s efficiency. For simple systems, or if you are computer literate, you could do this yourself, but most businesses rely on their website designer to provide this service. They cannot give you good service, of course, unless you feed them the appropriate information daily, weekly, monthly or as and when, according to your business. There is nothing more off-putting to a potential customer than a website which is out-of-date or says ‘Data not available’.

Security

You hear horror stories of viruses, worms and unwanted spam; all these things can happen to you. You should consider an ISP which provides spam filters, parental control (if necessary), a firewall, virus protection, spywear protection, anti-virus softwear, etc.

Business with a Website

Costs

You will need to pay for:

  • A phone line (for most applications). Broadband allows you to use the same line for internet transmissions and phone calls simultaneously
  • The services of your ISP, probably monthly
  • Your domain name, probably annually
  • Your website design
  • Your website maintenance

As you can see, the cost of a good website can be considerable and must be taken into account when forming and using your business plan and the cost of your overheads. It is probably wise not to embark on a website too early in your business life, unless you intend to sell exclusively on-line. Get your business off the ground first, particularly if you are manufacturing products, so that you are confident you have plenty of stock to sell. Service providers can afford to start a little earlier.

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About the Author: Marie Mayle is a contributor to the MegaHowTo team, writer, and entrepreneur based in California USA. She holds a degree in Business Administration. She loves to write about business and finance issues and how to tackle them.

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