You know, I honestly believe that every business needs to have a website. Even the smallest business can benefit from having a website. In its simplest form a website can be the modern equivalent of a business card. But if you don’t have one – you are missing a trick.
You might have your small businesses running along just fine and think building a website will be too difficult, too expensive or you simply don’t need one. You are wrong on all counts. Getting started with a small business website is a lot easier than you think and it doesn’t need to cost a lot, in fact you can get started for free.
If you are totally new to websites it can be a little intimidating at the start. There is so much jargon and it seems like you need to learn an awful lot. Start off small and keep things really simple and you will be building something for the future which can also benefit you now. My advice is to get the most basic set up started and you can change things as you learn and as you go along. In my opinion a one-page website with all your contact details is better than no web presence at all.
Don’t be afraid of the technology. It used to be a complex process to build a website but thanks to modern software it has become really easy. If you can type and use a mouse you’re good to go!
What Type of Small Business Website
As I said, if you’re totally new to all of this, just start off small with a few pages about your business. You can create a sort of business card or advertising for your business. Of course your small business website can be so much more.
If you sell products it can become an online store. In fact if your business sells products, you really need to get started now! Online sales of just about everything are growing at a tremendous rate. If your business does not have an online presence you’re going to be left behind. Again you can start off small and expand as you learn and become more comfortable. You don’t need to become Amazon overnight!
You can make your website as showcase for your services. As well as all your contact information and services you provide you can put together a simple portfolio of some of your past work. Pictures are a great way to show off your goods and services. Some service businesses can really benefit from having great pictures of their work online.
A small business website can be a great way to communicate with your customers. You can set up customer services and handle questions and complaints in an efficient way which can ultimately save you time and money. Email can be automated – a great marketing tool. Websites can grow and become interactive with features such as forums and chat.
Over time your website can grow to be whatever you want it to be. Most small businesses start off with a simple website with contact details and a few pictures. In time they can grow to be very busy online stores with more complex features. The important thing is to get started now.
How Much Is This Going to Cost?
For some reason people with no experience online seem to think it is going to be expensive to set up and run a website. The fact is that costs are very low if you know what you’re doing. You can even get started for free.
There are many services where you can set up a simple website totally free. These can be good to get started but I do recommend one important point. These are basically free hosting sites where you can choose your website name and it will be created and hosted for free on their site. Now what I recommend you do at the very least, is register your own domain name (your business name.com). Then if you wish you can have it hosted on the free site. This ensures that you own your domain name and in the future when your business grows you can take this name and host it yourself.
Don’t get bogged down the details just register a domain name it costs about $10 per year to keep the name registered. Namecheap is a good domain registrar to check out – they have lots of information to help you get started.
A Couple of good free places to host your website are Weebly.com or Orbs.com – go ahead and check them out. They have easy drag-and-drop software which you can play around with and it is possible to create a pretty smart looking website. Remember to do it on your own domain name and it will always be within your control.
Want to Take it a Step Further?
If you don’t want to go the free hosting route it is still very cheap to get started in the traditional way. This is the way that most small business websites will be set up in the beginning. Again you start by registering a domain name for around $10 and then you buy your own hosting account which will cost from as little as five dollars per month. At the beginning this will be your total costs – around $70 per year! Check out Hostgator or BlueHost – both reliable hosting companies.
Setting up your small business website this way is definitely the best way to go and gives you the most control going forward. Again aim to start small and keep things simple at the beginning. If buying a domain and setting up your own hosting sounds complicated don’t worry – you can check out articles on how to do this very simply on this website.
What are you waiting for, go get started today – you know it makes sense!