Today, the web is a much a part of our lives as cars or television. Almost every business has some kind of presence on the web whether it is as simple as a local business listing on Google to a complete website. This allows users to quickly search for and compare different businesses when they are looking for a certain product or service which means first impressions are imperative.
A website is quickly become a necessity to compete in today’s business market no matter what industry you are in and without one you might be passing up on hundreds of sales a month. Some business owners think that having a listing in the local phone book is enough, but according to Nielson Ratings 54 percent of Americans have given up on their phone books. Another interesting fact from Nielson is that 61 percent of all online searches turn into offline sales. This means that people are throwing out phonebooks and favoring the web where they can get customer reviews, directions to the business, and compare them to other businesses in the same industry. Think of the website as a virtual salesman; they will be informing people about your product/service while trying to turn them into a customer and the best part of a virtual salesman is that you don’t have to pay them a commission or hourly wage. The key to competing against other companies is to have a quality website.
When creating a website there are several things that you must keep in mind. First of all, you should not try to build one unless you know what you are doing. Trying to build your own website with no experience will make the website, and by association, your business look subpar. You can take a class in web design, but most of the time you will not have the time necessary to learn everything you need to. Hiring a web designer is usually your best option, but many business owners are hesitant to hire one because they think it is going to be expensive. Web designers understand that business owners have tight budgets and many are offering custom website design with monthly rates much like a phone bill. When done right your website will pay for itself more than once proving to be an invaluable investment.
Before meeting with the web designer, should you choose to hire one, have an idea of what you want to do on the web, how you want to do it, and who will be using your website. These three things will go a long way in the design process of your website as it needs to curtail to your target audience. This includes color schemes, basic layouts, content, and interaction between the user and the site. Having a plan of what you want to accomplish with your website will help the web designer create a better website faster.
Having a blog on your website is also another tool that you can use to give yourself the competitive edge on the web. Blogs allow you to update your customers about happenings within your company, new products or services you are offering, ongoing sales, and more. There is really no limit to what you can and can’t do with a blog. It also gives your website a little bit more of a professional look because it tells the customer that you are really involved in the industry (providing that you post relevant content). It will also help you in the search engines because they love websites that continually have fresh content. Ranking well in the search engines means more exposure and more sales.