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Why have a website?


There are several reasons you may wish to have a website. Some of these are:

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When someone searches the web, your company will appear
Bullet.gif (430 bytes)Take orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Bullet.gif (430 bytes)Attract customers from around the world, not just your area
Bullet.gif (430 bytes)Give your customers a way to communicate with you 24 hours a day
Bullet.gif (430 bytes)Advertise your company
Bullet.gif (430 bytes)Display the products/services you offer
Bullet.gif (430 bytes)Run help wanted ads
Bullet.gif (430 bytes)Save your company money
Bullet.gif (430 bytes)Be competitive
Let's take these points one by one:

When someone searches the web, your company will appear - This is probably the most important reason to have a website for your business. These days, instead pulling out the yellow/white pages that the phone company sends out, a surprising number of people use the internet instead. If someone searches the internet, do you want your competition to come up and not you?

While it is true that some search engines (a search engine is what people use to find something on the internet) do contain all the listings in the phone company phonebook, the search engines that the vast majority of people use do not. The most commonly used search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, etc., only list companies that have websites. This means that, even if you have a listing in the phonebook or even an email address, you will not appear, unless you have a website.

A surprising number of people don't bother with phonebooks anymore. Rather, they just go to a search engine like Yahoo (the most widely-used search engine) type in 'restaurants malibu' (or whatever they are looking for) and hit enter. If you don't have a website, your company won't come up. If your competition does, they will come up. You have now lost a customer you could have had, and the profit that goes with it.

Take orders 24 hours a day - with your own website, customers can place orders as often as they want, whenever they want, whether your business is open or not. They don't have to call you and incur toll charges, wait on hold until someone is available or until you're open, etc. The easier and more convenient you make it to place orders, the more orders you're likely to get.

Attract customers from around the world, not just your area - a phonebook listing is only seen by people in your area, an ad is only seen by the people who read that paper, a mailing only reaches the people on the mailing list and a brochure is only seen by the people you give it to. A website is accessible worldwide.

A website allows you to attract customers not just from your area, but from the surrounding areas, counties, states and other countries. For many businesses, this can have a enormous impact on sales.

Plus, when dealing with customers (via your website) in another state, country, etc., the size of your business is irrelevant, since they will judge you on the appearance of you website and, of course, the products/services you offer. This is one of the great powers of the internet, in that it, in many ways, levels the playing field between the small business and the large corporation.

Give your customers a way to communicate with you 24 hours a day - An email address can serve this need quite well, but a website can offer several advantages. An email address can't prompt the client for the information you need to handle his request. A website can. Plus, it's easier and more convenient, resulting in it being used more. This results in more leads, customers, orders, etc.

Advertise your company - a website can advertise your company in a way that an ad, brochure or mailing can't. A website is interactive, with eye catching animations, pictures, sounds and videos. It is not simply something a client looks at, its something he can interact with.

What happens if, sometime after you give them a brochure, send them a mailing or they see your ad, they have need for your products or services and they can't find (or have since discarded) the ad, brochure or mailing? With a website, it is there 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They can bring it up anytime they want and you don't have to worry about them needing it after they have discarded it. Its always there.

A website is often much less expensive than an ad, brochure or mailing. Once you have the website, the monthly fee to keep the website on the internet is $35. Can you run an ad, print a brochure or send a mailing for $35 a month?

Plus, the customers you reach are not limited to the people you give the brochure to, the people who read the paper you run the ad in, or the customers on the mailing list. Your website can be seen by anyone who uses the internet. And, as huge as that number is, it's growing by leaps and bounds every day.

Even if you do use ads, brochures or mailings, you can include your website address in them, to augment and enhance them. And, by putting your website address on your business card, company stationary, etc. you can 'build in' an online 'brochure' in every letter you send out and every business card you give out.

Display the products/services you offer - In addition to advertising your company, you can also use your website to show the products/services you offer. Pictures, descriptions, before and after photos, etc. can present your products/services to your customers in the comfort of their own homes/offices at their convenience, anytime day or night, 24 hours a day.

Furthermore, if you add or change your product line or services, you simply change your website and that change is immediate. With a catalog or brochure, you can't go to each person's home/office and change it. You have to create and send out a new catalog/brochure, hope that when the customer gets the new catalog/brochure, they won't just toss it out, thinking "well, I already have their catalog/brochure" and will replace the old catalog/brochure with the new one. When you change your website, the change is immediate and the 'old version' is gone, replaced with the current version. It is instantaneous. Furthermore, the cost of changing an existing website is usually substantially less than the price of postage, not to mention preparation and printing of a catalog/brochure.

Run help wanted ads - Have you seen the fees the newspapers charge to run a help wanted ad? Hundreds of dollars and that's just to run it for a few days. Put your help wanted ads on your website. Once its there, it can run for as long as you want, and you don't have to pay each day or week to keep it running.

People use the internet to look for positions because its just easier. They don't have to make a point to get the paper each day and find the category they are interested in. Its easier to check the employment area of the websites of companies in their field. Plus, the appearance of your website is, in many cases, a powerful recruiting tool.

In addition, you will attract better skilled people. Sure, if your looking for someone to sweep up the floor, this probably isn't going to help much, if at all. But, the benefits go further, since now you can attract people not just from the local labor pool. Finally, unlike the newspapers that charge by the word, on your website employment ad, you can go into more specific detail on what your requirements are and the benefits you offer.

Save your company money - As mentioned above, your website can cut costs. It can reduce your advertising costs, since once your website is up, it only costs $35 a month to keep it on the web. This. of course, is much less expensive than running ads, sending out mailings, printing brochures/catalogs. Since it provides a way for clients to contact you and place orders, it may reduce your personnel costs, by reducing to personnel require to answer phones, etc. By placing your help wanted ads on your website, instead of running them in a newspaper, etc., this can cut your recruitment costs. Additionally, because a website is available to your clients 24 hours a day, it furnishes your clients with a way to interact with your company 24 hours a day, without having to staff your business around the clock. These are a few of the general ways to use your website to help you keep more of the money your company makes.

Be competitive - Because of my absolute commitment to integrity, it is not my intent to play on your fears. So, I don't want to give you the idea that I am saying 'if you don't have a website, your business will be left behind and die'. This, of course, is nonsense. Sure, someday having a website may be as essential as having a telephone, but that day is not now, and anyone who says otherwise is conning you.

However, their are some compelling reasons to consider a website for your business, in addition to the ones listed above. If your competition does have a website and you don't, depending on your industry, this can be a significant disadvantage. Your competitors can use their websites to attract customers, cut costs, etc., making it more difficult for you to compete.

In addition, many people simply get a kick out of using the internet. They like the convenience of being able to use the web to get information, locate companies to do business with, place orders, etc. Someone is going to get their business, so why not you?

As I have mentioned previously, many people like the 24 hour nature of the web. They like being able to communicate with a company at their convenience and not having to wait until normal business hours to communicate with a company, to place orders, etc. They like not having to spend the time being on the phone with a company, waiting for someone to answer, being on hold, getting connected to the right person, etc. and prefer instead to just use the web. In many ways, its much simpler and quicker. If your competition offers this and you don't, it could hurt you.

Plus, a website can give you a way to respond to customers immediately. If your clients need information about you or your products/services, they can get it immediately via your website, without having to wait for the info, your catalog, your brochure to come in the mail.

Sure, a fax can provide this immediate response, but faxes are black and white, often on paper that frustrates the heck out of people. In addition, a website is interactive and, properly done, engages the customer. (Notice how this website engages you?) And while not everyone has access to the web, it is quite common to find people who have access to the web but don't have a fax. Plus, if they lose the fax, its gone. A website is always there. In many cases, getting a customer, an order, etc. depends on 'striking while the iron is hot'. If your competition can via a website and you can't, you may be at a severe disadvantage.

I want you to select me to do your website. However, even if you choose otherwise, we hope that my website has given you something to think about and helps you to produce an effective website for your business. I look forward to hearing from you and serving your internet needs. Call me at (310) 589-7000 and see for yourself how hard I will work for you.

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