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Is it Time to Take Your Small Business Online?

Written by Taylor Hawes

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

take your small business online

As a small business owner, deciding when to make the leap to website ownership can be challenging. After all, you’ve got dozens of other tasks on your “to do” list – why should you waste time building a website if you aren’t even sure that your customers will visit it?

Well, the answer to that question is pretty simple.  Research conducted by marketing agency Hubspot indicates that as many as 78% of consumers conduct product research online before making purchases, meaning that if your business isn’t online, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with potential customers!

Of course, that isn’t the only reason to take your small business online.  Consider all of the following issues before making the decision that’s right for your company:

 

Website creation is easier (and less expensive) than ever before

In the past, building a new website required specialized knowledge and potentially even a sizeable budget.  Considering the circumstance, it was reasonable for small businesses to weigh the costs of getting online with the advantages such a move would bring about.

However, the number of different web building technologies that have come out since the Internet’s early days have effectively negated this conversation.  Now, small business owners have access to dozens of different tools that can have a professional-looking website up and running in just a few hours – including everything from our own BaseKit Sitebuilder to WordPress, which allows webmasters to form everything from blogs to fully-fledged e-commerce systems with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Put simply, the idea that website creation is complicated or expensive just hasn’t stood the test of time.  If you’re still clinging to these ideas, take a few moments to learn about the many different tools and programs that can help you to create a business website quickly and affordably.

 

Your customers are already talking about you online – a website helps you to control the conversation!

customer conversations

Of course, as a business owner, you likely already know that just because something is cheap and easy to do doesn’t mean that it’s a necessity for your company!  But the importance of taking your small business online goes far deeper…

Many small businesses opt-out of website creation because they fail to see how the time and resources needed to maintain a web presence can fit into their already-packed “to do” lists and cash-strapped budgets.  Unfortunately, this is shortsighted.  Even if you haven’t invested in the creation of a small business website, you have a web presence – but it’s your customers that are controlling the conversation.

Today, consumer interactions don’t occur in a bubble.  If a customer is frustrated, he doesn’t just tell his close friends – he tells the entire world through review websites, social media networks and other varied web outlets.  And if your company isn’t there to either refute claims or make amends, this feedback – whether positive or negative – is the only thing future customers will find when they look for your business using the search engines.

Obviously, simply having a website won’t prevent your business from receiving negative reviews or critical feedback online.  But by being a part of the conversation, you demonstrate that your business is committed to its customers, preventing your company from losing clients that might otherwise go to your competitors on the basis of your minimal web presence.

 

Having a website makes your business “discoverable” by potential customers

Believe me – losing customers to your competitors is a valid concern if your company fails to maintain a web presence.  Consumers today make it a habit to research companies online before they do business.  If you don’t come up in this search because you don’t have an active website (or, if your pages convey a dated look that’s better suited to 1996), you miss out on even being included in this critical initial research process in the first place.

But it isn’t just potential customers using search engines that you risk alienating by failing to maintain a web presence.  Many other consumer research tools – including GPS devices, local business aggregator sites and review platforms like Yelp and Google Places – all draw information from your company’s website.  If this web property doesn’t exist, your business may not appear in consumer searches, leading to yet another loss of potential customers.

The bottom line is this: Your small business needs a website, and it needs one now.  Fortunately, using any of the different website building tools that are available today makes the process as simple and painless as possible – so pick your favorite program and launch your company’s new website today!

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Web and Hosting Tips
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