You might think having a website as a small business is a normal thing in 2017. It is not anything special and won’t make you stand out from your competitors. Shockingly, according to a 2016 report by Clutch almost half of small businesses in the US don’t have a website.
Any business can profit from having their own website. Benefits can include a higher visibility and brand awareness, an increase in new customers and the opportunity to provide customer support for your current client base by offering a live chat, email support or a blog with a resource section.
An ever higher amount of people are first turning to online research before making any purchase decisions. If you are able to position your company on its website and online presences as a helpful resource your potential customers will recognise this and view your company as a trustworthy brand.
So what are your options if you are one of those 50% of business owners without a website?
Option 1: Get a website professionally build
There are probably millions of web developers and designers offering their services nowadays. Once you decided that you want to go down the route of hiring a web designer to create your small business website you will need to decide on a few things:
- your budget
- time frame
- number of pages you’ll need
- quality requirements
- website and domain hosting
Depending on your budget you might opt for a local web designer who most likely will end up being more expensive than an outsourced designer somewhere half way around the world. The advantages of a local web designer are obvious, however, if your budget won’t allow for this, have a look at one of these freelance marketplaces for cheaper outsourced options:
Once you decided whether you go for the outsourced or local option you need to think about what kind of information you want to make available on your website.
Make sure to include pages for your products or services, a contact form page, an about us page and any other important pages in regards to your business. Be thorough as alternations later on often come at a higher per-hour pricing.
Pro tip: Only ask for a blog on your website if you can write at least two blog posts per months. There’s nothing worse than a dead blog.
Once your new business website is finished it needs to get hosted somewhere.
Often your web designer will try to upsell you a hosting package in order to make more money. Not always, but often, this is a complete rip off and you would be way better off sorting out the hosting yourself.
In order to get an understanding of monthly and annual charges for website and domain name hosting you can compare these providers:
Option 2: Build your own website using a website builder
In case you feel confident enough to use a website builder, this can often be a great way of creating your own website. There are hundreds of different website builders available, including:
All of them have their own advantages and disadvantages and you should check which one fits your personal needs the most. Pricing is normally from $0 to $20 per month depending on the package you choose.
Once you’ve chosen your website builder and signed up to it they all have very similar interfaces. You can generally drag and drop text boxes, images and other elements into your website and click the PUBLISH button whenever you’re ready.
One great advantages of using a website builder instead of having a web designer is the ability to make quick changes to your website yourself without the need to contact the web designer.
Option 3: Do the social media redirect
There are some businesses which benefit more from a website than others. If you want to provide weekly industry updates or high quality downloadable resources to your customers a website and blog definitely make sense.
However, if you simply want to offer a quick view into the daily life of your company by posting pictures and short status updates you might be better off having a well-maintained Facebook page.
Restaurants, for example, can work very well with Facebook. Pictures of dishes, daily menu updates and restaurant reviews can all be handled within a Facebook page. You can even provide customer support via the Facebook page’s messenger feature.
If you want to opt for this solution you can buy a domain name for about $10 per year from one of the above listed companies and simply redirect the domain to your Facebook page.
The most important is to thoroughly think about, and evaluate, which option fits your business’s needs best. Once you decided on your needs, budget and time frame you can choose with what option you want to go.