Wednesday, 25 February 2009

6 Bad Reasons NOT to have a website for your business

6 Bad Reasons Not To Have a Website for your Business

Are you a small business with either no website at all or a tired old one that doesn't seem to improve your business for you?

Here at Seagull Designs we have been working in web design in Lincolnshire for a while and we have been focussing on local businesses who don't already have a website (or do but don't know what to do with it now its looking a bit tired) and we've found the most common reasons for not being online are usually poor excuses! In this article I hope to show that getting your business online is simply, cost-effecitve and absolutely necessary in the 21st century.

1. Don't Need A Website
It makes a very poor impression on your potential customers if you don't have the basic tools that say "we're a proper business". Once upon a time this meant having a name, a logo, a phone number and a business card with all this information on it but in the 21st century a website (with your own domain name) is every bit as essential, no website says "we aren't a serious business".

2. Can't Afford A Website
Once upon a time this was possibly true, web design is an industry in flux, once you used to pay someone thousands of pounds and look at the finished result and think "was that it?" then be assured that it took many hours and a great deal of skill to write the code that made it work. These days the myth is blown. In our next article we'll look at what makes a good first website but for now a professional web design company shouldn't be charging you more than a few hundred pounds for a 3-4 page static website . . INCLUDING all the grahics and help with the content!!! On top of this, hosting doesn't need to cost that much either, such a site should cost no more than £50 or £60 a year to host AND maintain . . AND make basic changes and updates to within reason!

3. No One Will Look at it
This is slightly true if your business expects to never make new customers. More likely the website, all shiny and expensive just sits there and the web designers fade away with their fee. These days the job is only half done, a nice site matters, of course, but driving traffic to it and promoting matters too. getting the balance right between having lots of visitors and giving them a good experience when they get there is crucial for the all importnat ratio of expense in having a website to number of people visiting it to number of visitors converted into clients

4. Don't know what to put on it
Not all businesses have have products to sell directly (those that do really must have a webstore to sell from, again these are cost effective if you use some of the open source ("free"!!!) software out there, most hosting packagaes should come with something your web designers can configure and install for you. True that you need to update it with your products and process the orders yourself but these systems are not rocket science and anyone who can get online and surf the internet can manage it. Other businesses don't know what to say about themselves, one of the tools in the armoury of good web designers is the ability to write good copy. Often with an eye on the dark arts of "Search Engine Optimisation" which is the buzz word around and a well planned (and again, cost-effrective!!!) campaign will draw many more visitors to your site where the good design of the site turns them into customers.

6. Dont Trust the unknown
This is all tied up with the years of bad and greedy web designers (and yes they are still out there, many in very respectable companies!) who have made getting businesses online expensive and harrowing for people by exploiting their lack of knowledge. Find a web designer who wnats to work with you, who "gets' what your business is about and who goes out of his way (sometimes far too far!!) to explain things to do and never ever gives the impression that its too technical for you to understand so you should just pay up . . .

All of the above, combined, are the most common reasons that people with small businesses don't get set up with a website. In our next article we'll walk you through getting one and the options available to you, but for now the messages from Seagull Designs is this:

To Small Businesses - don't be ripped off, your lack of technical knowledge is NOT a barrier to having a cost effective (even "cheap" !!) quality website - there are good web designers out there, go with your gut feelings over reliability, trustworthiness and finances, if it sounds too expensive, it probably is.

To unscrupulous Web Designers - The myth is blown, get over the idea of charging thousands for a 5 page static website then £50 everytime someone wants to update their phone number on it. Hosting doesn't need to cost hundreds every year, even for database driven sites and hosting should include maintainence and features, not just lots of webspace and bandwidth that clients don't need.

In our next article, we'll go through getting your first site online . . if you want help or advice (free!) then don't hesitate to contact Ashley or Taryn at Seagull Designs, Sutton On Sea, Lincs, UK (we do have successful and good overseas clients and often work for people we've never met except over the internet!)

Come and find us at http://www.seagulldesigns.co.uk

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