In recent weeks I’ve seen a surge of new clients visiting our Small Business Centre to talk over their anxieties about building a first website for their business. While it is important that you first determine whether a website will add value to your sales and marketing process, in today’s wired world, it is likely that you will decide that an online presence will be a key tool in creating a positive profile in your market.
Assuming you have decided that some sort of online presence is important, there are three paths you could choose to get started.
- Use a Do it yourself (DIY) Service
While these types of websites are not always the most feature-filled or visually pleasing, they serve an appropriate purpose in the market of getting your business online quickly. The processes are usually highly automated, from registering your domain name to building the basic structure and content. These are perfect for forming your ideas and experimenting or “piloting” your site .
Check out www.gybo.ca
- Install the tools and learn to customise them
Entrepreneurs with more advanced technical abilities will be able to figure out how to install the tools that perform the functions that they want. Only a few years ago many web design companies were deploying their own propriety content management systems. In recent years, open source platforms such as Joomla and WordPress have become industry standards of professional designers and amateur techies alike.
Check out www.wordpress.com.
- Hire a pro
As with many elements of your business, hiring an expert may be a good choice. If you’re really great at your trade, or producing your product, it may be best to focus your time on that and let someone else take care of deploying your web strategy. A professional can also help to design a more holistic approach to your web presence by thinking about how search engines, social media, location based tools, website and paid advertising work together. It is also likely that if you find a good developer, you can discuss your dream features, outcomes and business processes.
You may even consider progressing through these three options. When you are in the early experimental stages of your business, a DIY site might be the cost effective and easily overhauled solution you need. As the business evolves and you are more confident in your key messaging and business processes, the simple business card presence may be replaced by a more feature filled, but still template based tool. When you have the cash flow to justify paying to have your brand, messaging and business processes built into a custom theme, you could hire a design company to build your most ideal version.
Have you recently set up a website for your business? Find any great tools to help you along the way? Tell us your story – at the end of the month we’ll submit all entries into a draw for a chance to win a voucher for one of our 2013 semimars (value $25).
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