Information Technology

Online Presence – essential for today’s small business

By 10th October 2017 No Comments

Online presence is not optional – this is a simple fact of life. Whether you have a website, or you make use of social media, if you’re not online, you’re invisible. This is especially true if your potential customers are young adults.

This segment of your customer base wants to be able to find you at the swipe of a smartphone or a tablet. The kind of information they typically seek is: where you are, when you are open, what you have to sell and how much it will be. If you don’t provide information online, they will go to someone who does.

Building your online presence is a major step, and there are several considerations. Do you need a website, or is social media alone going to suit your needs?

Online presence via a website

In the past, it was accepted that an online presence meant having a website. This has changed somewhat, and many businesses now rely on social media alone, but more of that in a separate article. If you want a website, you generally have two options; build your own, or buy one from a web building company. Your website is your online face to the world, so you need to get it right.

Buy a website?

There are thousands of companies who can build you a website. Prices vary from hundreds of pounds upwards, and your time input will be moderate. You will be involved in choice of theme and images, and you will provide the information to be turned into website content.

There will be ongoing costs for support and maintenance, and an annual hosting fee. Before buying a site,ensure you clarify whether you will be able to make your own amendments to it, or if you will be charged an additional fee for any changes you need to make. Professional web builders usually employ professional writers, so you can be sure of getting a polished end product.

Fancy building your own?

You have a wide choice of companies who will provide you with all the tools and templates to build yourself a website. The fees you pay are usually pretty small compared with buying a site from a professional builder. Your time and effort input will be high – you will need to decide on the theme, source all the images and provide all the wording for the site.

Quality of images and wording are important, as they set the tone for your site. Poorly written wording, full of spelling and grammatical errors, is a real turn-off for customers. This is especially the case if combined with low quality images. You risk giving visitors a poor impression of your business, so if you’re not a wordy whizz, it may be safer to leave it to the experts and buy a website.

Is a website your best option?

Many small businesses do not have a website at all. These businesses opt to use social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Online market sites such as eBay and Etsy are also popular to sell products and services. These sites are popular and accessible to connected customers. So, before making a time and money commitment to a website, consider the attractions of social media as an alternative.

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