In today’s world advertising your business only in newspapers and magazines instead of online is like having a rotary phone instead of an android. While it’s fine to advertise in print, you must also have a presence on the web if you want to be noticed.
The Value of a Business Website
Per the Pew Research Center, a 2010 study found that 58 percent of Americans perform online research on products and services they are thinking about buying. In 2004, only 9 percent of Americans performed online research.
In terms of people who regularly use the Internet, 78 percent of Americans searched online in 2010 before deciding where to spend their money. This number is likely to be higher now.
This study also found that on any given day 1 in 5 American adults is conducting this type of research. With hundreds of millions of adults in America that is a lot of potential customers.
A website isn’t just so people can find you; it’s also so you can find them. According to Yahoo Finance, a 2012 survey conducted by Manta found that 90 percent of small business owners dedicate time to networking online. Of this 90 percent, nearly three quarters find online networking equal to or more valuable than networking in person.
For many in this survey online networking has paid off. Seventy-eight percent say that they have gained at least a quarter of their new customers through social media marketing.
Building Your Website
While there’s no doubt a website can help improve your business, deciding how to build your website isn’t as cut and dry.
As you decide whether to build a website yourself or hire a professional, consider asking yourself the following questions:
Do I have the Technical and Creative Skills Needed?
Building a website can get tricky particularly if you need things like e-commerce or Flash programming. Sometimes you simply might not have the technical skills and need to hire outside help.
Not only can websites get complicated on a technical level, but on a creative level as well. Websites need to be visually appealing. If you don’t have an eye for art, colors, and crisp design, it’s best to hire someone who does.
If you choose to design your own site without the technical and creative skills required you risk having a site that doesn’t work correctly or isn’t appealing to the masses. Yet on the flipside technical and creative skills can be taught. If you have the time and motivation to learn something new, designing your own site might be the push you need to get you started.
What Can I Afford?
Per the Houston Chronicle, small businesses can usually find a designer to produce a professional website for about 2,500 dollars plus the cost of web hosting. If the website is complicated with things like motion graphics, animation, and interactive tools, the price can go up quickly.
On the other hand, using a template design tool to create the website yourself is quite affordable. These are usually offered with Web hosting packages and typically range from 250 to 500 dollars each year.
How Soon Do I Need My Site Ready?
The urgency of your website is also a factor you should consider. If you need a website built ASAP just so you have some type of web presence, the do-it-yourself route might be your best bet. With a template you can design a site in just a few hours.
Hiring a developer on the other hand takes control away from you. The developer may only be able to get to your project when other projects are completed. Of course you could probably put in a rush order, but chances are that would increase the price dramatically.
Derek Malthus is a freelance writer based in San Antonio, Texas. Derek focuses on cell phones, gadgets, website development, computer hardware, IT solutions and other associated subjects; readers with valuable cell phones may want to procure gadget insurance by visiting Protectyourbubble.com cell phone insurance.
Image credit goes to the UMF.