The online world is extremely aggressive because your competitors are no longer just your local businesses and more than ever people rely on the internet to base their decisions on whom they want to do business with. If you’re a business owner, having a website is a necessity now days if you want to stay competitive. Consider your website your home base; where you’ll send visitors to convert them into leads. Studies have shown that people often decide whether to do business with a company within 7 seconds of visiting a company’s website (womenentrepreneur.com). Depending on how much time you have and your budget, you have several options when it comes to building your business website. Here are some of your options:
Site builders: Using templates is pretty easy to manage for the novice users. With site builder tools you can choose your template and simply add your own content. Some web hosting companies offer free site builder tools when you sign up for a web hosting account. On the down side, it’s not usually optimized for search engines and can at times look homemade.
Blogging platforms: One of the most popular blogging platforms is WordPress. Note that there’s a difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org. With WordPress.org you need to install it on your own server or with a web host provider and requires some technical knowledge. WordPress.com is hosted through WordPress and is easy to use but is not as flexible. In this article, I’m focusing on WordPress.org.
Although it was first designed as a blogging tool, many people are now using WordPress for their main business website or a combination of both a blog and website. It is free to use, you can manage your own content and can customize the look with Themes (the skin of your blog), Widgets (an object that you can add to your sidebar) and Plugins (add-on that creates functionality to your blog). WordPress also makes it very easy to optimize your site for search engines. This site was built on a WordPress platform using Headway Theme.
Hire a professional: If you have the budget, a professionally designed website can have great advantages. Professional web designers should know the latest tools and methods to get your site visible to search engines. Beware that many people call themselves “web designers” but not all are created equal. Make sure you do your homework! Ask to see their portfolio, look at their own website and ask for references. This option is not cheap; it can cost thousands of dollars depending on the size of your website.
There are several other options and software that you can use to build your business website. Do your homework and find what works best for you. You might find that your website is in a constant state of evolution and you will change and upgrade it often. Keep it simple, include fresh content and make the navigation straightforward. The important thing to remember is to start building your online presence NOW and your business website should the first step.
Can your clients easily find your business online?