How To Create A Web Presence For Small Businesses

In today’s world it is critical for a business to have some sort of online presence. All major corporations have a website that offers information about the company and allows consumers to purchase products. These websites require extensive use of database libraries, plugin coding languages, and other programs which require extensive knowledge of coding. Many of these are designed by a team of programmers hired to work on the layout of the website and create a unique look.

This can be expensive for a small business to handle, but it is important to have a professional website for the company. Fortunately, there are many affordable web building sites and programs that allow a user to simply choose elements for the website and place them without needing to program every element of it.

 

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Basic Site

Every website constructed for a business should contain information about the business. The website will typically be a consumer’s main way of interacting with the company, so it is important to use the website as advertisement for the business and make the customers interested in shopping there.
At the very least, the website should have contact information, business hours, and an address to make it easy for customers to figure out where and when to go for information or to shop. Most people will perform a quick search online to find this information and are more likely to shop with a business that makes it easy to find this information.
Just having this information is boring, so if there is no goal for becoming an online retailer, the site should also offer information about interesting partnerships with the business, the mission statement and main goals, and details of some of the products and services offered to give a customer some idea of what to expect when shopping at the business or looking for a service.

Every site construction application and website from Weebly to Wix and WordPress has the tools required to provide this information without having to go through too much effort. Some sites offer drag and drop functionality, and automatic formatting so that a user would simply need to place elements of the site where they want them to go.

Weebly and Wix, among other free host sites, will offer a domain name that includes the host site within the name. A business should invest some money into the website so it can have control over the domain name. It looks more professional to have a site that just contains the company’s name than to have a domain that says the company’s name with the host name and creates a needlessly long domain.

 

Online Marketing

Most modern retailers have a website that offer customers a way to purchase products online. There are some small businesses that form their business models around the concept of e-commerce, since they cannot afford to have physical retail locations. Many of the site construction programs offer tools to make it easy to set up an online business, though price tiers and customization options differ between them. The ease of use usually comes at the cost of having to pay a percentage of profits to the site, since it provides the complex programming for the store’s infrastructure.
For the small business just starting out with e-commerce, a site like Shopify or other online store builder would be beneficial since they would focus on retail sites, allowing the business to keep a good chunk of the earnings and get a website built with minimal effort. Many of the businesses just starting won’t require complex widgets on their site, so a basic host should be plenty for them.

As a business expands and more features are added, it might be cheaper to go with a more complex web host that would allow for complex utilities and web apps to provide a more professional user experience. A site like WooCommerce, or something like it, would allow customization without requiring extensive programming experience to make a professional website.

As with a simpler website, an online store should only include the business actually selling the product, and not the name of the host, so companies should invest money in tiers that give them control over the domain. A business should also focus on web traffic and data storage options to allow the site to be visited by many people and for the site to contain lots of graphics, products and information for consumers to view.

 

Design a Custom Site

Some companies may have the funds and developers available, or may find other online store builder websites too constricting, and could opt to build their own website instead. In this case, they would only need to pay for a hosting service.

This would be the most ideal situation for a business to be in since they would be allowed to construct a website however they saw fit. Their only limitation would be on the host they choose for their site, which would affect the amount of storage available and the amount of web traffic allowed for the site.

This option would also allow the company to keep all the revenue generated through the site since the host is not providing the tools necessary to generate the services. As stated before, this option would become one of the more expensive options since a team of programmers knowledgeable in HTML and widget construction would be necessary to build the site.

 

Summary

All businesses should have some type of website providing information about the company and, for many businesses, an online store to sell products and services. Though it seems like a daunting task, there are a variety of options for businesses large and small to utilize.

Whether it be a site for running an online business or simply one to provide information about the company, the variety of options available today make it easy and affordable for any business to have a professional website.

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