7 Myths about a Website for Your Small Business
Technology evolves and businesses follow that evolution. Before telecommunications options were readily available, customers interacted with businesses by stopping into or by sending mail (real mail, not email!).
As telephones became reliable and available, it was assumed that a reputable business would have a phone number. People even used the phone number to determine the proximity of the business to their home or office.
Then came the facsimile machine, also known as the fax. Faxes were great because they allowed the transmission of both text and images from paper in one location to paper in another location. Then, the presence of a fax number became the sign of a legitimate, modern business.
Then, email! The advent of email was both a blessing and a curse. It could replace the antiquated fax technology and do so much more. But it also came with unwanted messages. A lot of unwanted messages. Considering how long email has been available, it has taken a surprisingly long time to completely unseat the paper-based fax technology. Many businesses showed their accessibility and responsiveness by making public email addresses available for their customers.
The latest in the technological evolution of business legitimacy hallmarks is the website. While website technology has been around for decades now, small businesses have been slow to buy in. In the beginning, website development was cumbersome and error prone and costly. Development tools were lacking and the overall technology from development to hosting was shaky at best. But now, website technologies are advanced, stable, reliable, and inexpensive and therefore, the presence of an attractive website has become the first thing new customers look for when investigating a company they are considering for goods and services.
Why do some small businesses not yet have a website? Here are some myths about websites that might be holding some small businesses back from creating their online presence:
- My business doesn’t need a website. While is it true that many businesses have survived for years or even decades without a website, it does not mean that the business would not benefit from a website now. By now, it is assumed that a reputable, modern business will have a website. Websites can function as lead generators or eCommerce tools that bring in customers and sales for the business or they can serve as references for those who are trying to learn more about your business.
- Getting a website is expensive. The cost of the website will be determined by its complexity and size. If your site is using e-commerce to sell products, that will be costlier than a simple website. But, a simple “brochure-ware” style website no longer carries the substantial cost it once did.
- Once I have a website, I can cross it off my list. A website is not a once-and-done thing. Just as clothing and car trends change over time, so do websites. Additionally, with the rapid advances in website technologies, a website can develop a dated appearance within 2-3 years of launching. For search engine optimization (SEO), that is, getting found in Google and Bing searches, the regular addition of content will improve search engine rankings. Google dislikes stale content as much as humans do!
- I am not technical enough to have a website. This might not be a myth. But it is no reason not to have a website. There are thousands of firms and developers who will gladly build you a website. There are also services which provide tools that allow non-developers to build websites themselves. These websites tend to have a “canned” appearance but sometimes that is all that a business needs.
- Having a website will make my business a target for hackers. Before website hosting was a commodity service, businesses often hosted their websites on a local server. This exposed their internal network to a tremendous about of internet traffic. It was absolutely a security risk. But now, just about all websites are hosted offsite from the business. The business no longer needs to ensure the server is up and running in order for the website to work. Hosting services staffed with expert network and server engineers keep the servers up and running and fairly secure.
- Having a website will increase the spam in my email inbox. This might be true if you post your company email address on the website. Most spammers that obtain email addresses from websites do so with automated bots which crawl from website to website searching for email addresses. There are development techniques that allow you to display your email address and even make it a clickable link without succumbing to the spammer bots. Of course, if a human (not a bot) goes to your website and reads your email address and manually adds it to their spam list, well, yes, you might get more spam.
- It will take months to get my website online. It could. But it could also take just a few days. The primary factors in the length of time from starting a website project to launching it are a combination of the complexity of the site and how much thought has gone into the website planning before contacting a web developer.
If you have already considered all the pages you want, the design look and feel (colors, fonts, logos…), the images, and the text, then a competent developer can build your site quickly.
Rarely do businesses have their new website so well thought out. This is where a skilled designer can help. They can walk you through the options and help you imagine a site that will accurately communicate your services and products to the world.
A full-service website development firm can assist with the design and text (“copy”) creation and image selection. Some businesses will benefit from using high-quality images from a stock photo service while others will benefit more from using photos of their own work. An experienced web development firm can guide you through the myriad choices about your website.
Your business needs a website. If it already has one, it might need a new one. Landau Consulting would be delighted to help you through the process and then create for you a beautiful website that tells the world about your goods and services. Our designers and developers stand ready to assist!