A good website is a must for any small business. It doesn’t matter if you sell mittens or mutual fund shares; you need a website through which your customers and leads can find and learn more about you. But, a mistake I’m seeing more and more often is that small businesses are treating their websites like business cards or ads in the yellow pages.
But, a website is more than just another ad spot purchased in the local classifieds. It is a completely separate portal, on par with your brick and mortar location. It is where people meet you, learn about you, and get in contact with you. Moreover, a good website will provide the resources your potential customers need to make a buying decision.
All of these things make a very compelling case for treating your website like more than just another quick advert you send to the local paper. That website needs to shine. It needs to be provide useful information, be easy to use, and show up in directories and profiles across the Internet. If someone needs what you sell, they should find your website.
Rethinking the Development of a Good Website
So, what does all this mean for your web budget? In most cases, it depends largely on your overall budget. If you currently spend little or no money on direct advertising, then you shouldn’t invest large sums of money into your website. This is another mistake a lot of small businesses make. They assume that their website should be treated as a panacea for all ills. But, for most small businesses, a website is another tool – an extremely powerful tool – but a tool nonetheless.
It sits somewhere in between most assumptions. It needs to be powerful and informative and you should invest far more into it than you would ad copy for a classified, but you shouldn’t take out loans to build new sites or attempt to generate new leads solely through your website.
The Right Approach for Your Business
Every business is different, so the real key to using a website successfully is to build one that covers all of your bases and then work carefully on generating traffic to that website. You want people on your site, reading your content and associating your business with knowledge in their niche. If you can do that without spending excessively, all the while providing value and starting a steady SEO campaign, the free traffic you’ll eventually gain will make your website invaluable as your business transitions partially or largely online.