Today, the website of a company has usurped the front office as the place where first impressions are gleaned. Where it used to take a meeting or a few product samples for a customer to form an opinion about your business, now it's only a matter of a simple Google search - which means you need to make sure that query result is a memorable one.
"Small businesses should be looking to have a personal presence on the Web - something that would back up a sales call or brochure," says Tim Zack, a marketing executive at Red Clay Interactive, an Atlanta-based Web development firm. "It definitely shouldn't be an afterthought - this is a capital investment in the success of your company."
I have outlined 5 useful tips when you start your own website.
What do you want to accomplish? The first thing you should assess before embarking on your online venture is what exactly you want to accomplish with your site. Do you want to sell products? Do you want to create a blog about your company or service? Depending on your industry and the nature of your business, your site may have a combination of different functions.
Do it yourself or hire someone? After you've decided on the basic goals you want to accomplish with your website, next, you need to make the all-important decision of whether or not you're going to build or hire someone.
Select a domain name. The domain name is what people type in their address bar in order to get to your site, so there are some tips you should keep in mind during your brainstorming session: Keep it short. Don't use numbers. Make it memorable. Stray away from acronyms and abbreviations. Localize your extension name (i.e..ph for Philippines).
Find a good home for your site. A good web host is essential for building your site. It's the place where your website lives, and how it maintains a connection to the Internet. Most small businesses, unless backed by a fully-staffed IT department, won't be able to afford to host their own sites, so the best option is probably to find an external web host.
Manage site content. Above all, you must keep in mind that the content of your site is, essentially, what will keep visitors interested and coming back for more. Site content can include text, images, and even multimedia such as videos and podcasts. Whatever you decide to include, make sure it relates to your company or industry, and answers any questions a potential customer might have.