Running a business is not easy. So much to do and to think about! A decision about your company’s website is one of many on your plate but it could be one of the most important.
Whether you need a website and what sort depends on the nature of your business, target market and ways you are planing to reach your potential clients.
A website can be a highly functional selling tool or a simple on-line brochure.
What you will need
Domain name registration
The process by which a company or individual selects a domain name and later officially registers the domain name through an approved domain name registrar. There are few official companies through which you may check domain mane availability and register. Cost for such service may vary but is relatively low and will start at about £3 per year.
The business of providing the storage, connectivity, and services necessary to serve files for a website
A company that provides web hosting services is called a web host. There are literally thousands of web hosting services, ranging from individuals to worldwide corporations. Your web site developer will be able to advise you on what hosting services are suitable for your company.
You will also need an e mail account. Normally a hosting company will offer email services as well as hosting services.
Service based Business model
If your business offers services that cannot be sold over the Internet, for example, landscaping, plumbing, consultancy, etc, the purpose of a website will be to serve as an on-line brochure, advertising in local on-line directories and generally to appear professional and trustworthy.
The most cost effective solution in this case will be a static website. Static website is a website that does not provide any interactivity between it and its users and any changes to the content of the site will have to be undertaken by the web developer.
Such site can be purchased pre-made where buyer is guided to chose from several different templates (looks). Often such service is paid for monthly and the charge is low and include domain name registration and hosting of your website. The benefits of such ready made websites is the relatively low cost. The drawbacks to be considered are not very personal look and feel of the site, limited room for development and growth and fact that you paying for using the web space and do not own your site outright as you would if you paid a web developer to build the site for you. Which is the other of the options.
If you use a web developer to build the website to your specifications higher cost are to be expected. Such costs will be for graphic design, implementation of the site, domain name registration and hosting of the site. Market varies widely and research will need to undertaken. Contact few local web design companies and request quotes in order to chose one that will suite you best. Good web design company will make sure that your site is search engine friendly, well structured and they will recommend to which directories it will be beneficial to submit your site.
Also they will optimize the site’s content and recommend ways of marketing.
Product Based Business or Business with regular changing content
Product based Business model
If your business is product based the need for a website increases. You may not want to sell your product on-line but being able to show it to the potential buyer is crucial.
Look at it as on-line catalog. If your product range is small in and more importantly constant the static site will also suit you. You will need to use a recommended web design company and the cost may vary on average between £400 and £2000.
Content Management and website growth
If your product needs regular updating, for example you sell antique furniture and each peace is different, you will need to be able delete, replace your product or mark as sold the best solution for you is Content Management System (CMS).
A Content Management System is what allows company employees to publish new content to their web sites. It will allow you to be in control of the content of your website. There are many such systems on the market but main thing is to look out for is user friendliness. Complicated system will not only irritate and puzzle you but slow down the content managing process and take time away from running the business. Therefore it is recommended that before such system is bought the demonstration is requested. Contact few companies to compare the cost, usability and suitability of the products on the market.
A good CMS will have a wide spectrum of usability and will be adaptable to the businesses ranging from a small one user system to large multifunction, multiuser system.
E-Commerce (electronic commerce) is the buying and selling of goods and services on the Internet.
An E-commerce and CMS solutions together can provide you with all the tools necessary to establish your company as an Internet retailer. A good E-commerce system combined with CMS will allow you to perform a multitude of functions from managing your products to running promotions.
So, what ever your business there is a solution out there which is right for you. The main advice when buying a website is shop around and do your research.