Just twenty years ago, starting a business was as simple as having a product, a vision, and the desire to succeed. While that is still true, so many more dynamics have become paramount in business. Even community organizations, schools and non profits are forced to reconsider their battle plan as the importance of an online presence, and utilization of social media increases.
The average American spends 31 hours online each week with 25% of that time devoted to social media (Mashable, December 2010). That is less than half of the time they spend in the car listening to the radio. It stands to reason that as a business or organization, you need to be where your clients are – online.
A common misconception about having a website is that you need to have a full time IT (Information Technology) person building and/or running it. This just isn’t so, anymore. With the advent of platforms such as Blogger, WordPress, or many of the other CMS (Content Management Suites), at least maintaining a website in house is easier, and more cost effective than ever. And, you don’t have to spend a small fortune to get up and running.
Typical website designs can run anywhere from $500 upwards into the tens of thousands, dependent on the functionality that is desired. Intricate programs that run within the website take a lot of time to not only design, but interface within the site.
For small businesses and organizations that need a “place on the web”, it isn’t necessary to break the bank to achieve your online home. You want an appealing look to the website so as to not scare away your potential customers with basic information about what it is you do, who you are, and other essential information. Also, keep in mind, you want to give your customer a reason to come back to visit. For instance, if you are a small beauty salon owner, adding beauty tips and secrets to your website along with the products and services you are selling not only gives your customer reason to come back (more information), but it helps to ingrain your brand so they will further pass along the information to others.
Likewise, social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have become premier locations to meet your customer where they are at – online. Setting up a Facebook page and Twitter account where you interact daily with your customers helps to give them a sense that you are connected, that you do care and you want to provide them with more of what you have, and what they want.