The two biggest misconceptions about websites are: I have been doing “ok” with out a website, and I probably cannot afford one. Every business should have a website. A business can afford one for as little as $50.00 per year, or less than $6.00 per month. Like everything else “you get what you pay for.” To develop a Web Business Plan requires itemizing what the website needs. A business has four main factors to there website: Information, Contacting, Selling, and Managing.
A business website should have a wealth of information. Every service the business provides should be described in detail. Testimonials are always a great plus. A testimonial gives the website instant credibility. A specialized business could explain their service better with a couple of specific client scenarios. Selecting a testimonial that highlights the biggest selling features of the business is KEY. A business with great prices and fast service should highlight those items in their testimonials. A businesses needs to have a balance between giving the client plenty of information, and giving your competitors a blueprint of the business. The text on a website should take time to develop. It must be well prepared and planned. Developing a website that is easy to use is very important. Flashy websites only work for a narrow margin of businesses. A website should look professional. People are cautious about obtaining a service or product from a website that gives any reason to doubt its authenticity. A professional and well designed website is imperative.
No respectable business should have an email account that ends in aol, hotmail, or yahoo. Customized e-mail accounts start at only $9.00 per year. A personalized e-mail account tells the recipient where to find the senders website address every time an email is sent. There is no better way to lose credibility than to send an e-mail from an outside source. Every page on the website should have a phone number, and e-mail address. E-mails should be forwarded to the sales staff as soon as possible. There is nothing like a first impression. An e-mail reply or call within minutes of the initial request does more to increase credibility than anything else can.
Businesses that have products that can be sold online could have a fully functioning Shop Cart for about $40.00 per month. These Shop Carts can even estimate and charge for shipping and handling. A website should have a “contact us” page that gathers the client’s information. The best way to get visitors to give up their information is to give them something in return. Giving them something that can help the sales process. For example: a free issue of a publication, a newsletter, a pen, a free report, or even one month of free service.
Big businesses need special items to help them work better and cut down on actual clerical work. An example would be a form that gathers information for a staffing agency. Making applicants fill in every aspect of their resume into fields. This process makes the applicants do all the imputing themselves. The cost to develop this program will pay for itself in a few months. Custom development for websites is expensive and should be done cautiously. Any sort of programming like this could cost thousands of dollars to develop. Many times businesses can find a web application for sale that would solve their needs for a much lower price than having it custom developed for their business. An insurance agency might be able to buy a website specifically designed for its field instead of having one developed from scratch. The developmental cost of a website with similar functions will be much higher if developed from scratch. Remember to think about ROI when using the web to help determine if the process is cost effective. How long until the investment pays for itself if at all.
Web Marketing Campaign
Having a website is only the first step. Getting clients to find it once it is built is harder than most people think. Some people think that just by having a website would make people come across it or find it. A number one ranking does not happen by chance. Every top ranking website was achieved by a monumental amount of effort. Search engines look for many things that are relevant to the search criteria and popularity of the website. The best way to promote a website is to hire a reputable Search Engine Optimization Company. Prices vary based on the search areas that a business wants to be found under. The higher the demand the higher the price. A regular Houston area top ranking in any kind of business is around $300.00 per month. Remember it will take a few months before results are seen. Nobody can guarantee or offer instant top placement in search engines.
For instant results search engines also offer pay-per-click campaigns. This allows clients to name their price. The highest bidder gets top placement. This process takes as little as 72 hours to be fully functional in most cases. It is great for specialized businesses that do not have many other businesses fighting for the same leads. Bids range from .10 cents to $999.00 dollars depending on the search criteria. There is only a charge when the website is actually visited. This is the way search engines and some website make their money.
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