Why do I need a website?
I could build an entire website devoted strictly to pointing out the absolute necessity for all modern business’ to have a presence on the web. But instead, I will attempt to stick to a single page filled with reasons that even the biggest internet critic would be hard pressed to deny.
With approximately 240 million people worldwide having access to the World Wide Web. No matter what your business is, it simply doesn’t make good business sense to ignore 240 million people.
To Make Business Information Available. Think of a Yellow Pages ad. What are your hours? What do you do? How can someone contact you? Where are you located? Now think of a Yellow Pages ad where you have instant communication. What is today’s special? Who’s using our services today? What did the last project we completed look like?
To Serve Your Customers. How about making forms available to pre-qualify for loans? Or perhaps allowing potential customer’s to locate that important piece of material or equipment they are looking for, without tying up your staff on the phone to take down the information?
To Release Time Sensitive Materials. The quarterly earnings statement, the grand prize winner, the press kit for the much anticipated film, the merger news? Now the information can be made available at midnight or any time you specify, with all related materials such as photographs, bios, etc. released at exactly the same time.
To Sell Your Product or Services. Many people think that this is the number 1 thing to do with the World Wide Web, but we placed it lower on the list to make it clear that we think you should consider selling things on the Internet and the World Wide Web after you have done all the things above and maybe even after doing quite a few more things from this list.
To Make Pictures, Sound and Film Files Available. What if your widget is great, but people would really love it if they could see it in action? The album is great but with no airplay, nobody knows that it sounds great? The Web allows you to add sound, pictures and even short movie files to your company’s info. You can provide audio and visual information about your product or services to potential customers on the Web.
To Answer Your Customers Frequently Asked Questions. “Where are you located?” “Can you tell me how to get to your office?” “What are your hours of operation?” What’s your fax number?” Do you have an e-mail address?” “Do you provide overnight delivery?” These are questions customers and potential customers want to know the answer to before they deal with you. Post them on a Web page and you will have removed another barrier to doing business with you and freed up some time for that harried phone operator.
To Stay In Contact With Salespeople. Your employees on the road may need up-to-the-minute information that will help them make the sale or pull together the deal. A quick local phone call can keep your staff supplied with the most detailed information, without long distance phone bills. If you know what information may be needed, you can keep it posted in complete privacy on the Web.
To Open National and International Markets. You may not be able to make sense of the mail, phone and regulation systems in all your potential international markets, but with a Web page, you can open up a dialogue with international markets as easily as with the company across the street.
To Create a 24 Hour Service. If you’ve ever remembered too late or too early to call the opposite coast, you know the hassle. We’re not all on the same schedule. Business is worldwide but your office hours aren’t. Web pages serve the client, customer and partner 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No overtime either. You can customize information to match needs and collect important information that will put you ahead of the competition, even before they get into the office.
To Make Changing Information Available Quickly. Sometimes, information changes before it gets off the press. Now you have a pile of expensive, worthless paper. Electronic publishing changes with your needs. No paper, no ink, no printer’s bill. No printed material can match that flexibility.
To Allow Feedback From Customers. With a Web page, you can ask for feedback and get it instantaneously with no extra cost. An instant e-mail response can be built into Web pages and can get the answer while it’s fresh in your customers mind, without the cost and lack of response of business reply mail.
To Reach The Media. On-line press kits are becoming more and more common, since they work with the digital environment of more and more pressrooms. Digital images can be put in place without the stripping and shooting of the old pressrooms and digital text can be edited and made available for review on tight deadlines. All of these things can be made available on a Web page.
To Serve Your Local Market. We’ve talked about the power to serve the world with a Web page. How about your neighborhood? A local Houston, TX restaurant even takes lunch orders through the Internet! But no matter where you are, or what services you provide, if the big client has Web access, you should be there too.
What Will I Need To Create A Website?
Hosting is very simply the renting of a storage unit where your website will reside. Once rented you will assign your domain name to the unit that you have rented or leased. This process is similar to your business renting or leasing a unit and parking your dba or corporation at the location.
Don’t confuse renting a storage unit with putting something in it. A website host is like a landlord renting you space. Your website itself is equivalent to furniture, equipment and supplies to be used inside your new space.
Creating a website is different than having someplace to put it. Just because you rented a space don’t expect your landlord to furnish it also. You, a member of your staff or a development company will need to design the website for your hosted place.
The hosting company will typically provide you with e-mail capability also. This gives you the added professionalism of sending out e-mail that comes from your domain. This is another area where a qualified consultant or web developer can be of valuable assistance.
When selecting a hosting company there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all is the undeniable belief in the old adage that you get what you pay for. You can find hosting companies that will display your web pages for free! I’m sorry to disappoint you, but nothing is free.
Most of the allegedly “free” hosting companies inundate your site visitors with pop-up ads or place banner ads (which you have no control over) at the top, on the side, or even in the middle of your web pages.
Fortunately, good website hosting is relatively inexpensive these days and Feral Grafix can help you secure quality, dependable, flexible hosting services that will grow with you.
Do I Need A Domain Name?
Over the years I have been asked repeatedly by new internet marketers “Why do I need a domain name?” If you are relatively new to this wonderful thing called the internet, understanding why you need your own domain name is crucial to your online success.
Let’s start with a simple a simple example. You’re at a party doing a little networking. You meet a person who shows interest in your pet care business and they ask, “What is your URL?” To which you reply something like, “www.geotown.com/heartland/carlisle/853247/”.
Now my questions to you are, do you really think they remembered that? And if so, do you really think they got the impression that you are operating a serious and reputable business? I doubt it.
Can you fix it? You bet. Buy your own domain for less than $20 a year! Then you can tell them your domain is something like. “www.PreciousPets.com” Doesn’t that sound a lot more professional and easy to remember? Oh, and by having your own domain name you also get your own email address. So now instead of saying, “You can contact me at John070368@blazingmail.com” You can say, “You can contact me at John@PreciousPets.com”
But hang on, there is more. For that $20 per year having your own domain name can also drastically increase your traffic volume. How you ask? Many search engines will only include you in their results if you have your own domain name. This cannot be overlooked. You NEED to be listed in the results of search engines. After all, to get customers, they need to be able to find you!
In conclusion having your own domain name will…
Increase your Professionalism
Make your URL more Memorable
Give you your own Email Address
Help get you listed in the Search Engines
Increase your Traffic levels
I firmly believe that your own domain name is one of the best investments, if not THE best investment, you can make in your site. After all, I doubt 2 cents a day will break anyone’s bank.
What your e-mail address says about you?
Far too often companies use personal, free or ISP based, e-mail addresses to conduct business, totally unaware of the message that doing so sends to potential clients.
When an e-mail address like firstname.lastname@example.org or hotmail.com, yahoo.com, netzero.com, rr.net, etc. is used for company business not only does it simply look unprofessional, but it also;
- Undermines your company image,
- Defeats the development of brand identity,
- Communicates smallness, and
- Runs a higher risk of never being received.
Did you know that many corporations routinely set up their mail server’s to automatically block incoming mail from hotmail, msn, and yahoo.com e-mail accounts? Free e-mail account services are often used to flood corporate e-mail accounts with spam and e-mails containing virus’. Without knowing it, your important e-mail messages may never be received, simply because the free based e-mail carrier you have chosen to use has been blocked.
A custom e-mail address using your own company’s domain name gives you that professional appearance and promotes brand recognition. You can show your custom e-mail address on your advertising media such as brochures or business cards.
Not only does a custom e-mail address project a more positive image to your customers than a hotmail, yahoo, aol, netzero, swbell, or road runner e-mail account, it can also serve as an incredibly powerful communication tool.
People immediately know what company you work for and customers can contact you through your company e-mail address to ask for information regarding your products, or for assistance, and you can quickly respond to assist them.
If you want a custom e-mail address using your own domain name, such as email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, you’ve come to the right place.
At Feral Grafix, we offer professional, reliable, and affordable e-mail services to assist you in projecting your company’s professional appearance on the web.
Is the reason you haven’t obtained a custom e-mail package because you are simply “comfortable” using your AOL, hotmail, or yahoo account? We can set you up with a professional-looking e-mail address that automatically forwards your e-mail to the e-mail account that you use now!
Marketing your company on the Web has to do with projecting your company’s image by means of both your Web site and your e-mail messages. Allow us to help you accomplish your internet marketing goals. Call today for more information.
Planning Your Website?
Initially, planning a website can be difficult and downright time– consuming – until you finally figure out what it is that you want to present to your visitors. Whether you select Feral Grafix as your web design partner, another web design company or even chose to build your website on your own, these are a few things you will need to do to properly plan your online presence.
Step 1 – Determine what you want your website to do for you by asking yourself questions such as:
Do I simply want to tell the world where I am and what I do?
Do I want to show the world the products / services that I offer?
Do I want to actually sell my products from this website?
Do I want to keep the world informed of company news, projects, events?
Step 2 – Write down a list of topics that you would like to cover on your website.
Products / Services
Hours of Operation
Step 3 – Expand on each topic. Name the topic something short – these will be the links in your navigation area (e.g. home, about us, etc.). Use a separate sheet of paper for each topic or sub topic.
Who Are We
Products / Services
What We Sell
How We Sell It
Step 4 – Gather content (text and images) that you would like to appear in each section. The images should be in JPG or GIF format for use on the web and sized appropriately for use on a webpage. The text would be best given in a plain (unformatted) TXT file using the MS Windows NOTEPAD program.
Step 5 – If you do not already have a domain name now would be a good time to select a one, or a few in the event the one you want is already taken. You would then need to check for the name availability, register your domain and select a hoisting service for your future website. Feral Grafix handles all of that for our web design clients.
Having a website outline, your contents, color scheme preferences, graphics, etc. on hand prior to having someone design your website can save you time, money, and frustration.
As a Feral Grafix client you will be supplied with all the tools you need to make the planning process easier. We will provide an easy to follow website outline document to assist you in organizing your website navigation and contents, as well as other tools to assist in domain name selection, and even color scheme and layout selection.
Once my site is built how will I update it?
You need to understand the importance of keeping your communications on your website dynamic. Once the site is up keep thinking about how else you want to communicate, how else you can use this new medium to your advantage. Make sure that your plan and budget include changes.
Imagine if you subscribed to a magazine and in January you received the January issue, then in February you received the January issue, and in March you received the January issue. How long would you keep your subscription? Not that you need to change the whole thing every month, but you do need to stay dynamic.
We specialize in a website design technology that enables our customers to manage the information that is contained on their website themselves. You don’t need to know anything about developing a webpage or any of the other complexities of managing internet information and website content.
If you simply don’t have time to make updates on your own Feral Grafix has several maintenance contract agreements that may suit your needs. Just contact us for more information regarding our site maintenance plans.
STILL NOT CONVINCED?
Here are a few more reasons that you need to have a website:
- Your competition has a website.
- If your competition does not have a website then you will be one step ahead.
- A website allows for constant advertising 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- A website works and advertises for you while you do other constructive things for your business.
- A website answers most people’s questions without having to call your business and waste your valuable time.
- A website allows the customers to contact you and you contact them at each others convenience.
- A web address on your flyers, radio commercials, or television commercials shows your existing and potential customers that you are on top of things and that your products or services are state of the art.
- A website serves as both an advertising campaign and place of business
- A website can generate qualified sales leads locally, nationally, or worldwide.
- 75% of all American homes now surf the web and that percentage increases daily.
- A website of your own projects a first class image. It will portray an image of someone ahead of the curve and sitting in the cockpit of technology. It will give you a chance to sell yourself.
- A website can give complete information on your product or service, including photos.
- With a website you can process on-line orders from your customers, 24 hours a day.
- Provide support information such as instructions, updates to manuals, & accessories.
- You can offer printable coupons to entice customers to buy now!
- With a website you can decrease non sales calls by offering general information.
- You can dramatically increase the effectiveness of any advertisement by simply including your Web site’s address; allowing your ad to say much more!
- A website will allow you to attract and recruit new employees by listing available positions online.
- With a website you can post password protected data, employee forms and manuals that can be made available for print or download by your employees anywhere in the world.
- For customer profiling and feedback, collect customer information by utilizing forms.
- With a website you can provide an employee or customer suggestion box to improve workflow processes and procedures.
- With a website, you provide easy customer access even if your company moves or your phone number or area code changes, your web site address stays the same, and your customers will always be able to locate you.
- You can reduce printing cost since much of your information can be given on your web site.
- You can also reduce postage cost since your information is already in prospects hands.
- You can even reduce phone charges, you won’t need to fax immediate information or use expensive 800 lines to explain your product or service since your information is online.
- You can use a website to extend your company’s global reach – Unlike a radio ad that covers one small area, a web site can instantly be accessed by any Internet user, anywhere in the world.
- You can provide compelling content – Unlike a black & white Yellow Pages ad, a web site can contain text, color photos, graphics, logo, animation and even sound.
- With a website, you have no space limitations – Unlike a small “boxed-in” newspaper or Yellow Pages ad, a web site can contain as many pages and as little or as much information as you like!
- With a website, you have continuous exposure – Unlike a newspaper ad that runs for a single day, a web site is available to consumers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- For flexibility you can’t beat a website- A web site can be changed or updated any time.
- Because having your own company website is affordable – Unlike local television ads, which can cost over $100,000, or Yellow Pages ads, which can cost over $50,000 for a single directory, a web site can cost as little as $1 per day.