Times are changing. Whether we like it or not, there are some things in business that we must do, if for no other reason, than because everyone else is doing it. It’s sort of like that dark blue suit you wore to your last job interview. It didn’t really make you more or less qualified, but you might not want to be the only person to show up in a mudcloth kaftan.
Business decision-makers are more comfortable dealing with people that “fit in”. (Don’t you just hate that?) And if those decision-makers have to answer to someone else, or worse yet, a committee, the pressure to take the safest route is insurmountable.
Imagine this scenario. You’re making a career-changing sales presentation before a buying committee. You’re dressed to impressed, your word selection is Shakespearean, your handout is panoramic, the moon is in the 7th house, and Jupiter is aligned with Mars. Just when you are about to whip out the order form, some wise guy on the committee retorts, “ I don’t see your web address on this business card. You DO have one don’t you?” He phrases the question in a way that suggests, “if you don’t have a web site, then I’m sure the horse you rode in on must be thirsty by now.”
If peer pressure alone is not a compelling enough reason to submit to the web-site-owning mania, then there are some more substantive reasons to get a web site. Unlike a few years ago when there just weren’t enough people surfing the web to make a web site investment worth your time and money. Now if you don’t have one, you run the risk of being viewed as a regressive anomaly.
There are numerous tangible, as well as intangible, reasons to own a web site. Look at your web site the same way as you look at your telephone. It might ring only once a year, but try explaining to someone that the reason you don’t have a telephone is because you get most of your orders in the mail. Good luck. They’ll probably think that you’re the Unabomber redux. While the stigma of not owning a web site has not quite reached that proportion, it’s not far off.
In the old days, only companies with certain budgets could justify the cost of a web site. But in the current “gotta have it now” climate, a web site is a staple. Whether it’s for your business, non-profit, class reunion or personal use, the web site has elbowed its way into the mainstream, right up there with the telephone and business card.
I get asked all the time by business owners, managers, startup companies and others, “do I need a website?” Well, the short answer is “yes”. The long answer is “absolutely”. Listed below are some of the common benefits of owning a web site:
· Gain and maintain credibility
· Market and advertise
· Sell products online
· Save money on printing literature
· Receive instant feedback from visitors
· Generate leads for follow up on sales efforts
· Expand hours of operation
· Increase distribution channels
· Save money on staff (avoid repeating routine information)
· Share time-sensitive information with customers, employees, investors, etc, i.e. prices, new products, etc.
· Publish newsletters and other promotional materials
· Include pictures, demos, samples, i.e., products, book reviews, audio clips, video clips, etc.
· Provide directions to your location, including maps
So as you can see, besides being a status symbol, a web site can actually put money in your pocket. Before you buy however, make sure that your web site aspirations are commensurate with your budget. There are some good bargains out there, but the best buys are the ones that also include a means of attracting visitors to your site.