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Seven Ways to Put Your Business Online And The One Guaranteed Way to Do It at No Cost
by Jeff Beale
Ever since businesses realized that the Internet the ultimate resource to reach more people in less time for less than most other marketing mediums, business owners have been asking how can I get my business online and thus in the global marketplace. This question was answered with many solutions to include “my son took a web class in school, he can do it”. Well let’s look at the seven different ways to put your business online and the pros and cons of each.
Do It Yourself
The first way would be the obvious, to do it yourself. If you have technical knowledge and time on your hands then this is a great way to put up a site that suite your business.
• Save money by not paying someone else to do it for you
• Maintain full control of your site
• Sense of pride in what you have accomplished
• Many business owners lack the technical knowledge to effectively develop all the necessary components of their web site.
• Many business owners lack the knowledge of how to write effective web copy that encourage sales as well as will be optimized for search engine. They are not versed in layout designs that increase accessibility and functionality.
• They do not have hours invest in research, development and implementation of a business web site due to they must run their business so they put together a rush project.
• Many business owners do not know how to effectively market the site after the design.
In most cases the results are the business owner builds a site that brings no results. The site is a creation that only the owner appreciates. Due to the lack of expertise and time they miss many critical elements in their site. So though the price was not much more than registration of a domain name, purchasing of software, hosting fees and time, I cost the owner thousands in loss time and sales.
Friend and Family
Many business owners have friends and family that have some web design experience but few have people in their circle that have a full understanding of developing a business site and how it interacts online.
• The price of designing the site will be minimal
• You have someone with some technical knowledge to design and maintain your site
• You have a personal bond with the designer
• Since this is for a friend or family and is not a high paying or no paying job many friends and family take their time and do not put the same effort if it were a full paying job.
• The knowledge of the friend of family may not be much more than the business owner so the development of good copy and functional design will be lacking.
• After the design is complete the job is done. There are no further marketing of the site.
In most cases the results are the same as the results of if the business owners would have done it themselves. With out the expertise in web design and Internet marketing the site brings no results thus waste valuable time and money.
Templates and Sitebuilders
Templates and template driven site builders are the newest trend in web design. There are numerous sites that business owners can go to and download a template or go through an easy step by step process which will put them online in a matter of minutes.
• Usually low priced and sometimes comes with hosting
• Fast design turn around time. You can have your site up the same day
• Visually appealing design that is structured properly by a professional designer
• Easy to put in your information and publish
• You have control over the site and can freely make changes
• Nonexclusive- This means that you will not have a unique site. You will have a site that looks just like many of your competitors. Being in business you know how important it is to be unique. *Some template designers will offer exclusive rights for a nominal fee.
• You must provide sales copy
• They do not optimize the site for your company
• There are not means of getting targeted customers to come to your site after the design is published.
The results tend to be slightly better with template driven sites due to the web site layout is visually appealing and structure is functional. The challenge is still to get people to come and by from your site. This still is placed on the ability of the business owner.
Many business owners rely on online directories to place their contact information and a brief description of what they offer. This is fairly inexpensive but you are relying on the merit that that site has many visitors interested in your offering and you have little competition on that site.
Freelancer or Employee
Many businesses have an employee dedicated to tend to their webmaster needs. They work on salary and can perform many different functions within your organization. You can also have freelancers bid on your project and work within your budget. This is a very popular approach since the fall of dot.com. Many highly qualified designers are looking for work and will do a stand up job within your budget.
• Knowledgeable professional working on your site within your budget
• Free up your time to do your business
• Risk of how knowledgeable and dependable the freelancer is that is working with you on your site
• You will only get what was bided on within their skill set.
If you get a quality designer that is freelancing you will have a very quality web site. If you specify your needs and have the proper budget you should see some return on your investment.
Web Design Firm
Hiring a design firm that specializes in business development is a smart decision. They have the expertise and focus on developing you a web site for your business that is geared to accomplish your goals.
• Professional design team knowledgeable of how to develop a business site that sells.
• Free up your time to do your business
• Risk getting a quality design firm that will do a quality job
• Some design firms will not be ethical after the payment
• Some design firms will leave your project to you to market after the design is complete
You will have a professionally designed site with the functional structure and components to generate business. If the design firm is quality it will be a higher closing rate once visitors come to your site. Many design firms have people versed in marketing that can give you tips on how to bring traffic to your site. This will be priced higher than the other methods but will bring higher results.
The final way to get your business online is employing services from an eMarketing firm. These firms provide you an online solution customized to your business model which will include web development, online software application and Internet marketing. This typically is the most expensive out of the seven methods but it is the most complete solution for most business that needs an effective online presence.
• Professional design team knowledgeable of how to develop a business site with sales copy, search engine optimization and a marketing strategy to generate targeted visitors to your site
• Free up your time to do your business
• Staff of experts that keep up with all the changes in the online marketplace
• You will have a marketing plan for your online strategy
• Typically more expensive than the other methods
Once again you will have a professionally designed site with the functional structure and components to generate business. You will also have a marketing plan with strategies to generate business through your site. Return on Investment (ROI) is typically gained in a shorter period of time.
Many have been told the myth, “Build a business web site and they will come”, which proved to fail many businesses eager to expand. To see how to put your business online with no cost you must first understand what cost means in contrast to price. Price defines the amount of purchase where cost represents the end result. To better explain this I will give you an example.
If you paid $100 for a web site that generates you no business in a year then how much did the site cost you?
If you paid $1000 for the same site but that site brought you $100 a month for a year, how much did that site cost?
The first site cost you $100 after a year were the second site paid you $1200 at the end of the year and cost you nothing. Actually the site paid you $200 for having it. Makes sense. The only guaranteed way to get a site for nothing (so to speak) is to have it built right as well as marketed to your targeted market the first time. So decide your method wisely.
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