A small business needs a professional website as much as a phone line or a mailbox as the world of business operates on the Internet 24/7. The Internet has leveled the playing field between large companies and small business and we knew that our business needed a website. Most people begin their research for products and services on the Internet and new customers and clients expect a business to have a website established.
Building a Website Yourself
Money can be saved by developing a business website yourself. By developing a website from start to finish, there is complete control over the look and feel of the site. A company has the freedom to make changes whenever it is necessary and update the look of the site on a regular basis. Free tools are available to create a professional looking website of your own.
No one in our business had experience in website building and was not willing to take the necessary time to learn what it took to get the site up and running. Being the administrator would take some time dedicated to updates and changes to the site and that time was not available.
Hiring a Developer
Hiring a professional website developer will save time and give a professional looking site as a finished product, as they have the ability and knowledge to create a unique site in a short amount of time. They can update the site as required, giving a business owner more time to carry out business responsibilities.
By hiring a developer, the business may not always have as much control over the finished site and some busy developers take a long time to get the work completed. Do the research before hiring a developer. Ask for references and check each one of them out. You want to know that you are getting the finished product that you are expecting.
Our experience with a developer ended after a few months when the developer no longer maintained the site. We had paid a year in advance and eventually did get the unused portion of the payment back; however, this left our company with no website presence on the Internet.
Using a Third-Party Service
Web hosting services provide pages and templates for getting started on a business website. The site is hosted, usually free of charge, and the themes and templates are professional looking. Blogger, WordPress, and Google Sites are free options that provide professional looking tools. We looked into these services. Still, no one was willing to put forth the time and effort it took to build a professional web site.
Alternatives to Having a Web Site
There are several web site trade associations in our service industry and we listed our business and information on any associations available. There are yellow page advertising sites for listing local businesses as well as the local Chamber of Commerce. We have taken advantage of any and all resources available to us on the Internet. Anyone searching for our company can at least find the location and telephone numbers.
Although our business still does not have an official business website, we at least have a presence on the Internet. We hope that someday in the near future we will have a professional website.