Does your business have a website? If not, you are not alone. The question is, does your small business need a website?
Chris Brogan said, “60% of U.S. businesses are not online in any fashion — a huge mistake in an age in which most people rely heavily on search engines to find information about businesses.”
Consumer shopping often starts online where we begin our research. If your company is not online, you miss the opportunity to be considered in the first round. Without an online presence, your company is eliminated before you have a chance to compete for the sale.
Brogan compares using a Facebook page instead of your own website to living in a hotel rather than a home. The content is yours through the site owner can kick you out or change the rules at any time.
The same holds true for other free hosting sites like wordpress.com, Blogger and Typepad. The sites are attractive to those just starting out. If you are just getting started with your first site, you may consider free hosting as a place to experiment with layout and content. These sites have tools and templates to get your site up and running within minutes. Advanced technical skills are not required.
Once you determine the type of site and content that works for your company, consider moving to your own domain. The benefits of hosting on your own domain include:
- More credibility for your business
- Full control over your site and content
- Greater flexibility of platforms and software
- Improved optimization for higher search engine ranking
- Ability to monetize your site
Costs to register a domain are about $10 a year. Hosting fees vary. If you are serious about your business, it is worth investing in your online presence with your own business website.