We are proud to announce our NEW community destination. Engage with resident experts and fellow entrepreneurs, and learn everything you need to start your business. Check out the new home of StartupNation Community at startupnation.mn.co

Does my business need a website?

Solutions241Solutions241 subscriber Posts: 4
edited June 2009 in Business Planning
With the Internet doubling in size every quarter, it is now more important than ever for websites to catch the eye of their target market. Effective web design is far from an easy accomplishment. There are certain factors that can repel visitors, of which novice designers and amateurs may not be aware.
The average internet surfer decides within five seconds of viewing a website whether or not they are going to stay or move on to another search result. In that five seconds a person determines whether or not they can find what they are looking for. Usually that website offers what they are looking for but it is not laid out in an organized manner that can be consumed by the viewer within that five seconds.
That makes the appearance one of the single most important aspects of your website. This takes into consideration the colors, font, layout and several other factors into consideration. Companies that offer services that allow you to make your own websites for $9.99 or any variation of that cannot meet these needs. They provide you with several "cookie cutter" layouts that are clean but not unique. 241 Solutions will not only provide you with a website that invites people to stay longer, and create more sales, but it will be your unique look that sets you apart. And in business there is nothing more important than being unique.


  • Options
    NuevolutionNuevolution subscriber Posts: 30 Bronze Level Member
    Solutions241,It is funny how you brought up the subject, last night I was working on the new company design and in one of the FAQ`s I addressed the issue of why a business person should always choose a professional web designer. Cookie Cutter templates or automated site builders is not the way to go. One of the biggest problem that most entrepreneurs have is; they want to feel in charge of the whole "Start Up phase" which to a point is understandable, it will be your main source of income and your future.. all that is understood..But, what they don`t want to understand is that, [depending on their line of work] they should leave the web design part to a professional. It takes seconds to ruin your credibility online there days.. and what`s the first thing they do? Jump on GoDaddy register a domain and get the site-builder option added to their plan... they want to be proud and show their family that they designed their own web site... And.. you wonder why most online business fail?
  • Options
    stonesledgestonesledge subscriber Posts: 608 Silver Level Member
    I agree, real business should have a well thought out, branded site. It is a part of doing business. If one must use a template to start because of budget limitations, try to change it up as much as possible.
  • Options
    aaronserrandsaaronserrands subscriber Posts: 6
    We receive most of our business through our website. We have an Errand service company. aaronserrandswww.weworkyouplay.net
  • Options
    cubemonkeycubemonkey subscriber Posts: 11
    I would not put down the "cookie cutter" templates. There are plenty of great looking CSS designs that will work wonders for your business if you have alittle extra programming knowledge or the willingness to learn some basic computer logic. I think mine turned out just fine.
    Professional isn`t always the way to go.
    FYI Solutions241....Your site doesn`t render properly in Firefox, there are no background colors so your text is unreadable. Let me know if you need a screen shot.
  • Options
    fusioninteractivefusioninteractive subscriber Posts: 2
    I would agree.  A website has become the most common way for a person to learn about your company because they can do so on their own time and find out what they want to.  This whole dichotomy of needing a website but startups/small business not having the money for advertising agency is basically the premise of the business I am trying to start.  Thus I may be biased but I think that a website is an absolute must!
    fusioninteractive2007-10-30 11:19:43
  • Options
    RickiRicki subscriber Posts: 0
    The cookie-cutter websites don`t concern me as much as an empty website.  There is nothing as unprofessional as a visitor clicking on a link and getting filler content such as "TBD".  I have seen it with many websites designed by professionals.
    If you don`t know when you will have the content complete, either have the designer "turn off" the incomplete links or use a one-page website with no links until you have finished your new one.
  • Options
    ProdigyProdigy subscriber Posts: 19
    What I`d like to know is what did businesses do before the advent of the internet? It seems in this day and age people rely too much on their sites for business instead of going out and getting it the old school way.
    So the other question I pose is, could you essentially start a business without a website?
  • Options
    cubemonkeycubemonkey subscriber Posts: 11

    What I`d like to know is what did businesses do before the advent of the internet? It seems in this day and age people rely too much on their sites for business instead of going out and getting it the old school way.So the other question I pose is, could you essentially start a business without a website?

    I can see what you`re arguing here but I don`t think it applies like that. Just because people did something a way in the past doesn`t mean it will work at all today. Sure your website and idea still need to employ customer service and networking to get ahead, but to do so without a web presence would be down right irresponsible to the goal of any business. Especially with the cost of having one now is negligible.
    It`s like arguing I don`t need to use tooth paste because people lived fine without if before it was invented. Yes that`s true but there were many painful moments and in they end, they were just left flapping their gums.
  • Options
    robertjrobertj subscriber Posts: 0 Member

    What I`d like to know is what did businesses do before the advent of the internet? It seems in this day and age people rely too much on their sites for business instead of going out and getting it the old school way.
    So the other question I pose is, could you essentially start a business without a website?

    While I concede that there are folks who depend on the Internet as their only source of prospective customers, I don`t think the answer is to do it without a web site. You need to understand how and where the Internet fits in your marketing mix - then act accordingly.
  • Options
    fusioninteractivefusioninteractive subscriber Posts: 2
    I have seen and heard of people that believe the doing things the old fashion way is best.  They think they don`t need a website because people still want to deal with a real person.  While part of that may be true many people myself included do all of our research on the internet first to find out who I want to deal with or where I want to go to get the best deal.  If I have 5 options on the web and your not one of them I know nothing about your company and thus you just lost my business.  Most of the people that I have heard of that don`t have web sites are also the ones that I hear about complaining that their business is not thriving like they would have hoped or like it used to.  Today is a different age.  The internet is a part of the equation.  Honestly, I would not want to do business with someone who does not use toothpaste either!fusioninteractive5/22/2008 2:22 PM
  • Options
    ProdigyProdigy subscriber Posts: 19
    Yes a website is important to have for any business, but I think that for a startup its only part of the equation. You can develop and build your business now and create a site later is where I`m getting at. A website can cost hundreds even thousands of dollars if created by a  professional, and most startups dont have the resources to invest in a top notch site quite yet. If you want a website showcased to the world you want it done right so I dont think their should be a rush for you having to have a website immediately.
  • Options
    WebJunkyWebJunky subscriber Posts: 8 Member
    my two cents...
    a website today is critical. what is the first thing anyone asks you today?  do you have a website? correct?  at least i ask that question.
    that said, going back to the cookie cutter discussion - i believe (and from practical experience) that the appearance , look feel and all make a difference, but not as much as your content does.  the tools we have are simply channels and mediums to get our information out there.  the most important thing is good quality content.  if you have an ecommerce site then your promise of customer service, quality of product and price make the biggest difference.
    now that all said, having a unique brand/website is definitely my first choice. however when there is no other option or budgetary retraints then by all means go for a template.  i have built many successful websites using templates.  i even sold a business that was build based on a free template.  i also agree with an earlier post that advised changing the template as much as you can.  sure, it is good practice, but if you have bigger and better things to work on, i wouldnt worry about the template too much.
    overall, just make sure your website / look and feel fits your business
    good luck
  • Options
    ikonzikonz subscriber Posts: 1

    Normally, the worst reason for doing anything is "because everyone else is..."

    However, if you`re marketing a product or service and you are NOT advertising where your competition is, you`ll find yourself left behind very suddenly.

    In the past, when your customers were looking for a product or service, their easiest option would be to pull out the Yellow Pages to search for a store or company in their area that provided the product or service they were in need of. Sometimes this supplied a name and phone number. Sometimes, an address. On more rare occasions, a picture advertisement with a list of services or products.

    With the Internet today, that same customer can go to a search engine or index and be presented with a list of businesses that fit their needs, with links to their web pages. Those web pages are loaded with product pictures and price lists, maps and phone numbers, and even online Shopping Cart system which allows the customer to order products and services--all without ever having to leave the house or office.

    Perhaps you have a "service" oriented practice such as accounting, law, or medicine that`s already doing well and you`re wondering why you should burden yourself with the added expense of a Web site. Simply put, not having a web site will soon be like not having a listing in your local Yellow Pages. In the Web world, this is referred to as a "corporate presence." Even if your best business comes by word-of-mouth, your potential customers may want to check you out. A well-designed, professional web site can give you added visibility and credibility. Especially if you provide a public service and your gold is to get information to a large number of people almost instantaneously. Additionally, the cost of maintaining a Web site is probably the most cost effective advertising you`ll ever do.

    The Internet is one of the first places a person who has access to a computer will go to get information. As one source put it, "the Internet `IS` information." Whether it`s information on sports or a specific product or service, the World Wide Web is *the* place your customers look to for information.
  • Options
    TheCompleteBusinessTheCompleteBusiness subscriber Posts: 0
    I have two replies. The first is for cubemonkey. It is true that one shouldn`t put down templates completely. The difference in what we`ve said is the term "cookie-cutter." A non-distinct template is not a professional option for a business owner. It makes it look as if the business isn`t successful enough (or just doesn`t care enough) to get a professional-looking website, which can affect sales. While it`s true that CSS templates can offer great structure, a business owner would need the time, skill and tools to edit & update frequently. They would also need a good understanding of SEO in order for their site to rank well, and they`d need the additional time to perform keyword research and optimize properly. If one only knows enough to change basic colors and add a logo, they`ll end up with a site that looks like someone else`s and that isn`t optimized for search engines. If that`s the case, what`s the point of having a site at all? I can`t tell you how many times I`ve seen this, especially among local businesses with a smaller budget. Unless a business owner also has the time, patience, tools and knowledge, I wouldn`t suggest they design and maintain their own site. Either hire a professional or create a staff spot for someone who is qualified. There is much more that goes into website functionality than just looks.
    To prodigy, I understand your feeling. I earlier times when the Internet was not around (or as widely availlable), businesses used print, TV & radio advertising. However, those options have become too expensive for many smaller businesses. Not to mention, print advertising is not always environmentally friendly. The use of the Internet in one`s business solves these issues, and offers the option for a business to go national or even internationally a little extra cost. In this day and age, it isn`t wise for someone to start a business without a website. The majority of consumers are turning to the Web to look for local services, find reviews from other customers, get maps to locations etc. Those are things that just can`t be done in a phone book.
    You must also remember that privacy has become a big thing these days. Where once people didn`t think so much of the occasionally telemarketer or stack of "junkmail," there are now laws and acts protecting consumers from spam, unsolicited sales calls etc. Having a website gives potential consumers the ability to search for your products and services on their own, and to subscribe to your site if they`re intersted in receiving updates, coupons etc. You`re less likely to get in trouble with the law this way, and you`ll help to cut back on paper waste!
  • Options
    megapopmegapop subscriber Posts: 0
    I believe that a website is essential. My opinion however is biased.
    I work for a guerrilla marketing company that specializes in website design, printing, branding, and consulting. I am very biased because I have seen clients that came to us for a website to produce more traffic to their businesses. They came to us with nothing, word of mouth was all of the advertisment they had done. Now they have four times the customers that they started with only a couple months ago. All of this was due to a very organized thought out website that we still work on every day.
    Check us out at www.themysterypartner.com or shoot me an email with any questions.
    The Mystery Partner

Sign In or Register to comment.