Why Create A Website?

By Vince Barnes

If you're reading this there's a good chance that you already have a website or that you want a website and you probably know all the reasons.  However....

Some of you might be thinking of creating a personal website.  Outstanding!  I cannot think of a better way of organizing, and sharing, family memorabilia than on a website.  Put in everything you know about your family and preserve that knowledge for future generations.  Publish it on the web to share it, and put a back-up copy of it onto a CD for safe keeping.  Your family tree, your photos, your stories, everything you add to your site can be saved for the future.  It won't fade or rot like paper and photo prints.  It can be replicated in its entirety in a few minutes and it can be sent around the world in a matter of moments.  Start now and in a generation or two your family will know their history like very few of us do today.

Many of you, however, would like to either obtain or at least supplement their income by creating web pages for others.  There is not often too much money to be made in producing web sites for individuals to show off their family portraits, which means the targets will probably be businesses.  Most large businesses either develop their websites in-house or outsource the job to one of the many businesses that have been providing web site development services for some time.  This leaves the smaller businesses.  For every small business that has its own site, there must be hundreds within a short distance that dont have one, but could definitely use one. With the idea of providing some food for sales thought, we take a look here at some of the reasons small business use websites.  The first reason might seem to be the most obvious; on looking closer we might revise our thought.  Businesses want to sell something.  This results in first thought being that the businesss website should sell something. This would suggest E-commerce.  Such a site might well be the answer for the business but is it really where they should start?  The process of selling something has several stages to it.  You have to have a product. You let people know about your product, persuading them of its virtues.  Once they are considering purchasing, you have to close the deal.  Finally you fulfill.  E-commerce can be involved all of these steps, except the first.

In order to build an effective e-commerce site, you will need to be able to obtain a security certificate to set up and use a secure site.  You will need scripts or software to provide shopping cart capability.  You will need to provide methods of receiving payment by either incorporating credit card processing into your pages or by providing hooks into processing services like Paypal.  Finally you will need to provide the product information, which might well be contained in a database of items.  All of these things are very doable, and there are tutorials in our collection to provide you with assistance, should you need it.  The question is, if you are going to sell a business on getting a new website, are you going to be able to persuade them of the virtues of all these things, as well as of your ability to effectively provide them?  I hope so; but in case there is any doubt, you might consider starting with a simpler approach.

There is another, very compelling reason for a business to use a website.  Imagine this situation.  You are driving along a highway and you pass a billboard for Joes Autos.  The billboard indicates they specialize in classic Chevrolets. Underneath that, you spot their address at fourteen twenty-seven North Thirteenth Street, and their phone number is 373-555-9385.  You also see their website address at www.JoesAutos.com.  As you are driving along you remember your old buddy Bill is looking for a classic Chevy to rebuild and you think he might not have heard of these people.  You decide to tell him about them.  Can you remember their phone number?  (Dont look back now!)  How about their address?  Now what about their website?  I know you remember that!  In fact, website addresses tend to be much easier to remember than either phone numbers or addresses.  In this way, the website becomes a back-up to the other forms of advertising the business is doing a sort of extension to their business card.  If you tell this story to a potential client, there is a strong likelihood they will see the virtue of what you are saying right away.  If they decide on a site, you will have the advantage of only needing to build a relatively simple one to get them started.  Once they have experienced what the web can do for them (and what you can do) you will find it easier to come back and sell them enhancements to their site.

I feel that every business should have a website.  I think of it as being as important as their phone number being listed in the phone book.  Every business owner knows how important that is.  No I revise that I think the website is more important in todays world than the phone number in the book because I'll use their website to look up their phone number or email address!  This world is changing!

If you are hoping to sell web development services to small business, I wish you all the best.  We are going to need a lot of people like you in the near future!

 

Proceed to
The Non-Technical Intro
Part 2

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The Non-Technical Intro
Index



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