Add an Internet Presence to Your Existing Business - dummies

Add an Internet Presence to Your Existing Business

There are very few companies that don’t already have at least some level of online presence, even if it’s just a company contact website — which is like an online Yellow Pages ad — or the ability to send e-mail to customers, suppliers, and colleagues.

But maybe you’re ready to expand your online presence. Maybe you want to reach prospects outside your current market area or enhance customer service with online communications. Or maybe you’re ready to dive in to the realm of online sales. Before jumping in, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who will use your site? Will your customers, prospects, suppliers, job applicants, employees, or a combination of users use this site?

  • How will people use your site? Will they want general information (for example, your open hours, address, or product lines)? Will they want answers to frequently asked questions? Do they want to do business with you online (to request quotes, submit job applications, or make purchases)?

  • What do you expect from your site? Is your goal to generate leads and make sales? Provide customer support? Cultivate customer relations?

  • How much are you willing to invest in your site? The more complicated your site and the more aggressive your online goals, the more you need to invest to achieve success.

  • Do you have time to keep your site timely? Any truly useful website needs to be updated frequently, often daily, in order to keep users coming back. Restaurants need to update their online menus; concert halls need to update their schedules; retail businesses need to update prices. Make sure that you have the time before you go online. A poorly maintained site can damage your company’s reputation and drive customers away.