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How a Website can help your Business

October 14, 2009

Today’s world is increasingly growing more advanced, and it’s no wonder that many businesses are also taking the steps to keep up with the rest of the world. But you may be wondering: How exactly can a website help your business, anyway? With careful planning and execution, a website can do wonders in raising your profile in the field.

1) Accessibility

Think of your website as your virtual shop in the web. Potential clients can come in, look at your wares and decide if they like what they see. If your website supports making online sales, they can even start buying with one click at the comfort of their own home.

People who are also looking for other options for their needs also typically go online to see what else is out there. You need to be there to make sure that they know what exactly it is that you’re offering, and why you’re better than the other businesses out there.

Your virtual shop is also available 24/7, which means it’s ready for business any time of the day, any part of the world. Whether it’s for questions, complaints and feedback, you’re always there to accept them from your customers.

Reaching a wider audience means reaching more clients, which is exactly the platform a website provides. Expanding your business’ reach can mean expanding its growth.

2) Representation
Not only is your website your virtual shop, it represents your business as well. Any business owner would want their space to incite interest, trust and even respect in their clients. That’s why it’s very important to have a complete and well-planned website even before you launch it online. No customer likes empty shelves when they’re looking at different products.

A good website must have three basic qualities: Good design, easy navigation and accessible content. Good design means your website is attractive to newcomers but at the same time gives them a good idea what your business is all about. Web designers can help a lot in this field.

Easy navigation simply means that your website is easy to understand and go around in. Consumers like straightforward clicking, and not end up lost in a maze of links and incoherent content. The more accessible your important information, the more accessible you are to your clients. Again, web designers can also guide you through this aspect of web design.

Accessible content is pretty much like easy navigation to access the different features in your website. Fill your website with important details about what you’re offering, but don’t lose them in technical mumbo jumbo. Web users often have very short attention spans, and you’ve got to make your sales talk catchy and you’ve got to make it quick!

When all these qualities come together, not only do you have a great website that will represent your business well, but you have a website that will take care of its users. Even better, your clients will feel comfortable staying in your website longer.

3) Expertise

Your website is a great way to show your customers what you have to offer. With today’s easy access to various forms of media, you also have a variety of ways to show your expertise. Having a visual of your business helps the customer in making that split-second decision. It could also help in elbowing out the competition by showing exactly what you’ve got. Here are some suggestions:

•    Online Galleries. If you own a charming hotel resort, why not boast of its beautiful sights and amenities by posting an online gallery? You can even provide a virtual video tour, not just of the resort itself, but of the various delights in the area too. Online galleries are very flexible and are used by a variety of businesses.

•    Case Studies. If your business is a bit more on the technical side, like a research firm, show potential clients what you can do by posting snippets of your case studies. Your clients will become more familiar with your methodologies, how you interpret data and how you execute your studies.

•    Testimonials. Testimonials from other clients and recognized publications provide valuable backing on how well your business covers its expertise. Potential clients will be introduced on your business’ credibility and what to expect from doing business with you.

4) Networking

Having a website for your business allows you to build networks all over the world. Forming networks with complementary businesses and even businesses similar to your own encourages an exchange of ideas, news and updates on the latest developments in your field.

Networking also means encouraging an exchange of ideas and rapport with your clients.  Websites like Facebook, Twitter and Plurk can help you get even more in touch with your clients and potential clients. You’ll be able to be able to respond to questions, updates, complaints, feedback and conversation with a click of a mouse. Networking helps create rapport between customers and business owners, and gives your business that personal touch.

5) Marketing and Advertising

Advertising in your business’ website means two things: The advertising that comes with an existing website and the advertising that generates more money for your website.

Having a website where anyone can check out is advertising in itself, but making sure that you have content that will boost your traffic is a must. A website that doesn’t even try to be interesting will be easily lost in the World Wide Web’s jungle. While this may seem daunting, keep in mind that you don’t have to have a fancy website, just something that’s informative and user-friendly! You need to do any printing, shipping or postage that’s sometimes used by traditional media. A website can fulfill your advertising needs without stretching your budget. It can be as tailored to your pocket’s needs as exactly as you want it.

If your website is generating enough user traffic, you also have an option of putting up ad space. The more clicks the ads get, the more money they generate for you.  However, keep in mind that a lot of website users don’t like going to websites cluttered by ads or worse—ads that will keep on trying to make them click ad links. Business websites generally do not have ads in their websites for the comfort of their clients, but there’s no harm in having them. Just don’t overdo them and keep them regulated and moderate.

6) Keeping Clients Updated   

Your customers can be updated on the latest news, developments, products and services through your website. This will generate interest in your business by showing your clients that you are always updated with everything there is to know about your field of business.

The more often you update, the more hits you will generate in website searches (they like sites that update regularly) and the more likely people will remember your business’ name. A stagnant website can suggest a stagnant business. A dynamic and updated website shows a dynamic and updated business.

How do you keep your clients updated? Here are some suggestions:

•    Email Newsletter. Have a feature in your website where customers can submit their email for latest news and developments from you. Don’t ruin their trust by sending spam mail! Make sure that everything you send through the newsletter is relevant, the information you provide the information they asked for.

•    “Latest News” Column. You can have one column on the main page that will link to articles to update everyone on the latest news.

•    A Blog. A blog is a more informal way of announcing news, but you can also use this to give the latest updates and developments a more personal touch. You can impart words of wisdom and reflection on what these news mean, and explain their impact in your business field.    

Having a website can be a great way for your business to flex its creative muscles and start reaching out to a wider audience. You don’t need money for an effective website; you just need careful planning before launching the site. When done right, a website can increase customer interest, customer reach, client base, business savvy and hopefully, will ultimately help your business achieve success.