What Are The Benefits Of A Home Based Business Website?
Let’s start at the beginning:
- What Is The Difference Between A Blog And A Website?
A blog is a frequently updated website in which you provide your customers with fresh, current, relevant, interesting and useful information in the form of posts. These posts create an interactive environment that allows your customers to ask questions, give feedback and engage in discussions. Blogs are dynamic and the posts can be displayed in many ways, usually with the most recent post first.
In a traditional static website the content pages are not interactive and geared for advertising and selling your product/s or service/s in a virtual store. You may have to review and update your content on a regular basis but unlike a blog, you do not have to keep writing fresh content. Building a website using a template can be time consuming and expensive.
- Why Do I Need An Online Web Presence?
A successful online presence creates a powerful online marketing, branding and communication tool for your home based business and is a cost effective way of reaching new markets for your products or services.
Your online presence effectively becomes your virtual office, creating awareness and establishing credibility.
You can only work so many hours per day, but the internet never sleeps which gives your customers 24 hour access to your business. You want to capture that sale or appointment then and there before they have time to look at your competitors.
First impressions are always the best opportunity for you to promote your product or service. Therefore building trust with your potential customers is crucial. An online presence creating a positive impression will assist you in doing this. Building your brand will make future sales more likely and creates customer loyalty.
If your business can benefit from exposure to a much larger community, then an online presence is ideal. For example, if you are selling organic cleaning products, giftware or unique candles, an online presence will give you a much bigger market to sell to.
Potential customers often look for reviews before buying, so encourage your customers to leave feedback and reviews. You cannot please everyone, so expect the odd negative review, but if you handle it in a positive way, it should benefit your business. Yelp.com is a leading review site and it is worth considering opening an account with them to create your own profile and information on your company.
Allow customers to buy. Do not try and sell them something. Creating a website that allows customers to make an informed decision to buy rather than having a pushy sales attitude, will lead to more sales with less refunds.
Clients expect to see your website details on your business cards.
- A Quick Solution For Building A Small Business Website
If you want to get your home based business website up and running quickly, a good solution is to use a small business website builder. One of the best is provided by Intuit, the company behind many reputable products like Quickbooks and Turbotax. It is called Intuit Websites and you can try it free.
- Do I Use A Blog Or A Static Website?
Ideally you should have a blog based website which has some static pages and incorporates a blog format, reflecting the way your customers are using the internet.
In addition, the fresh content on the blog attracts the search engines to your website.
The advantages of a blog based website:
- Cost effective
- Easy to update
- Way of promoting your expertise
- Search engine friendly
- Can build trust with customers (branding)
If you are starting out, WordPress, Joomla and Drupal are good options as they are free and easy to use content management systems that you can use to build a blog, a static website or a blog based website for a work from home business.
- Content Management System
If you want to be able to manage the content of your own website very easily, using a CMS (content management system) requires very little technical skills.
A CMS has software tools to create, publish and archive your website pages and to manage the structure, appearance and ease of navigation of your website.
Think of it as a library system where everything is filed, catalogued and stored, you know exactly where to find a book in which section.
A content management system enables you to create your pages or posts, publish them and then manage the content allowing ease of navigation for your viewers.
For example, WordPress is easy to use as you do not need to know HTML code to create pages or posts, it has plenty of cool themes, plug-ins for greater functionality and other features to create polls, contact forms, photo galleries, shopping carts, maps, etc. and it is search engine optimized and secure. Upgrading is a simple and easy task too.
- What Is Web Hosting?
Having a website that is not visible to potential customers is not much use. To enable people to view your website at any time, you need to have your website connected to a computer running 24 hours per day for 7 days a week.
This is not realistic for doing yourself, therefore it is recommended to find a good internet service provider (ISP) (web hosting provider) that will deliver this service.
How do you know if the web hosting service is a good one? Look for:
- 24/7 service, access and support
- E-mail accounts offered and capabilities
- Access to an online control panel to manage your website
- Traffic statistics provided
- Are there any traffic volume restrictions?
- Are there any bandwidth or content restrictions? (Can you upload videos and photos?)
- Do they have a database management system that you can use for adding your own database if required.
- Does it run a daily back-up?
As more and more people search online for products and services, you cannot expect to get any customers with a one page website with the bare minimum information on it. People do not need phone book information; they want to know why they should do business with you and who you are.
As you will be competing with other businesses, you need an interactive, informative and high quality website with information that will entice potential customers and allow you to build trust with them.
Tips For Establishing An Online Presence:
- Choose and buy a domain name for your business. Choose an easy to remember name.
- Set up an e-mail address for your online business (you want to appear professional, therefore use a business type e-mail address).
- Design and create a user friendly website that reflects your business. Plan the content and layout of the website. You want to be able to differentiate your business from competitors and connect with potential customers to enable you to capture those leads.
- Create a homepage that defines who you are and why customers should trust you.
- Reinforce this in your “About us” page by giving a detailed explanation what your business does, who you are and why you are doing this and what makes you different to your competitors. Think about how you can impress your potential customers.
- Your contact page should include your business address, phone number, e-mail address and any other business contact details. Maybe include a Google map of your business as well.
- Make sure your website can be found with search engine optimization.
- Register your business with online business directories.
- Create a monthly newsletter with product updates or specials. Create an opt-in form for building an e-mail list of customers through your newsletter. This will make it much easier to reach them and generate sales.
- Social media marketing: create a business Facebook page with a Fan box.
- Post marketing videos. Most people prefer to watch a short video than read a lot of written content.
- Install website analytics to keep track of traffic.
- Include testimonials.
Next »»» Running A Business At Home