This article is for all those who have asked "how do I get my business online?" or have just plain been putting it off because you dont know where to start or who can help or how much it will cost.
Why should I put my business online? Well, there are several reasons why you should.
Firstly, its a great 'connection point' between you and your customers or partners. They can visit your website at anytime that suits them to find out more about you, your products, ordering, or just get more information. Previously they would have had to physically visit you or use telephone and actually speak to you. They can contact you with questions, complaints, recommendations or just to gauge how helpful/efficient you are at anytime without speaking to you or being face-to-face with you. Its another way to deal, communicate and interact with you. It puts emphasis on customer and their needs and removes pushy salesman from process. This level of anonymity encourages customer to get what they want more than ever before or go somewhere else where they will get it.
Secondly, Internet enables customer to shop around much more easily and cheaply than ever before. It is as easy to research and buy a product that is sold in another country as it is to do it for one in your own country and all for cost of a local call. Timezones are largely irrelevant on Internet.
Thirdly, a website is entirely flexible and can be designed from scratch specifically for your business and customers, regardless of industry you are in and size of your business.
Fourth, it is low cost. You can build a website to meet your budget.
What do you need to do?
Get a web address - often called a domain name/URL. When someone types in your web address i.e. www.youraddress.com into their Internet enabled computer, they see your website. Get a name that is easily remembered by your customers. You'll need to renew it regularly to keep name.
Get some webspace - often called hosting. A company (the host) will rent you space on its computer. You store your website in that space. Your web address will point here so that when web address is typed in by customer, they will be directed to your website automatically. Make sure you get a fast and reliable host and therefore your website is always available and quickly. Read host reviews or ask people you know to recommend a host.