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20 reasons to get a website

Date Added: November 28, 2007 08:52:21 PM

20 Reasons every company should have a website

1. To Establish a Presence
Millions of people worldwide have access to the World Wide Web, and no matter what your business does, you can't ignore that number. To be part of the Internet community and show that you're interested in serving them - you need to be on the web as well. Your competitors will certainly be there.

2. To Network
A lot of what passes for business is simply nothing more than making connections with other people. Every smart business person knows it's not what you know - it's who you know. Passing out your business card is part of every good meeting and every business person can tell more than one story about how a chance meeting turned into the "big deal." Well, what if you could pass out your business card to thousands, maybe millions of potential clients and partners, saying, "this is what I do and if you are ever in need of my services, this is how you can reach me."
You can, 24 hours a day — inexpensively and simply - on the Web.

3. To Make Business Information Available
What is basic business information? Think of a Yellow Pages ad. What are your hours'? What do you do? How can someone contact you? What methods of payment do you take? Where are you located? Now think of a Yellow Pages ad where you have instant communication. What is today's special? Today's interest rate? Next week's parking lot sale information? If you could keep your customer informed of every reason why they should do business with you, don't you think you could do more business?

4. To Serve Your Customers
Making business information available is one of the most important ways to serve your customers. But if you look at serving the customer, you'll find even more ways to use Web technology. How about making forms available to pre-qualify for loans, or having your staff do a search for that classic jazz record your customer is looking for without tying up your staff on the phone to take down the information? Allow your customer to punch in sixes and check it against a database that tells him what colour of jacket is available in your store. All this can be done, simply and quickly, on the WWW.

5. To Heighten Public Interest
You won't get Newsweek to write up your local store opening, but you might get them to write up your Website address if it's something new and interesting. Even if Newsweek were to write about your local store opening, you wouldn't benefit from someone in a distant city reading about it unless, of course, they were coming to your town sometime soon. With Website information, anybody anywhere who hears about you and who can access the Web is a potential visitor to your Website and a potential customer for your company.

6. To Release Time-Sensitive Materials
What if your materials need to be released no earlier than midnight? The quarterly earnings statement, the grand prize winner, the press kit for the much-anticipated film, the merger news? Well, you send the materials to the press with the "Do-not-release-before-such-and-such-time" statement and hope for the best. Now the information can be made available at midnight or at any time you specify, with all related materials such as photographs, bios. etc.. released at exactly the same time. Imagine the anticipation of "All materials will be made available on our Website at 12:01 a.m." The scoop goes to those who wait for the information to be posted, not those who release your information early.

7. To Sell Things
Many people think that this is the number one thing to do with the World Wide Web, but we made it number seven to make it clear that we think you should consider selling things on the Internet and the World Wide Web after you have done all the things above and maybe even after doing quite a few more things from this list. Why? Well, the answer is complex, but the best way to put it is: do you consider the telephone the best place to sell things? Probably not. You probably consider the telephone a tool that allows you to communicate with your customer, which in turn helps you sell things. That's how we think you should consider the Web. The technology is different, of course, but before people decide to become customers, they want to know about you, what you do and what you can do for them. You can do this easily and inexpensively on the Web. Then you can turn them into customers.

8. To Make Pictures, Sound and Film Files Available
What if your widget is great, but people would really love it if they could see it in action? Or, your album is great, but with no airplay nobody knows it's great? Or...a picture is worth a thousand words, but you don't have the space for a thousand words? The Web allows you to add sound, pictures and short movie files to your company's site that will serve your potential customers. No brochure can do that.

9. To Reach a Highly Desirable Demographic Market
The demographics of the Web user are probably the highest mass-market demographics available. Users are usually college-educated or currently in school, making a high salary' or soon to make a high salary. It's no wonder that Wired, the magazine of choice for the Internet communityty, has no problem getting Lexus and other high-end marketers' advertising.

10. To Answer Frequently Asked Questions
Whoever answers the phones in your organization can tell you — their time is usually spent answering the same questions over and over again. These are the questions customers and potential customers want to know the answers to before they deal with you. Post them on a Web page and you'll have removed another barrier to doing business with you, and you'll also free up some time for dial harried phone operator.

11. To Stay In Contact With Salespeople
Your employees on the road may need up-to-the-minute information that will help them make the sale or pull together the deal. If you know what that information is, you can keep it posted in complete privacy on the Web. All they need is an internet connection to access the most detailed information, without long distance phone bills and without tying up the phone at the office.

12. To Open International Markets
You may not be able to make sense of the mail, phone and regulation systems in all your potential international markets, but with a Website, you can open a dialogue with international markets as easily as with the company across the street. As a matter of fact, before you go on the Web you should decide how you want to handle the international business that will come your way because your postings could potentially bring international opportunities - whether it's part of your plan or not. Another added benefit, if your company has offices overseas, they can access home office information quickly and easily on your website.

13. To create a 24-Hour Service
If you've ever remembered too late or too early to call the opposite coast, you know the hassle. We're not all on the same schedule. Trying to reach Asia or Europe is even more frustrating. But WebPages serve the client, customer and partner, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No overtime either. It can customize information to match needs and collect important information that will put you ahead of the competition, even before they get into the office.

14. To Make Changing Information Available Quickly
Sometimes information changes before it gets off the press and you're left with a pile of expensive, worthless paper. Electronic publishing changes with your needs. No paper, no ink, no printer's bill. You can even attach your Website to a database, which customizes the site's output to a database you can change as many times a day as you need. No printed piece can match website flexibility.

15. To Allow Feedback from Customers
You pass out the brochure, the catalogue, and the booklet. But it doesn't work. No sales, no calls, no leads. What went wrong? Wrong color, wrong price, wrong market, or all of the above? Keep testing, the marketing books say, and you'll eventually find out what went wrong. That's great for the big boys with deep pockets, but who's paying the bills? You are, and you have neither the time nor the money to wait for the answer. On a Web page, you can ask for feedback and gel it instantaneously at no extra cost. An e-mail response can be built into your Web page and can get the answer while it's fresh in your customers' minds, without the cost and lack of response of business reply mail.

16. To Test-Market New Services and Products
Tied to the reason above, we all know the cost of rolling out a new product. Advertising, advertising, advertising. PR and advertising. Expensive, expensive, expensive. Once you've been on the Web and know what to expect from those who are seeing your page, they are the least expensive market for you to reach. They'll also let you know what they think of your product faster, more easily and much less expensively than any other market you can reach. For the cost of a page or two of Web programming, it'll show you where to position your product or service in the marketplace.

17. To Reach the Media
Every kind of business needs the exposure that the media can bring, as we touched on in reason #5 (To Heighten Public Interest), but what if your business is reaching the media as a newswire, a publicist or a public policy group? The media is the most wired profession today, since their main product is information and they can get it more quickly, cheaply and easily online. Online press kits are becoming more common, since they work with the digital environment of more and more pressrooms. Digital images can be put in place without the stripping and shooting of the old pressrooms and digital text can be edited and output on tight deadlines. All of these can be made available on a Web page.

18. To Reach the Education and Youth Market
If your market is education, consider that universities offer Internet access to their students, and most K-12 schools are on the internet as well. Books, shoes, study courses, youth fashion and anything else that could reach these overlapping markets needs to be on the Web. There will be nothing but growth in the percentage of the under-25 market that will be online.

19. To Reach a Specialized Market
Sell fish tanks, art reproductions or flying lessons? You may think the Internet is not a good place to be. Well, think again. The Internet isn't just computer science students anymore. With the millions of World Wide Web users, even the most narrowly defined interest group will be represented in large numbers. Since the Web has several very good search programs, your interest group will be able to find you or your competitors.

20. To Serve Your Local Market
We've talked about the power to serve the world with a Website. How about your neighbourhood? There are probably enough local customers with Web access to make it worth your while to consider local Web marketing. A Palo Allo. California restaurant even lakes lunch orders through the Internet! But no matter where you are, if the big client has Web access, you should be there too.