By Sanjay Bhatia, President, FICCI-CMSME
Why it’s a MUST for business-growth in today’s social environment
Imagine that you just started a business and have only a couple of employees working for you. Does such a small set-up need a website? The short answer is yes! And, there is not just one but many reasons to have a website for a better impact on your audience.
The need for a website is the first question that a startup and bootstrapped business would want to address while establishing an online image. For these companies, a website may seem like a big investment. Hence, before deciding to launch a website, entrepreneurs want to understand the importance and the benefits of having an online presence.
According to ‘The Internet and Mobile Association of India’, there are more than 250million Internet users and world’s third largest internet users’ base in India. So, there should be no doubt that the importance of online presence for businesses is growing. While most business owners agree that internet presence is relevant to their consumers, they are still not clear about how to create the right website. The task is not as daunting as it appears. The first step towards creating a memorable presence is to register a domain name. A domain name is like your business’s address on the Internet. Just like your physical address is used to find your geographical location, domain name is used to find your business presence on the Internet. It is important to choose a reliable and credible domain name. You must choose a domain extension like .COM that offers instant recognition, visibility and credibility for your brand and is appropriate for businesses of all sizes. Best of all, it’s one of the most popular domain name extensions around the world. Thus, a .COM domain name is vital for the online success of your business.
Designing a Website to Suit Your Business Needs
While developing a great website, it is essential to identify the purpose of the website. Some relevant questions at this stage are -
•Is the website going to promote the company?
•Will it serve as a marketing extension of the brick-and-mortar business?
•Will it be an e-commerce site where visitors can purchase goods and services online?
Consider the example of a store that sells handicrafts. When the owner of such a business decides to expand the footprint, he/she can consider getting an online presence by building a website and registering a .COM domain name. With the power of .COM, the business can increase visibility to a larger audience and create the perception that the business can be trusted. Moreover, the cost involved in making a website is far lesser then setting-up one more store. The business owner of the handicraft store needs to decide at this point whether a website is an effective marketing and brand building tool or also an online store to enable sales.
Once the purpose of establishing a website is addressed, do some online research and check out different websites to help determine designs and the functionalities you want. One important decision to make is to determine whether you need a static website or a dynamic website.
As the name suggests, a static website is not designed to change. Once the website has been designed and content is in the design template, every web page will stay the same. In order to update a static website, you will need to ask your website development company for assistance.
A static website provides a basic online presence and is appropriate for certain circumstances. For example, a website for a holiday cottage rental may only need a few pages that include details of the cottage, photos of the rooms, directions to the place, and a contact form.
Similarly, an accounting practice may only need a website where they can post professional biographies and related information.
Dynamic websites, on the other hand, allow content to be updated by means of a Content Management System (CMS). A CMS is Web-based software application that allows you to update website content without support from a website development company or having extensive knowledge of Web programming. An e-commerce website is a good candidate for a dynamic website since it would need continuous updates on products, services, prices, and promotions.
Many large, successful e-commerce websites take online orders, accept credit cards, and ship their products all over the world. These sites offer many benefits such as a huge selection of products, extensive product descriptions, and easy to use navigation.
Take pointers from these websites and make shopping on your site simple for your customers. Successful websites frequently have clean and professional-looking pages with the right amount of images that don’t take long to load. Give customers what they want in a quick and easy manner, and provide the ability to either find you or purchase without hassle.
Taking the Online Plunge
Your online presence is an attempt at making a good first impression. A well designed website helps lift your image from a small operation to a larger, professional company. But the reverse may also be true, if you didn’t spend enough time to understand what is most suitable for your online presence, it may not drive the right audience to your website.
Your presence on the Internet depends on how you want to reap maximum benefits of your .COM website. Is your website address lending more credibility and a professional image to your brick and mortar business or do you want to build an ecommerce store and start selling online. There is no wrong answer! However, the first step is to register your .COM domain as soon as possible.