Still trying to figure out if the web is for you?
Why do I need a web site?
It’s surprising to many of us in the web development industry that this question is still on the lips of some small business owners. After all, the internet (as we know it) has been around since the early 90’s and has been providing disinct business advantages since its inception.
Early on, it was the “early adopters” who saw the potential of the internet – what it could do to enhance their businesses, but over the years many ordinary businesses have followed the path blazed by visionaries like Amazon and eBay. Now it’s normal to see web site addresses on business cards, stationery and on company advertising materials. In fact, now it’s as weird to see a company without a web site as it was in the 80’s to see a company without a fax machine.
The internet is now out of its infancy and into full stride. The euphoria that existed in the earlier days (where it was thought that the web was the answer to every one of life’s woes) has been replaced by a sounder and more logical business approach to web sites and their place in the modern day company.
Modern web sites now present company, product and contact information along with ways of interacting with the company on a 24/7 basis. Site visitors can now routinely buy products, search FAQs and ask for support all online and all on their own schedules.
Some of us are old enough (you know who you are!) to remember the days when a business was open from 9 until 5, Monday through Friday, and if you needed to talk to someone, you needed to do it during those hours – often entailing an actual visit to the store or business office!
I can even remember when many businesses closed at 12 noon on Wednesdays – what a trip down memory lane! Now, thanks to the internet, we can buy products and services, complete membership applications, check New Bedford community events on great web sites like www.NewBedford360.com, donate monies, buy concert tickets, submit enquiries etc. all from the comfort of our homes and on our own schedules.
Hey, I don’t know about you, but for me, I rarely have time during a typical 9 to 5 day to do personal chores/shopping tasks. I truly appreciate having the ability to do these things from home at night!
So, why does a company need a web site? Well, if you’ve been reading along, you’ve no doubt started to appreciate some of the logic of consumers like me(yes, in addition to being a web developer, I’m also a consumer!). Consumers want convenience and there’s nothing more convenient that conducting business with a service provider or a merchant via their well designed web sites.
Case in point: One weekday evening last year at about 6 PM my color inkjet printer dribbled out it’s last letter died. It ws finally time for me to trash it. I was done with the “cheap printer – expensive ink” rip off pricing model and so I set off to the Amazon to find a new laser printer (Amazon.com that is).
It took me about 10 seconds to get to Amazon.com and then an additional 15 minutes searching for a suitable printer in my price range, reading some of the provided customer reviews and finally ordering my $98.00 HP Laser printer (goodbye inkjet!).
The totally stunning part of my transaction was that my new printer arrived on my New Bedford Massachusetts doorstep the VERY NEXT MORNING BEFORE 11 AM!!!! Kudos to Amazon.com.
While Amazon.com used to be one of a very small number of amazing web sites -where things just worked well – it’s no longer one of a very few. Great web sites abound EVERYWHERE (www.eBay.com, www.Netflix.com, www.NewBedford360.com, www.WindowBackGallery.org and many many more) and you, Joe or Joann the Small Business Owner can have one too!
Do you know that online sales in the USA topped 100 BILLION DOLLARS in 2006? Don’t you want some of that pie?
Whether you’re a mortgage brokers, a REALTOR, a jewellry store owner, a restaurants who wants to take reservations or delivey orders online, gift stores, florists, attorneys – all stand to benefit from this online boom.
Like it or not, the internet is a reality in our lives today. It’s not going away. It will change, but it won’t be going away. So figure out a way to harness it’s national and global reach to expand your market or better serve your existing market.
Repeat after me: “this is not a fad, the internet is here to stay” – repeat 100 times…