How to Build a Website for Your Small Business

By: James Schramko

It is easy to build a website for your small business .

Most consumers look on the internet before going to a store. Sometimes it is their only stop: they research, compare and buy online. It goes without saying then that for a small business to reach its potential market, it should have an internet presence.

Small business operators do not often have a dedicated IT person on staff - in the past this is the person who would be given the job of building a website. It's great news then that there are now beginner-friendly website building packages on the market which are perfect for the small businessperson's use.

If you can use a word processor you will be able to use most modern web site builders. You simply type on the page as you normally would when writing an email.

The tutorials provided with almost all software suppliers take the novice through the process of building a website in a non-technical, easy to understand way. Having completed the tutorial, one is equipped with more than enough knowledge to launch straight into a website build.

Not all website software programs are easy to use. Small business operators do not need fully blown web design industry solutions due to the steep learning curve. One feature to look for is a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) editor. This simply means you type on the page as you see it.

There are expenses involved in publishing your own website - you get nothing for nothing. Apart from the cost of the software (there are free web builders however they are more difficult to use or too basic in features), a small business (or an individual or a large company) will need to register a domain name (less than $10) and find a web hosting service (around $8 per month).

Setting up a merchant account with someone like Paypal (free)is something businesses should consider. Having a third party handle financial transactions is always reassuring for consumers and takes away an administration burden. As soon as an order is placed you will receive an alert from the merchant. You can then arrange shipping - or in the case of digital products - automate the delivery.

In any small business time is money, and the time spent learning a new skill like website building with easy to use software must be seen as a good investment. It is possible to build multiple websites so that you can have a website network feeding a central business. This is ideal for multi-brand retailers and multi-branch operators. Having the ability to be flexible with your online presence will be an advantage to the savvy business owner.

Because you have built and are managing your website yourself, you are able to instantly react to changing trends and new opportunities. Avoid delays by not having to wait for your webmaster to make changes. Fresh content on your website is highly desirable.

Some website programs are specifically designed to assist the business person become an internet business marketer, and as your knowledge of web design grows, the more you will value search engine optimization and site map generation tools. Having a correctly designed site map helps search engines easily match your site to search requests.

If you decide to look at other ways to earn money through your website without doing a thing, you will no doubt look at including on your site some affiliate marketing and advertisements from non compete companies.

Features to look for:

An active help desk to support you is important. Also you will need instructional videos to shorten the learning curve. Look for testimonials from other business owners to see how they have applied the software.

Getting started is the next step once you arrive at the conclusion that a website is no longer a luxury - it is essential!

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