The beginning of a new year is a very special time of reflection on where you are headed and what progress has been made toward reaching your goals. I actually started this process a little early this year when a client mentioned they had visited my Web site and found a few links were not working and it seemed outdated. I believe his exact words were “really lame, man.” Since I had not done much with my Web site in years, I decided on a New Year’s resolution to update my company site and make it more informational and helpful. Have you checked yours lately?
If you own a business, you need a Web site, but you need to think about what your site will do for your company and your clients. If your business is selling a product, you may consider selling it over the Internet. There are special applications and needs for this type of selling, such as a shopping cart that will gather data on sales and traffic and a way to process the sales transactions, etc. The average person would have difficulty getting these components to work together on their own but there are services and companies who specialize in “commerce” that can help.
If you do not plan to sell a product on the Internet, your Web site will probably be informational. It is best to create an outline detailing what you wish to accomplish on your Web site. Do you want to highlight the attributes of your product over the competition? Perhaps explain technologies that exist in your industry and what you have done to outshine others in your field. You know your company best, but this is incredibly helpful whether you decide to do this Web site yourself or have a professional create it, or update your existing site.
“I do not own my own business but I do a lot of volunteer work for the church and local clubs and we have a special event coming up in three months I would love to promote. Would a Web site be good for this?” Yes! Promotional Web sites are great for information, directions and other particulars about your event. They are probably the most cost-effective way of getting information out to the public or target audience. “OK, so how do I get started?” Do a search on Google for “How do I make my own Web sites?” You will see somewhere around 140,000,000 results so that may be a bit daunting, but rest assured, there are a lot of free resources that will help. If you do not have a domain name, this is a good place to start. A domain name is something that a visitor to your Web site will type in to find you, such as www.smotherscomputers.com (in this case, smotherscomputers.com is the domain name). If you need help with this, I would contact the Chamber of Commerce or call GoDaddy and they can help. The Chamber of Commerce can help you locate a Web site designer who can help you create a special event Web site, update your existing site or just give you some straight advice. Some domain registrars like GoDaddy have tools that allow you to design and build your own Web site for free. So if you are the adventurous type, you may want to check into this and make a fun project out of it. You may check into Facebook and see if it is right for your event. Whatever you decide to do, do not forget the social networking sites like Twitter. That is what they do best; promote things!
As I said, I updated my company Web site myself over this past weekend. Let me know what you think (www.smotherscomputers.com)!
Ahwatukee Foothills resident Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services. Send questions to email@example.com or call (480) 753-7667.