Why you need a website

Just after I posted "Do you have a website?", marketing consultant Liz Gaige of Market Navigators sent along this great Q&A from her latest newsletter:

Q: I don’t have a Web site and I’m pretty busy as it is. Do I really need one?

A: A funny thing happened at the office last week…

No kidding, just last week a graphic designer came by to pitch me on his services. The first time he’d sent me an email, months before, I saw he didn’t have a Web site and basically chucked his info. Why?

Because in this day and age, not having a Web site is like networking without a business card. No matter how good you are, you lose a great deal of credibility without one.

If you’re serious about doing business and you want people to take you seriously, make the investment.

It doesn’t have to be fancy with a multitude of bells and whistles. It does have to educate visitors about your business and showcase why they should care.

And, particularly for retailers and restaurant, it also goes a long way to providing good customer service. (See main article.)

The graphic designer, it turns out, is actually pretty good and has a well-rounded portfolio. That’s something I’d never have known if he hadn’t been persistent in following up.

The lesson: if you think you can’t afford a Web site, the question you need to ask yourself is whether you can afford not to have one.

(c) 2006 by Liz Gaige, Market Navigators. All rights reserved.

I absolutely agree with Liz. I don’t even like to go to restaurants that lack webpages. I’d never hire a consultant who was without a place on the web.

Tony says:

I absolutely agree. Not having a website today puts you behind everyone else that does. Why make it that much more difficult to do business? I also agree with getting one done professionally. I started with a homegrown site using Frontpage, but LOVE my new site (www . supportanalytics .com) done by a web designer. In most cases (not http://www.consultantjournal.com) you can quickly tell is a site is homegrown or done professionally. I would put not having a website up there with not having an e-mail address. If someone wants to hire me they will just pick up the phone and call, right?

Justin Beller says:

If I may be so bold as to make another comment about websites, I recommend consultants and business professionals separate themselves from the task of being a web designer and developer and focus in on the content of their website. Delegate or hire out the design and development. I know there are programs out there that make it easy for people with little or no skill in web design to build a website, but let’s face it – the results are usually less than stellar.

The content is what’s found in the search engines, and obviously, what your clients are looking for to help solve their problems. Let’s not discount good visual design, though. It’s important, but secondary to the content.

I had a designer create templates for me to use as I built my website. This way I could make sure the content delivered my marketing message to my intended audience. In the end it saved me a lot of time and a lot of headaches.

Andrea says:

I can’t disagree with the decision to go professional. Both my business cards and my marketing site were professionally designed. I have a background in web marketing, so I incorporated that. But, if you’re desperate to get something up, there’s nothing wrong with a temporary homespun site. (Heck, that’s what this site is at the moment!)