Saturday, August 30, 2008

Getting Your Business Online

Many small businesses are struggling to catch up with the wave of changes that have affected the way we do business - specifically engaging in ecommerce. Many business owners are intimidated by the new technologies they see and some may not fully comprehend the benefits of taking their business online. There are many benefits for getting your business online and I will detail a few benefits, as well as how to get started, below.

Business owners create websites for their businesses for many different reasons. And the reasons you should get your business online will depend on the type of business you operate the industry in which you operate in. Many businesses are looking for general awareness, while others are strictly trying to sell goods or services through their website. Some of the benefits that come by getting your business online include establishing a corporate presence on the Internet, being able to sell goods or services over the Internet, gathering data for potential customers on your website, and having an online location for your customers to be able to go to in order to get information about your products or services.

So if your business in not online yet, the question is how do you get started? Getting your business online is not as difficult or costly as you may think, if you know where to go. The general steps include designing and building your website, creating a web hosting account, and getting your site live. Most of these steps involve contracting with specialists to complete each item. For example, you will need to locate a knowledgeable and reliable web designer/programmer to design and build your website. The programmer you select will most likely be the one who will update and maintain your website as you have new information to post on your website. Most designers/programmers provide their services at an hourly rate of between $50 - $100 per hour. Most designers/programmers also can provide valuable services such as search engine optimization.

Creating a web hosting account is very easy and extremely affordable. In simple terms, web hosting is basically renting space from a company that has servers directly connected to the Internet. For your customers and potential customers to be able to find your website, your website must be located on a computer that has a direct connection to the Internet. You can generally get a web hosting account with a top provider for as little as $5 per month. For a list of the best web hosting companies, there are many web hosting directories that evaluate and rate the numerous hosting companies.

Once your website is built and you have signed up for a web hosting account with the host of your choice, your programmer can upload the files to your web host's server and your website will be live for the whole world to see.

As a small business owner myself, I understand why many business owners are slow to change and catch up with the online world. However, I have also come to realize the benefits and necessities of getting my businesses online. I hope that all other business owners can embrace the latest web technologies and help propel their business to even greater success.

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