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No Website May Mean Lost Business for Small Businesses

Are Potential Customers Blind to Your Business?

Believe it or not, a recent survey of U.S. small businesses found that less than half of them have a company website and most of them also do not leverage social media to market their business. While some businesses appear to be successful without an online presence, it can mean loss of business or a slower annual growth. Having a dynamic website can increase sales, customer interaction, and referrals. Many small businesses believe that having a website is not needed and that it is too expensive or hard to set up. Is that true?

Websites Are Important

Many small businesses initially feel that having a website is not all that important for growing their business. We disagree - and here is why. A website can become the foundation to your marketing plan and work for you 24/7 and be leveraged to send emails and engage in conversations on social media. But what does that really mean from a sales and marketing point of view? We recently helped a website client with their custom website. In about six months, they grew from little presence on the web to having over 5,000 pageviews and 3,000 sessions. Their new website has been viewed by more than 2,800 users - of which 83% are new visitors. Can you really afford to be hidden from 2,300 potential customers and clients? We don’t think so.

Even with Templates, It Still Takes Time

There are a lot of companies out there today offering website templates with easy to use, what you see is what you get editing tools, similar to those offered by word processing programs. While the cost is minimal, ranging from free to less than $200 annually, the ability to create a website that makes your company stand out from the competition does take time. And, as the old cliche says, time is money. If you do not have a basic understanding of how a website works behind the scenes, you can spend more time than you ever anticipated trying to get the template to display what you want it to. And since you are using a template, one unavoidable side effect is that your site will inevitably look like some other company’s site. Templates, by their very design, are somewhat cookie cutter in style. As designers and programmers of websites, we are confident in our understanding of the coding behind the site and it still took us a few hours to customize a free blog template. Can you afford to make the investment - in time - to customize a template to represent your company effectively?

What Would You Invest In - Form or Function?

Many people do not realize that there are two aspects to a well functioning website - graphics and programming. And each aspect can come with its own hefty price tag. First, let's take a look at the design side of things, or what we call the form. You may already have a logo that you like and your favorite colors, but those are not enough to make a graphic statement about your business. In addition to the logo, a website uses images for a wide range of things, including: backgrounds, buttons, menus, slide shows, etc. All of these images need to present a coordinated message about your company. And then you need to consider content placement, spacing, and more. Good designs can run into thousands of dollars, depending on the number of pages that need to be designed and coordinated to work together. We recently saw some small website designs that ranged between $1,200 and $6,0001 - just for the design - no coding included. Maybe you already have a design - something that you did yourself or already puchased from a designer and you just need it to become functional. In other words, you need it programmed. Unfortunately, rates vary from agency to agency and person to person, but according to our research, you can expect to pay between $3,000 and $15,0002 for programming. Is it any wonder that so many small businesses do not have a website if the expected investment can be around $20,000?

We Help Small Businesses - Just Like Us

We are a small business ourselves and so we understand the challenge of wearing multiple hats and trying to get the work done while also trying to ensure that you have work lined up for tomorrow. We offer custom designed and programmed websites featuring good form and function without the high graphic and programming expenses. We can do large websites, too, but our specialty is serving small businesses. We also enable you to control how much you spend by charging a per programmed page rate and a flat rate for each standard graphic. We will work closely with you to develop some design concepts, keeping in mind both form and function, for you to choose from. All of our designs can be expanded or contracted to fit your budget. And if our designs are not meeting what you have pictured, we will either continue to try to meet your expectations or even work with you to outsource your concept so that you can get other designers involved. While we like to program our own designs, we are also more than happy to program something someone else designed. And our work does not stop with just the website. We can also help you use your website as the foundation for additional marketing opportunities, like email and social media. So what is stopping your small business from getting on the world wide web today? Contact Chelle Fuller at chelle.fuller@ictuscomm.com to discuss your website ideas.

 


1 Website design (uncoded) rates were pulled from a third-party creative oustource company that brings companies and graphic designers together.

2 Programming rates were pulled from an article, How Much Does a Website Cost in 2015? published online by www.executionists.com. Article was reviewed on Sept. 2, 2015.

 

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