But according to an article published in Bank of America’s Business 24/7 magazine, some small-business owners remain hesitant to create an online presence because they fear the technical issues involved.
The article assures, however, that no matter what the size or aim of a business, the use of a Web site as a marketing tool far outweighs the cost of creating and maintaining it.
“Bank of America understands that having an online presence is important to the success of small businesses and wants to share best practices on how business owners can take advantage of the convenience and value of the Internet,” said Joe Helweg, senior vice president and small business e-commerce executive at Bank of America.
Here are some things to consider when building a company Web site:
Selecting a Web-Hosting Company
When shopping for an outside host to build and maintain a Web site, small businesses should always choose one that’s reliable and financially stable. After all, if the host’s servers crash or the company goes bankrupt, the sites of the company’s clients will go down as well.
A Web host’s e-mail package is another vital point of consideration. Most hosts offer a certain number of e-mail accounts at the Web site’s domain name. The more accounts the better.
It’s also important to know how much bandwidth the Web site will possess. Small businesses should be wary of hosts that offer “unlimited bandwidth” and should ask for specific numbers instead.
A small business should use its Web site to clearly convey whatever it is that the company does.
An “About Us” section should be included that details some history of the company’s founding and mission as well as what service or product the company provides. Company contact information is equally important to feature.
Updating the Site
It’s a good idea for small businesses to keep their Web sites as current as possible. Even if a company isn’t a whirlwind of change, it’s still important to alter a Web site’s appearance every so often, or add company news and information that can be updated weekly or monthly.
Questions to Ask
If it’s decided that a Web-hosting company will be used, here are some additional questions to ask:
• How much storage space will be provided?
• What is the cost for bandwidth in excess of the allotted amount?
• What level of security will the Web site have?
• Do the provided e-mail accounts have spam filtering?
• What is the guaranteed uptime for the Web site?