While kids today grow up comfortable and competent operating within the digital world, the rest of us have a lot to learn when it comes to navigating the web. This can be especially limiting for business owners who are considering taking their enterprise online.
There are plenty of compelling reasons why a business – large or small – needs to have a home online above and beyond a social media presence or email address, yet barriers remain. The great news is, many of these perceived barriers are actually old wives’ tales; it’s actually easier and more valuable than you think! Let’s debunk some myths about getting your business online…
Getting a domain name is expensive – Fiction
Purchasing a domain name is affordable – why do you think so many people do it? You would have to pay more money if you want a premium domain name (a desirable domain name already owned by someone and offered at a high cost), but this isn’t necessary. ‘Normal’ or non-premium domain names are low-cost and prevalent, making the online world an accessible place to all. To make it even more appealing, many registrars – these are the companies that sell domains – have deals and specials offers, with different packages available to suit individual requirements and budgets.
Domain name prices are driven down by the fact that it’s a competitive industry and there are plenty of registrars to choose from, so shop around to find the best deal and service for you. (Our Find a Domain tool allows you to search for a domain name and choose from a list of accreditated registrars.) You will also find that there is often a special rate for renewal, so your domain name could get cheaper the longer you have it.
Registering, setting up and maintaining a website is too complicated and requires technical knowledge – Fiction
Creating a website is not as complex as you fear and you certainly don’t need technical knowledge or a degree in computer science to equip your business with a basic, workable base online. Once you have registered your domain name, you can use one of many free templates that will guide you through the process while still offering opportunities to personalise your site. The registrar you buy your domain from will usually have free templates to use with their own site builder, but you can also use other platforms such as WordPress – a free and easy-to-use CMS that powers at least 30% of the web. Maintaining your site is also manageable – the biggest challenge is remembering to keep your website updated as your business takes off!
Registering and creating a website takes a long time – Fiction
Not only is it straightforward to get your website off the ground, it can also be swift thanks to the amply available guidance and support, whether it be via experts or consultants, online tools or templates geared towards making the process smooth and quick. Remember that, even if the process takes longer than you expected, this is time well spent, as the rewards available to those with a website can be rich indeed (see below).
My social media sites are enough; I don’t need a website too – Fiction
While there can be no doubt that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are valuable platforms and tools for engaging with potential customers and promoting your business, it is untrue to assume that these channels are enough. Having a personalised, designated webpage for your business adds credibility and will have a marked impact on your reputation. This is the platform for your content and the central hub for all the communications you make. Additionally, customers are more likely to trust a business with a personalised website and email address over a business that is active only on social media. Our research has shown over a quarter of consumers think a business without a website is outdated and can’t keep up with the times – don’t let that be you!
Being online won’t make a difference to the growth of my business – Fiction
While word of mouth is a powerful way to grow your business, it isn’t enough. Consumers are increasingly searching online for goods and services, so you are missing out on a huge potential area of business by not having a website. According to Forbes, up to 90% of consumers will research products online before they buy them, while The Consumer Barometer Survey 2014/15 revealed that 83% of customers will search online for a local business every month. The rewards are clear and financial – our research found that tradespeople with websites gain an extra 21 jobs per year on average, earning over £16,000 worth of extra business each year compared to those without a website.
Ultimately, having a website is about survival – there are so many businesses vying for a limited number of consumers, it could be a death blow to your business if you don’t create an online presence. You need to keep pace with the competition, as well as meet the expectations of the internet-reliant consumer. Don’t let the fictional barriers stand in your way – it is easier than you think to get online.