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Tips from Tonna for your PC
Do I need my own Web Site?
by Tonna Kutner

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Q:  I have a small service business and wonder if it would be worthwhile for me to have my own website?

A:  I encourage businesses to have websites.  Even a simple website, done well, can add credibility to your business.  Referrals are easier, because potential customers can check out your website before calling you.  If you are listed well on the search engines, you can also get new customers from your website.

The downside is that a website takes planning and costs money, though it doesn’t have to be much.  A domain name – usually yourbusinessname.com--costs $10-35/year.  Hosting your web site can be done for as little as $10-15 per month. But don’t try to save money by getting a hosting service that insists on flashing its own banner on your site.  That does not give the professional image you want.

You will also need somebody to design and set up your website. Some people manage by having a relative or friend do it, or by doing it themselves, but most are happier in the long run if they hire someone with experience.  Check out other sites the person has done and be specific about pricing and time frame before you begin.

The more planning you do, the better your results will be.  Gather up pictures, logos, business plans, and brochures for your business.  Check out your competition on the web and look for for other websites that you like.  Even a small site should have the following pages with easy links between them:

  • Home page with a description of your company and ways to contact you. 

  • Page with more details about your services.

  • Page about yourself or others in your company  (It’s said this is the one most people look at when they visit a website).

  • Page with quotes from satisfied customers.

  • Page with links to other sites  (this gives you a chance to link to other supportive companies, which in turn will link to your site).

It's great to have something on your pages that changes all the time or might prompt a potential customer to contact you.  This could be a tip of the week or month that relates to your business, or an easy link allowing a visitor to get a free copy of your newsletter.

Remember that business will not automatically flock to you because you have a website.  When your site is up and running:

  • Make sure the address is printed prominently on all your cards and publications.

  • Send an email to all your customers and friends announcing your website.

  • Add a signature tag to the bottom of your email that lists your web site (see my article on signatures at http://www.computer-lynx.com/a-stationery.htm).

  • Look for other businesses or groups that might be willing to list your site at their websites; you can add them to your “links” page.

  • Make sure your site gets listed on the search engines. (See my article on web listing http://www.computer-lynx.com/a-web-site-listings.htm).

If you have a computer question you would like answered in this space, send it to tonna@computer-lynx.com.

For past columns of Tips from Tonna, check out the web site: www.computer-lynx.com.

Tonna Kutner, Computer LYNX, works with companies to list and develop their web sites.  Phone (206) 575-3979 or email tonna@computer-lynx.com. Visit Tonna’s website at www.computer-lynx.com.

Printed in "Verve"July  2001. Copyright Tonna Kutner

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