Web Tip: Why Do I Need a Web Site?
My Dad is somewhat of a self proclaimed
master carpenter. He has been at it for 30 years and has done everything
from building houses to building furniture. He has pretty much worked for
the same contractor for most of his career, except for the last few years.
He finally decided to step out on his own and work for himself, and he
loves it. He loves being his own boss and making the decisions. He loves
estimating jobs and meeting people. He loves working by himself and not
relying on anyone else. But not everything is bliss. He dislikes paperwork
and keeping track of time. And with all the jobs he has done it is
becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with his portfolio. He takes
pictures of all his projects when completed to show off to potential
clients. It is a cumbersome job to make copies of this information and to
distribute it every time someone wants it. I have said to him numerous
times,”Dad, you need a web site”. To which he responds, “What do I need a
web site for?” Well, for starters he could have all of his project
pictures where someone can easily see them anytime they want. He could
have a form that potential clients could fill out and email to him for a
quotation instead of playing his favorite game for days – phone tag. In a
nutshell, he could save a ton of time. And I can guarantee you, if he were
to do a search on the internet for a carpenter in his area he would find
some of his competition have web sites, and that could mean lost business.
I guess the point I
am trying to make is anybody who has a business, no matter how small, can
benefit from having a web site. If you think about the redundant tasks we
perform everyday, such as frequently asked questions, directions to your
office, or a brochure – any of these features can be made available on a
web site with little difficulty. It’s like having a 24/7 receptionist to
take care of customer inquiries.
And it doesn’t need
to be elaborate or expensive, as long as it has the information your
customer needs. In fact, to demonstrate how cheaply we can have a site,
you probably have free space available to you right now through your
Internet Service Provider, or ISP. Usually, when you sign up for an
internet account, your ISP will give you 5 or 10 megabytes of free web
space to use on their server. You can even find places on the internet
that give away free web site templates - all you need to do is add the
content. Just go to your favorite search engine ( I like
www.google.com ) and type in” free web site templates”. This is a
great place to start if you want to get your feet wet, or you can spend
about $20.00 per month and get a full blown site with your own domain
name, e-commerce, and all the tools to build a professional web site with
no programming knowledge at all. And if you really don’t have the time to
put into building a web site you can always hire a programmer to do it for
you. But to be completely honest, you really need to learn how to do this
yourself. You aren’t going to want to hire a programmer every time you
make a change, or add something to your site. You will go broke.
OK so I’ve made my
case, but Dad still doesn’t have a web site. And you know he probably
won’t until he either gets tired of copying his portfolio or until he
www.google.com and finds his competition.
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