Small Business Websites

Why You Need a Web Site for Your Business

Written by Bobby Jan for Gaebler Ventures

There are costs and benefits associated with starting a Web site for your business. The cost associated with creating and maintaining a standard Web site is minimum and relatively fixed, and the benefits could be great. Here we examine steps and reasons to form your own Web site.

Have you wondered if you really need to endure the cost and trouble of starting and running a Web site for your business?

Let us carefully consider the costs and benefits of starting a standard Web site.

The Cost

Every Web site needs a domain name and a host. For less than the price of getting access to high-speed Internet, you could be the owner of a Web site. You could register for a domain name with registrars like Typically, you will be charged less than $10 a year, depending on your targeted service type. Hosting service is also fairly cheap. For example, offers a 1,000 GB Web hosting for only $6.95 per month.

It is very easy to create and maintain a simple informational Web site.

If you want to create and maintain your site without professional assistance, you will need Web building software. The good news is that there are many free and easy-to-use software options available online.

However, if you want to add advance features on your Web site, you probably should buy software like Dreamweaver, which costs around $400. If you don't have the time to learn about Web design, you could always hire a professional Web designer. Going this route could be expensive, costing thousands of dollars, depending on the complexity of your Web site and the skill of your designer.

The Benefits

The math is simple: there are more than 200 million Internet users in the U.S. alone and approximately 70 percent of them also shop online. This means that if you want to sell goods or services online, you are tapping a market of 140 million American online shoppers. If you are a small business, having a Web site is probably the best way to reach the national market.

If you are an entrepreneur who is trying to establish legitimacy for your business, having a professional looking Web site certainly helps. For example, sharing your mission statement and product line will help establish legitimacy in the mind of your customers. Your Web site showcases your business in the digital world, making this a great opportunity to put your best face forward. You could view your Web site as one of the most effective tools for managing business relations.

Your Web site may also significantly reduce your business operating cost and increase transactions. Since the Internet does not sleep, your Web site gives your business the ability to answer a customer's questions 24/7.

Information provided on your site will reduce the time you need to spend educating your customers about your business and answering questions. Providing driving directions to your business, as well as contact information, increases the likelihood of transactions because your customers will have a much easier time finding you.

Depending on the nature of your business, there may be many other direct and indirect benefits of having a Web site.

The conclusion is ultimately yours to make. Since the cost of starting a Web site is more or less fixed, it all depends on how your business will profit from the benefits. For most businesses, however, given the low cost and ease of starting a simple Web site, there is really no excuse not to have an online presence.

Cheng Ming (Bobby) Jan is an Economics major at the University of Chicago who has a strong interest in entrepreneurship and investing.

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