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Website not always the right answer 18 Feb 2016

If you're in business, you've got to have a website, right?

Well, maybe. While websites are certainly important marketing tools, it's better to have no website than a bad one.

Too many small businesses are drawn into the idea that they must have a website at all cost. But what cost? Let's look at four of the issues that can lead to poor websites.

Time: If you don't have the time to update your website regularly, don't have one. Likewise if you don't have the time to set it up with the content you really need (and not what a web designer thinks you need). Regularly updated websites rank highly on search engines and give visitors a reason to return. But some researchers say about 65% of small business owners find updating their website a problem. If that's you, allocate the time each week, get help from someone who can write content, or minimise the website to a home page with only contact details and something about your business.

False economy: Websites can nowadays cost very little in monetary terms, but even when they're free, they'll cost you in the long run if they're not maintained. You'll look unprofessional and you could lose business, or fail to attract business you really should be attracting. It's also false economy to spend big money on a fantastic website that no one visits. You'll need to look at how to drive people to the site.

Poor content: You know your business, so get it right first time. Ask around so you get the best advice. Make your site engaging and have impact. Use photographs whenever possible. Ensure spelling and grammar are correct.

Management: If you have to rely on a web agency to manage your site, be prepared to pay (as you should, they're in business, too). It's best if you can manage your site content yourself so you have control. Choose your website manager carefully – if the web company closes down or the manager in your own business leaves, how will you maintain the site?

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