Establishing a presence on the web for your small business is critical these days. Think about how many people jump on the Internet to track down service providers, products, and to find information about businesses.
If you are lacking a presence on the web, you could be missing potential customers and collaboration opportunities. In fact, not having a presence on the web could make people think you are a “fly by night” or a temporary operation.
Why a Web Presence is Important
Establishing a web presence lets you interact with your existing customers more regularly, and also through a variety of media. For example, you can post blogs about your existing and forthcoming products and services. You can engage your customers with informative videos, photographs, or informational graphics. You can publish a newsletter to ensure consistent engagement with your customers.
We all know it is easier to keep an existing client than to have to find a new one. So, make sure you retain your by providing them interesting and information content on your web page.
Find New Clients
Once you are set up with a web presence, you can add your company’s webpage address to your business card and email signature. When you meet a potential prospect in a meeting or other setting, you can hand them your card and let them know that you have a wealth of information on your website.
Similarly, if you include your webpage address in your email signature, people receiving your mail can click through to learn more about you and your services. You can also link to your company webpage from your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles.
Collaborate with Colleagues
As a small business owner, there may be times where it makes sense to collaborate with others in your industry. For example, if you have a particularly large contract you are pursuing and need to show more expanded qualifications, or if you need a partner to help you get the job done after you win in. Similarly, other small business owners might be looking for someone like you to team up with. Having a web presence makes it easier to make these connections.
Seriously, I cannot stress how important a web presence is these day. Maybe you already knew the importance of establishing this presence, but you are unsure where to start. Or, perhaps I have convinced you that this is something that you should look into. Square one is to find a quality website hosting service.
You may be wondering how small business hosting works. Getting set up on the web does not have to be a big deal. The first step is to find a service that provides small business hosting. For example, my website is hosted by Bluehost (www.bluehost.com). What that means is that when someone accesses my webpage or blog, the information is being delivered to the webpage viewer by Bluehost.
When I decided it was time to establish my web presence, I asked my business colleagues what they used. They overwhelmingly recommended Bluehost to me because of the reasonable price and also the 24/7 US-based telephone support.
There are many small business hosting providers, so as you look into different hosting services, you will want to compare and contrast the following features:
- Monthly fee, plus any start up fees
- Domain hosting limits
- Hosting space size limits
- File transfer size limits
- Tools to help you build sites
- Customer service/support
- When your business grows, will the service keep up
- Reviews of people who have used the service
As I mentioned, my business associates recommended Bluehost to me. I did do my research to compare their offerings with other hosting services, and I quickly realized that my associates had steered me in the right direction.
1. Lots of *Unlimited* Services
Currently Bluehost offers unlimited domain hosting, unlimited hosting space, unlimited files transfers and also unlimited email accounts. They will provide you with a website domain. What that means is that after you have selected a domain name (the name of your website) they will secure it for you for free as part of their service.
2. Easy WordPress Installation
Something else that makes Bluehost a great option for small business hosting is that they make it very easy if you are setting up a website. You can easily install WordPress, with just one easy click!
WordPress is a publishing platform and blogging tool that lets you easily create content for your website. WordPress also have free themes that let you easily customize the layout and design of your blog or webpage.
3. Stellar Customer Service
The thing that keeps me staying with Bluehost is the excellent customer support I have received, both via the telephone and online. They have a US-based customer support center where issues are handled quickly. Others love the customer service as well.
For example, Steve Dembo, who runs www.teach42.com, an education and technology site, sang the praises of BlueHosts’ tech support…
“Customer support is phenomenal … every time I’ve ever called in I’ve gotten a person on the phone within a few minutes, and that first person I’ve spoken to has been able to find a solution. The service is exemplary”.