First impressions are VERY IMPORTANT. The way that you communicate with your customers and potential customers is VERY IMPORTANT, whether that communication is on brochures, letters, advertising or any other media conversation. These days a website is often the first point of contact your potential customers will want to use, and where your existing customers will expect to be able come back for more. It's important to know that there are companies out there that will provide a great professional product for a few hundred pounds, if that. What does a good website mean for you? Why do you need one ? Here are several good reasons why you should get your business online with a web site no matter who you are or what you do 1. 24/7 Your customers are busy. Sometimes the only time they get to do things is at odd hours, in a brief 10 minutes. Your website is open 24 hours of every single day of the year. Being on the web means your business is open 24/7, and it's easy and convenient for everyone. 2. Professional Image Whether you are a mobile mechanic working out of a 10 year old van or a Chartered Surveyor working out of city centre offices, a website can project the image you want to convey. It's not trickery, it's not dishonest, it's all about positioning. A good professional website instills confidence. It shows you care about and respect your customers. It also shows confidence in your own ability to provide what they need. Nowadays, new customers will assume that you already have a website, and what if your competitors already have one? If they do, you can keep up with them cheaply and even find ways to make your site better. 3. Online Brochure Have you ever paid for printed brochures or leaflets and a month later realised you wish you'd said something else? A website is your easy, cheap way to provide the most up to date information all year long. All you have to do is make sure people visit your bang up to date website. This will save you a lot of money on printing and distribution costs 4. Sell With even a small e-commerce site, you can sell your products and supplement your usual business. A website with secure online ordering is very affordable (again, a few hundred pounds or less) for even the smallest business. 5. Collect Information You can collect information from your customers and potential customers with forms and surveys. Providing feedback and question forms can even alert you to things that your customers want that you never even thought of. 6. It's INSTANT I don't know about you, but I don't like to wait for information. I like to see sites that offer all the information I want, especially with downloads. Give the visitor what they want. Allow them to download price lists, brochures, audio, video and then even while you sleep, your site will be working for you. 7. Global Once you have a web presence, you aren't that little local business anymore. You have millions of potential sales or customers. What about that guy fixing cars out of his 10 year old van? He has global potential. He can write articles on basic car maintenance and sell them on his site for a quid each, all while he sleeps! 8. Customer Service You can pitch your product and answer questions by providing good website copy. By allowing your visitors to contact you through the website, they can ask specific questions, request quotes, reserve tables, hotel rooms; all 24/7 at their convenience. It allows you to show your commitment and brand personality by replying to those queries in an appropriate timely fashion. You can also make big overhead savings by allowing visitors to download documents directly from your website rather than mailing printed materials. 9. Summary Having said all of the above, a site is not going to do you any good if it projects the wrong image. A bad site is no good to you, and you should always ensure that the website provider you choose has your interests in mind. Good professionally designed sites really can cost as little as a few hundred or even a hundred pounds or less. If you see prices quoted by a provider, talk to them and see if they can't help you out if your budget is really small. You should always remember that the provider will be able to use you as a reference for other work, so may be only too happy to help you out.