Have a small business? Get a website.

Every big company has a website, right? We’ve gotten used to using websites for everything from sales, to customer support, to product and company information, to actual tools to managing your account online. So why should a small business have a website?

First, you need a website because you need to compete. You need to compete with other small businesses. You also need to compete with the “Big Guy’s”. The Internet has done a very unique thing that no other medium has ever done; it has leveled a lot of playing fields.

A well designed website can make you look a whole lot bigger than you actually are. It can drive sales to you whether you have an e-commerce store or not. It can be used to demonstrate your products and services. It can inform people about your business. It can be used just as a technical support staff once was used. It can be used as Human Resources to accept employment applications. It can be used as a community to keep people coming back to your website.

No other medium (television, radio, print) can do all of this. And it costs a fraction of what all of the above costs. A full page Sunday ad in the newspaper on will cost you a thousand dollars plus some. This is for a single ad that is run just once.

A television ad campaign will cost five to ten thousand dollars for production of a high quality ad and the cost of running the ad for thirty to sixty seconds will run about eight hundred dollars per month. Radio ads are just as bad and cost around eight hundred dollars per month also. A high quality website costs just a fraction of all the above to design and maintain.

Now this doesn’t mean that you can give up all of your marketing efforts and just use the Internet. You must still use other more traditional marketing mediums such as television, radio and print because for some reason, people still give more credibility to traditional media. But maybe with a well designed website, you can cut back on traditional marketing.

This also doesn’t mean that any website will do. You must have a professional looking website to be taken seriously. A website that is thrown together with FrontPage or one that looks like your 15 year old nephew threw it together will actually detract from the credibility of your business. This just tells your visitors that you didn’t care enough to put together a well designed website.

The average duration of a web page viewed is 60 seconds. That’s it! So if you don’t grab the attention of your visitor in that amount of time, guess who will get her business? You guessed it, your competition.