Need a New Website? How to Get Started.

A majority of the new business owners who call Hot Dog Marketing are looking for one thing – a new website. Everyone agrees that having a website is essential to do business in today’s economy. For those who don’t have experience in marketing or the online world, getting a website on the Internet can be a daunting task. Here are a few types of sites to consider to help you get started.

Function, Form or Both?

The first question you need to address if what is the purpose of your site. Most websites fall into one of these categories. Price for designing a site depends heavily on the primary function of your site if it needs to incorporate multiple capabilities.

Blog Site
A blog is essentially an online journal. For businesses, blogs are often a way for the subject matter expert to showcase his or her knowledge about their industry and post news updates. This is a great place to start for the very-small-business owner who’s just getting his or her feet wet into the online world. Blogs are easy to maintain and allow for a little bit of customization so it has a branded look and feel. Many companies incorporate blogs into their larger websites.

“Brochure” Site

Image Source: SEO Planter
Image Source: SEO Planter

This is a site that offers basic information about your business. It’s an online brochure and that’s the only function. It’s normally branded properly with graphics and messaging appropriate to your business. It should match the look of any print materials you have that represent your business. It’ll have an attractive home page (or cover for the brochure if you’re thinking of it in those terms), and pages that incorporate similar content that you’d include in a print packet – About Us, Products and Services, How to Contact Us, etc . . . 90% of the websites requested from Hot Dog Marketing fall into this category. The interactive capability of a site like this normally low, but it serves the function of being the primary information delivery system for the business.

Sales Conversion Site
This is an amped up version of your typical brochure site. Sales conversion sites create interactive opportunities strategically throughout the site so your customers can easily get on your mailing list, sign-up for webinars or contact you for more information. A website that’s developed with calls to action and easy sign-up forms allow you site to collect potential leads for your business. Sounds great right? It is great! You’ll need to enlist the help of some savvy marketers to help you put together your online strategy for a site like this. This type of site requires more planning time and a lot more time on content development.

E-Commerce Site
Everyone by now should be familiar with what an e-commerce site is. If you sell products and want your customers to be able to purchase products online from you, then you’ll need an e-commerce website. Not only will you need to consider what kind of “brochure” content you’d like to include in the basic area of your website, but you’ll need to consider many other details like: merchant processing (how will you accept online payments); inventory control; photography for your products and descriptions; sales tax regulations; and how will you keep your website secure? The number of products you’d like to sell online will determine how complicated the project becomes. For many small business owners, relying on PayPal’s online sales system or outsourcing their sales to Amazon is a much simpler way to go if you only have a couple of products you’d like to sell.

Your website can have a combination of all of these pieces. Speaking with an experienced marketer and website designer can help you determine which pieces you need to include in your new website. Consider your budget when starting the project, but try to be open to suggestions from professionals. Since a large chunk of your business’s perception will be determined by the website, it’s important to get it right the first time you pay for it so you’re not paying for it later, so to speak.