A website enables you to provide information about your business, products and services on the internet. This will enable potential customers or clients to access information about your products and services 24/7. A website will also enable you receive feedback on your products and services this will enable you satisfy your customers better. A website is a must for today’s business.
The email is a great tool for business but is limited in the sense that before someone will read your mail you must specifically send it to that person. For you to make your information available on the internet and readable by anybody on the internet you need to design and launch a website.
A website when combined with the email can be a great marketing tool. You can use your website to collect emails and phone numbers of your visitors. This information will help you if you want to embark on a direct marketing campaigns. You can advertise your website using email sent to your mail list.
One way to make visitors provide such information is to offer a free newsletter where the visitor will have to fill a form that will require at least an email. You may also include a phone number if you want to market with text messaging or direct call.
Another way is to offer discount coupons to visitors on your website. The discount coupon will enable the visitor purchase the product or service at a discount. For the visitor to receive the coupon they must fill a form on your website requiring them to provide their email address. Do not forget however to keep your promise of a discount at the end of the day or you may lose potential customers.
Despite the numerous advantages of a website to business, most businesses in Nigeria are yet to launch a website for their business. There are some businesses in Nigeria that promote websites that do not exist. We have tried visiting some websites advertised in newspapers only to discover that the websites in some cases are either under-construction or do not exist. This is a bad practice as it may send a wrong signal about your business. It is damaging for your brand.
Do not advertise as your own, a website that does not belong to you. Do not promote your website until it is fully constructed and ready for use.
To set-up a website you need to do the following:
- Design the website
- Register a domain name for your website
- Host the website
Designing a website
A Website will have to be designed. This you can do on your own (in-house) with a website authoring software like FrontPage or DreamWeaver. You can also do it on your own using hand coding if you have the technical capacity.
You can also build a website using a website template or a Content Management System (CMS). You will still need some web design skill to design your website with a website template and Content Management System, but will require basic web design skills.
You may also decide to employ the services of a professional web designer/developer. This is a good idea if you do not have the time or the technical capacity to handle the extra work required to design and maintain a website. This option will also allow you to focus on your core business. A good brochure website will cost you about 40,000 Naira to design in Nigeria while yearly maintenance may average 30,000 Naira if you employ the services of a professional.
Yet another option is to design the website in-house but to employ the services of a professional web designer as a consultant. This is a very flexible option and is employed by larger companies.
Register a domain name
Every website on the internet has a unique name. This unique name is called its domain name. A domain name is a unique name that is used by browsers to identify a website on the internet. To get a domain name you have to register it by paying some amount. You also need to renew your ownership of the domain name yearly. With about 1,000 Naira you can register a domain name for your website in Nigeria. Most of the best domain name registers are based abraod. Try Goddy Click Here.
When choosing a domain name, a good place to start is to check whether www.yourcompanyname.com have been taken. If however your company name has been taken you will have to dig deep and look for an alternative. Always choose a domain name with a .com extension first.
If you employ the services of a professional web designer he/she will help you with domain name registration for your website.
Hosting your website
To launch a website you need a space on the internet to store your website. Visitors to your site will access your website from its storage location. This storage location is called your server.
You can setup your own server. In this situation you will be responsible for maintaining the website and handling all technical issues that may arise. If you decide to own your own server then you will have to keep the server up and running 24 hours daily. This means that you will need backup power and a dedicated staff. You will also need to buy a high speed internet connection. This option may be very expensive for small businesses.
Another option is to allow a web hosting company to host your website. This option is cheaper and affordable for micro small and medium scale businesses. There are hosting plans targeted to large businesses that enable them to have their own dedicated server but this will be managed and maintained by a professional hosting company.
Web hosting sites in Nigeria may cost between 6,000 Naira to up to 200,000 Naira per year. Foreign hosting companies offer better service than Nigerian based website hosting companies. Some great website hosting companies include GoDaddy, JustHost, HostGator, Hostinger, and BlueHost.
If you employ the services of a professional web designer/developer you will be advised on the best hosting option for your business website.
A website must be considered by every business. It can help provide more information about your business. If you have a website make sure you promote it. This you do by including your website address in all your correspondences (email, snail mail, fax, etc). You should also include your website address in all your public relations (for example advertisement and business cards).
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