July 15, 2018

Does My Business Really Need a Website?

lady pulling down her glasses while looking quizzically at you

Whether you really need a website for your business or not truly depend on how fast you want to grow your business.

With the cost of website hosting now being offered so inexpensively by many hosting services, and the fact that you can write off these costs… why would you not want to have your business advertised for you 24/7?

However, if you still believe your business is not profiting enough to warrant the expense of a website at this point in time, there are other options available for all businesses to use. This option will allow you to at least gain an online presence for your business… free of charge!

It’s called Google MyBusiness.

screen print of Google MyBusiness website

You can have your “cake and eat it too” when using this option. Once you complete your profile, being sure to fill in each field to help your customers know when your business is available… and when it is not, you will soon discover a great advertising tool to help you get more leads.

If I can do it for my business, why can’t you?

screen print of a Google search result for Parr's Publishing

Then there are other “free” methods, like social media accounts such as LinkedIn, and a Facebook fan page for your business.

How to Create a Google MyBusiness Account

All you need to do is create a gmail account because Google requires users to use a gmail account to access anything Google. It may be best for you to create an exclusive “for use with all things Google” gmail business account for this purpose. However, if you prefer to use a gmail account you already have that is okay to use, yes.

There is one very important fact you need to know when creating a Google MyBusiness account: your business must have an actual geographical location to be able to setup a Google MyBusiness account. So, if you are not operating your business from a real address (online business only. Example: affiliate marketing), then this is NOT an option for you… but a perfect option for local businesses, larger or small.

Once you are ready to create your Google MyBusiness account, please click the following URL: https://support.google.com/business/answer/6085339?hl=en and follow the steps provided by Google.

If your business is affiliate marketing and you want to do business without the use of a website, you could easily use a Facebook fan page or YouTube. Video being one of the most popular mediums to using in advertising, may offer you the best choice.

Want a Free Domain Name?

screen print of a browser showing where your domain name would be displayed

So many new and existing business owners feel intimidated by the internet, but actually there is nothing to be afraid of.

If you can use a computer with ease then you can certainly gain an understanding about websites. All websites are, are computer files that when opened in a browser the pages look awesome… well, they should look awesome anyway.

Now, if you are ready to create a website for your business, there are several web hosting providers that now offer inexpensive shared hosting and also include domain registration in their starter packages.

This means that the files that will run your website will be upload and/or installed on a hard drive made accessible to the world, along with other’s files that run their websites.

Why is this important to understand?

Well, if you choose to use shared hosting, it is much less expensive than having your very own hard drive running only your website, plus:

  • You can still customize your website to suit your needs.
  • Your website is tended to by professionals who monitor the drives with your website on it, for you.
  • Adequate bandwidth is provided for business websites and should the need for more bandwidth be required, you can add more.

However, along with benefits, there are some disadvantages with shared hosting that you should be made aware of. They are as follows:

1.) Shared web servers are known to crash from time to time (so do independent drives for that matter, just less often), though most hosting services have support staff standing by 24/7 to watch for this type of outage and this is usually corrected within a reasonable period of time.

2.) Performance of your website COULD suffer. Example, if another person’s website on the same shared server has an increase in traffic, your website visitors could find your pages taking forever to load. This could be very frustrating for your website visitors making them opt to seek information from another site.

3.) Security is another issue that needs to be considered. Though many shared web hosting providers are “beefing up” their server’s protection from hackers, cybercrime really is on the rise… and some share server hosts may not be offering that extra protection on their shared servers. One misused htaccess file created by an unsuspecting webmaster on a shared server could make the entire server accessible to hackers.

Bad security that lets hackers at any website could cause a website to become blacklisted for malware being on that domain name.

Fortunately, picking the most dependable web hosting provider that keeps their equipment updated properly along with the support staff that can handle outages quickly will help you avoid these types of issues.

Want to Know of a Reliable Shared Web Hosting Provider?

cartoon depiction of a man coming out of a monitor of a laptop, holding out a business card to you

All you need to do is contact me and I will gladly let you know who I am using to serve up my many different websites.

Over the years now, I have learned that as a website owner, you really do need to be prepared to leave any web hosting provider at all time, and sometimes very quickly.

It has been my experience that great web hosting providers tend to get bought out by major brand names, and those new owners have literally been known to shut down all websites from the provider they purchased… and, without notice to the website owners.

An example of this was GlobalServe.com.

They were an excellent web hosting provider with the best support staff anyone could have had made available to them. However, GlobalServer was purchased by a big brand name that is still in business today (though not nearly as big of a business as they started out to be).

Whenever they used to telephone me, trying to gain my business, all I had to say to the caller was that I was a previous GlobalServe customer and do I need to say anything else, and I would get a “no” response and then they would hang up. They finally did stop calling.

Thankfully, I was taught early on to always keep a copy of all my website files in the same file structure as was on the internet back then. HTML files were used to create website inside folders with labels like “images”, “css”, “js”, “pages”, etc.

The next thing I learned was that though the web hosting provider may retain the same name, the owner could potentially literally clean house of all their great staff that brought in and has kept paying customers happy, and replaced them with lower paid employees who eventually caused havoc with their servers (probably from a lack of care) and one by one, their paying customers left them… of which I was one.

It seems to now be a 10 year cycle where previously this would have happened anywhere from 2 to 5 years in, and the two issues I mentioned were only the worse cases.

This is why I suggest that you should always be prepared to leave a web hosting provider should the need ever arise. The day of loyalty to a brand name could literally cost you your website, should you be from the old-school way of thinking that things used to be.

Should you decide you want to learn to create your very own website… now you can! There is an easy method of dragging and dropping images and links that make creating a website sooooo much easier. It is called WordPress.

Learning WordPress is Easy

man appears to be helping a woman as he points to his conputer monitor

If you are skilled with understanding and using the different types of computer software, I am sure you will find using WordPress a “breeze”. You could easily get started with a basic understanding of WordPress.

You could also learn WordPress by yourself (moving at your own speed) simply by taking the necessary training to create a winning website that could be the envy of your competition.

Or, better still… rather than spend the time figuring all of this out, you could simply hire a website designer who can not only create but also manage all updating for your website for you, for one low payment… which, once again, can be used as a write-off for your business. This option would leave you free to operate your business.

All you have to do is decide.

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