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    8 Replies Latest reply on Jun 24, 2011 2:36 PM by rrolling

    Calling All Business Owners...

    rrolling Newbie

      ...Do you have a website yet? Because you need one! Especially now, the internet is the best marketing weapon around, and can be what determines whether or not your startup will sink or swim. For those who answer "no", might I ask you: why not?

        • Re: Calling All Business Owners...
          ASBCG Wayfarer

          I need one for my business African Shea Butter and Cocoa (ASBC). Any advice?

            • Re: Calling All Business Owners...
              JackieGold Scout

              yeah! you can start by setting up a free blog over at,, and more. If you're looking for a more extensive website than that, you will most likely need to hire a designer. I wrote a blog about whether or not your business should be spending a lot of money on your website... you can check it out here:


              How and Why to Make a Free Website for your small business

              • Re: Calling All Business Owners...
                jhgiftbaskets Newbie

                Hello All,

                I just stumbled on this forum and then your question ASBCG. I joined specifically to give my advice because I am very passionate about this as a small business owner myself who has built and maintain my own website. First I believe if you are selling anything anywhere in the world you need a website! If you are just starting out a simple online business card 1 page site would do just so people can find you. But only do that as a temporary thing until you get your full site up. You will have much more selling potential with a good website that is optimized well. Basic websites do not cost a lot of money to start or maintain. There are several domain registrars that have inexpensive domain names. GoDaddy is one. All my domains are with GoDaddy. You can get a domain for as little as $7-$12 a year. The good thing about this is it's yours. You own it. You can transfer it to whichever hosting company you decide to use. Do your research and find a good company to register your domain with. Also choose a good domain name. It's very important! 


                Then you'll need a host. Hosting company's prices vary. Again you can find some inexpensive ones and some very expensive ones. It sometimes depends on what you are looking for but just starting out you will not need to spend a lot of money. Don't pay $60 a month for hosting if you are only starting out and selling $60 a month in products. You will find lots and lots of opinions on hosting companies. Use your best judgement. Also make sure the person's review/referral is not because they are an affiliate of that hosting company and just trying to send customers that way to make money for themselves.


                Some hosting companies have basic website templates and you can build your site through them. These are very user friendly applications. If you can use Microsoft Word, you can use these site builders. Most are basic cut, paste, insert etc. I believe hiring a web designer  is not always necessary. Try it yourself first. You will be amazed at what you can do! I had no web design knowledge at all. I purchased a template and redesigned it myself. That was 3.5 years ago. I've learned so much overtime.


                Also learn about SEO- search engine optimization. When you launch your site. You need to be found! I sell and ship gift baskets all over the United States. There are thousands of gift basket businesses online. You have to make your business stand out. Check out this group for excellent info IT'S FREE!!!!


                Once you have everything set free shopping carts are available as well to save you money just starting out as well as low cost merchant providers. Accepting credit cards will bring you more business! Make sure you have clear photos of your products, clear information, and nice clean clear website that's not too busy and you will do well if you optimize it correctly. If you have great products and excellent customer service along with a nice website you should make more sales online. In my opinion! Please see what you can do yourself before you hire anyone to do it for you. You will save yourself a ton of cash. Most will charge you to make changes. So anytime you need to update photos, prices, holiday sales etc., you might have to pay a fee. If you do decide to hire someone make sure they are professional. Anyone can call themselves a web designer. 


                Also, it is my opinion and the opinion of others that web sites that you own meaning with your own domain that you pay hosting for, is a better business decision as well as more trusted by consumers shopping online. Better for your business because it's yours... you own it. You control it. You can move it. If you get a free site and it's shut down you lose everything. Just something to think about.


                Good Luck!! Take your time and do your research BUT definitely get a website!! You can visit my site at and see what someone with no web design training was able to do on her own and it's still a work in progress but about 80% of our business comes from online sales. 

              • Re: Calling All Business Owners...

                That is a well thought out answer jhgiftbaskets, thank you for helping out. 


                Of course you can always go with a more expensive option and have a webdesigner make you a website, but that can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars.  In this day and age though, whatever path you choose to get a website it is almost essential to have one.  Unless you plan on marketing only to your home town for your business, the younger generation are going to buy, and talk about, what they see online the most.


                To add to your question rrolling, do you think it is possible to survive as a non-local business without a website anymore?

                • Re: Calling All Business Owners...
                  r_kimble Wayfarer

                  My business has a website created. I was able to created it free for the 1st 30 days . I also create the website for other businesses as well.

                  • Re: Calling All Business Owners...
                    rrolling Newbie

                    Hi again everyone,


                    I apologize for my prolonged absence. Though I agree somewhat with the advice shared above, I am also going to provide my own outlook. For one, the type of business that you own, as well as your website's objective, are the main factors that affect what type of website will be necessary for satisfying your online promotion plan. As an example, imagine that buisiness owner 'A' runs a small dog grooming shop. Likelyhood is that she would opt for a small, simple site containing pages such as 'About Us', 'Contact Us', and so on. Now, say business owner 'B' has a new line of hair products. In his case, along with some informational pages about the business, It would be very effective for a website for a business like his to include an e-commerce (online store) feature as well. I know that was vague, but my point is that you should really plan out the site's anticipated make up in relation to the tyoe of business that you own. In this step you'll need to do some research on different site models. As a matter of fact, you may even want to consider consulting with a web design professional, to ensure your understanding of the numerous factors that contribute to each website design, like flash, graphics, and php scripts.


                    On to the next point, I would NOT recommend a free domain for your business-- working with a subdomain from a database like blogger or not only will hinder your traffic capabilities, but it also limits your web design freedom. The same goes for web design. Personally, I believe that 'free' approaches to web design (like drag and drop CMS systems, and attempting to learn code yourself) when you don't have experience firsthand in programming will actually cost you in the long run. It may sound a bit farfetched, but hear me out. Learning html, or to use a new CMS to create the product tht you've envisioned will probably take upwards of one month. Now, I'd assume that as someone who is already working hard to further promote your business (hence deciding to build a site in the first place), there will be little of your energy that is left to be devoted to introducing yurself something as complex as code theory. Put simply, learning to code a site takes time. It takes devotion, brainpower, and energy. And through using this devotion, brainpower, and energy to learn ho to do so whilst managing your business, you're going to end up wasting time. And time is money, right? Right. So my final advice for you: Make the investment on a good, well designed website. This will probably cost you anywhere from $150-$1000 depending on what you need done, but if online promotion is something you really care about (and you should!), it will be well worth it.


                    Web design, folks. It's serious buiseness. And if you take it lightly, it will get you nowhere.