Running a website can be demanding. First, there’s the cost for design. Then, there’s the cost to maintain it, which involves people actually knowing what they’re doing and computers and servers not crashing. And, of course, there’s the time element.
But today, there’s really no reason not to have a Web presence. We talk about social media a lot, in fact our May issue is dedicated to the topic. But social media really is the low cost, low hassle way to be online.
The Wall Street Journal has a story on small businesses opting to use social media instead of investing in, or until they can invest in, a website. These companies are getting their names out there and, oh yeah, they’re growing.
For most businesses today, having a presence on the Internet is the modern equivalent to being listed in the phone book, say experts. Consumers expect to be able to find and learn basic information about companies when they go online.
“When people get a referral to a business, what’s the first thing they do? They go look for it online,” says Bruce Freeman, an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business in South Orange, N.J. “You need to be online.”
But if you’re starting a business with limited funds, a flashy company website isn’t a must. For little or no cost, you could put your fledgling enterprise on a third-party site such as a blog-hosting service, social-media outlet, business directory or marketplace.