Get the right website for your business

Many businesses reach more customers by having a website and by answering a series of simple questions about your business, you’ll find out:

* whether a website could work for your business
* what type of website would be best for you
* how a website could help you get more customers

You may also want to:

* check what type of website your competitors have
* discuss your current and future website needs with an IT adviser
* take advice from a range of website development and design agencies
* get impartial advice from your local adviser

Customers expect national and international businesses to have a website. It’s considered a key method of communication, providing a global shop window for your goods and services.

The absence of a website may affect your customers’ perception of your business.

As your customers already request your goods or services via email, it’s logical to provide an online ordering and payment service.

The Internet is a key marketplace for niche market goods and services. The global audience means that you’re more likely to make contact with your potential customers.

Your business may benefit from a website that allows customers to review your goods or services, order and pay online. This would usually include:

* a description of your goods, products and services
* an online store with descriptions, images and prices
* online forms for enquiries and orders
* online payment options
* delivery options
* regional branch details and opening times
* contact information

The website will become a shop window for your goods and services and form a crucial sales channel with existing and prospective customers. Allowing online ordering and payment will mean your business is trading 24 hours a day to a global audience. Fulfilment of orders made using your website will be a key challenge in ensuring customer satisfaction. Regular updates to the site are also vital in maintaining interest and repeat visits and orders.

When you commission this type of website ensure that you:

* budget for the cost of maintenance and updates
* have processes in place deal with enquiries, orders, payments and deliveries

Websites of this type can cost a minimum of $1,500 to build and at least $1,000 per year to maintain. There is no upper limit. Additionally, you may have to pay commission fees to third party service providers such as online payment processors.

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