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All new start-up businesses wonder whether they need a website. It’s true that plenty of businesses benefit from having a good site, but there are also many that simply don’t need one.

As digital accountants our website is important, but we know that’s not the case for everyone. Because we like to help our clients recognise necessary spending versus non-essential costs, we’ve put together an article to help businesses understand what being online might mean for them.

The purpose of a website

When weighing up your business’s need for a website, consider what it would be for. What purpose would it serve for you?

A marketing agency pretty much needs a website to show off its portfolio and expertise. A local hairdresser who relies on word-of-mouth recommendations might do better to focus efforts on building a social media presence instead.

Websites are generally used to promote a business to a wider audience, but getting spotted amongst the online competition isn’t really that easy.

 

Startup business accountancy services

If you build it, they might not come

Unfortunately, going to the time and effort of setting up a site doesn’t automatically result in people visiting it. Once built, the next step is working out how to get people to your site, and how to turn them into customers once they’re there.

If you want to sell online, then a website could be an essential step towards that goal. But, it might also be worth considering if there are existing platforms to use instead.

For instance, rather than creating and maintaining your own site, and finding ways to drive traffic to it, an Etsy account might be simpler. Think of it as an alternative to having your own shop out-of-town.

Instead, Etsy is a bit like having a store in an existing market that already attracts visitors. It helps cut down on the amount of work you have to do for customers to find you.

Do you have the time and budget at the moment?

If you’re still wrestling with the idea of launching a website, consider whether you have the time and money to put into it. A professional-looking site that works properly, attracts visitors, and serves its purpose, will probably need some time and money spent on it.

On the other hand, knowing how to build a website yourself fairly cheaply doesn’t really mean that you should, if you lack the skills or time.

Consider how busy you are, too. Designing a website and creating content takes up valuable time that could be spent on the business, even if you do outsource it.

It sounds brutal, but unless the website is a key part of how you launch the business, would it be better to put the idea on pause? As an alternative, you might set up a Facebook page instead, and run a few adverts through social media.

Our in-house team have put together a digital marketing guide to help you get started.

 

Digital Marketing Guide

A quick guide to the basics of setting up a website

There are several options for setting up a website yourself, depending on your level of knowledge and what you need it to do.

Getting your own domain and hosting

Professional website agencies usually manage the domain registration, hosting, and then the design and build of the website as separate costs.

A domain typically costs around £10 – £15 per year, whilst hosting can cost anything from £3 a month upwards. The more information on your site, the more space it takes up and therefore the more expensive your hosting will be.

A site that gets a lot of traffic also requires more expensive hosting; think of it as having a larger room to fit everyone in at once.

 

It’s worth researching and comparing various hosting platforms before signing up. As with anything, the lowest price might not necessarily be the most suitable for your needs.

Arranging a domain and hosting independently does give you more control. You’ll own the domain name, and you can choose where your website is hosted. You’ll also be able to build your website in whatever platform your prefer.

WordPress is the industry favourite, because there are lots of themes to choose from, and it’s easy to customise or to build a site from scratch.

Using a hosted service

Platforms such as Wix and Squarespace allow you to do everything with your website in terms of set up and management, from one dashboard. You can choose a domain name, and leave them to handle all the hosting and support for you.

These platforms have come a long way in recent years, and most of them now offer a huge range of templates, some of which are customisable.

While some of these platforms have a free plan, to get the most out of your website you will usually have to pay a monthly subscription for services.

It’s worth noting that this sometimes makes it more difficult to move to another platform if you need to grow.

Making the choice

Write out what you aim to achieve by having a website. If you can make a clear case for the benefits it will bring, then building a website is a no-brainer. However, if you are unsure or are lacking the time or budget, there’s nothing wrong with holding off for now, and evaluating other methods of getting your name out there.

We’re an online accountancy who use digital methods to support clients. To talk to one of the team about how our services can help you, give us a call on 020 3355 4047, or ask for a call back. You can also get an instant quote online

About The Author

Christopher Jones

Forensics graduate-turned copywriter and blogger. I love turning complex topics into easy to understand, yet engaging pieces of content.

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