If you don’t have a web site yet, you probably fall into one of the following categories:
1) You firmly believe your product or service would not be benefited by a web site.
2) You’d like to have a web site of some kind, but you’re worried it’ll cost too much or simply not be a good return on your marketing dollars.
3) You’re a bit intimidated by the technical issues involved with getting a web site going.
I have to admit, there was a time I didn’t think a local retailer would be well served to invest in a web site. And then I started looking up some of my local stores, restaurants, etc. and I was much more inclined to do business with the stores that had some kind of web presence. So, for the purposes of this post, let’s talk about the local retailer with a storefront.
What kind of web page should you have? Well, my local pizzeria had a few simple pages on its web site. The home page had a pleasing picture of a hot pizza (can you tell I like pizza?) and it gave their address and phone number. A simple road map made it easy to get to them.
A couple of pages inside the web site listed the menu items. Very handy and good to know.
If they were having any specials that week, these would most likely be on the home page.
And in some cases, a request for your email address if you wanted to be kept abreast of specials or new menu items, that type of thing.
A web site of this kind is actually very easy to set up and should NOT cost that much. If someone wants to charge you thousands for this kind of web site, thank them and move on. You can find folks in your local area that will put together a simple site like this for a few hundred dollars.
The person who puts your site together could also educate you on how to make very simple changes to the site YOURSELF. No matter how technology-averse you may be, making minor text changes to a web site is pretty simple. So when you have new specials to promote, you don’t need to call the web guy, you can do them yourself.
You might call over to the community college where classes are being given on web design and see if you can get one of the more advanced students to put your site together for a very reasonable price.
This is NOT rocket science.
You’ve got a shoe store? You’re a mom and pop? A simple web site can be very helpful. You may not get customers rushing in directly from your web site, but having a web site is another method of being in front of your customer and prospective customer. As weeks and months roll by, more and more people go to the net to find out where they should shop.
If you’re being asked to pay more than $15-20 a month to host this kind of web site, keep looking. (Hosting a web site is simply the place where all of the files are kept and displayed when visitors come to your site)
Here’s another idea. Write down the names of 5 or 10 of the retail stores around you. Head to your computer and see if they have a web site. If you like the looks of their site, call the owner and ask him who designed the site and who do they use to host the site. Ask him if he’s happy with the service and ask him what it cost. Almost always, owners are willing to help other owners.
All things considered, I definitely recommend you get a simple site up and running. It CAN be done inexpensively and it WILL be a positive point of promotion for your store.