Web Presence Can be a Business Opportunity and a Headache

With over 77% of the U.S population using the Internet, and 25,559 billion dollars going into ecommerce sales in 2010 (Census Bureau), many small business owners are jumping to the opportunities that a web presence can provide them with. Unfortunately, many business owners are being taken advantage of by the unscrupulous “self-proclaimed” web experts and/or developers.

Every day, we hear horror stories of business owners who have their brand trapped in a domain by a third party, others who were sold websites for which they have no access for update, or others who have been forced to pay outrageous fees to gain access to their own content. The worst part is that all you can do is sue these individuals, and by the time the courts handle your issue, you have lost sales opportunities, money and wasted your time.

If you decided that a web presence is imperative for your business as part of your overall marketing strategy, at minimum, please consider the following:

  1. Register the domain yourself. There are several popular well established services that allow you to do so, such as: 1&1.com, godaddy.com, and register.com. Their prices, terms and conditions vary considerably so make sure you read the fine print and understand your rights. Never transfer the website to a website developer!
  2. Don’t sign any contracts with a web developer until a lawyer, or a trusted third party has read it.
    Remember that all contracts are negotiable. Look for:
    – Early termination fees
    – Your rights to the access of the content
    – Time the developer will take to complete the site
    – Determine if the developer will assign, or subcontract, another organization to complete all the work
    – Ask for a disclosure of ALL fees
    – Read carefully all copyright clauses

    When dealing with an out-of-state developer, ensure you get, and verify, their name, address, phone number and that they are a legally registered enterprises.

    Don’t let anyone take advantage of you. Please ensure you do your due diligence before hiring any professional service for your business, don’t just let price, or cheap talks, drive your decisions. Always consult your advisory business team, check references and read every single line of contracts give to you.

Why should a business consider having a website?

  1. Customers are asking for it
  2. Helps your business sales grow
  3. Provides your business with extended office hours
  4. Provides you with a tool to communicate with customers
  5. Enhances your ability to market your services to a world wide audience
  6. Provides your potential customers information when they are researching your company to ensure you are a legitimate business

When you decided to create a website, consider the following:
– Ensuring that the website image is congruent with your brand
– It is part of your overall business strategy, and makes sense to your type of business
– What is the use of the website? Communications? Commerce?
– Ensure you have a plan to update it regularly, otherwise the value of it will diminish over time.