Step One. Create a website.
Wait! Don’t go. I know you have probably heard this before and you don’t think you have enough time, money, or need for one. You’re not alone. In fact, 41% of small business owners don’t think their business needs a website.  19% are worried about the cost and 16% don’t think they have the time. 
So why does your business need a website?
Have you ever searched for a business you know exists, but been unable to find any reliable information about it? That is what happens when you don’t have a website.
What about business listing websites like Merchant Circle, Manta, or CitySearch? These sites usually create more headaches than their worth. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve failed to find a reliable phone number or email address with only these business listing sites to guide me. For many consumers, if you don’t have a website, then your business just doesn’t exist.
86% of consumers search for local businesses online. They search for business hours, addresses, and directions.  Once those consumers have done that search, 50% will use that information to visit the brick and mortar store. 
Where do you get your current clients from? If your business is like most small businesses, you get the majority of your clients via word of mouth. Well, nine out of ten consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations and nine out of ten consumers use reviews to determine where to shop.  Which means, if you don’t have an online presence, you are leaving money on the table.
So, you’re convinced that a website can provide value, but you’re still worried about the time and money it will take to set one up. But what if you could set one up in less than an hour for free?
There is a wide variety of options for free or low-cost, and easy websites. You can create one in as little as an hour with basic information about your business. If you have a business name, contact information, and a few pictures of your finished product(s), then you have everything you need to set up a simple website for your business. One hour to increase your business’ exposure and word-of-mouth traffic. What is one hour worth to your business?
Here are five easy and free resources for setting up a website (and one inexpensive paid option).
- WordPress.com offers a completely free version and a paid version. The free version is enough for most small businesses and offers flexibility for content, although the free version limits design options.
- Weebly.com has a simple and easy to understand system, making it great for first time do-it-yourselfers. It offers a free option and three paid options starting at $8 a month.
- Yola.com has both free and paid options and offers a simple website builder with basic design options.
- OnePager.com – This site offers a free version with a limited set of options to customize. They also offer four levels of paid versions, starting at as little as $8 a month. (If you can afford Netflix, you can afford this!)
- Wix.com offers a completely free option with a wide variety of options and tools. This website builder might be a little overwhelming for first time website builders, but offers the most freedom for design and content.
- Squarespace.com has a streamlined, elegant, and user-friendly website creator. It does not offer a free version, but has two levels of paid versions, starting at $8 a month. Their $18 a month option is listed for businesses, but unless you are selling products online, the $8 a month option would be enough for most small businesses.
So what are you waiting for? In the time you spend surfing Facebook this week, you could have a beautiful and informative website. Get going!