4thewww
Providing a host of web services

Advantages of a Website

Reasons why you would benefit from having a website.

  Increase customer support
Your website is available 24 hour-a-day, seven day-a-week branch office, always open for business to anyone with a computer and Internet access. Information you now distribute on paper or with telephone reps can be posted on your site, providing customers with all sorts of useful information: a searchable database of retailers who carry your products, maps and directions to your office, business hours, job postings, press releases, electronic instruction manuals, brochures and catalogs, answers to frequently asked questions and much more.

  Offer new kinds of services
Are you in the brokerage business? How about electronic trading? Do you sell books? Encourage people to order online. Do your customers regularly call your office to have their questions answered? Let them send e-mail as well. You get the idea. The opportunities are only limited by your imagination and resourcefulness.

  Create new relationships with your customers
If you have been online for a while, you have undoubtedly heard about electronic communities, groups of people with common interests. Think about creating a community around your product or service. If your company manufactures bicycle gear, initiate a chat room where your customers can discuss cycling; if your company provides financial services, consider an investors forum.

  Offload responsibilities to your customers
Remember when you had to wait in line at a bank to get cash. Thanks to ATMs, those days are over forever. Banks now make you do much of the work of imputing data; in return there's the convenience of 'round the clock banking. A website can help your business in much the same way. A textbook example is the FedEx website, where you fill out shipping forms electronically and track packages. How did we ever live without it?

  Perform market research
Your website can be a valuable source of data about your customers. By examining the traffic reports generated from your site, you can find out when they access your site, where they come from and which features they use. You can actively solicit information from visitors by asking them to fill out online surveys. Many visitors are willing to do this, especially if you provide an incentive, such as a small prize. Be aware that people are often reluctant to give out personal information unless they know how it will be used, so by all means, be candid with your customers.

  Reduce your business costs
Saving money can be just as important as making it, right? Your website can do that by streamlining costs for customer service, ordering, printing and postage, among other things. According to Forester Research, online orders are 4% more profitable than orders placed over the phone. If you don't have to send out a brochure or catalogue, how much will that save you?

  Build brand awareness
According to Internet pundits, the World Wide Web is the first medium where you can build a brand and track the results.

  Reach new markets
The Internet spans the globe, allowing your company to offer its products and services internationally, an option once open only to large corporations.

  Create new business partnerships
A website is a wonderful way to create mutually beneficial relationships. For instance, a travel-related site might link to a travel agency and receive a commission when a referral generates new business. Likewise, a travel agency can link to a travel-related site so clients can avail themselves of its expertise. It's a win-win situation for both businesses.

  Beat the competition
It may not be the best reason to build a site, but it's certainly a valid one. Most business compete for customers. Does your competitor have a site? Then you need one too. More than keeping up, it can be the difference between staying in the game or going out-of-business.