- It’s quick and Easy. Launching a website used to be a long, drawn-out process, but that’s not the case now, after you’ve come up with your idea and picked your domain name (the website address, ie google.co.uk), you can instantly check whether it is available using online tools (like this one), then very quickly register it. For addresses ending in .uk, this process normally takes just a few days. After this, you can employ a web designer – or use a number of free tools available online – to create a site. All in all, a basic five-page website can be registered, built and online within a month.
It’s cheap. Domain names do not cost a lot to register. A .co.uk address, for example, will set you back around £3.50 a year. Basic hosting services for small websites are regularly offered at less than £10 per month. If you plan to launch an e-commerce website, shopping cart software with a lifetime licence is now available for just a few hundred pounds, or you could use a commission-based payment provider such as PayPal, which is simple to add onto an existing website. Your most substantial expense is likely to be web design, but even these costs have significantly reduced over the years – and free do-it-yourself alternatives have become increasingly credible, with many businesses now using tools such as WordPress to build a site themselves. All in all, you could spend less than £1,000 to launch a credible, well designed website – a very reasonable expense in light of the potential benefits.
- It’s always open. With a website you can literally make sales and generate new business in your sleep, dealing with the logistics in the morning.
- It’s easy to test. You can measure virtually anything about your website. Traffic, ad clicks and where site visitors came from can all be easily monitored using free tools such as Google Analytics, so you can easily see what elements of your site are working and which aren’t. You can then instantly measure the impact of changes to imagery, messages, and promotions, which could help you to quickly develop a smart sales strategy as the site evolves.
- It’s global. Unlike a bricks-and-mortar store, setting up a website means you have instant global reach, giving you access to an untold wealth of consumers. No longer being bound by location means you can sell to consumers across the world instantly, as the considerable barriers to launching physically in other countries no longer apply. Smart search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies will see your page achieve greater prominence in search listings – if you are an e-commerce business, this is particularly valuable, although national reach is very important for the vast majority of small businesses.