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dot point Should I have a website?
If you would like to market your product or service to a broader market, you may want a website.

The benefit of a website is to enable you to reach a larger market. It affords you the opportunity to literally market your work throughout the western hemisphere and possibly worldwide, depending on what your goal is.

A website gives you the opportunity to be seen by a larger audience. Websites make it extremely easy and comfortable for the viewer. They can take their time to look at what you have to offer at their convenience. The website is a wonderful marketing tool, but shouldn’t be your only tool. Your site should be used to enhance your overall marketing plan not consume it.

dot point  What type of Website should I consider?
There are several types of websites you can utilize. It depends on your needs, budget and marketing venue. Here are some of the site choices and benefits.

A. Individual website: It’s like purchasing & driving your own car. You choose what you want and how much you will spend. Cost on this is determined by many factors and should be discussed with your potential web designer. It is important that you feel comfortable working with the person creating your site. They should be able to work with you to create what you envision not what they think you should have. Ultimately, the benefit is that it promotes you and should reflect your business endeavor. You are in control and you own the bill.
B. Small Group website: Several people pool their resources to create a small grouped site and keep the individual costs to a minimum, yet enjoy all the benefits of an individual site. This does involve working together as a team and having common goals. Costs on this type of site vary depending on the number of people involved and the complexity of the site.
C. Directory or Large Grouped Site: The costs drop down again or can even be free on this type of a site, but so do it’s use and benefits. Usually these sites provide the bare minimum, are referred to as Directory Sites, and you are divided into ‘stables’ according to your product, service or venue. A good inexpensive way to get your name out there, but you should look carefully at the benefits. The packages services vary.
D. Free or Almost Free Websites: These sites offer you limited designs and there may or may not be charges involved to put your site online. This may be all you need but look it over carefully to make sure it will give you the presentation that you want. There is that old saying. “nothing is free” or  “you get what you pay for”... Keep that in mind when you are considering this type of website. Ask yourself...What will it do for me? How long will it take you to set this up? How reliable is the provider and their service? If I have a question, how easy is it to contact their customer service? If they have a tutorial service or a downloadable how-to instructions - is the wording easy to understand?

There are other types of sites as well...for instance...a blog may be in tune with what you are doing. Whichever type of website service you choose, do your own homework and talk with people who have experience with their own website. A little preparation in the beginning will go a long way towards making this an easier venture.

dot point  What can a website do for you?
A website is a marketing tool. It should work with your overall plan to sell and promote you and your endeavor. It should also answer the most basic questions to the viewer... Who are you? What is the site about? Why should someone look at your site? Then, make sure that the navigation makes sense. Your site should be easy to understand and move through.  All this and much more should be a part of your site. With this in mind realize that a website can promote you to the market you want on a much larger scale. It also gives your buying audience the opportunity to look, buy and browse at their convenience, as well as making it convenient for you too. Remember that a site is only a marketing tool. It should be promoted and updated regularly.

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