Get a Website!, Register Your Domain!: To Website or Not to Website?

If you're fairly new to the Internet scene, you may just be a bit overhelmed with family members, friends, collegues, and advertisements urging you to get your own website for your business. Typically, this is good advice for businesses. However, for most small local businesses, running your own website may not be the best idea. Here's why:

Websites Take Time to Build. Whether you're buying your own WYSIWYG software to design the site yourself or you're hiring a skilled web designer, it will take time to decide on a good domain name, plan the site, create it, and then get it running online.

Websites Cost Money. There are a few basic costs:

- Domain name registration fee
- Web design fee
- Monthly web hosting fee
- Applicable setup fees

Plus, because a website needs to be "findable" in order to be beneficial for your business, you will have to, at minimum, invest in additional services such as:

- Search engine optimization fee
- Web maintenance fees
- Online and offline advertising for your website

Websites Take Time to Maintain and Alter. Your website will need at least some occasional modifications to keep it current. Most busy business owners simply don't have this kind of time.

Your Business is Local. Unless you are planning to actually sell and ship products worldwide via your website, you probably don't need to have your own website for your local business. Most local businesses simply need local exposure and an online presence.

The Bottom Line

If you already have an existing website, we sincerely hope you will have great success with it. However, if you have a local business, and you are looking for a way to build local exposure and have your business's details easily found online by your target customers in your area, local online directories that focus on retail shops, restaurants, and services may be the key.

The author is one of the original co-founders of The Socal411 Directory website, the popular lifestyle directory in Southern California. He is a promoter of small business in the Los Angeles and Orange County area, and often speaks on topics such as the importance of advertising locally on the Internet to get ahead of your local competition. For more information see, How to Promote Your Southern California Business Using the Internet.

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