A business web site might be doing e-commerce functions, in other words products are placed on the site, a shopper can select one or more, put the item(s) into a shopping cart, provide their credit card number, and make a purchase. Ka-ching, it offers the best of both worlds for both customer and business. The customer doesn't have to leave the comfort of their home, and the business doesn't have the overhead of a storefront and employees. The ability to have business web sites that function as storefronts has enabled tens of thousands of people to compete with huge corporations.
Another way a business web site can be set up is to serve a marketing function. The company may not actually sell on the site, but they can provide information which entices customers to visit a company store, or to request information that will be provided by a sales person. This can take many forms. For example, an automobile company can provide an on-line catalog with pretty pictures of the current models, options, specifications, and urge a customer to visit a local showroom. A computer manufacturer can list all their current models, and list upgrade options. A sports team can provide fans with vital facts about the team members, list upcoming schedules, and provide a telephone number to purchase tickets. The ways business web sites can improve the income of a business are endless.
Another use of business web sites are to provide sales catalogs, as simple as a local (or national) pizza shop's menu, to as complex as a large brochure with searchable index. As a personal example, when I get hungry for a pizza, I often log onto the web sites of Pizza Hut, Domino's, and Papa John's, all of which are within a minute of me, and download a coupon or check out the current promotions and my menu choices. It sure beats making a quick decision when standing in line waiting. I can get the local phone number, call ahead, and have my choice waiting for me when I drive up, or I can have it delivered to my door.
A business web site doesn't have to be fancy. I've seen businesses simply scan in a picture of their building, and list their phone number and email address. That may not be as powerful as a multi-page site with a catalog and/or shopping cart, but at least it gives the company a presence on the Internet. A business web site also gives a business a domain name, which means their email address is much more attractive. What's more impressive, an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org, or the alternative of email@example.com? You decide.
Being able to place a web site address on a business card, in addition to a telephone number, fax number, and address, establishes extra credibility. All this for a few dollars a month. And of course, the business can do so much more than just scan in a picture, and most do. If you're in business, having a business web site will improve your income, there is no one that can tell me any differently.
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