When weighing the decision on whether or not to get a website, similar to other decisions, begin with a clear understanding of your objectives. Why this, why now and what will it achieve? You should also evaluate the potential benefits against the potential costs. Below is a quick look at some possible benefits.
Raise visibility - When we first designed our business website one of our objectives was to use it to raise the company’s visibility beyond Kampala. I can claim that we have successfully met this objective because indeed, we receive several e-mails a week from all over the world, sent by people who are interested in learning more about our work, inviting us to partner with them or simply looking for information on Uganda. A website as well as other social media tools, allow your business to affordably gain a level of visibility that reaches well beyond geographic boundaries.
Provide information – Websites provide an affordable way for you to publish whatever information you believe your target audience would like to know about you or the company.
Your company philosophy, your location and contact details, the goods or services that you offer, online catalogs, the volunteer projects your company is involved in and more – it is entirely up to you to decide.
Select the kind of information to be posted, in line with the website objectives you defined earlier.
Build credibility - Whenever I meet a new potential business lead, one of the first things I do is “google” them, just to find out if the things they mentioned in our conversation are true, or at least mentioned in some place of public record.
Granted it would be difficult to confirm that the information posted on a website is true. Nevertheless, finding that a potential lead has a website that backs up some of the information they shared, gives me some degree of assurance that I am dealing with a stable entity.
Business associates and potential partners will conduct online searches on your business. By having a website, get to both determine what they will read about you and to communicate a level of seriousness and commitment.
Promote your expertise - Websites provide an affordable way for you to publish the books or articles you have written online. Consultants, academicians and other subject matter experts who regularly publish researched documents or opinions will find themselves well served by simply posting the publications that they have rights over on their websites.
You will come to be viewed as an expert if your name and/or the sound articles you have written come up whenever an online search is conducted on your field.
Space does not permit the publication of an exhaustive list of benefits. Suffice it to say however that there are tremendous gains to be enjoyed.
When designing your website therefore, be sure to speak to your designer about the available website performance evaluation tools. You must be able to track the return on your website investment.
Next week: What is the EAC Common Market Protocol?