Why bother with a web site?
To justify spending money on the development of a web site, it must be able to have either a direct effect (e.g. more sales, less costs) or an indirect effect (e.g. better customer service, new markets, etc.)
Any organisation that provides their customers or potential customers with a lot of free information (sales brochures, information leaflets, technical notes etc) will almost certainly be able to make cost savings by providing that information via the web.
Here are some other advantages of a well designed and implemented web site -
Provide better customer service
Making business information available is one of the most important ways to serve your customers. Any information you give to customers via telephone, fax or mail can probably be delivered more cost effectively on the web. Basic business information such as opening hours, what you do, locations, main staff contacts, payments methods, terms and conditions, credit application forms etc can all be displayed easily.
24 hours, seven days a week service
Web pages serve the client, customer and partners 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without the need for overtime.
Open international markets
The web is truly international. Someone on the west coast of USA can just as easily find your web pages as someone in Australia. If your products/services could be exported then your web page becomes an international ambassador.
Changing information is easily updated
Sometimes, date or price sensitive information changes very soon after a brochure or catalogue has been printed, leaving you with wasted printed material. Printing smaller quantities to help solve this problem simply increases printing costs because you now have no economy of size. Providing the information on the web allows you to update it as often as necessary - You can even draw the web page information from your company database to provide totally up-to-date information with no wastage.
Get feedback from your customers
Your site can easily include facilities to get feedback from your customers, either filling in required forms, applications etc or just to provide suggestions.
Frequently asked questions
If much of your staff's time is spent answering the same questions over and over again, these questions and answers can be put on your web site - available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Provide virtually unrestricted information
The cost of putting information on the web is not really related to how much information you put on your web site. Unlike a printed catalogue where doubling the number of printed pages nearly doubles the price, once you have the web site structure adding new documents can be done for practically just the cost of the typing.