Thinking of going online? The time is now!

Thinking of going online? The time is now!

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last 12 months, you would have noticed the massive explosion of internet services and mobile handsets in India. At 462 million, India is the ranked second in the world in terms of internet usage, but with only 35% penetration rate as of now, internet penetration and usage has only just begun in India. The slow advent of big players like Google into public WiFi systems in India, the proliferation of 4G mobile data, and the Government’s impetus for a Digital India, the exponential growth is all but certain.

What opportunities does this present to a small business owner, and how can one go about capitalizing on this growing trend? The answer is simple – go online right away. There has never been a better time for business owners to gain web presence, and the good thing is that everyone realises this across the board. However, in my extensive interactions with owners of startups and small businesses, I still see a lot of apprehension about the viability and benefits of having a web presence. In the next few minutes, I will be trying to answer some of the fundamental questions that I have addressed over the last couple of years.

Why should I go online?

The short answer is – “That’s where your customers are; that’s where your future customers will be”.

The long answer considers your current use case. You could be a small business trying to find its feet or you could be a listed company; you could be an e-commerce company or you could have a small restaurant; you could be the marketing manager of an event or you just like to write and would like to have a wider audience. No matter your business model, your customers are going to want to know more about you, and the first thing they’ll do is to look you up on the internet. You might end up losing a large chunk of your customer base if you don’t have an online presence; or worse yet, if someone has given you negative reviews on a neutral portal and you don’t have an online presence. Your website is your professional business card in today’s hyperconnected world, and it’s out for everyone to see.

But I am mainly a physical store, and I don’t sell anything online. Why should I be interested?

Research has shown that, depending on the country one is in, between 80 to 95% of users look for local businesses online. With the more and more people gaining access to the internet, and the growing trend of online purchases, it doesn’t need research to tell you how often products and services are looked up online. Let’s take a small example. Imagine you own a electronics repair shop. You have absolutely no sales to be made online, but you still went ahead and made a website anyway. You realised the kind of demand your potential customers had and engaged in some basic SEO to make your website appear at the top of search results. Because you are the only electronics service provider in the area with a website, everyone who looks up “electronics repair near me” sees your website at the top of their search results. They enter the website, impressed with the professional webpage, and look up your phone number and you get immediate business. Your competitor, who relies only on word-of-mouth marketing, loses out on a large potential customer base. Need any further reason?

Actually, I am not even a business. I simply want to hold an event and run a few offline and email marketing campaigns. I don’t think I need a website.

Again, an online presence boosts not only your credibility, but also the reach and SEO rankings of your event. Be it a trade show, a one time CSR function or even a wedding, you will only stand to gain by having your own website and customized website. Any online marketing or email marketing you do, can redirect traffic to this website. You can now choose to display as much or as little information as you deem fit. Another advantage of having your own domain is to have your email domain. The benefits of sending an email from [email protected] and not from [email protected] will be immediately seen in the leads you generate. Event or not, online is the way to go.

Won’t I get the same benefits from creating a Facebook page for my company or event?

It is exceedingly easy to create a Facebook page, not to mention it’s free. A lot of businesses have adopted this route where they have not only used their Facebook pages for updates and communication, but also as the primary go-to site for all business related information. There are two major problems with this approach:

  • Everyone is doing it, and because of Facebook’s limited scope for customizations, your page would look exactly the same as everyone else’s. There is far less room for differentiation as compared to owning your own website
  • You lose out on significant benefits of SEO, and credibility associate with domains and emails

It absolutely essential to have social media presence by having a Facebook page, but it is equally important, if not more, to have a website you can call your own.

I am not entirely sure that I would have the time to manage something so complicated. I don’t even know how to code. How can I create a website?

Not knowing to code is not a problem at all. It has never been easier to own a domain and to create a website. Enter CMS (Content Management Systems). WordPress and Drupal area few examples of the popular CMS’s. You can easily create a website and customise it according to your requirements by using state-of-the-art and intuitive dashboards. Add and edit photos, content and entire layouts, all through a few clicks on your computer. What’s more with every passing day, hosting providers like ourselves are dropping operational costs and finding newer and newer ways to make your life simpler and your expenses cheaper.

I am convinced. Didn’t have enough reasons to go online before this. How does BigRock help out with this entire process?

We are industry leaders in web hosting. Thousands of customers around the world rely on and swear by the services we provide them. We cover all your concerns and strive to provide you a world-class hassle-free experience. If you’re just beginning and wish to host a basic website, we recommend our Shared Hosting Product. We provide:

  • 1-click installs of hundreds of applications
  • Complete security coverage
  • 24X7 server maintenance
  • 24X7 Support through chats, calls and emails
  • And many more

What’s more, we give you your money back within 30 days if you’re dissatisfied with our performance

I would like to conclude with what I had begun, there has never been a better time or greater importance to set up your own website. What are you waiting for?