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Small Business Website

Small Business Website

Small Business Website

(OP)
My biggest customer just sold his small business to a huge company and my little business might loose out.

I need to start a web site showing potential customers what I do.

Any good sites? What about yahoo for small business?

I don't need anything fancy, maybe just a copy of a PDF brochure I have and some links to youtube videos about my work.

RE: Small Business Website

There are places like Yahoo Biz, GoDaddy, etc. that can lead you into it.  But it isn't really hard to do, once you get the hang of it.

One approach (among many):
1.  Find a decent web hosting company, there are many.  A few dollars a month, email, FTP, all kinds of features.
2.  Secure yourself a domain
3.  Find & purchase a web template and some editing software.  There are a kajillion templates out there.
4.  Build your site documents, upload and away you go.

Keep in mind:  your site will be one of the umpety-bazillion sites out there competing for someone's attention.
 

TygerDawg
Blue Technik LLC
Virtuoso Robotics Engineering
www.bluetechnik.com

RE: Small Business Website

A website is a good idea, but have you thought about grooming business with the large company that bought out the small business?

If they were your largest customer, then could not the new company also be your largest customer?

RE: Small Business Website

(OP)
Yes the bigger company could be a  very good customer ,, but very big companies have more rules about contractors/independant engineers.

Actually my second biggest customer pays me to watch and help the bigger company already. I charge half what they do for a field engineer, I have another 20 years of experience also.
  

RE: Small Business Website

Quote:

I charge half what they do for a field engineer, I have another 20 years of experience also.  

Just rubs me the wrong way...but I don't have time to get on my soapbox.

RE: Small Business Website

(OP)
Yes, I charge half as my and my customer, a utility has me watch over and advise the bigger companies field engineers.
 

I won't be able to push BIG  on one job and then work for them on another.
 

RE: Small Business Website

Isn't it perhaps better to do something different than only a website? A website is nothing very active. I do not know where you are located (big city, small village) and what your field of activity is but is it impossible for you to know on potential customers' doors? Can't you get addresses from somewhere like Chamber of Commerce?

A good friend of mine is self employed as a design engineer (1 man company). He has a website for some years now but he got none of his customers through it. It is just something like a "must have" for him.

RE: Small Business Website

DON'T PAY for editing software.  

Download a free "Content Management System," learn how to use it via the free tutorials available, search for free "templates" until you find one that fits, find their forums, and draw from their expertise when you run into any problems.  

I used Joomla for mine (link in my sig) and have had quite a few complements.  Other modern favorites are "Dot Net Nuke" and  "Wordpress."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_content_management_systems#Others


I'm not a huge Godaddy fan, but I registered my domain through them, got some cheap hosting through them, and once I learned their largely confusing interface they have automated tools to install a CMS on your domain.  Past that, it's just point, click, learn, menu, blah blah until your website looks like you want it.

The biggest thing for DIY rookies is find a template that you like and want to work with.  To see an example, hit my website, then do a google search for "joomla template water drop" and see what the basic template looks like.  I tweaked the template a bit, but that wasn't too hard with help from some friends.
 

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Small Business Website

micalbrch,

True, a small company website is inactive, but lends credibility to your company.
I generate a quarterly update which is e-mailed to genuine potential clients. This e-mail gives a brief overview of my company and any solutions I may offer them as potential clients; they are then gentle re-directed to my website for further details. I have generated a good many leads this way and converted a good many of those leads. Without the website for further clarification the email would be discarded.......
 

RE: Small Business Website

O.k. Good to know that it works for you although it is interesting to read that people reply to mailings. I hate them but I might be the one of a thousand.  

RE: Small Business Website

I've had somewhat different experience.  Over half of my current client list found me through either a web search that found my web page or through the link in my eng-tips.com signature (yeah, I'm pretty active here, it is my only form of advertising).  The other half all use the stuff on my website.  

To me, having the website was key to weathering the 2008 Global Financial Crises and the subsequent crash in Oil & Gas.  The key to it working is CONTENT.  I put stuff on my page (that I willingly give away for free) that shows the (1 man) company's capabilities and I've gotten a bunch of work from people who say "If he's giving this away for FREE, what is available if I pay?".  It sounds corny, but it has worked for me.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering
www.muleshoe-eng.com
Please see FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

"It is always a poor idea to ask your Bridge Club for medical advice or a collection of geek engineers for legal advice"

RE: Small Business Website

I have just checked out your website, David. Congratulations! That is indeed an excellent site. I hereby withdraw my comments about one-man-company-website.  

RE: Small Business Website

Thank you.  I did it all myself (using the free tools from Earthlink).  Some of it was a bit counter intuitive, but the scars only last a little while.

The site statistics are pretty gratifying.  The two best papers (I won't say which ones they are) get downloaded a couple of hundred times a month.  The handouts for my public course are getting a lot of traction too.  No one is reading my lame blog.  Maybe if I wrote more than one entry a year?

David

RE: Small Business Website

There are  ways to go about it.  Hire a professional website creator and revise it once a year or build a website yourself.  If you go to Elance.com, you can have a nice website built for you for as little as $150!  It is not five grand anymore. :) You can decide who your host will be.  Netsol.com is pretty reliable.

I went about diy way 10 years ago and never regretted once.  In the 2008 and 2009 deepcession, we would have not survived without an updated website. We use netsol.com as a host and if you can copy and paste, you can design your own wesbite.   

Your next step is online marketing.  This marketing thing makes your phones ring and proposal requests come through your emailbox.  Good luck.

www.FoundEng.com  
 

RE: Small Business Website

I agree with beej67 about using a content management system.  I personally prefer Joomla as well although I have seemed to hear better things about Drupal.  Never took to it personally.  Although if you just want to create a blog for your business and don't need the extra modules etc. I think Wordpress might be ideal.  It doesn't really matter too much any content management system would make your life much easier when running a website.

Just make sure you have a webhost that supports a CMS.  Stay away from the cheap hosts for many other reasons as well.

Kalen Smith
Engineer-a-Business
http://www.engineer-a-business.com

RE: Small Business Website

I've heard better things about Drupal as well, but those are all from programmer types who don't like some of the things Joomla does behind the scenes that make their job more difficult when tying in things like databases and whatnot for selling products online.  Since I don't do that, Joomla worked fine for me.

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

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