I am contemplating setting up a website for my small custom shop. I have an idea that there would be a lot of tire kickers out there wasting time on the phone – and that’s what I want to avoid. What has been everyone’s experience with setting up a site? Any suggestions or starting points would be great.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor D:
Websites are a very economical way to present a business. They are easy to set up, very inexpensive to host, and can easily be changed as circumstances require.
In short, a website is probably the least expensive way to expose any business to the greatest number of potential new customers. The downside is that people can waste your time at any time and from any place in the world. Oddly enough your tire-kickers may actually increase (initially anyway) and you will now sort through emails instead of phone messages. You will then most likely have to call these people anyway to confirm all the information contained in your emails.
Overall there is no reason not to have a website, and there are a great number of reasons to have one.
I think you will eliminate a lot of tire kickers if you do list prices with the pictures. I normally do not post photos and prices of commissions because I feel that the people who have commissioned the piece may not appreciate it. However, I would do it if they requested.
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We deal almost entirely with high end work and we've found that our clients like being able to see what we do in the freedom of their own home. To date, we've yet to find a client who did not want their work to appear on our site. In fact, many like the idea and they email friends to see it. Now that is a great referral tool.
Someone said being in search engines is not important if you are not national. I'm not sure that I agree with that. Over the past two years we've had lots of clients that found us via a search engine such as Google.
As to the tire-kickers - perhaps it’s because I was initially in marketing that I do everything I can to encourage tire-kicking. While we might not fit for what one person wants, the fact that they did speak with us means that they might remember us when a friend wants something that fits what we do.