You've heard you need a website to maintain a competitive stance in today's business climate. That much is true, but you don't have to spend thousands of dollars to have a Web presence. For most small businesses - especially in Adams County, Pennsylvania - you can have a decent website at a reasonable price.
It is important, however, to learn how to judge ROI. Return On Investment.
If you are advertiser, then you already know how to measure ROI on your current advertising. You run a newspaper ad, then you see what kind of response you get. If you close a sale and your profits exceed your expenses, there's your ROI. Do you measure your ROI the same way for a website?
Yes. Actually, you do. But there is one more detail that factors into ROI. Even for traditional marketing. If you print 1,000 brochures, for instance, at a total cost of $500 (let's use round numbers for the sake of clarity), then after you have distributed those 1,000 brochures you should have realized an ROI of more than $500 in order to have made that investment worth your while. Brochures have a limited distribution.
And there is the heart of the matter. Websites have an unlimited distribution. In other words, once you build your website, it's there for good. Forever. Unless you take it down.
Assuming the same cost factor ($500) on an unlimited distribution run, your online brochure doesn't need to make you $500 within a reasonable time frame in order to be profitable. It needs to earn back that $500 over the course of its lifetime.
I'm not saying a website does, or should, cost you $500. You can get one for less. But if you consider the lifetime ROI for your website design, if it costs you twice that much and you get one or two customers a year, then your website will pay for itself in no time.