If you're like me, most of your clients are referrals. Nothing spells success like "satisfied customer." You can't buy that kind of promotion. Still, occasionally, folks ask me if I have a Web site, and they seem surprised when I say no. The truth is, I haven't needed one. I have a Web presence without one — just Google my name. You might be surprised to learn that my passive presence doesn't generate a lot of new business.
A small IT consultancy just doesn't seem to lend itself well to the Internet. Spreading IT brilliance via a Web site seems difficult, but not impossible. Maintaining a Web presence is finally affordable, but is it profitable?
Earth to Susan: "Before you start drawing your new logo, just what do you hope to get out of a Web site?"
A simple contact site that allows me to share my mission statement and contact information with potential clients would take only a little time and almost no money. On the other hand, a fully automated site that integrates the entire sales process would be so cool; however, that takes talent and a lot more money. Can such a site truly return my investment? For better or worse, I've watched many colleagues put their hearts and souls, not to mention their bank accounts, into sites that failed to generate new business.
Nevertheless, the Web bug is biting again. But first, I have to determine just what I hope to share via a Web site and what I need to gain by the effort to make it a worthwhile investment.
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Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.