Let's face it, every business needs a website (and we'll explain why very soon). But not just any website; it must be an easy-to-navigate, well-designed, and easy-to-find website.

It's not uncommon for a business owner to believe that it just isn't practical to spend the time, effort, and funds necessary to create and launch a website, because their business is small and selling their products and services online–even if they wanted to–just wouldn't be feasible. However, the power of a company website should not be underestimated. After all it is 2013, and the Internet is the place to find anything and everything one's looking for. When was the last time you picked up a phone book to find a local business or the newspaper for what to do this weekend? It's just too convenient to search online or use an app.

A website is not all about making a direct sale online. Think of it as the yellow pages: your website can be meant for advertising your brand and giving potential clients and customers a good first impression, just as much as or even more so than using it for explicitly selling.

In any case, a business should without a doubt strive to achieve a functional website that informs potential and existing customers, job seekers, and anyone else about your business and the products or services you offer. There is no shame in having–at the very least–a simple website that does nothing but establish an advantageous web presence. Many customers are researching products and services online long before they purchase, so let your efforts lead to offline transactions. Be an information resource and earn trust before they decide who to buy from–that's called a foot in the door, my friend.

And a well-designed website will do just that: entice purchases as a result of your online marketing efforts. Moreover, just because you think you can't sell your unique products and/or services online, doesn't mean that you can't. Practically anything you can name is sold online–and if it's not, it is at least advertised online.

Now, the way the website looks and feels is just as important as what's on it. Your company wants to be taken seriously, of course, so your website must come across as professional–and nothing less. Think logos, color schemes, and layout design, in addition to web copy expressing your mission, purpose, and contact information. In other words, make sure your website accurately represents your brand and company culture. And no matter the intent of your company website, the value of it lies in its ability to show up in search results.

Moreover, it's not about the size of your operation or the number of years you've been in business; it's about not losing business to other companies who do have a web presence and are thus, through the Internet, able to make their existence known to potential customers and clients intending to make offline (or even online) purchases.

One final note: it is, in fact, better to have no website at all rather than a poorly designed, hard-to-navigate mess of a website. If your website looks unprofessional, the folks who visit it will assume the rest of your operation is also unprofessional, leading them into the arms of the competition. But really, with all the economical template options out there allowing for fully customizable designs, there's no excuse for not having a web presence of some kind.

A good first impression is important, whether you intend to sell online or simply want to drive traffic into your brick-and-mortar location(s), so it's best to hire a professional either to build a custom site or to help apply your branding to a nice template. He/she can help you choose the right options for your needs and budget.

Have a Pawsitively Tail Waggin' Good Day!

P.S. This information was provided by Ruff Haus Design - Your Loyal Marketing Companion. Established in 1997, we are a special breed of full service graphic design company that works with a premier pack of clients. We bring a fresh outlook and tail-wagging enthusiasm to your marketing program. Learn more about how we can help improve your brand management and support your marketing needs at www.ruffhaus.com