Over the past few years, it has become increasingly important for businesses of all sizes - from one-man start-ups, to large organisations - to have a presence on the internet. The online economy is now worth billions every year, as consumers discover new companies and buy products and services via the web. By failing to have their own website, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are missing out on the opportunity to claim a share of this market.
Yet many SMBs remain entirely offline - they have no website for consumers to visit, either to find out about what is on offer, or to make direct purchases. Often this is due to a fear of the unknown - SMB leaders do not have advanced IT skills, or anyone else in-house with advanced knowledge in this area, so they simply steer clear. But establishing an online presence for your company is simpler than ever.
In 2013, virtually anyone can set up and maintain a website, with practically no expertise required and only a small time commitment needed. Using the Office 365 productivity suite, SMBs can establish a web presence in just a few minutes, giving them the opportunity to extend their brand into the online sphere. This gives you the opportunity to reach out to potential customers all around the world - which can make a significant difference to revenues and overall productivity.
How to create a website with Office 365
SMBs can construct business websites using easy-to-use online tools within the Office 365 productivity suite. Having logged in with your Microsoft username and password, you then have access to a range of website construction tools which allow you to create a customised home page.
Small firms can edit the layout of their website, and easily insert text, photos and videos as required to add variety and spice, and ultimately create a professional image for the company. There is no need to understand HTML coding - you can simply type as you would in Word or PowerPoint. Then, using the 'Preview' option, you can see how the web page will look to online viewers, and providing you are happy with it, you can publish in seconds.
Each website has its own unique domain name, but there are no website hosting fees to worry about - the costs are included as part of your Office 365 subscription. And with this in mind, all SMBs using the productivity suite can establish a web presence without any further outlay.
This gives the company the opportunity to connect with customers, affiliates, and partners wherever they are, and ensure other people can find out about the business online. It also means there is somewhere to link to in blogs and social media messages, should your company look to take advantage of other online marketing opportunities.
Some SMBs choose to invest heavily in professional web designers, or bring in their own specialists to manage their website - but you need a greater budget in order to go down this route. For many firms, there is simply not the funding available - and in this instance, setting up a website through Office 365 may be the ideal solution.
To find out more about Microsoft Office 365, click here.
Posted by Alex Boardman