Most businesses these days have a website, and websites can often be bought off-the-shelf and customised quickly so that at least they give a few basic details about your business. If you are setting up a new business, it can be a good idea just to have a simple website with an address which you can add to your business stationery and advertising material. You can always upgrade the website later.
We will point out that setting up the website is only half the job. The other half of the job is promoting your website so that it can be found in search engines such as Google. You should at least include your website in some of the online directories to be found on our links page. Beyond that, there is a big industry engaged in search engine optimisation which you may consider. As an example, if you are based in Carlisle and you make and sell something, you will want a Google search for “something carlisle” to put you on page 1, and preferably in top spot. It can take many months and considerable effort to get there!
Try searching for yourself in Google Images as well as Google Web, and consider placing an advertisement on your website which appears in Images and gives contact details and a reason to come to you. Consider non-Internet methods of advertising your website address as well. A basic advert in a trade directory or Yellow Pages is something to look at. We have www.dpquote.co.uk as an auxiliary website address which tells its own story.
If you leave an e-mail address, you will get a lot of “spam” e-mail, including quite a few fake invoices. E-mail management software can usually be set to put obvious spam into a separate folder to be reviewed later, just in case a genuine message gets treated as spam. This is how we work. The many circulars we get are all marked as spam so they are shunted into the spam bin. Genuine e-mails are dealt with as they are received. We look at the spam bin after that to see if there is anything else of interest. We avoid opening fake invoice e-mails just in case the very act of opening them lets a virus slip in.
One alternative to e-mail is to have a contact form which the user fills in with a few details and a message. There are automated form-filling systems which enable these to be spammed as well, but the problem should not be as bad.
David Porthouse & Co is a firm of accountants based in Carlisle in North West England. We have a keen interest in new technology with the aim of speeding up accounts production and making accountancy more affordable for our clients. We are pioneers in the introduction of automated processing and optical character recognition.