The most important aspect of having a website for a business in the service industry is validity. You don't need to have a site for just customers that you already have, but you can't expect people to find you on the web for service related businesses.
Too many business owners think that getting a website will provide new business leads right away, and this is the wrong approach. To achieve this goal you would have to have a huge advertising budget, that is the only thing that will get the site to the top of search engines immediatly.
I have one site that I never submitted to a search engine (based on customers request) and that site has been up for over three years. The site ranks higher than those that have been submitted.
Unless you have goods to sell on the page and ship out the same day or the next day, then your site should not be listed as a revenue stream in your business plan...it just isn't practicle. Additionally, if you put a focus on this aspect of your business then you will be taking valuable time away from your other revenue streams, which will hurt your bottom line.
I respect the fact that other people, including web designers, have differing opinions of this, however when I state my point to service providers, then there is only an upside that will occur and that is leads from the site. If the designer gives the point that it can generate leads, if it doesn't you then have a credibility problem.
We all know that the best form (and cheapest) is word of mouth, but this goes a long way to achieving the close on word of mouth references, as well as other advertising campaigns.
Just remember....it can be done, you can generate leads from your website, but you must be willing to pay the price financially and time wise.
Last edited by 1MajorTom; 05-12-2003 at 05:55 PM.