We’ve been talking a lot about physical offices but here’s something that many Malaysian businesses still do not consider seriously – a website. There are 100,000 SMEs in Malaysia but only 30% have a corporate website. The situation is so dire that the government launched a GMBO program during Budget 2013, short for “Get Malaysian Business Online”, where it has allocated RM500 million grant to motivate local SMEs to have an online presence. Unfortunately, the take-up rate has been lukewarm at best.
A company website has many advantages – it’s like an office that opens 24 hours a day everyday, it provides potential customers with information about your products and services and let’s customers make an enquiry if they are interested. If you have a shopping cart, it can also allow customers to purchase your products and make online payments via credit cards or brank transfers – automatically generating income for you, even while you sleep.
For most SMEs though, the first step is getting a simple website to begin with. Here’s what you need to get started:
1. Register a domain name with MYNIC, for example yourcompany.com.my. It can be done through any of MYNIC’s appointed resellers, which are usually web hosting providers too, and costs from RM80 a year. Registration is done online – you need to provide your company name and ROB/ROC registration number, as well as, your contact information.
2. You also need to purchase web hosting to host your website – a simple shared hosting plan (costs as low as RM20/mth) will suffice for most SMEs, especially if you intend to have a basic website and emails for 5-10 employees. You can purchase with the hosting provider while registering your domain name. To learn more about the different types of hosting, visit Web Hosting Malaysia.
3. Next, you need to engage a web designer to create your website. This part is tricky because there are hundreds of web designers in Malaysia, from large firms to home-based freelancers, and the price can range from a couple of hundreds to tens of thousands. Most customers we have spoken to also did not have a good experience – complaints ranges from delays to websites that did not meet their expectations. An important thing to note is to ensure that your website has an admin console to let you update the content, otherwise you’ll be forced into paying an annual maintenance plan with your web designer.
If you’re adventurous and willing to learn, you can build your own website by using an open-source CMS like WordPress and then downloading one of the many free/paid WordPress templates you find on the Internet.
4. What good is a website without visitors?! This is when marketing comes in, and when it comes to the Internet, you have a huge variety of options – from email marketing to banner advertising to SEO and a pay-per-click program like Google AdWords. Each online marketing has its own strengths and weaknessness. For example, while email marketing is very cheap, the method is not very ethical (especially if you purchased a list), highly untargeted and therefore, has very low open and conversion rates.
Google AdWords is arguably the most effective method currently because it allows you to target users who are searching for a related product or service, i.e. users who already have an interest in what you’re currently selling.
Hopefully this short guide has been useful to you in helping you get your business online!