Having an online presence is becoming an important part of building and maintaining a professional reputation. For your customers, clients or patients, visiting your website is one of the most important ways they use to 'screen' you to decide if they want your professional services. Constructing a website can be intimidating, but even if you are not experienced with computers, you can tackle it in a few manageable steps.
1. Decide why you want a website. Determine whether the priority of your website is to attract customers to your offline business or whether you want a website for the purpose of interacting with your patients.
A simple informational website may have plenty of material, articles, links and pictures without interactive features beyond a simple email/contact feature for your web visitors to ask you questions. An interactive website allows visitors to create their own profiles or to order items. If you want an interactive website, the process of building the website is much more involved than if you want a website that provides information.
2. Search for a web host. A web host is a service that is already designed to help you build and publish your website. A web host is to a website as PowerPoint or Prezi or keynote is to a presentation. Popular and easy to use web hosts include weebly.com, wix.com, wordpress.com, go daddy.com, bluehost.com, and squarespace.com among others.
All of these web hosts have easy to understand tutorials for do-it-yourself web builders. The web hosts typically offer a free web building package as well as additional add-ons that you can pay for, such as a domain name or a dedicated email. As you navigate the do-it-yourself instructions, you will get an idea of which web host is more in line with your goals for your website and whether you want to move forward with building your website yourself of hiring someone to do it for you.
3. Decide if you are going to move forward by building and managing your own website or by hiring someone to do it for you. There are an abundance of web designers who you can hire. You might choose someone who is local, or you might even find a web designer by searching online. Often, your web host can provide this service for you at a cost determined by how complex and interactive you want your website to be.
4. If you are going to proceed with the do-it-yourself path of building and managing your website, you need to choose a web host. Typically you can 'buy' different packages from the web host, and most web hosts have a free basic package that includes easy to follow instructions. You can usually upgrade if you want additional features at a future time.
11. When it comes to earning income from your website, good content is the key. This means that if your site is not useful, or if you have a title that promises more than it delivers, visitors will only stay on your site for seconds and will not return or recommend it to others. So of you want to earn revenue from your website, the number one method of doing that is by having good content that is relevant for your readers.
By Dave Denniston, CFA
Have you ever wondered… is my business a hobby?
You may have heard that having a small business is one of the best tax deductions out there.
But… when is a business a business and when is my ‘business’ a hobby?
Question# 2: Do you depend on income from the activity?
Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.
One physician I work with is an expert witness. He does this ‘on the side’. He makes substantial income- 100k+ a year from this activity in addition to his work at an academic hospital.
He depends on this activity to help save for retirement, pay off his mortgage, etc. So, in this case, he is dependent on the income.
He could take a year off and only make $10k from this business and still do some write-offs.
Definitely a business and not a hobby. There’s a history of profits here.
Question# 3: If there are losses, are they due to circumstances beyond your control or did they occur in the start-up phase of the business?
This gives you some grace in a really bad year or if you are just getting started.
There is NOTHING wrong with taking a write-off when you are launching a business. You may not yet have revenues or they may be very meager.
There is also NOTHING wrong with having a bad year and taking a fat write-off in the process.
The problem is when you never ever, never ever make a profit and it doesn’t appear to be anywhere on the horizon after 2 years.
You can always launch and try a new business after those 2 years and take another write-off.
Although, after a while… you might wonder if your money was better invested elsewhere.