In the previous post – V – Value Proposition – is this Product Worth Developing? – I discussed how changing circumstances might change your view regarding proceeding forward with your invention.

Let’s look at a different topic: is a website essential for an inventor?

The simple answer is “yes” in most circumstances you need to have a website for your product. There is one circumstance, however, in which it makes little sense to have a website: when you have licensed your product to a manufacturer. Your licensee is going to manufacture, package, distribute and sell your product through their marketing channels. Why would you want to do anything that might, in any way, dilute or detract from that effort? Buying from both you and them could confuse buyers.

Now, let’s assume that you are choosing to build a business around your product, to manufacture, package, distribute and market the product yourself. Then a website is an important selling medium for you.

The most important thing for you to consider is: what, specifically, do you want your website to provide:

1) A sales channel for your product – sales while you sleep
2) An educational tool for your buyers
3) A site to direct customers to other resources: books, blogs, consulting etc.

1 is typical where you are perhaps selling in your own store, through catalogs and other distribution channels and you want to increase sales by having a website for purchases as well. Often a website is a lower cost sales channel than other options.

2 – You may wish to educate your buyers into other means or uses for your product or how to get the most value from it. Providing further resources in this form gives you credibility in the eyes of your buyers and may mean they or their friends buy more of the product.

3 – If you intend to branch out into writing a book or providing consulting services or information via a blog, you can design a website to link these various efforts and grow your presence on the Internet.

We are going to skip “X” in this blog series, so the next post is Y – You Really want to be an Inventor?