It can't hurt..
do you think a company website is worth while for a small shop?
yes! absolutely! if budget is an issue, go with a feebie service through google...
What do you guys think should be included on a website designed for a small shop?
Will this be for a business or personal?
As LouF said "it can't hurt" which is true as long as you have the right info on your website. A website does not mean that people will magically appear at your front door, it mostly offers a prospective customer (someone that you've contacted in the normal marketing sense) some insight into the services and type of work you perform.
So, show what you do, have some customer recommendations available for viewing, have a means for having the "potential customer" contact you with questions or for submitting a Request for Quotation.
Provide a means for the "potential customer" to take advantage of any response to the RFQ's that you provide.
The thing is, many people don't look in the phone book anymore. If it isn't on-line at least to some level, it doesn't exist, at least in their minds.
In addition, machining for many people is a visual thing. Post pictures of examples of your work, from small to large, simple to complicated. Surprisingly, even consider posting pictures of things being drilled, milled, etc. Stills pics are fine for most things. Don't get carried away worrying about perfection, just get some pics up.
At some point, add a simple explanation of how you did the work and what machines you did it on - not every detail, but enough that a customer can follow along and see what is possible.
Fewer and fewer people understand how to have a part made, and they really are attracted by the artistic nature of machined parts, tools, drill bits, etc.
I tend to put too many words on my web site, so if you can avoid that, it is best.
For many years I used fatcow as my host for email and web site, but I outgrew their email system. (I tend to send large attachments)
That all being said, be careful not to get too exotic, especially at first. Making a web page from scratch can take a long time, so if you can use an existing template to try things out it is a benefit.
Here is a free webhost I use http://www.000webhost.com/ to host our families business website. Be very careful with sites like GoDaddy, if you do not have your own site builder you can buy packages that offer them from GoDaddy but if you buy a normal site builder then you arent able to sell items and the site builder with a product page is like 3x more. Also, with a "Product Site" you are only able to build like 2 non-product pages and you are limited to the number of products per page(I think it was 20 products total for $10 a month and that only allows 1 picture per item). I find for my use the free hosting from 000webhost is more than adequate.
Here is my website, I havent done much work to it but you can at least see how it works http://www.bennett-built.com I built that website with RapidWeaver and the product page uses the RapidCart plugin. Mac OS X only software.
I've finally got a website going . It's still in the begining stages but please check it out and let me know what you think.Thanks
I think websites are very valuable. Manufacturing or elsewhere, I typically buy first with a company visible online than one that is not.
Dolphin CAD/CAM Support
I'm actually just starting up, and bought a domain name, but have yet to make a website. I'll be following this thread for wisdom.