It’s a common enough question, especially for businesses that don’t get involved much in technology or customers might not be online. The Internet is for those geeks, right, and not the common blue-collar worker or anybody else outside of the tech industry, right? If you think that way in 2015, you might want to rethink things. The Internet is much easier to use than the Yellow Pages, not only because it is faster, but also because it is in your pocket. Consumers are much more likely to search the web for a business to suit their needs rather than to pick up the phone book. Beyond that, here are 6 reasons to consider why you need a website for your business:
1) Your website helps you gain credibility
Have you ever heard the question “Do you have a website from a customer?” People feel comfortable getting all the information they need from your site without having to be “sold.” It is your information base and also your sales tool. If your website is designed properly with great content, you can generate all the leads you need and legitimize your biz. Before the Internet came along, people would flip through the Yellow Pages to find a plumber, pet groomer, auto mechanic, or any other type of business for their service or product needs. If you didn’t have a listing in the Yellow Pages, you were considered flighty. These days, in most if not all cases, you need a Web page to prove that you’re a credible business, because your Web page is like your Yellow Pages listing. Your site can also contain reviews, testimonials, and elaborate on your services or products in much more detail. Most importantly, it can remove your business from Obscurity.
2) A website complements word-of-mouth
We all know how important word of mouth is, but what do you think most potential clients do when a friend suggests Business A to them? You got it! They look them up on the Web. Whether that referral is coming from word-of-mouth, a friend, Google, AdWords, or Yelp among other sources, one of the first things that a potential client is going to do is look for your website. If you don’t have one, guess what? You’re hitting the problem with item #1 – you lose credibility.
3) Websites generate leads and feedback
The goal of any marketing or advertising campaign is to generate leads that will eventually convert into customers, and your Website can do that much more effectively than anything else. Email campaigns aren’t nearly as effective, because people tend to delete emails they don’t recognize. But your website? They came to your site for a reason, and if they’re interested in what you have to offer, they’ll give you their email address and boom! You’ve got a lead that just needs some neutering to turn into a sale. Here is a great example of a website that is optimized for conversions:
- Their are two strong call to actions with an offering
- Value in the form of bullet points
- Simple, easy to read, and understand
- A title that brings you in and is very targeted
WordPress allows you to create great pages or landing pages like this to increase leads and sales with ease (see #6 below for more info).
4) Your website can give customers what they need
My motto “if you help other people become successful, then you will become successful” goes into full swing here. Your website lets potential customers know that you have what they’re looking for without having to speak with anyone. In fact, you can do this using multiple forms of content such as web pages, product pages, blog posts, ebooks, webinars, podcasts, and infographics just to name a few. If you provide your visitors with high quality information, a service, and or a product that can solve their problem, your visitors and google will reward you. It’s that simple!
Time is of the essence and is more important then ever today. If you’re a retailer, listing what brands you carry will help generate business because people will often search the Internet for local stores that carry those brands. Getting yourself into the search results for those brands gives you a leg up on your competition, potentially…especially if your competitor doesn’t even have a Web page or the proper information!
5) Your website is not an advertising scheme
One of the most common excuses I hear for businesses not having a Website is that their advertising budget is already maxed out. There’s a huge difference, though, between what a website does and what advertising does. Advertising is good for a specific amount of time or offer, while a Web page is a marketing and communication tool that sticks around long after that 30-second radio spot is done and over with. In 99 percent of businesses your website is the front and face of the business. Think of your website as a portion of your marketing budget, and allocate appropriately to it. You know that you need business cards to do business, and a Web page is a business card on the Internet that can also drive you tons of business.
6) A professional website is not as expensive as you think
Just like advertising, your website is an investment and business expense. An investment which can return more than 10 times the amount you spend. When choosing a designer it is crucial that you go with someone who understands the goal of your online presence (i.e. lead generation, sales, opt-ins, brochure, etc.). Most businesses are afraid that getting a website created will cost tens of thousands of dollars, but that just isn’t the truth anymore, especially with the emergence of content management systems like Joomla and WordPress. These are content management systems that a custom website can be designed on top of which allows website owners to make their own content and image changes without knowing code.
I am not going to get to in depth here, but the idea is to find the fine line between value and cost. The last thing you want to do is pay someone a small amount who doesn’t know what there doing which provides you a small amount of nothing. There are plenty of fantastic custom websites out there that can be created for under $ 10,000, and if done correctly those websites will drive new customers to your business that will make up the cost and tons more. You can get an idea for what a custom WordPress website would cost using this instant custom WordPress design quote tool.
So there you go, six darned good reasons why you need a website for your business. Before I let you go, though, a few more words to the wise: Don’t just settle for a freebie website. Most freebie websites are pretty static, with a Home page, an About Us page, a page with hours and directions, a contact page, and maybe a company history page. They are a lot of work taking precious time and 9 out of 10 times produce no results. Just like most things, you get what you pay for. They just don’t cut it anymore, because it doesn’t engage your visitors and they can see right through it. The information also gets out of date pretty easily. So, as a bonus, here are three tips for producing a fantastic website and keeping it that way.
1) Use more than just text on your website
Photo galleries of happy customers and employees (real photos not stock imagery), short videos showing “behind the scenes” or showcasing the quality control that goes into your business, or even an interactive Q & A are great ways to engage your audience. The more you engage those potential customers, the longer they’ll stay on your Web page and the more impressed they’ll be with your business.
2) Watch your keywords and Do RESEARCH
Some people think Search Engine Optimization is a bunch of technogeek mumbo jumbo, but it really boils down to this: what search phrases will customers use to search for a business like yours and what questions do people ask about your business(just like this article). Once you figure that out, make sure you include those keywords in your page titles, headings, and content. Of course, you can go even deeper into SEO than this, but just some simple keyword optimization will do wonders for your search engine rankings.
3) Update your content regularly
You might be afraid that you don’t have the staff to do this, but the fact is that most Content Management Systems (CMS) like WordPress and Joomla are so easy to use that your 12-year-old daughter could probably do it for you. Just make sure you put some fresh pictures up once a month or so, change up your text, add blog posts, and keep thinking up ways to engage your potential customers.
Okay, that’s it for now, folks. So the question remains, do I need a website? At the end of the day, it is an investment that is up to you. Can it grow your business? The Internet isn’t just for tech companies anymore. Everyone uses Google to find their plumbers, dog groomers, electricians, cloths and just about anything else. If you can’t be found on the Internet, you’re missing out on a ton of potential business.
Did this article help you understand wether or not you need a website for your business? If not, please ask your questions in the comments below and I will answer them immediately. If so, share with any business owner you believe can benefit!Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community