A website is like an online business card, but with an interactive world of information living inside. These days it is easier, more affordable and more important than ever before for businesses of all sizes to have a website.
The average online consumer browses the Internet for hours each week, many of which are spent online shopping and comparing brands. This means having an online presence is essential to looking professional and being visible to potential customers searching for the products and services you are offering.
Believe it or not but many businesses still don’t have a website, choosing instead to rely solely on the likes of social media platforms and directories to attract new customers.
But what happens when digital trends change and the social media platform your business uses to promote its products falls out of favour? Customers will have no way to view your business online.
This is why it is essential for your business to have a website and to take full control over your brand and content, and not miss out on opportunities for new customers to find you.
Whether you are a one man band or a multinational company a website is a powerful tool that can have huge benefits on brand exposure, credibility, loyalty and reach. Make your small business look bigger than it is or keep your large corporation looking as slick as ever with a new professional website.
Understanding how your customers think, and what affects their buying decision process, is the key to online success.
So why do people visit business websites?
- To seek information about products and services
- Comparison shop
- Check on order status and product availability
- Learn business hours and business info (address, store locations, phone number)
Having a website provides all these answers and will start generating more leads and nurture relationships crucial to the success of your business.
Still need convincing?
Here are 11 compelling reasons why every business needs a website…
1. Attract new customers
Most consumers conduct product research online before purchasing a product. This will consist of browsing a business website for product details, prices, order process, returns information etc. If you don’t have a website you are not even visible to these consumers.
Search Engine Optimisation is an organic way you can attract customers to your website. By optimising your website with keywords related to your business, your website will show up in search engine results when customers search for businesses and products like yours - putting your brand in front of the right kind of audience.
If you are a local or small business it is even more important for your website to be optimised, as search engines such as Google will focus heavily on local results. Make sure your home page clearly displays what your business does and what your products are, with general business info like trading hours and contact details front and centre. This will answer those fundamental questions potential customers may have about your business and will give them a positive first impression.
Present your business the way you want it to be seen, and start attracting new customers to your website with SEO.
2. Go global
Unlike a brick and mortar store which is restricted to the one geographic location, and relies on customers finding them and visiting them, a website gives you a global audience and allows you to increase your customer base to a wider geographic region, opening your online doors to the world.
If a customer is searching for the exact product you sell, but can’t find you, then you are losing huge sales opportunities. A website lets them find you and make comparisons between businesses within an industry, even if they are in a different state or country to where you are.
3. A website never sleeps
You may work from 9-5 but that is not necessarily when people shop. What happens when the phone rings and you’ve already shut up shop for the day? There is the chance you will lose a potential sale. Having a website gives potential customers a chance to check out your business and contact you outside of trading hours.
Many businesses receive leads overnight. A website is open 24/7, which gives customers in different locations and timezones the opportunity to contact your business even when you’re fast asleep.
Having a website means you can put up the ‘We are Open’ sign - permanently.
4. Affordable way to advertise
The days of spending thousands of dollars (and hours) on web design are over. It is very easy nowadays for a company to have a professional website set up for a very low cost. When compared to traditional advertising methods like billboards or TV commercials, having a fully search-optimised website is a much more cost-effective sales and marketing tool. It will also provide your customers with everything they need to know about your business, resulting in more qualified leads and sales.
Strong product imagery, quality content, and easy website navigation will go a long way, and as long as your website is updated regularly and optimised for search engines like Google, you will be found much easier than just having a social media page.
5. Know your customers...and target them!
With tracking tools like Google Analytics you can see who is viewing your site, where they are coming from, how they are engaging with your website, how they found you, and start understanding what their thought patterns are when on your website.
Just by seeing what keywords they searched will help you in optimising your pages and content so the right audience is landing on your page. This saves money and time by allowing you to directly target to relevant customers and not waste precious marketing budget on expensive advertising.
Customers expect any business to have a website. With just a social media page or a listing in a business directory, customers may feel your business is either too small to afford a website (despite the very low costs these days), too lazy to get one, or too inexperienced or tech illiterate to know that a website is essential.
Social media pages are great for sharing content that links back to your website. The website is where customers can transact or find out more about your business.
With a fresh new website built by expert web designers and content specialists, you can look credible and professional and take your business to the next level.
HINT: Add testimonials and reviews to your page to further impress customers.
7. Keep control over your brand
Why is your business unique?
Essentially, it's your brand. Your logo, your font, your colours, your imagery. These are all ways that customers can tell your business apart from your competitors. If you only have a social media page it is impossible to really maintain brand equity and express your business' personality. Having a website gives you control over your brand, and allows you to tell your own story.
User reviews and positive comments add value, but if not backed up by a great website your business will lack the official presence needed to create credibility and brand strength.
As a small business you don’t need a large or elaborate website. A simple yet unique website is perfect for a small business. It gives you the opportunity to position yourself the way you want, and use your own voice to tell your story online.
8. Encourages two-way feedback
Contact forms and live chat tools are a great way to open a direct line of communication with your customer. Unlike on social media platforms, these tools are completely private and not hosted on a public platform. Contact forms and chat tools give instant access to customers to ask you a question, notify you of an issue with a product, or provide feedback. Live chatting with a customer builds trust and improves customer experience.
9. Content is still king
A professional website is the perfect place to publish content and give value to customers. If readers enjoy a blog post or article and feel they have got something valuable out of it, they are more likely to subscribe to your blog or newsletter, increasing the chance of purchasing your products.
Optimising content with keywords increases searchability, and with a newsletter / subscription link, you can capture people’s emails and send them valuable content through email - nurturing that relationship and leading to an increase in sales.
10. Serves as a resource centre for processes
A website gives you the chance to present to your customers everything they need to make a buying decision. A social media page may be a good place to start but for more detailed information about the processes of your website, a customer will need to visit your website. Information like: how to order a product, shipping costs, complaints handling, terms and conditions and FAQs are all valuable information that can be stored on your website. This serves not only as a great marketing and advertising tool but also as a resource centre for processes your customers will value.
11. Stay ahead of your competitors
Your competitors have a website, so you need one too! Before making the final buying decision, customers conduct a lot of product research and browse numerous company websites to compare prices and product features and benefits. If you don’t have a website you are making it even easier for your competitors to gain an edge over you and forcing potential customers to buy from another brand.