Why Do You Need A Website For Your Business?
So, you’re ready to get started with your website, but don’t know what services you need?
Let’s face it – we live in a world where people Google before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp before they buy, and “check-in” via Facebook as they go about their days. Because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be. Beginning with your website, consumers are passing judgment and making decisions about whether or not they will even visit your store, restaurant, or office. They’re likely to dismiss you entirely, as well, should they believe your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business should offer.
Unless you’re a small business owner who is not interested in growing your brand, you need to have a website. Small businesses, they say, have a personality, flavor, and sensibility that big businesses can’t match. Small businesses can have more fun with their sites, more so than large corporations. A small-business site needs to include something that reflects the creativity and personality of its owner.
Of course, it all depends on your website goals, type of business, type and style of website, and your budget. It will also depend on whether you’re starting from scratch, revamping your current design, and/or optimizing your existing website for mobile. And, if you are switching from a static website to WordPress or other CMS (content management system), a whole other bunch of services may be needed.
The point to be made here is that you should at the very least have a presence on the web so that customers, potential employees, business partners, and perhaps even investors can quickly and easily find out more about your business and the products or services you have to offer.
That said, it’s not enough that you just have a website. You must have a professional-looking site if you want to be taken seriously. Since many consumers now search for information online prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, your site may be the first chance you have at making a good impression on a potential buyer. If your site looks like it was designed by your high school nephew, your chance at making a good first impression will be lost.
One of the great things about the internet is that it has leveled the playing field when it comes to competing with the big boys. As mentioned, you have one shot at making a good first impression. With a well-designed site, your little operation can project the image and professionalism of a much larger company.
Even if you are a startup company or a one-man show, when it comes to benefiting from a website, size does not matter. I don’t care if you’re a one-man show or a 1,000-employee corporate giant; if you don’t have a website, you’re losing business to other companies that do. Your website speaks volumes about your business. It either says, “Hey, look, we take our business so seriously that we have created this wonderful site for our customers!” or it screams, “Hey, look, I let my 16-year-old nephew design my company website. Good luck finding anything!”
A company website helps business owners get their message, mission, and personality in front of their target audience faster than print ads or snail mail brochures. Plus, social icons linking to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other networking platforms make sharing your content easier for your visitors who like what they see. Your website is an important part of your business. Make sure you treat it as such.
10 Reasons Why You Need To Create A Website For Your Business
Since 2009, there has been a drastic shift in social media. Also, many entrepreneurs who understand the need for having a website are hiring web developers to not only create a web presence but creating a website that generates revenue. However, there are still a lot of small business owners who do not believe they need a professional website or even a website at all. They’ve either been in business so long without one they think word of mouth is all they need or they believe they can get all their customers or clients on Facebook or other social media channels. Not true!
If you’re a small business owner or you’re just starting out, like many, you may think there’s no benefit in having a website when you can do everything on social media. Or maybe you think you can’t afford a professional website so you get a freebie and do it yourself instead. Perhaps you’re in the generation that didn’t grow up with computers, you don’t use a computer so you think your customers don’t use computers. You think if you are not tech-savvy why bother with a website. But even if you are an established business that has relied on word of mouth and think you are doing quite, there are several reasons why your business needs a professional website too.
I believe, even with all that you can do on social media, and even if you’ve been in business for several decades unless you do not want to grow your business or you’re about to retire and travel the world, your business needs a website and preferably one that is professionally designed and developed. A website that generates leads that convert into customers.
More and more people are searching online for things they want, for solutions to their problems, to compare prices, or just to get some information about a store, restaurant, or business before they purchase from them. If you don’t have a website, potential customers will go to your competitors who do, especially if you are a home-based business without a bricks-and-mortar address. Having a website will not only provide your customers with the information they are looking for, but it will give your business credibility. It says I am here, I mean business, and I am in it for the long haul.
1. A website will act as a product brochure and sell for you
Selling was totally different 50 years ago. Our grandfathers had to go from door to door with their brochures and try to convince people to buy from them. It was hard, it was a lengthy process and the costs were immense.
Right now, you don’t need to go door to door. You need only to let people find you online. Creating a website will enable you to show your products and services to the people. You can update it instantly and you’re also eco-friendly.
In its most basic form, think of a website as being an online brochure or catalog that can be updated at any time. It is much easier and quicker to update information about your products and services on your website than it is in a print brochure or catalog.
A website is an effective way of introducing your customers to new services, letting them know about new products, announcing upcoming events and special promotions. You can also provide added value by posting tips, resources, and other information through a blog on your website. Unlike print ads, newspaper articles, and flyers, which quickly become outdated, your website can provide current information and news. And if you discover a mistake after you publish a page or post, it is a quick fix.
A website can be so much more than just an online brochure or catalog though. Now we have YouTube videos, Podcasts, Webinars, eBooks, and other online media to showcase our skills, expertise, and products, provide online classes, courses, and workshops. Not to mention social media integration which enables you to share information on your website across numerous other channels and reach an even wider audience.
2. Your business website is selling 24/7
You can’t keep a shop open 24/7. The costs are high and many times, you’ll keep it open for hours without a single client coming in. A website doesn’t have that problem. You don’t need to be there in order to sell. You can literally make money while you sleep when someone buys from you in the middle of the night.
Websites are also an amazing source of leads. Instead of cold calling all day, a well-made website will deliver leads for you. Unlike your bricks-and-mortar location, which is only open a few hours a day, a website is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can provide both regular and prospective customers the convenience of reviewing your products and services when your store or office is closed. Not only that, with so many interactive features and add-ons available, visitors to your website can contact you, sign up for your courses, schedule appointments and even purchase directly through your website even when you’re away from your desk or after closing. With today’s busy lifestyles, this is a great selling point when making a purchase decision.
Both your existing customers and anyone considering doing business with you (prospects, partners, vendors, and so on) will need to know who you are, what you offer, and why they should do business with you. A well-designed website provides all these reasons.
Having a business website or eCommerce store means that you can sell products all the time — not simply between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. An online store can mean a dramatic boost in sales, especially when you factor in additional customers who are not restricted by geography. Your online presence also supports marketing campaigns, customer service, client relationship building, brand recognition, and almost every other element of the revenue stream. Combining your website with marketing tools, like email marketing, helps you reach new customers and generate repeat business.
3. It saves you time
You don’t need to present your product to everyone or talk to thousands of clients. There have been many businesses where young entrepreneurs have never picked up a phone to talk to a client in person. You’re product/service description is there, your prices are and all the info your client needs is present on your website.
Time is money, so they are often linked together. Saving time is another great reason why your business needs a professional website. Time is an important commodity in our ever-increasing fast-paced world even if you don’t attach a monetary value to it. Most people these days don’t have enough time for leisure, pleasure, family, or healthy activities. Having a professionally designed website saves you time both in the short and long term. By providing information to your customers online, you can save a vast amount of valuable time that you would otherwise spend communicating with your prospects.
Talking to customers on the phone, in messenger or emails, face-to-face at meetings, networking events, or trade shows, it all takes time. Creating flyers, brochures, and other promotional material takes time – time to plan, research, communicate to your designer, printer, and so on. Not to mention the time needed to distribute your marketing material.
With a website, you can save time by providing information about your products and services in various online formats—graphics, video, eBooks, flipbooks— or as text right on the page—no distribution required. Once your website is up and running, it is available to your customers indefinitely, saving you time having to communicate the same message over and over again to different people.
As a small business owner, especially one that is just starting out, you’re probably thinking you can’t afford a professional website. But you really can’t afford NOT to. Although the cost of designing a website varies depending on your needs and your skill level, once it’s up and running, a professional website is worth the initial investment, especially if built using WordPress, which enables you to add and change your own content regularly, saving you money in updates.
Compared with the cost of traditional means of advertising, such as newspaper ads, radio commercials, promotional materials and even networking events that often include the cost of a meal or trade tables, when you consider the potential market you can reach with a website, it is a very cost-effective way to promote your business long term.
Even if your skill levels are slim to none and you need to continually pay your website designer/developer to maintain and update your website for you, the upkeep costs are still lower than ongoing traditional marketing, and the investment is certainly worth the number of potential customers that will find your business online each year.
When it comes to comparing the cost of a professional website with a freebie D.I.Y. website, unless you are fairly skilled, your website will cost you in time and effort that could be better spent elsewhere in your business. Not only that, but if it’s not professional, or can’t be found in a Google search, you will lose customers and that will also cost you dearly.
Saving money is definitely a great reason why your business needs a professional website, but there are several more reasons. Giving your client the opportunity to learn will decrease the time you need to spend in order to sell!
4. It gives you credibility
A website is a combination of your business card, portfolio, brochures, and many other information materials combined in one. Depending on how you approach it, it can be also a powerful branding tool. People will recognize your website and link it with you or your real-life business. This will increase trust towards your service and clients will perceive you as a trustworthy service provider. When your customers look for you on the Internet, your website lets them know that you’re here to stay and that you’re serious about your business.
Before the Internet, prospects called you for more information. Now they can be directed to the website for full information, saving you printing, mailing, and other related costs. Having your own personalized emails helps a lot also. People perceive emails like shiri@eescapemarketingas official. Would you even consider my offers if I would talk to you from shiri@ ?
5. You can reach a broader market
A brick-and-mortar business has its limits. Being your neighborhood or your city, you can rarely serve an increasing number of clients without opening new stores. A website does not have that problem. The same website can serve a client in your city and one 300 miles away. This won’t increase your costs and you don’t have a limit to the number of people that interact with your business at the same time.
Websites are accessible from anywhere in the world provided there is an internet connection. Since more and more people have access to the internet, even in remote locations, you can target a much wider audience if your business has a website.
Whether you offer products or services, or you’re business or consumer based, your website provides you with an alternative location to sell. As a retailer, an eCommerce website is a great place to sell your products to a wider market. Think of all the people who can’t get to your bricks and mortar store that you could sell your products to.
Even service-based businesses can offer their services globally through a website. Now that we have so many affordable ways to communicate with people, we can do business with anyone, anywhere, any time. A website makes it so much easier to attract clients from a global market.
6. A website is many times the center of your marketing efforts
Instagram ads, Google Ads, or email marketing campaigns. 95% of the time, these marketing methods all have the same goal, getting clients on your website. Instagram is awesome, Snapchat is amazing. But there is no way (at least for now) to directly sell your services there. You need an end to your funnel, and that is always a website.
No matter what type of business you’re in, a website is a great place to showcase your work or demonstrate your skills. By including a portfolio, image gallery or videos, as well as testimonials about your work, you can demonstrate what makes your company or you unique.
A lot of people are using these social media channels to showcase their work. On Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media channels the quality of your photos or graphics is compromised and the size may be substantially reduced. Not only that but Facebook and other social media channels control how people interact with them and even WHO can see them.
If you have a website, your portfolio can be viewed by everyone anywhere and you are in control of what people see, the quality and size of your photos, and how people interact with those photos. Not only that, but did you know, in most cases, once you post your work on these social media channels you no longer own the rights to those photos.
7. It’s not that expensive and you can even get one for free
These days, servers are getting cheaper and domains maintain steady pricing. You may be thinking, I have a “freebie” website that I built myself, why should I pay for someone to do it for me? There are several reasons why I don’t recommend “freebie” D.I.Y. websites. Even a “freebie” website is better than no website at all. However, if you are somewhat tech-savvy and have the time to build your own website, I strongly recommend you at least use WordPress with a professional theme and that you pay for web hosting with a reputable web host.
If you do have a D.I.Y. freebie website, ask yourself, is it providing you with the professional image you desire for your brand? There’s nothing less professional online than a website that says “Hey, look, I used a free website builder!” Your business will gain so much more credibility by having a professional website designer to help you design and build your website.
With careful planning, designed responsively, and with your customers’ needs in mind, your website will provide a professional image and give potential customers a great experience when they visit, whether it’s on their computer, their tablet, or their mobile phone.
You either spend a few weeks trying to learn how you can create a website yourself or you pay a web designer to do it for you. A simple website can start from $1000 and go higher, depending upon the scope of the project.
8. A website can improve customer service
A website is a great way to provide value-added service to your customers and clients and is a great way to keep them coming back to your website when they need your products or services. No matter what products you sell, you can share tips with your customers on how to use or care for the products they’ve purchased from you. If it’s compression garments, you can provide tips on how to wear their garments. If you sell beverages, such as tea or coffee, you can provide brewing times and temperatures.
If you offer a service, such as accounting, you can provide your clients with valuable advice to help them pay less tax at tax time or how to simplify their bookkeeping. Or if you’re in insurance, you could give advice on how to choose the right insurance policy for them or their family’s needs.
By including a FAQ page or a resources section, you can regularly add articles or upload newsletters to answer all your customers’ questions you can keep them better informed and up-to-date.
9. You own and control your website
Even if you have a big social media presence, another reason, and probably the most important reason why your business needs a professional website, is so that you actually own or at least pay rent for your online space. There are lots of free or low-cost ways to gain a web presence or claim your online space, but in most cases, you don’t own your online home, office, or store, and, even worse, you have little to no control over all that’s contained in your online space. With a professional website, you do.
Social media is a great way to bring traffic to your website and it’s a great way to share content from your website. However, relying solely on social media to attract customers or clients is not only preventing several prospects from doing business with you, but you do not own your stuff and you cannot control what happens with it. The stuff you’ve uploaded to your favorite social media channel could disappear at any moment without prior warning when they pull the plug for whatever reason and you could lose it all forever.
The same is true for a freebie website. When you decide it’s time to move on, you can’t always take your website content with you (at least not easily) and you will most likely need to start from scratch.
With a professional website, one that is self-hosted, granted you are renting space for your web address, but you own everything contained within your online space. If ever you want or feel the need to move to a different web-host, you can take everything with you (provided you have backups and/or do so before your account expires).
10. You’ll show up in Google search results
Consider this: 81 percent of consumers perform online research before making a purchase. That means they go to Google and type in one or more keywords, like “best leather shoes” or, if they know what they want, “handcrafted Italian leather women’s shoes in Los Angeles.”
If you don’t have a website for your business, the chances of showing up on the search engine results page (SERP) are zero. But if you have a site, you can optimize it for search engines, thereby increasing your chances of appearing at the top of Google’s results and getting more visibility with potential customers.
Long-tail keywords, meta descriptions, and titles are just some of the things you can customize on your site to improve your search engine optimization (SEO).
Determine what you need – To determine what you need, some questions to ask are:
- Do you need a custom design or will an out-of-the-box template suffice?
- Who will be writing and editing your web content?
- Who will be adding your content?
- Do you need a content management system?
- Will you be selling products online?
- What features and add-ons do you need?
- What imagery do you need?
- How often will you update your website’s content?
- What is your starting budget?
- What is your maintenance budget?
Wondering if we would be a good fit working together?
We offer prospective clients a complimentary 15-minute website discovery call to help determine their website goals and requirements. As well as, the call determines if we can help fulfill their needs within their budget and to see if we are the right fit for each other.
Who are our website design clients?
We primarily work with small to medium enterprises, start-ups, home-based business owners, and not-for-profits, who need a brand new website designed, a redesign of their outdated website, or their current website optimized for mobile.
Our website design clients tend to be:
- Small and medium-sized businesses in any industry sector that are looking for a custom web design or redesign.
- Established businesses whose business owner has been procrastinating about getting a website and finally realize it’s time to gain a professional web presence.
- Business owners with outdated websites who need anything from a few tweaks to improve functionality, aesthetics, or responsiveness to a complete redesign of their website.
- Start-up companies looking for a website to give their new business the professional credibility it needs to compete with established businesses within their industry.
- Home-based retailers or family store owners who want to sell their products online without having to pay a percentage to a third party.
- Not-for-profit organizations that need a custom website at a price they can afford to spread the word about the good work they are doing.
Could you be our next graphic design or website development client?
- Are you a small to medium enterprise, start-up, home-based business owner, or not-for-profit?
- Do you need a brand new web design, a redesign of your old website or is your current website not mobile friendly?
- Do you currently make your own graphics and marketing material, but either don’t have the time or skills to do a good job?
- Do you need to switch from a static website to WordPress?