Amid the devastation brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic more than a year ago, humanity has adapted to a new normal of doing things. Seeing that physical activities are heavily limited in this pandemic stricken era, many activities have manifested itself online.
When you look at the chaos that COVID-19 has brought to the world from a different angle, perhaps you will see a silver lining in all the gloom and doom. If anything, the pandemic has hastened the adoption of digital technology for many industries that were otherwise slow to adapt, and adopt.
New business models have sprung up among the ashes of our devastated economic landscape. Today, we see eateries of all sizes offering delivery services, once face-to-face activities such as education and fitness training, have also transitioned to online modes of execution.
End users, consumers have also become more tech-, and internet savvy as the new normal we live in requires basic activities such as searching for, and ordering food an online activity.
In today's business landscape, one would really wonder why any business owner would still not have their own online presence, and still rely fully on free platforms and social media platforms only for their business.
Today we are are going to be talking about the 8 reasons that businesses should have a website.
A website is the best way to communicate with your customers, and marketing your products and services to them, even though you are a small business. As mentioned above, the internet has become a major way for people to find products and services, and your company should be present, and visible to continue to stay competitive.
If you have a website, people will find you, and when they do, you want them to be interested; and when they are interested, you want them to make a purchase or at least contact you. Your business website can be the first stepping-stone in a long and rewarding relationship with your customers.
Your website is the first impression to your customers, and prospects. It's the first chance to show them you know what you are doing. It's also the first step to earn their trust, so you can continue doing business with them. You need to get this right, or risk losing out to your competitors.
If there was only one reason that any business worth its salt needs a website, it would be:
A website is your online sales representative that never takes a day off. That’s right. If you have an excellent website, it is always working for you, 24/7.
However, there are many more benefits to having a business website. Now let us look into the 8 reasons your business should have a website:
1. A website helps your business be found online
Since we have already established that people are primarily using the internet to search for everything online, what are the chances of your business being found online, if you don't even have a website? The answer should be pretty obvious, none.
You may argue that you have a social media page or profile, and that your business can still be found online through those channels. However, those online properties are owned by a third party, which means you have no control over your online presence.
Your page or profile could be banned, hijacked, or shutdown without warning, rendering years of effort moot. Also, social media channels are not a good representation of your brand, we will talk more about branding later.
On the other hand, a website is a great way to for businesses to make use of the internet, and the huge traffic of users that surf the internet daily. You can easily spread your business to a wider audience by using a website, as your customers, and prospects who are searching for products, and services that you provide can now find your business.
Business websites are not limited to the big players in the industry. In fact, websites give the small business owner a fighting chance.
2. A website shows potential customers what you do
Think of your business website as a portfolio of your work, or products and services that you offer. Making your business searchable online is only the first step. But, it’s not enough to just be found online, you need to represent your business in context—looking as good as it can.
Why does looking good online matter? Simply, it's because your website is your shop front, and everyone knows first impressions are important. This is even more important for your online presence, since we lack human interactivity on the internet.
The best you can provide customers online is a presentable website, and pleasant experience when they visit your website. You will soon realize the importance of website design in building trust, with your target audience, which we will discuss next.
3. Build trust with customers
Let's take a step back, and be fair to ourselves, and our customers. How much would you trust a business that does not even have a decent website?
Personally, it takes away major points when I cannot find a decent website for the business I am looking for. To me it just spells out in capital letters, UNPROFESSIONAL. Let's be serious here, you would dress up, make sure your hair is properly set before you even step out the door, right?
So, if you are serious about running your business, then why the heck would you not think that it needs to be represented in the best way it can, in order to make an impactful first impression on anyone who visits it? Having a professional website represent your business online would definitely boost your company's credibility.
Oh, I was assuming you had a website for your business, if you don't, then I believe you can kiss that first impression goodbye, as your prospect or even existing customer may think twice, and look for your competitors instead.
Now, consider this, you are searching for a business, and you find this professionally designed website with all the information you were hoping to find. How do you feel? I'm betting you would feel great about the business, and maybe even a little impressed if their website is really amazing.
So what do you think? Would you trust a business without a website, or a poorly put together page, that's supposed to pass off as a company website. Or would you trust a business with a professional-looking, informative website? Which do you think would provide a better experience for yourself as a customer? Let's move on to the next reason, creating a better customer experience with your website.
4. Create a better customer experience
Customers today are demanding, don't believe it? Observe your own behavior. When you are in the customer's shoes, do you think you are accommodating or demanding towards the business you are patronizing?
We all want to have a pleasant experience when dealing with a business, whether it is shopping at the supermarket or shopping online. The moment something doesn't go smoothly for us, we get all emotional, and would probably stop with our purchase intent, or worse, we may resort to sharing the unpleasant experience we had with friends and family. No prizes for guessing what happens to a business' reputation once the latter happens.
So what makes up a good customer experience online?
Let’s look at the online store. A good online store is designed to be easy to use and navigate. The store should be easy to find, whether it’s through a search engine, or a link on the website of a partner.
Well, you could start with having a pleasant looking website. Good navigation helps a lot to allow visitors to easily explore the entire website. Having quality content (blog post, news etc.) to keep the interest of visitors is also crucial, if not, people would just bounce away from your website, as quickly as a basketball bounces off the ground.
The website should also be easy to find, whether it’s through a search engine or links from social media, and partner websites. In fact, social media marketing is a great way to drive more traffic to your website.
So, make sure to have a business website that has important information people are looking for (product, company and contact information, other useful content that brings value to visitors), easy to navigate, while having a professional look and feel. You may reach out to me to understand more about content marketing, and how it can benefit your business.
A good customer experience would eventually lead to an increase in sales, and lead generation as we'll talk about next.
5. Enhance your lead generation capacity
Having a website can also increase your and promote your business on a large scale. The reason is simple, websites are accessible globally with no restrictions of traditional brick and mortar stores, or traveling capabilities of your sales people.
It can expand the dimensions of how your business operates, and grow it by several folds, by reaching audiences that were previously out of reach. By bringing your business online, you are no longer limited by local markets, as you now have access to even more opportunities from an international market.
If you really work on it, you can even use your website to make your business into a global brand. The possibilities are limitless.
6. Lower your advertising costs
In the past, you might have used expensive print and display advertising to reach your audience. Whether it's a print ad in local publications, or billboards, or even TV and radio ads, these channels of advertising are expensive, especially if you have a small audience, or a small budget.
By having a business website, you open the floodgates to the millions of traffic on the world wide web. You can get traffic organically by using SEO (search engine optimization), social media posts or you can use paid advertising.
Whether you go the organic, or paid route, either channel will save you thousands of advertising dollars monthly, as organic traffic doesn't cost you any advertising fees, and digital advertising is relatively cheap compared to traditional advertising channels.
Do reach out to me if you would like to learn more about SEO, and paid advertising.
If you are a small business, then your website is the best outlet to update existing, and potential customers with the latest sales, news, and promotions, which we will discuss next.
7. Having a website gives businesses the opportunity to easily update their visitors on the latest sales, news, and promotions
Even though there are free social media channels where you can also post sales, news, and promotions, there are a few drawbacks if you fully rely on social media for your online presence and digital marketing.
For starters, you do not own the social media platforms, and are subject to their terms and conditions. You risk losing years of hard work building up your business' profile on social media if it decides that you have violated their policies and bans your business profile.
You are not in control of the social media platform, as such you cannot structure the pages, information, and even user interface to match your brand. The platform's own branding would overshadow your branding efforts.
A business website gives you full control, and autonomy to post anything, and run any campaign you so please without the risk of getting shutdown.
You are free to post as frequently as you want, and you can choose the best location to showcase your latest promotions, such prime "real-estate" is usually off limits on third party platforms.
You can optimize the site structure to make finding relevant information easy, instead of having to scroll endlessly just to locate a news article that was posted a week ago.
Don't get me wrong, social media platforms are great digital marketing channels, but it serves you better as that, a marketing channel to complement your website, instead of being the main online presence for your business.
This is especially true if you plan to build a brand for yourself online, build it using your own website instead of someone else's. We will dive deeper into branding next.
8. A website can help businesses build a brand
We have gone through 7 reasons you should have a website for your business so far. If all the above does not convince you, then perhaps this reason alone is powerful enough to change your mind.
People love brands, that includes you and me. Now, have you ever seen any major brand that you like that does not have its own branded business website? What if Apple didn't have its own website, and relied solely on social media profiles for its entire web presence? As a potential customer, you probably would not be too convinced in the brand, and may even think that the company is not serious about their business.
What if GrabFood, Food Panda, or AirBnB relied solely on social media to sell its products, and services? Would the brand still be as memorable, and convincing? Would you remember the social media platform's brand better, or the various business brands more?
Building a brand for your business requires all the above elements, from providing a good customer experience, to instilling confidence in customers, and providing the latest news, promotions, and useful content to your target audience.
You probably wouldn't remember McDonald's all too well if it were just a small counter inside of KFC selling burgers. and fries now, would you?
Having a business website allows your brand to be more memorable by providing the type of engagement your brand stands for. Business owners that use a website have found that brand recognition and retention are higher, and can usually outperform their competitors dramatically.
We have gone through the 8 reasons your business needs a website above. I hope it has provided you with a better understanding of the role a website plays for your business in today's market landscape. I sincerely believe that having a website benefits all businesses.
It doesn't matter whether you are a local business, or a small business that's tight on cash flow, having a website is an integral part of your digital marketing strategy; and what better, and faster way to build brand awareness today than via your own website? However, if you're still not convinced, and have questions you would like to ask, or perhaps you would like to look for a web designer to build your business website, reach out to me via my contact form.