Today you can have a website for pretty much anything, from crowdfunding campaigns to pet fan pages. But for some reason, many small businesses have been slow to get online, even though websites have been around for over 25 years!
That’s why this post is going to look at some specific reasons why your business should have its own website. If you’re a small business owner who is still on the fence, read on!
Why have a website? My top reasons:
1. A professional website meets customer expectations:
Now more than ever, your customers expect to be able to find information about your company online. In fact, most consumers now do research online before they make a purchase, even if it’s to buy something from their local shop. If you don’t have a website, you’re sending a message that your business is stuck in the Dark Ages, or that you’re not interested in finding new customers—and neither of these are messages that you probably want to be sending.
They don’t need a lot of info or a complicated, multi-page encyclopedia about you. Just a few simple pages are usually more than enough, as long as it has basic information that’s tailored to their needs and very easy to find. And, most importantly, it should be accurate and up-to-date, since out of date info is one of people’s top pet peeves when it comes to using local business websites.
2. You can control information and branding:
User reviews and comments are great, but shouldn’t you have the final say about what information about your company is presented to the public? Having a website for your company instantly creates an official presence on the internet so that you don’t have to depend on others speaking for you. And you can make it look exactly the way you want, with your own logo, colors, and fonts.
3. A website is more affordable than traditional advertising:
Many small businesses rely on Yellow Page ads and listings to get their name out there. No one is going to tell them to remove their listings, but is purchasing an ad in the ever-shrinking and increasingly expensive directory the best use of funds? Website costs are decreasing every year and have a wider reach.
4. You can find existing and potential customers:
Not only are all of these people able to see your website, but they can also interact with you through it. Using email, contact forms, guest books, and chat apps, you can talk with customers from the other side of the globe, get feedback about your new products and services, or even ship orders thousands of miles away. And people might come to your website from all different places, using search engines or Google Maps.
5. A business website levels the playing field:
Although the budgets and project scopes vary, there is no real difference between the website of a Fortune 500 company and that of a freelancer working from the couch in their living room. A clean and professional looking website completely levels the playing field as you can present yourself and your company any way that you like. If your company is able to help meet the needs of a customer, why do they need to know if your team is 3 people or 300?
Does my business need a website if I’m on social media?
Lots of business owners assume that having a social media profile for their business is enough. Maybe you already have a Facebook page and some pretty good reviews on social media (or at least no one has called you the “worst restaurant ever”). That’s great.
But there are some problems with this strategy. First, you’ll always be dependent on the social media platform you choose. Algorithms change, rules change, and what’s working one day might not work a few weeks from now (as many businesses who depended on Facebook have recently learned). If you have a website, it belongs to you, and you control the content and the message. Part of the reason you started your own business is so that you don’t have to follow other people’s rules—so why would you just do what a social media platform tells you to?
Trends change, too. If your customers are on Twitter today, they might be on Snapchat or a new platform that none of us have even heard of tomorrow. As people switch from one tool to the next, your website acts as an anchor. No matter what platform customers prefer, they can always find your website in the same place, available to everyone.
Conclusion: every business needs a website
The case for having a website in today’s world is very strong. Almost all the businesses owners say they planned to have a website by the end of the year. Are you part of this group? Make it a reality by getting a website today, and see how easy it is!
How can I get a website?
1. Register your domain name and purchase hosting
To register your domain name, you will need to find an accredited registrar and pay a fee. Accredited registrars are organizations authorized to provide services to people who want to register a new domain name, renew their existing domain name, or make changes to their domain name record. Most of the major internet service providers offer web hosting services. They can also provide you with multiple email addresses. Web hosting fees vary depending on how large your website is and how many visits you get.
2. Prepare your content
Think about what you want your customers to be able to do via your website. This will help you work out what sections or pages you want to include. Consider what information or transactions your customers will want and make sure the site is structured to make it easy for them to find and do the things they need.
Just as you might hire a professional to design your site, you might also want to consider hiring a professional to write and structure your content.
A website that is well designed and easy for customers to use will help your business stand out. Having relevant and appropriate content and images will help customers understand your products and services and will make them feel comfortable with buying from your business.
3. Build your website
Have a professional web developer build it for you. Websites need to be kept up to date, so make sure you plan for ongoing maintenance. A professional web developer can build your site quickly and provide guidance on successful web design.