In the last few years, there has been an active push for consumers to “shop local” and support small businesses, and that is largely made possible through the internet.
Being able to have an online storefront and market to customers outside of your geographic area is a huge opportunity for many entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
For all of these reasons, it is important that every small business have a website.
Having a strong online presence can truly be a make or break for any business.
We’ve asked 12 small business leaders how important having a website is to them and what opportunities it has created for their organizations.
Keep reading to learn how a website can take your business to the next level!
1. Improve Business Credibility
A simple way to view a website is that it is your online business address. This is where your customers, clients and associates go to find you on the Internet.
The Home page identifies your branded value proposition, the About Us page tells visitors all about your business and the Contact Us page informs everyone how to get in touch with you.
It legitimizes your business and improves your credibility. It gives your business an identity and is virtual proof that it exists.
Don’t be mislead into thinking a company page in Facebook is enough to build your credibility. A2015 survey showed that 84% of consumers believe that having a website makes your business more credible than just a social media page.
Having a website means you have your own domain. In the same survey, 65% of respondents regard a company-branded e-mail as more credible than a generic one.
2. It Shows You Actually Exists
A small business needs a website to drive business in today’s digital world. Without a website, you give up much, if not most, of your potential business because consumers will not be able to learn anything about you or your business’s offerings.
If not for anything else, a website will show your audience that you really do exist.
3. It Shows Potential Clients If Your Business Is the Right Fit
A small business needs to have a platform that accurately represents who they are and why people should buy their products or use their services.
When potential customers are searching for a product or service, you want your website available for them to click on.
You want them to see a clean functional website that makes you feel like your business is the right choice for them.
A website represents your brand in the digital space and without it, it would be difficult to have a strong online brand presence.
4. Build a Strong Relationship with Your Market
A business by definition is a living, breathing entity. Loyalty is achieved when customers know they are dealing with a company that understands their needs and not just a company that wants to profit.
Let the Market Know “Who You Are”. Outside the Home and About Us pages, you can set up a blog page where you can share your thoughts and ideas with your audience.
Address the Needs of Your Market. Invite your audience to engage you by encouraging them to post comments on your blogs. Embed survey forms and ask your audience to participate and convey their needs.
Educate the Market of Your Business. Utilize the 80-20 Rule; 80% of your content should be usable or relevant to the needs of your audience while 20% should educate them about your business.
Improve Customer Service. In addition to e-mail, social media, mobile and landline, install chat support as the 5th avenue for customer service. This will give your end-users more options to relay concerns and inquiries.
5. It Expands Your Physical Location
Websites are one of the best investments in serendipity you can make. Here’s what I mean: when you operate from a single location, your presence tends to be restricted to where you are. With a website, you might reach people in other countries or on the other side of the world.
Some of these people may become customers, investors, or suppliers; and they never would have found you if you didn’t have a website.
6. It’s Your Digital Brochure
At its basic core, a website replaces a brochure. It is informational in nature, offering people insights into who you are, why you are different, and what you provide or sell.
At its best, a website can build community, connection, and loyalty when content is kept fresh and engaging.
With the majority of people searching via mobile devices, websites must be mobile optimized.
7. Boost Your Reputation As An Authority
If your business is in a competitive industry, a website will give you the forum to boost your reputation as an authority figure.
Blogging – There’s one reason why blogging is the cornerstone of the content marketing process: It works! Here are 3 key statistics on the benefits of blogging:
Websites with a blog have 434% more indexed pages.
47% of buyers read 3 to 5 blogs before engaging a sales rep.
61% of consumers report a blog influenced their decision to buy.
Podcast – Set up a podcast in your website, distribute the schedule via Twitter, Facebook and invite experts to discuss topics that interest your audience. 21% more people listened to podcasts in 2016 compared to 2015.
Seminars – Conduct seminars on your website. This is a great way to share your knowledge with your market. Encourage your audience to actively engage during the seminar.
Having a professional website will mean that people who are looking for you can find you and get the information they need.
But if you optimize your website well, it can also mean you’ll show up in search results for people who didn’t even know they were looking for you.
Create pages that talk about the services you offer and where you offer them. Or publish pages that describe your products or explain how to solve problems you commonly solve.
You can go from being an invisible plumber in Lagos, for example, to a plumber in Lagos who shows up whenever someone nearby searches for how to unclog a drain.
9. People Need to Find You on Google
In today’s digital world, people turn to Google to find practically anything and everything. From answers to questions to products and services near them.
Search engines play an important role in the online success of businesses. Without a website, potential customers will be unable to find you in their searches.
Creating a central location to store your address, your phone number, a contact form, a products/ service list, prices, etc. will open the door for people to find your business online.
10. Create a Tool for Sales Generation
A website can also be an active and passive tool for generating income because it is the termination or exit point in the sales funnel.
It is very difficult to convert sales in social media. There are no available mechanisms to complete the transaction on- the- spot. An e-commerce website for example, has a checkout counter where goods and services can be paid for right away.
It can also be a good source for passive income via PPC or Pay- Per- Click advertising. Advertisers will pay you every time a user clicks through their ad in your website.
11. It Is a Reflection of the Service You Will Provide
A small business should utilize a website in order to effectively reach its client base and be able to react and communicate timely and effectively to its current and prospective clients.
Moreover, today’s consumers utilize websites not only to identify businesses with which to conduct a transaction but also to gauge the trustworthiness or ‘fitness’ of that small business.
An inadequate or ‘out of date’ website may convey laziness or inattention to detail to today’s consumer – traits that are extremely unattractive and lead the prospective client to ‘swipe left’.
12. It Allows You to Compete
Every business should have a website for the same reason you plant a seed. Getting a website is the first step toward putting your business in an environment where it can thrive.
It allows you to promote your product, build credibility, distinguish yourself, and quite frankly – compete.
If you’re not on the internet these days, you’re not being competitive and you will miss out on opportunities, even from loyal customers. If your customers can’t find you, they will find someone else.
If you want an effective website or one that can help you take your business to another level, you have to be prepared to invest in one.
In a survey of small business owners, 19% identified cost as another reason for foregoing a website.
Kindly note that: A website is not an expense. It is an investment because you should expect a return on your money within a period of time.
For your investment to pay out, you have to make sure your website is professionally designed, fully functioning with fast download speed and packed with great content.
Do not penny- pinch and try to do a website on your own despite the availability of free templates. Your best option would always be to hire a professional web designer who has the experience and training to build a functional yet aesthetically beautiful website.
Do you need a website? Kindly call +234 7088866333 today