Why You Need a Website for Your Business 2019
By Nhoé Dominique
I cannot believe, we need to ask this question in 2019, but it is still a issue. This is why I am writing about it. Being an entrepreneur and running a business is no simple task and certainly not for the faint of heart. Building up an empire, even a small one, is a challenge for anyone. A lot of factors go into your success, one of them being the rate at which you reach potential customers. If you do not have a website for your business already, it is vital that you make you as soon as possible. This is the digital age, and so a website is the best marketing and commerce tool available.
Make a First Impression
Think of your website as the resume and interview with every potential customer or partner in the world. You would never hand in an underwhelming resume. Worse, you would not go to a major job opportunity without one, would you? When you build a website for your business, you are putting the best face of it forward for the world to see and building up a persona that customers will judge you by. That is why if you do not have a website or even one that is technologically up to spec, consumers will look straight through you and your business.
Gain Street Cred
When you have a website, you are putting your services and products out there for the public to use, review, and comment upon. The better service you provide, and the more testimonials you get, the more credibility you have.
The other way you gain “street cred” with a website is by giving your business two locations--the physical one (even if that means you working from the bedroom), and the virtual one. More often than not, people search for a business by their website first before ever considering the real location. If you have a home-based business, a website adds viability.
No Website, No Business
Going off of the second point, the main point of having a website is that, nowadays, if you do not have one, or at least some kind of social media presence, it is hard to exist. Customers cannot identify your brand or your services if you do not have an online presence. People will not trust what you offer if they cannot learn more about you.
Further, you need a decent-looking website. There are so many services out there that make a clean, multi-platform website entirely doable. For instance, WIX, Weebly, Wordpress, and Shopify. If your website is not mobile-friendly, it needs to be. Remember, no website means no exposure. But a unorganized, obsolete website literally gives the impression of a sloppily run business.
Digitized Window Shopping
Less people are going from storefront to storefront to weigh their options and are instead using online services to compare prices and services. The growing trend is comparative, budget-friendly shopping. Therefore, if consumers cannot find information on how your business matches up with others, you will get overlooked. You might have a stellar shop with so much to offer, but that does not cut it anymore. Offer at least a glimpse of what is on the menu or in your inventory.
One of the biggest reasons many small businesses do not already have a professional website is because owners such as yourself believe the cost overrides the usefulness. First, there are plenty of free website hosting (ex. WIX, Weebly) or cost-effective subscription services (ex. Wordpress.org, Squarespace, Sharetribe) out there that can get you started without impacting your overall budget. A professional website can be built on as low as $10-20 a month, depending on the services you use.
Second, you are actually losing money by not having a website! Consider this: without a website, you are not reaching a large consumer base. You might decide to run some newspaper ads or put out signs, but these not only cost money, they do not advertise efficiently. Services like Adwords or Facebook Ads circulate your advertise throughout the internet, not just to people skimming the classifieds or driving their car.
Showcase Your Work
More than the window shopping factor, a website becomes your permanent portfolio. You can integrate social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest), image galleries (Instagram), press releases, blogs, and other content that will resonate with visitors to your page. All of these things demonstrate the reliability and uniqueness of your service.
The other way websites help with showcasing your work is by integrating Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and putting your relevant data out there in ad form (although this is subscription). SEO is vital to making sure that when people input keywords associated with your business into their favorite search engine, your business pops up on the first page.
Improve Customer Service
Regardless of what you are selling or offering to customers and potential business partners, you need a way to communicate. Now more than ever, people are making use of website contact links or the “request more info” buttons. People are looking to FAQ pages for solutions to their questions rather than calling the business phone number.
A website is the best thing you can do when building up decent customer service, because it is the ultimate way to keep consumers up-to-date and informed about what your business is doing.
Plus, no one complains about being able to access information every single day or the week, every day of the year. Unless the server has a hiccup, or you are revamping the website, there is no reason for your site to not be accessible. And unlike other components of your business, a website does not require intense supervision. Build it, and let it run.
Another addition to the customer service department is the business email. Having an email account solely associated to your website works two ways: First, it just looks more professional. I mean, firstname.lastname@example.org might seem cool to you and friends, but how does that come across to a potential client? Secondly, all of your business inquiries will be in a separate inbox, not dispersed between your personal emails. This makes invoices and everything else so much easier to organize.
Web Push Notifications
If you have a storefront and plan to sell some of your homemade goods or other like services online, or even if you plan on simply releasing blogs from time-to-time, web push notifications are another effective advertising tool that can only be used if you have a website. You might have heard the term “opt-in” information. Basically, web push notifications are you way of advertising short blurbs of information, coupon codes, and other things customers might like to know without flooding them with newsletters and emails.
A professional website can be as minimalist or as innovative as you wish it to be. You have a breadth of tools at your disposal, as well as thousands of pre-built templates. There are plugins and apps that allow you to make the website available on computers, tablets, and smartphones. Showcase your creativity or your technical skills by fabricating an awesome website. All you have to do is weigh the advantages of using a service like Wordpress.org vs. DIY (WYSIWYG) platforms like WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and others.
The more interesting and smoother operating the website is to the client, the more interest they will gain in your business as a whole.
Grow at Your Own Pace
While the money part of building a website was already mentioned, there is something that cannot be prefaced enough. That is not having to put out incredible sums of money to build a decent website. There are so many service options out there for you to select the one that fits into your business plan perfectly. A lot of providers have options that allow you to upgrade overtime, so as your business gets larger, so too can the website.
And maybe you are not looking to become an internationally-known force. Maybe you just want a reliable online portfolio that speaks to clients in your region. There are suitable options for that too.
Websites have gone from being an optional factor in the success of small businesses to becoming a vital organ. While you (and your employees) are the heart and brains of the operation, think of the website as the nervous system that sends waves of electrical impulses out into the surrounding extremities to jump-start movement. You cannot hope to succeed against larger corporations with massive marketing campaigns without letting your voice and your aspirations being heard.
When it comes to building up your business, build up a website at the same time. Do not wait a second longer to make a professional presence on the world wide web, because a website is the resume, portfolio, eCommerce epicenter, and backbone of your business.