In today’s world, the internet plays an essential role in our day to day lives. The first point of contact in almost any arising doubt, is the World Wide Web. It’s efficient, fast and accessible within seconds.
With that in mind, it may come as a surprise to know that over a third (40%) of SMBs do not own or plan to own a website. This is amid the fact people are spending an astronomical amount of time online every day. The Digital 2019 report by HootSuite and We Are Social reports, that an average user spends 6 hours and 42 minutes online daily. Nonetheless, thousands of businesses around Ireland have no website. Why is that?
According to surveys, most business owners state three reasons for why they do not have a website: lack of technical skills, no time, or financial reasons. However, the two focal arguments heard are that the business does not require a website for operation, and that a social media presence is quite sufficient.
This article outlines thirteen fundamental reasons why every business should have a website.
If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business. — Bill Gates
1. Online Presence 24/7
Regardless of the services or products your business sells, a website that is present and ready for traffic 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with virtually no breaks during weekends or holidays is a major advantage both for you as a business owner and your clients. If someone is awake at 1 AM and decides that they would like to find out more about the service or product that you provide, they can do so in an instant – a win-win situation for everyone.
A website can be reached from any location (given of course that you have an internet connection!). This opens up massive opportunities for businesses, widening the scope of potential customers, and allowing for the ability to communicate with them no matter where they are in the world. That is, if you have a website.
76% of people worldwide state that they will not trust a business without a website.
2. Builds Credibility
Now more than ever, your customers undoubtedly expect to find more about your business on the internet. As a matter of fact, before making a purchasing decision, consumers are very likely to research a product, even if it can be found and bought in a nearby store. As reported by the Verisign 2015 online survey 77% of users believe that a website ensures a more credible look for a business.
By not having a website, you are giving off the impression that your business is stuck in old times, or that you have no interest in scaling your business.
First impressions are powerful, and by getting your foot in the door (Home Page), allow users to find out more about who you present yourself to be (About Us), with a clear direction to get in touch (Contact Us), and by highlighting your best offers (Services), in an instant your are inviting a trusting relationship with your potential client, all with the help of a professional website.
3. Builds Customer Trust or Boost Your Reputation as an Authority
Customers are much more likely to trust a business that makes an effort to educate their customers with their experience and latest news. According to Research Gate, educating your customers has a major impact on the trust to your business, and is seen as an important factor in boosting your reputation as an authority in the digital world.
Many successful businesses, who make the effort of giving back to the community, use modern techniques within content marketing. Let’s take a look at some popular strategies:
Blogging – a relatively simple, inexpensive yet effective method to boost the credibility and trust of your business, and even attract organic traffic to your website. Here are some statistics you should see:
- 61% of US consumers have made a purchase based on a blog post. (Source)
- 37% of marketers find that blogs are the most important method of content marketing. (Source)
- Companies that blog enjoy 97% more inbound links than blogless competitors. (Source)
- Websites with blogs have 434% more indexed pages than websites without blogs. (Source)
- B2B companies with blogs get 67% more leads than those without. (Source)
Podcasts – a more sophisticated marketing instrumented, not yet caught up to everyone. The rise in mobile usage has led to a boom in the podcasting industry. Take a look at these statistics, a peak at the advantages of podcasting and how they could potentially make a positive impact on your business:
- Podcast Listeners Have Grown 37.5% in 3 Years
- In 2020, for the first time, more than 100 million Americans listen to at least one podcast each month.
- 68 million Americans are weekly podcast listeners.
4. Target Local Customers
How do you find a local electrician, a mechanic, or a pizzeria in an unfamiliar neighbourhood?
More than likely, you refer to your favourite search engine, ___ Google for a quick research spree.
Your clients are no different. When they are on the lookout for a product or service, similar or exactly the one that your local business is providing, they seek the internet for the solution.
If it so happens that your website is one of the first that they see in a sea of search results, you are almost guaranteed that they will click. Click on to YOUR business’s website. The rest is history.
5. Lead generation
Lead generation is a vital component of an email marketing campaign, and your website plays the main role in generating more information about potential customers – their name, email address, phone number, and personal characteristics which will give you the analytical decision-making power to make segmentations and make your campaigns laser accurate. Generating leads is a fundamental part of a potential customer’s journey towards becoming a customer of your business.
Email marketing is merely one of the ways marketers use to generate leads for their clients. Pay-per-click, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook lead generation would all be quite ineffective without the existence of a thought-through website, optimised for a lead generation funnel.
Additionally, a website can be employed to offer visitors free monthly newsletters, e-books, or premium access to exclusive content, thereby increasing the value of your business, your reputation, and most importantly becoming a step closer to converting your customer.
6. Keep Track of Your Business
A great advantage of having a website is the ability to track its success with the help of analytics. Analytics give you access to valuable information about your website’s performance. Here is a small segment of useful data gathered through analytics:
- Page views: the number of times visitors viewed your website, which web pages they traversed, and which content they found most engaging.
- Number of ‘unique visitors’: the number of unique visitors that have viewed your website.
- Bounce rate: the rate at which visitors leave your web page without engaging with it in any way.
- Average time spent: the average time a user spends browsing a particular web page on your website.
By taking advantage of analytics, and the tracking capabilities that come with it gives your business a vivid idea of how your visitors are reacting to your web pages, their scrolling behaviour, or how much time they spend on each section. Analytics can act as a middle-man between you as a business owner, and your audience, and due to this you are able to meticulously investigate and conclude what they do and do not like to see and read, what they spend most time on, or completely ignore. Furthermore, analytics gives businesses the ability to generate more sales and increase website traffic due to its data-driven nature.
7. Customer Service
Make sure that all your visitors and potential customers receive the highest level of customer service throughout their experience with your brand.
If anything, an excellent reason to have a website for your business is that it is one of the cheapest methods of providing a top notch customer service. With the right approach, your website can act as a “self-help” resource for your customers. This also means that visitors can find answers to questions about your service or product, therefore reducing the need for customer support staff. Customers love to easily be able to find answers to their queries, when it suits them – and that includes outside your working hours. This is why a website is an asset in which you can predict and answer a lot of pre-sale questions.
8. All your information in one place
A company website is a central location for your business’s information, a virtual office that provides visitors a structured resource about the company, it’s products or services.
- A good website introduces the business to the client, and explains why their product is perfect for them, in an unobtrusive manner
- There is no need to have a line of customer support staff at the ready, endlessly responding to queries
- Clients can easily and quickly browse through the full catalogue of products and services provided by the company
- Contact information, delivery and refund policies can all be found on your website, customers can make request call backs or submit a contact enquiry – all of these features allow visitors in a minimal amount of mouse clicks to easily obtain needed information and bring you one step closer to a conversion.
9. Expand Your Business’ Reach
Regardless of how you present your products or services, your website can act as the ultimate alternative for their sale. You can communicate with a client, located in a different city or country altogether just by having a web presence. With the modern way of life that people are living we are constantly returning to online search. Gone are the days when we spend countless hours physically roaming around shops checking product availability and quality. A website can promote your product a hundred times faster, than the windowsill of a shop.
If you own a small to medium retail location, the majority of your revenue will likely come from local shoppers. They are already aware of the quality of your products, your prices and more than likely will come back again and again. In other words, the majority of small businesses are limited in their range of exposure.
Having configured a website in the correct format will allow you to circumvent the limitations of a local business. You have the ability to reach more of your target market than you can possibly reach without a website, and also attract new clients outside the realms of your locale.
10. Personalized Email Address
When you acquire a domain for your website, you open yourself to the ability to configure personalised email addresses for you and your partners. This is quite beneficial given that an email address like firstname.lastname@example.org looks substantially more professional than email@example.com.
This may seem like a small detail, nonetheless the existence of the personalised email address for your mailbox will provide an excellent indication of your professionalism.
11. Learn More About Your Customers Insights
If your goal is to offer your clients exactly what they need it is obvious that you also need to know what they really need and who they actually are.
When you have a website it’s pretty easy to track how to track how your visitors are engaging with it. You can easily find out which of your products and services users click on most, and which ones do not interest them at all. As well as this you can acquire crucial insights about such metrics as geographical locations, devices of your visitors, other websites that they commonly browse and more. These metrics allow you to construct an accurate representation of your target user persona.
Traditional marketing strategies such as press releases, outdoor advertising, distribution of flyers, can result in high advertising costs and may have weak targeting potential. With these methods it would be difficult to track the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns and ROI.
With a website you can gather a great deal of insights about your audience:
- Where do they come from?
- What are the demographics?
- Are they using mobile or desktop?
- Which types of content are they interested in?
This information allows you to gain an accurate understanding of target user persona.
12. Showcase Your Work
Regardless of the industry you operate your business in, a website is an excellent way to demonstrate your work and skills. You can do so through an online-portfolio, a visual gallery of your previous works, or through client testimonials. You can show how your business is unique, and confirm your professionalism and skill set with reviews of your previous works. Take Amazon for example – the majority of users make purchasing decisions from the sellers with the most and best reviews!
13. Do I need a website if I have a page on social media?
A lot of business owners like to think that submitting their business to a social media platform is more than enough. Perhaps you already have a Facebook page, with good reviews and a community of followers. Spectacular!
But there are some down sides to this approach. Firstly you will be permanently dependent on the social media platform that you have chosen. Changes in algorithms and policies can change in a single day. With a website you are in full control of the content that’s published there.
Trends change too. If your clients are on Twitter today, tomorrow they can very well be on TikTok or some other platform that we haven’t even heard of yet. Your website stays stable and independent of the platform that your potential customers choose. They can always find it in the same place that it was in, available 24 hours a day.
Every business owner needs a website for their company. If you don’t have one yet, now is the ideal time to think about it. Even if your business is fairly successful without a website, a presence on the internet could potentially open you up to new opportunities. It’s important to also note that a website is not a liability. It is an investment that will bring you a return within a period of time. If you know nothing about web design – no need to worry. Please contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to see how our Dublin web design team can help you.