Owning a business of any kind is no small task, your to-do list is always growing with so many things to occupy your time. However, the one thing you should never take a shortcut on is your online presence. Without a website, your business is missing out on the opportunity to make a name and continuing to grow. Whether you are a small business, a low-cost or struggling business, or an expanding business, consider these reasons to have a strong website.
Professional and Polished is Key
First, understand that having no website is better than having a bad website. Put every effort into creating a professional website that conveys a strong message to your customers. Today, most shopping and research of companies happens online; without a website that attracts and informs customers, you will lose credibility. Your website should have:
- Ease of use in navigation
- Updated relevant information
- Strong photos that make is visually pleasing
- Professional quality content on your product/service/industry
- Engages the customer through comment sections, FAQ, and testimonial areas
People are Online
People use tools like Google, Yelp, and Facebook to read reviews, check out your products, and make a decision on whether or not to visit your store or call you for your service. You want to make a good first impression with these information seekers. If they think your company does not offer a good experience, they will dismiss the business entirely. Consider the amount of people online today:
- In 2016, 3.4 billion people used the internet (that’s 46% of the population)
- 96% of Americans have made an online purchase in their lifetime
- 51% of Americans prefer to shop online
- E-commerce is growing 23% year-over-year, yet 46% of small businesses do not have a website
Online Presence Is the New Window Shopping
Walking Main Street to check out local businesses still occurs, but many people are using websites to read reviews before visiting a store. You should be encouraging customers to give your business a review and make sure they have a place to do this. Places like Yelp, Angie’s List, Google Reviews, and your Facebook should all have a link to your business website! This means you need a website to link to. Think keeping track of so many areas is too much? Check out statistics on reviews and how they affect businesses:
- 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
- 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review if asked
- 54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews
- 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
Access to a website allows consumers 24/7 access to your business. If you are a product-based business that makes sales through your website, you are able to get orders around the clock. If you are a service-based business, the website should provide all necessary information to customers, and be accessible at all times. This information can include:
- A list of your services or products
- “About Us”
- “Request a Quote”, Online Scheduling
- “Contact Us”
Going completely global may not always be a goal, but the simple ability to have that opportunity can mean a lot for your business if you plan on expanding at all. Maybe you are a local business starting out in one county, but eventually, you want to expand to surrounding areas…having a website lets people from anywhere access your services and products. Be sure to include the areas that you service on the website. Word-of-mouth travels fast, so when Person A from County X tells Person B from County Y, Person B can visit your awesome website and see that you do service County Y!
In conclusion, having a professional, informative website can make or break your business. If consumers do not see you, then you really are not there.
Owner - Proximo Marketing Strategies
Courtney Buzzell is the owner of Proximo Marketing Strategies, an international digital marketing firm based out of Yorktown, Virginia. Courtney also works as adjunct faculty at Thomas Nelson Community College, educating students on best practices for marketing in the 21st century.
Find out more about Courtney and the rest of our advisors by clicking HERE.