You might be surprised to know that nearly half of all small businesses don’t have a website.
It’s almost impossible to overstate the importance of website ownership to businesses, large and small alike. The Internet gives even the smallest of startup companies a chance to connect with millions of potential customers. A well-designed small business website is your best chance of making a lasting impression on your target audience.
Consider the importance of a website in marketing to consumers: whether it’s blogging or sharing white papers, websites provide a scalable method for getting your brand out there and establishing your business as a trusted authority if and when compared to a competitor’s website.
Knowing why a good website is important is key. So in this article, I’ll explain why a good website is a crucial element of marketing your small business, as well as share some of the best website building tips!
Websites are important for visibility
To a brick-and-mortar business, location is everything. Opening your store in a place where lots of potential customers see you can provide a huge boost to the success of your business as it increases traffic and exposure. That said, today many businesses offer goods and services to people who’ve never set foot in their physical location, owing to an established online presence by means of a responsive website.
The Internet provides the potential for you to market to many millions of people by setting up an online store. However, it’s not possible to reach those customers in your desired audience if they don’t know you exist. Studies show that 70 to 80 percent of consumers research businesses online when deciding whether to buy their goods or services. If they search for your business and can’t find a website, it’s almost as if you don’t exist.
To summarize, the most important steps for the visibility of your business are:
Utilizing a website builder to establish your online presence as an e-commerce store
Applying SEO best practices to account for the ranking factor of your web page
Share your history and vision for the future
One of the benefits of having a website is it gives you a platform to share your story, including how you got started, what you’re doing now and what you see for the future of the company.
Discussing your history lets the user know how long you’ve been part of your chosen industry as well as what contributions you’ve made. Even if you’re just starting out, there’s still a lot you can say about the road that led you to your current position within your chosen niche.
Your website also allows you to tell customers about upcoming products. Mention long-term goals for where you want your brand to be ten years from now. This approach shows confidence and ambition, and it lets customers know that you plan to be around for a long time.
Your biggest competitors are already online
If you are attempting to establish yourself in an industry, no matter what it is, then you should assume that your biggest competitors already have a web presence. Take a moment — think of the biggest name in any given industry. Chances are, they have a website and so do their competitors.
Be sure to research your competitors online. What are they doing that you can do better in terms of web design, load time, search engine optimization? Which marketing methods are they not using? How much more attractive can you make your website compared to theirs so that your website performance will soar?
If your business doesn’t have a website, you’re operating at the back of the pack. However, simply building a website isn’t necessarily all it takes to make you competitive. You have to proactively design it to offer better content and convince customers that what you’re selling in your e-commerce store is infinitely better than other companies.
Strictly operating on a social media platform is unwise
One of the reasons some businesses don’t bother to build a website is the assumption that social media platforms make it unnecessary. Facebook itself previously boasted that it’s home to 40 million small business pages.
It’s likely that many of these Facebook page owners work very hard on their pages and developing connections to Facebook users. But the problem with not taking the time to develop your own webspace as a business is that you’re at the mercy of the platform. Rules are subject to change without your knowledge.
One recent example involves Facebook purging its site of 800 political accounts and declaring them spam. However, some page owners declared that they weren’t spamming, but sharing legitimate news stories. It really didn’t matter what their explanation was, Facebook has the final say, and their content is gone forever.
A violation, however unintended, could see your page shut down overnight. Imagine all of your content and customer access is suddenly gone, and with no guarantee that it is going to come back.
Other possible concerns include:
Losing your page to hackers
Forgetting the password and getting locked out
Getting temporarily banned from Facebook due to a rules violation
As worrying as these scenarios are, there’s one more factor that’s the most probable outcome for your page: obsoletion. A social media platform’s popularity fades with time, spurring web users to move to greener social networking pastures. It’s unwise to operate your business from a platform that could see almost everyone abandon it at some point.
It’s true that you could also move to a new platform but you would essentially be starting at square one unless you enjoyed a particularly large following. That’s usually not the case for many business pages. There’s also no guarantee that every customer is going to follow you to the new platform or that you’ll be able to build as large a following on the new social media site.
Social media can be great for businesses, but it’s a better idea to use it in conjunction with your own website. Share your content and allow it to encourage a steady stream of traffic into space that your business both owns and controls.
Attract top talent to your company
Having a good website isn’t just important to your business for the sake of drawing in customers. If you want the best possible employees to work for you, they are going to likely want to check out your website and see what you have to offer.
Many would-be employees care about what kind of company they might be working for. A website that uses old graphics, loads very slowly, and hasn’t been updated in over a year does not instill any sense of confidence.