Why should a business have a website? More specifically, why do small businesses need a website? Surely for small business owners there’s enough to be dealing with already! Ultimately, you need to be responding to how your customers are behaving. Before trying out a new business or service, many people now turn to the Internet to make an informed choice about their purchase. This makes having an online presence essential for business success in the modern economy. The benefits of having a website when you run a small business are huge.
Despite this, many small businesses are not harnessing the Internet’s full potential. The Guardian has revealed that 60% of small UK businesses do not have any presence online whatsoever. Although it is clear that business is becoming increasingly digital, small business owners are often unconvinced about why they should build a business website. If you are a local professional who only serves a small area, it may seem like a waste of time setting up a website. Surely word-of-mouth recommendations are enough?
Here is a run-down of the top reasons why your business needs a website:
Credibility and reputation are vitally important for surviving in the business world. In the past, local services only needed to ask their customers to recommend them to a friend in order to market themselves. However, times have changed. It’s no longer viable for a small business to ignore the need to have a presence online.
Nowadays, if you are a small business, you need a website. Otherwise, you risk looking like a tiny operation that isn’t going to be able to deliver great service. Having a professional looking website is a very simple way of boosting your reputation. Potential customers are increasingly tech savvy, and before trying out a small business, the first place most people turn is the Internet. If you don’t have your own website, but your competitors do, potential customers will start to wonder why.
There are numerous free platforms out there that will help you to build a website for your business. However, the danger with these services is that they can produce websites that aren’t very unique or dynamic. Also, you will have to create the website yourself if you use these platforms, which isn’t practical for a small business owner with little spare time. If your design and tech skills aren’t great, hiring a professional is your safest bet. You need a website that will represent your business in the best light possible. Investing some of your marketing budget in hiring a web designer to create a website for you will save you a lot of time.
Many small businesses ask the question: ‘do we still need a website if we are active on social media?’ The short answer is you absolutely do. Of course, the sheer numbers of people who use social media sites mean they can be a great way of accessing new customers. But, for a small business, it can be very difficult to cut through the noise. Platforms like Facebook that now have over 1.59 billion users, so competition for likes and clicks is fierce among businesses. Therefore, it is dangerous to see social media profiles as a good substitute for your own website.
There are a number of drawbacks to only using social media to promote your business online. Firstly, social media sites regularly change their algorithms, and this can affect the reach of your posts. Unless you have a lot of spare time to dedicate to understanding these changes, it’s not a great idea to only rely on Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. Don’t be deceived into thinking that your business is reaching a large audience just because Facebook has a large number of users.
It takes just minutes to set up a Facebook page or a Twitter account, and anyone can make one. If your only online presence is a free to use social media account, potential customers may become suspicious of your trustworthiness as a business. Having a comprehensive and informative website, that goes into detail about your business, is a great way of quickly establishing trust among potential customers. After you have established your website, you can use social media to compliment your web presence rather than as a substitution for it.
It can be difficult if you are a local service provider to differentiate yourself from the competition in your area. From the perspective of a consumer, it can be very tricky to find the right professional for their job. Often the only information consumers can base their decision on is price. It can be hard to know what the quality of the work will be.
A great solution to this problem is to build a website that showcases your work. The easiest way of doing this is to display images of jobs you have already completed. As a local business, you need a website to give you this competitive edge against other local services. By including images of the jobs you have already successfully finished, a potential customer is much more likely to have the confidence to book you for their project.
A custom-made website for your business is highly personal, and it can be easily updated and edited. Other forms of advertising, such as print, are static and cannot be changed once they’re public. A dedicated website will properly showcase your dynamic and growing business.
When was the last time you trudged through a phone book to find a local service? Those days are long gone. Instead, the smartphone has taken over, and now it completely dominates how people access the Internet. An enormous 70% of adults in the UK owns a smartphone. That figure rises to 90% when you focus on 16-24 year olds. Crucially, they’re not just using their phones to take selfies with. For banking, shopping, and booking appointments, young people especially now turn to their phone first. Thinking digitally is essential for small businesses to succeed on the long run. For that reason, investing in a website for your small business sooner rather than later is the smartest way of tapping into a younger audience.
You need a website in order to compete with those local services that are already targeting customers through the web. Speed, efficiency, and ease of access are all top priorities for consumers looking for a local service. If a customer can quickly fill out an online form to book the service they need, they are far more likely to book than if they need to speak to someone directly.
Owning a small business is a time consuming job. Marketing your services can take up a huge amount of your time and resources. Wouldn’t it be better if you could get back to focusing on your passion? Shouldn’t providing great customer service for your clients be your top priority? You need a website in order to keep your business running in this fast-paced, digital age.
The joy of having your own website is that your business will be constantly available. Consumers now expect businesses, even small local ones, to be available online 24/7. Businesses hours no longer apply, as a prospective customer can enquire about your services whenever they like. This continuous access has the potential to grow your customer base enormously.
This is also why it is so important to invest in a quality web designer. The web designer needs to build you a responsive and good looking website from the very beginning. To keep your business competitive, you need a website that is both functional and stylish. An informative, well-structured, beautiful website will decrease the amount of time you spend on answering customer questions.
Many people have the misconception that hiring a professional web developer will be out of their budget, but a custom build web site is actually becoming increasingly affordable. Individuals and businesses are increasingly becoming aware that they need a website, so competition between designers is high. If you need a website built, there’s never been a cheaper time to start.
If the price still seems off-putting to you, consider how much you are spending on other non-digital channels. Other forms of advertising like local newspaper adverts, or printing and delivering leaflets to people, do not come cheap. These methods also have some major disadvantages. They don’t offer you the opportunity to target specific demographics. You can’t know how many people are viewing your adverts. Having a website offers you fantastic opportunities to get to know your audience. Ultimately, this gives you a chance to discover how to turn those clicks into paid customers.
Hiring a professional web designer is an investment in your company’s future success. It can be easy to underestimate the power of good web design. The crucial thing to remember is that you get what you pay for. Using one of the many free website builders available may seem like a good cost saving strategy. Yet, this could cause you to end up wasting time and money on an unimpressive result. The safest bet is to invest in an established, experienced web designer with an impressive portfolio.
Reputation is incredibly important when you are a small local business. Many small businesses rely on word-of-mouth recommendations. However, the importance of your customers recommending you to their friends and family is being challenged. Before committing to purchasing a product, most people are now in the habit of reading online reviews. They want to know if they are investing in a quality product or service before parting with their hard earned money. The same goes for local services. Over 77% of consumers have consulted online reviews before hiring a local service professional at least once. What does that mean for your local business? This trend makes it clear that you need a website of your own, so that you can control your own online reputation.
Even if your business only covers a small geographic area, it is highly likely your customers are talking about you online. The growth of social media means that your customers can share their experience of your service instantly. Showcasing good reviews on your own website will provide potential customers with a positive impression of your company. If you don’t have a professional business website, you may raise suspicions among potential customers. Any doubt a customer has about your business can of course lead them to look elsewhere. Don’t lose out by making the mistake of thinking you don’t need a website!
source – http://bit.ly/2skriIl