It is surprising how many small businesses still do not have a website as 93% of business purchase decisions start with a search engine search. Moreover, Running your own business is no easy task, and your to-do-list is guaranteed to never end. Beginning with your website, it’s vital to position yourself online with a strong, professional destination that gives customers the impression you mean business and the motivation to want to engage more with your business.
Here are the top six reasons why having a website is important to business success.
1. First Impressions Count
Let’s face it – we live in a world where people Google before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp before they buy and “check-in” via Facebook as they go about their days. Because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be. Beginning with your website, consumers are passing judgement and making decisions about whether or not they will even visit your store, restaurant or office. They’re likely to dismiss you entirely, as well, should they believe your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business – or a business like yours – should offer.
2. A website makes your business look more credible and professional
Without a website many people will not even consider you as an option when they are looking for products or services. If they can’t find you online they simply write you off as an option. A good website informs and reassures customers that you know what you are doing and can deliver what they need.
3. A website increases your reach to customers
At any point in time more than 20 million shoppers are online, purchasing everything from books to computers to cars to food to cleaning services. You name it and however likely it may seem, someone will figure out how to sell it online. Even if they do not actually buy online many people now carry out Internet searches prior to shopping to find services in their local area and compare prices, venues etc. When you have a website your reach becomes far wider – you have a global audience that can access information about your company.
4. A website is a cost effective way to market your products or services
Many small businesses cite cost as the main reason for not having a website, but actually when you consider the potential reach to customers that you can achieve with a website when compared to traditional print advertising, it is one of the most cost effective ways to advertise. For the cost of a newspaper advert you could get yourself a professionally designed website which, when coupled with social media can extend your reach way beyond that of print.
5. Window Shopping Isn’t What It Use to Be
Strolling down your local Main Street isn’t the only way people check out stores and other small businesses nowadays. With routine visits to Yahoo, Bing, Google, Yelp and other online sites, customers are constantly seeking where they plan to make their next purchases. Make sure your business is well represented on these sites by first and foremost, having a website – but by also being represented among each of the online search engines, review sites and other online spots your business may be considered for customer review. Beyond having your URL address available, also be sure your street address, phone number and email is easily visible. Social media links can’t hurt, either, but only include these if you are actually active on social media.
6. No Website Means Losing Business
By now it’s clear that if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on opportunities for customers to identify who you are and if they want to spend money with you. This said, if you have a bad website it is better to have no website. While no website equals missed opportunities, a bad website can actually be worse since it literally makes your business look bad. With so many template based websites available nowadays, such as Shopify.com, for you to customize for your unique business, there’s truly no excuse for your website to look unprofessional and sloppy. If you can’t proudly promote the website you have currently live and available for the world to see online, take it down. A bad website is far worse than no website – but let’s be clear… both are bad for business.
7. If you’re not online get online
Harnessing the web as a business tool is important, even for businesses that may consider themselves as primarily offline. Beauty businesses, fitness businesses, plumbers, driving instructors and any number of other service businesses ultimately all measure success by their ability to build offline relationships – and the web can play a huge part in that. So no matter how established your businesses is offline, it’s crucial to get the basics of online in place.
As a small business, it’s unlikely you’ll have big budgets, staff or free personnel hours to invest in a complex online strategy, but there are certainly some simple steps you can take to start reaping the rewards that the web can bring. Don’t get left behind, get started today!