Small businesses can have many expenses to consider when setting up. A website might sometimes seem like an unnecessary additional expense, which is best left until later. This blog shares 5 great reasons why your business needs a website.
1. A good website makes your business look professional.
Customers have certain expectations of businesses. 56% of the world are internet users and in this day and age, there is something old fashioned and a little suspicious about a business that doesn’t have a website.
An article about internet use by Oberlo tells us, “As of the third quarter of 2019, there are over 4.33 billion active internet users (Datareportal, 2019). That marks a 327 million year-over-year increase compared to 2018’s Q3 figures. At 8.2 percent, the growth in active internet users worldwide is more than eight times faster than the total population growth, which stands at one percent.”
With so many of us actively using the internet, a website is a necessity. How many of us look for the website link on any company when we are contemplating a purchase? A good website is your “shop window” and represents your brand, your knowledge on your subject and indicates your quality and level of professionalism. It is a snapshot of your business and a first impression and we all know how important they are!
There are other search engines of course. Other major players are YouTube or Bing ( powered by Microsoft). However, no-one says they are going to “bing” something, do they? We all “google”.
A website is a hugely valuable marketing tool. Indeed, a website which has been designed with SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation) in mind should have the potential to rank well on Google. In the simplest terms, it should be one of the top-ranked suggestions which pops up, when you “google” You see, we don’t even “search” anymore!
A well-ranking site has the potential to attract more business and therefore more custom and business success for you.
So what is SEO anyway? This is probably a topic which in detail, is best left to another blog, but I can lay out the basics. This is technical SEO. Technical SEO allows Google to access, crawl, and index your website. A web designer worth their salt should automatically design you a website which is “google-friendly”. This is a term I think I have just made up, but here are some of the rules in making friends with Google and its little crawling spiders ( yes they do exist!)
- A website needs to have an SSL certificate. Its the little padlock symbol at the beginning of your address bar and the “https” prefix on your domain name. This should be automatically part of your design and it is basically there to encrypt all communication between you and your server. It provides security and google began flagging websites without an SSL certificate in 2017. this also affects your ranking. It’s easy to install and a necessity.
- Page Loading Speed. The loading speed of your website is very important and Google takes this into consideration when ranking a site. I wrote in my blog, ” Why website loading speed matters” that by 5 seconds the [probability of a customer “bouncing” off your site increases to 90%. People are impatient. Three seconds is good and 2 seconds is great! Loading speed is controlled by caching and image optimisation. This should be completed as part of the standard web design.
- Keywords – Image alt tags, meta descriptions, and titles. Keyword research helps your web designer target your page for the correct audience. It ensures that customers looking for that “foldaway bed” is led to your page. Once a web designer has studied the correct keywords and long-tail keywords, they need to ensure that these are represented in your titles, meta descriptions ( the blurb ), and on any images on your pages. Google can’t actually see your images, so you need to tell them what they are. By linking them to appropriate keywords, you increase the chances of your website being ranked positively by Google.
3. Showcase your products and services.
A well designed, easy to navigate website is very similar to a shop floor. It should display your products in an informative and attractive way. It should be easy to navigate in a similar way to genuine shop floor design. Retailers consider customer habits when designing a shop floor. They want to lead you to the products they know sell well. They want you to be able to easily access all the different options. A website should be the same.
When a potential customer clicks onto your site, they need to be drawn in. You don’t want them to be a statistic in your poor bounce rate. The site should be eye-catching, informative, and simple, in a good way!
4. A point of contact.
A website should offer a very visible point of contact for your customers. Once a customer has enjoyed your informative, easy to navigate, secure website they may want to contact you. It is vital that contact information is easily found on every page of your website. A contact page is of course very important and a contact form linked directly to your email is very useful. However, there should also be clickable links to email and phone numbers throughout your website. People can be impatient and they don’t want to be searching for a way to call you.
5. Share your knowledge and credibility!
A website is your opportunity to demonstrate to prospective customers that you are trustworthy and knowledgeable in your field. Your website should not only showcase your products but also share your knowledge and expertise. Customers often have questions about their purchase and your website should preempt these questions and offer solutions. This must of course be present in the content on each page of your website, but I believe that this is where a blog comes into its own.
Blogs serve several purposes. They share your knowledge and provide up to date information. They keep your website current. Without regular updates to a website, it might sit there dormant like a dusty book on a shelf. They present you as a well-informed and inspire confidence in your customers. When shared widely on social media platforms, blogs introduce new customers to your brand and increase clicks on your website. This all helps your ranking position with Google.
So, does your business need a website? Of course!
A good website is a valuable marketing tool. It should be informative, easy to use, fully responsive, secure and have the potential to evolve and keep pace with changes.
A small business, no matter how small needs a website. I would say that of course! I design them!
As a small business/freelancer myself, who left a 20-year teaching career and fell in love with web design, I know the struggles of new small businesses. It is one of the reasons that my prices are not astronomical. They are appropriate. I genuinely want to help new small businesses thrive, whilst creating this successful small business of my own. I love the opportunity of creating a website that reflects the business owner and meets the needs of their customer base. Each new site is a new creative adventure. Each new customer a new story.
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