A website is the single most important advertising channel for your small business. Not only is it a commercial ad space that you own, it is a direct link between your customers and your business.
At the advent of the mobile-centric 21st century, it’s not about “if” you need a website but “how” it can benefit your business.
Up until the late 20th century, most small businesses survived and some even thrived from simply setting up shop and selling products and service to locals.
Communication was done mainly via landline telephones and regular mail. Local businesses were listed in a, now obsolete, big and heavy Yellow Pages.
Then came the information highway, the internet. Although it started out in the shape of a slow dial-up form, it quickly advanced into a high speed network of connectivity – but it didn’t end there.
Apple revolutionized the smartphone industry and put this new network of information in the palm of our hands. Flash-forward to present day, according to pewinternet, nearly the entire US population owns a cell phone with 77% of them being a smartphone.
It’s never been easier to reach potential customers as long as your business has some sort of web presence.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A WEBSITE FOR YOUR SMALL BUSINESS
- • Visibility to Customers
- • Builds Credibility
- • Lessen Routine Tasks
- • Streamline Daily Operations
- • Communication with Customers
- • Helps Build an Email List
- • E-commerce opportunities
- • Integrate with Social Media
- • 24 Hour Salesman
SOME INTERESTING STATS ABOUT THE WEB
According to internetlivestat:
- • In 1999 there were 3.17 millions websites in the world
- • In 2018, total number of websites increased to 1.63 billion
- • There was a 69% increase in websites from 1.04 billion in 2017 to 1.76 billion in 2018
- • The first website ever published was on August 6, 1991
It only took about one generation for the internet to grow to where it is today. We are now in a global era where businesses can be found and reached from around the world.
Businesses that took advantage of this evolution of marketing quickly saw their top and bottom line reach new heights while the ones that didn’t, stagnated.
IMPORTANCE OF A BUSINESS WEBSITE
If you’re still on the fence, here are 9 reasons on how a website can help your business’ bottom line. With mobile search growing exponentially every year, it’s never been more important to have a marketing presence where people are actually searching.
1 – WHY WEBSITES ARE IMPORTANT TO REACH MORE CUSTOMERS
Nobody is reaching for the Yellow Pages anymore. Even if the big yellow book is still relevant, the listing doesn’t provide much information about your business other than an address and a phone number.
A website can hold all the information about your business and acts as a landing page to funnel in traffic and potential customers. If your business caters to tourists, websites make it easy for them to discover your local business and plan their itinerary prior to arrival.
2 – IMPORTANCE OF A WEBSITE IN BUSINESS FOR CREDIBILITY
Customer purchase decisions almost always begin with an internet search. Think about the last time you searched for a business – the first place you probably looked is on the Google app in your phone.
Businesses without a website are viewed as less credible compared to a business with a well-designed website. It makes a great first impression by adding transparency and telling a story to potential customers.
3 – HOW WEBSITES CAN LESSEN ROUTINE TASKS
Gone are the days when customers have to call in to find out basic information like hours of operations or services provided. If you own a restaurant, you can display your entire menu with pictures of delicious food for your entire neighborhood to view.
From appetizers and entrees to daily specials, customers know exactly what’s on the menu before stepping foot in the door. Repetitive and routine phone calls can be eliminated.
4 – STREAMLINE YOUR OPERATIONS AND DECREASE EXPENSES
If we look at an appointment based business for example, a simple online booking system can schedule your sessions while you focus on day to day operations.
You’ll be able to notify customers of specials and new deals instantly by posting directly on your website. Less expenses can be spent on flyers or direct mail.
Other than word of mouth, advertising can’t get any cheaper than with a web presence.
5 – BENEFITS OF A WEBSITE FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE AND COMMUNICATION
Contact forms are always available to take customer inquiries even when you’re not. No question should go un-noticed and every question answered is a potential sale.
Even if you’re closed for the day, you can link your website’s contact form to your email and use your mobile phone to communicate with customers on the go – the chain of communication is always alive and never broken.
6 – IMPORTANCE OF HAVING A WEBSITE TO BUILD AN EMAIL LIST
Building a client base by building an email list is a great strategy for unlocking customer loyalty from targeting repeat customers. Imagine building a client list of thousands of customers and marketing to them instantly with a simple email or newsletter.
Campaigns that draw in customers can easily be run during slow seasons when they typically wouldn’t spend otherwise. Free email services like Mailchimp can effectively automate that process and help you convert when conditions are less than ideal. As the saying goes, “Build that list”.
7 – BENEFITS OF A WEBSITE FOR E-COMMERCE OPPORTUNITIES
You can sell gift certificates on your website and have the funds deposited directly into your bank account. If you sell products or services, anyone across the states is now a potential customer, as long as you’re willing to incorporate logistics into your business.
For business selling physical or digital products, you can now reach new clients around the globe and sell direct to customer. If you’ve watched the popular show “Shark Tank”, most of the entrepreneurs’ business success started with a direct to customer approach using a website.
8 – SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING ISN’T ENOUGH
Social Media can be great for your business but how much control do you really have. All the information about your establishment is on a platform that is controlled by a third party company.
You have no say in the pictures uploaded by customers and anyone can leave a review, good or bad, including your competitors.
It is best practice to link your website directly on social media account so customers can judge you not by a few disgruntled customers, but by what your business really stands for.
Websites are important because it can act as your first and second impression.
9 – A SALESMAN THAT NEVER SLEEPS AND WORKS FOR PENNIES
The internet never sleeps and neither does a website. It’s ready to provide information about your business and take orders 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.
Use a well composed sales pitch on your website and it’s ready to always sell, never complain, and willing to work for just some spare change.
If you know how important sales are, then it’s easy to see the significant roles a website can play in your bottom line. It should be considered a staple or pre-requisite for business success.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH A BUSINESS WEBSITE
Before the internet boom, developing a website definitely took a toll on your wallet. Businesses didn’t see the need for websites so there were less demand for web designers.
It used to be considered normal to pay several thousands of dollars for a simple website. However, in today’s digital age, there are many ways to build a website, especially if it’s a simple one.
Drag and drop site builders like wix, weebly, and squarespace make it a lot easier and doable for small business owners to build a website, albeit with a monthly fee.
There are also sites like Fiverr where you can find an overseas web designer that’ll design one for a few hundred dollars.
- • If you want to get started, all you need is a domain name and a web hosting plan to build your website on.
- If your business still doesn’t have a website, think of a good name and register it free at Namehero.
- • Hosting plans are so cheap these days, at $3.29 a month, it definitely won’t break the bank.
- It’ll turn out to be one of the best investment decisions for your business.
- • Once you have a domain name and a web host, you’re ready to make a website. If you want to build your own custom site for free, WordPress is your best option – it’s a lot easier than you think and that’s why it powers a third of all websites on the net.
Get started today with this guide that’ll walk you step by step through the whole process on how to create a DIY website for your business.
Here is a list of 5 Best web hosting companies for small business websites.