A website can be a game changer for both small and large business owners, freelancers and even focused, driven careerists. But don’t take our word for it: here are 13 proven reasons why you should have a website.
So, you’re a business owner, you run a charity, or you run a community group. Or perhaps you’re a freelancer, and you are your own boss. Do you really need a website? Creating one can seem so daunting, especially when you’re competing with millions upon millions of other websites vying for every Googler’s attention!
We’re here to tell you that yes, in both big and small ways, a website can and will be a game changer. A website today is your digital calling card and not having one means your business may not be as trusted as it could be. You are leaving money on the table. If you are a charity or voluntary organisation, your potential stakeholders, donors, and funders may not get to learn about you and the good work you do in your community.
Here are thirteen reasons why you should start a website today.
P.S. We’ll provide some tips at the end of this article on how to actually begin the process of creating your first website. It’s less daunting than you think!
1. It allows you to control your brand image
When people Google your name or your business name, who knows what they’ll see? It might be an article or review someone wrote about you, or another person or company with your same name. That could set a potential customer off on the wrong foot.
You want to be in control of how your brand image is presented to customers. A website allows you to curate visuals and information that you want to be associated with your brand. It puts you in control of the narrative. You want this, 100%.
2. People will find your business on search engines
Did you know that 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine? When people have a problem that they want solved, they go searching online, especially on Google. But understand that Google isn’t the only search engine out there. There are thousands, including Yahoo, Bing, Yandex, Pinterest, Amazon, Medium, etc. They might be searching for a particular product, a service, information on a topic, or an answer to a question. If you optimise your website correctly, you could show up in their search results.
Consider these points:
- What customer problem or desires is your service/product solving?
- What might your target customer type into their search engine?
- How can you create a website that shows up as an answer to that question?
Then either curate or create a service or product that answers those questions, and shape your business’s mission statement to reflect that. Create content that speaks to the above and share it on multiple online bookmarking sites and traffic sources or portals to attract eyeballs and that much desired click. That often means creating blog posts (like this one!) as companies that blog receive 97% more links to their website and have 434% more search-engine indexed webpages.
3. Your website is like an employee who works 24/7
You only have so many hours in the day, and you need a bunch of them for relaxing and sleeping! As do your employees, if you have any. Your website needs none of that. When properly optimised and maintained, it will be available 24/7 for customers to peruse at their will, even if they’re in a different time zone (or if they’re just an insomniac). You could be attracting your desired results whether you are sleeping, beaching, or working!
4. It puts you on a level playing field with your competitors
Today, around two thirds of all small businesses have a website. Unfortunately, having a website is no longer a unique advantage: it’s simply necessary to reach an even playing field with your competitors. Businesses similar to yours have websites, and because of that, they’ll be snapping up customers, subscribers, members, stakeholders, donors, etc, that could be yours. Creating a website gives you a chance to grab a slice of that pie.
5. A website lends credibility to your business
Imagine this: a potential customer hears about your business and they’re curious to find out more or even contact you! Amazing, right? But when they Google you, you don’t show up. If you’d had a website, you’d probably make a sale, but because you don’t, you’re likely to lose that customer.
First of all, they’re probably not willing to go out of their way to figure out how to contact you when that information isn’t readily available; they’ll likely search the internet for an alternative service. Secondly, because businesses having websites is so ubiquitous and expected, they may find it suspicious that you don’t have one. They’ll probably wonder if your service is legit, and decide that they don’t want to run the risk. Since 81% of customers conduct research online before making a purchase, that legitimacy is crucial.
6. You will attract business from outside of your local area
If your business offers services that aren’t restricted to your local area, a website can open you up to the entire world. When you’re running your marketing solely through word of mouth and locally distributed flyers, your pool of potential customers is tiny, compared to when you get that website up and running, and anybody with access to the internet could stumble across you.
Also there is such a thing as market saturation for mostly local businesses if there are many similar businesses! You want to seek customers from a diverse range of places and communities, so that you’re not just relying on a limited pool of locals.
And if you’re mostly looking for clients in your local area, you’re still not getting out of this website thing so easily! Remember that 97% of customers search online first when they’re looking for local goods or services. Even someone who’s just down the street might only be convinced to contact you if they find you on Google.
7. A website unlocks new and exciting sales methods
There are all sorts of ways to sell your product that become available when you start a website. Various plugins allow you to customize a website with pop-ups and newsletter sign up forms. These can lead your customer to enticing deals and make them curious to learn more about what you do.
8. You can provide up to date information about your business
If you don’t have a website, the first thing someone finds when they Google you may be a news article or blog post from five years ago that advertises a product you don’t even sell anymore. When you’re in the early days of your business, the way you pitch and brand yourself will probably be ever changing. You want to present the most up to date version of yourself to the world.
When your website is the first thing people find when they Google you, they’re being presented with your business as it exists today. Anytime you want to update it, you can do so quickly, with a few button clicks.
9. A website answers FAQs for you
Do you ever get tired of answering the same set of questions about your business, day in, day out? Time is money, and a constant barrage of FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) are likely sucking up a valuable chunk of your time.
Instead, you could just stick an FAQs section on your website and direct customers to it, so you never have to repeat yourself again. Your website does that work for you.
10. It helps you build a stronger and more trusting relationship with your customers
You should always provide a contact form or email/phone contact details and a feedback space on your website. Having a website that provides this information opens up a dialogue with your customers, so that they can ask questions and provide feedback. This kind of openness and transparency not only allows you to use that feedback to improve your service, it also creates a sense of trust between you and your customer base.
If we did not have a feedback page, we would not receive such heartwarming messages from our beneficiaries as this:
11. It’s a place where you can share amazing reviews of your business
Hopefully, your open dialogue with your customers will also lead to you hearing positive feedback and receiving amazing reviews. A website is a great place to share that! Placing glowing quotes from customers on your home page and throughout your website instantly increases the credibility of your business. Here’s a fun fact: 84% of people value online reviews as much as personal recommendations! A customer is much more likely to choose a service that they know has left others satisfied.
Take a look at our website’s homepage, which has a feedback section when you scroll down slightly.
12. It provides you with crucial information about who your audience is and how they interact with your business
Once you’ve set up your website, potential customers will start visiting it, and most website builders (like WordPress) will allow you some insight into who those customers are and how they are behaving.
Depending on what Analytics service you use (Google Analytics is a good one), you may get to see how many visitors you have, what demographics they belong to, what pages they visit, and how long they stay on those pages. A website is a place for data collection, and that data will help you hone your business practices to better suit your customer base.
13. A website allows customers to choose when to engage with your business
If you approach someone on the street or at a market about your product, you never know what financial state or state of mind you’re meeting them in. Maybe they’d love your product or service, but they’re having a bad money month and they just can’t afford it right now. Maybe they’re in a rush and not in the mood for decision making. If they have to make a decision right there and then, you’ve probably lost them. But if you have a website, they can bookmark it and revisit your business when they feel ready to.
Having a constant online presence allows your customers to choose when to engage with you, on their own terms. It means you have the capacity to connect with customers any time and in any place.
Are you convinced yet? If so, remember that starting a website is easy (you can probably kickstart the process right now). You don’t need to start from scratch or hire a professional web designer just yet (although that can give your website a lot of pizzazz when you have the cash to afford it). If this is your preference, we know just the right people to get that done for you.
Otherwise, we recommend you start with a website builder. These services provide you with a pre-made template that you can easily customise. They help you create a website within minutes. We recommend WordPress (the service that this very site is hosted on!).You can get started creating your first WordPress site right now.