With the rise and domination of social media networks on the Internet, some people question the value of even having a website anymore. If a business is able to communicate its vision and meet new clients through a Facebook page, Instagram profile, or other platform for free, many ask: Is it really necessary to invest in a website? The question really comes down to whether or not your goal is to invest in a long term business, or your ambitions are more fleeting or don’t require full control.
Basically, it’s the difference between owning and renting.
In the physical world, people buy real estate to increase their worth in assets, and to have the freedom to live the life they want on their own little piece of the world. Building a website for your business is the digital equivalent to this investment. There are some who do quite well with networking and marketing by renting space (usually for free) on social media platforms. But for those who really want to participate in the digital economy, a professional website is an absolute must.
Here are the top 10 reasons your business should have a website:
1. Digital Real Estate
Your website is the place to establish and own your business’ digital presence. It serves as a portal into your business, delivering information and opportunities to your customers while saving you a lot of time. Having your own website literally provides you with your own domain where you can shine brightly.
2. Build Reputation and Credibility
For more than a decade, a website has been regarded a necessity for any business to be taken seriously. These days, most companies that lack a website are either start-ups that haven’t launched one yet, companies that probably won’t last very long, or companies that aren’t interested in growing their customer base or income.
3. Publish Your Online Brochure
A website allows you to share information about the facets of your business all in one place, which saves time for you and your potential customers. It also saves you money. The savings on printing costs alone are monumental when you move from from updating, producing, and distributing paper-based marketing material every year to giving your prospects an opportunity to engage with your business in a full-color, multimedia, information-rich experience online.
4. Time Is Still Money
For many businesses with the foresight to develop their website properly, a “Frequently Asked Questions” page saves hundreds of customer service hours. Your website allows you to anticipate your customers’ needs and ensure they can independently source the information they want—so you can spend your time doing what you actually enjoy.
5. Connect with New Customers
Let’s face it: When people go looking for something they want, very few reach for the Yellow Pages anymore. Whether they search through Google, another search engine, or a social media network, an optimized website draws traffic of visitors looking to be educated or serviced. Each one has the potential to become your customer, and your website allows you to collect their contact information so that, even if they don’t become a customer on their first visit, you have the power to follow up and convert them into your customer another day.
6. Find Your Voice
With the advance of blogging and content marketing, businesses and business owners gain incredible opportunities to stand out as leaders in their field. Your website gives you a platform to express yourself in a way that proves what you’ve worked hard to become: the best in your business.
7. Communicate with Your Customers
When you leverage your website to find your voice and communicate what’s important to you, you also add value by educating, entertaining, and empowering your customers. Your website provides the foundation through which you’ll guide potential customers to discovering how much they need what you have, and how good you are at delivering it.
8. Establish Relationships with Your Clients
Your website not only lets you communicate with your clients, but it also allows them to communicate with you. Let’s think outside the “contact information” box: Comments, surveys, and forms on your website open up channels for customer feedback. This in turn helps you improve customer service and engage with your customers to make them feel like they’re actually heard and valued. Making people part of the conversation is known to make customers for life.
9. Go Global
While many online searches for products or services target local business, one perk of setting up shop on the World Wide Web is an expanded reach beyond your physical location. This can be especially helpful when people are researching an upcoming visit to the area where you do business: Should they need something in your line of business during their trip, your website will make it clear you’re the area’s go-to provider.
10. Websites Never Sleep
All day and night, your website is there, available for anyone who wants to find out more about what you do and why you’re the best at it. Hands-free, around-the-clock service makes the website one of the most revolutionary marketing tools of all time.
As you can see, a website is vital if you want to do business in the digital age, but you should also know that not just any website will do. There are a number of parameters you’ll need to consider as you move forward with the development of your website in order to ensure the highest rate of effectiveness.
- It’s Got to Be Mobile-Friendly – According to the Pew Research Center, over two thirds of Americans now have a smart phone, up from less than a third in 2011. Because so much searching is now done “on the go,” it is incredibly important that your website utilizes responsive design so that it is easily navigable and readable on mobile devices. Plus, if you’re wanting Google to include your site in their search results, you’ve got to cater to their customers, who are more often than not on a mobile device.
- You Must Be Optimized for Searches – In order to be effective, your website needs to be developed with search engines in mind. The job of the search engines is to provide their customers with the most applicable answers to their queries, and there are specialized techniques to increase your ranking in the results to ensure you’re the answer they find.
- Content Is King – Be sure you have a blog that allows you to reach out to your customers on a regular basis by implementing a quality content management system that will assist you in sharing your message through your social media networks and paid online advertising accounts.
- Give Them Landing Pages – While content truly is king, campaigns are queens. As such, by implementing landing pages for your prospective clients, you’re able to make them feel regal, roll out the carpet, clear away the otherwise very helpful “clutter” of your website to present one key piece of information and call to action.
- Calls to Action – Of course you want people to visit your website, but more importantly, you want them to act. Whether you want them to sign up for your newsletter, follow you on Twitter, or call you for more information, if you don’t ask, they’re less likely to act.
- Implement Analytics – Getting traffic is great, but it’s just as important to see where it’s coming from to evaluate what strategies and campaigns are working. Understanding your analytics allows you to use your marketing time and dollars more wisely and effectively.
- Social Media Presence – While not all businesses are active on all of the social media networks, these platforms have created an incredible tool for connecting with present and future customers.
- Social Sharing Buttons – As you’re creating new content to establish yourself as the professional you are, give your visitors the chance to share your brilliance with their networks. Nothing beats free advertising.
- Social Media Icons – If you have established your presence on social media networks, offering links to those pages allows you to expand your audience and connect more with your customers.
- Contact Form – While this may seem like the least exciting thing on your website, it is one of the most important. It is a wonderful thing to have a website that adds value to your industry and educates your visitors. It’s even more wonderful when that visit converts them into a client. Your contact form is the first step to making that happen.
We hope this helps you recognize the value of the digital real estate that is your website. If you want to invest in your business by either creating a new website or updating your current one, Please allow us to explore the possibilities with you. Establishing a successful business on the internet can seem like a daunting task, so don’t forget to blink.