Every business no matter the size or the business category it belongs to needs a website. Times are far gone when you rely solely on your brick and mortar store. It probably worked well for your business in the past but without a website in today’s ever so advanced world where consumers rely heavily on the internet to gather information about a company, including product reviews – it probably won’t.
Today, people often turn to the Internet first to research businesses and products. Building a website not only helps small businesses promote and sell their products and services, it allows them to put their best foot forward to consumers.
I have listed below why having a website for your business is no longer just a luxury but an absolute necessity.
1. Be Found
It comes as no surprise that many consumers begin their purchasing decisions by searching for products and services online. Today, customers are constantly using and searching with computers, tablets and smartphones. A website lets customers find and learn about your business 24/7.
A website offers other benefits too.
It allows small businesses to reach a bigger audience outside of their local area without a huge increase in marketing expenses. And it’s not just about attracting new customers. Business owners use websites to better serve existing customers by providing important business information and services on their site which they can access anytime and anywhere.
Some businesses use social media or online directories in lieu of a website to promote their business. This is an easy way to quickly create an online presence. However, research by experts has shown that when looking for information about a business, people would trust a business’s website over a social media page or an online directory.
A website offer many more advantages, such as increased flexibility, control, branding and credibility, While it’s good to own social media pages for your business, it’s absolutely important that you create a functional website that stands in as your salesman all round the clock.
A website lends credibility to the legitimacy of a small business. According to a recent survey, consumers believe a business with a website is more credible than one with only a social media page. Although as a small business owner you can build a brand presence on social media, but you will be limited by its platform in terms of design, process and technology.
Having your own website gives your small business the ability to control every aspect of their brand with no restrictions on how to market your products or services. This contributes to your brand’s overall reputation and market standing.
If as a small business owner you want to be credible and attract new customers, a website can make a difference.
One important decision in creating your website is choosing the right domain name (or Web address), so you should take careful consideration when making your choice.
First, you need to decide which domain extension, such as .com and .net, best serves your company (I’ll recommend that you stick with a .com extension where possible). And second, select a name that is memorable, descriptive, keyword-rich (e.g. words Internet users might enter into a search engine to look for a business such as yours) and isn’t trademarked by another company.
Ensure to use a domain name for email. Survey found that 65% of consumers believe a company-branded email is more credible than a business using a free email account. Company-branded email (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org), lends further credibility when communicating with prospective customers. Your branded email also offers the benefit of using multiple email addresses for different areas of a business (e.g., email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com), which further propels an established, professional image.
3.Get More Customers
Who wants more customers? All businesses do! The top priority for most small businesses is finding new customers, and in today’s competitive marketplace, having an online presence is key. This means that if someone is looking for a product or services your business offers, your website needs to show up in search results or you will miss out on potential sales leads.
A website is a great way to find new customers. It helps you to strengthen relationships with your loyal retail customers and attracts online customers who had never stepped foot into your physical store
Ongoing business success rests in large part on a company’s ability to bring in new clients. Using traditional marketing methods like print advertising to reach a large audience can be expensive and unreliable, but getting online enables small businesses to reach more people while paying less for the exposure—and with measurable results.
4.Grow Your Business
A website is a cost-effective tool to expand any business locally, nationally and globally.
A website can help small businesses broaden their customer base outside of their city limits.
While face-to-face interactions are important and business may come via word-of-mouth, a website provides a company a chance to “pass their card out” to thousands of new potential customers outside their normal vicinity, which then leads to a larger service area and possible expansion of regional offices.
A step further is having an e-commerce website which allows businesses to sell products to customers around the world.
5.Gain Competitive Advantage
A current trend among consumers is to conduct research online before they buy. 93% of consumers use the Internet for research before making a purchase.
Consumers want to be informed prior to making purchasing decisions, from what they buy to whom they buy from. So if your company doesn’t have a website, it risks losing customers to businesses who are already taking advantage of the online marketplace.
More than half of Nigerian-based small businesses don’t have a website, so there’s no time like the present to establish or improve your business website and get ahead of the competition.
If you want to be taken seriously in any competitive client-based industry, you can’t create opportunities for prospects to question your commitments or professionalism. A strong first impression is critical for opening up your business and a website is often the first place clients look.
If your small business is in direct competition with another business that has a website, it’s critically important to make sure your business has one, especially if your competitor is effectively marketing its website. Having your own website helps level the playing field
Relying solely on a physical store or traditional marketing efforts limits the success of any business. In this digital age, consumers increasingly rely on the Internet, and expect businesses to have an online presence.
Whether you’re concerned about establishing credibility, growing your business, gaining a competitive advantage or wanting to be found online, the bottom line is a website goes a long way.
There’s no doubt that registering a domain name and establishing a website offer a number of different business advantages, and are easier now to do. So get started now.