Running your own business is no easy task, and your to-do-list is guaranteed to never end. This said, you shouldn’t use this as an excuse to take shortcuts when it comes to having online visibility. Beginning with your website, it’s vital to position yourself online with a strong, professional destination that gives customers the impression you mean business and the motivation to want to engage more with your business. With this in mind, consider these five reasons why having a strong website is important.
First Impressions Count
Let’s face it – we live in a world where people Google before they shop, visit online review sites like Yelp before they buy and “check-in” via Facebook as they go about their days. Because of this, you want your first impression to be the best it can be. Beginning with your website, consumers are passing judgement and making decisions about whether or not they will even visit your store, restaurant or office. They’re likely to dismiss you entirely, as well, should they believe your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business – or a business like yours – should offer.
Window Shopping Isn’t What It Use to Be
Strolling down your local Main Street isn’t the only way people check out stores and other small businesses nowadays. With routine visits to Yahoo, Bing, Google, Yelp and other online sites, customers are constantly seeking where they plan to make their next purchases. Make sure your business is well represented on these sites by first and foremost, having a website – but by also being represented among each of the online search engines, review sites and other online spots your business may be considered for customer review. Beyond having your URL address available, also be sure your street address, phone number and email is easily visible. Social media links can’t hurt, either, but only include these if you are actually active on social media.
No Website Means Losing Business
By now it’s clear that if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on opportunities for customers to identify who you are and if they want to spend money with you. This said, if you have a bad website it is better to have no website. While no website equals missed opportunities, a bad website can actually be worse since it literally makes your business look bad. With so many template based websites available nowadays, such as Shopify.com, for you to customize for your unique business, there’s truly no excuse for your website to look unprofessional and sloppy. If you can’t proudly promote the website you have currently live and available for the world to see online, take it down. A bad website is far worse than no website – but let’s be clear… both are bad for business. Whether you are a one man or woman show or operate with 100 employees, your website should appear as if you have a team dedicated exclusively to keeping your online presence strong and noteworthy. The key here is “appear” versus actually having someone updating your website everyday. For most small businesses, this is simply not necessary. However, having a professional, polished looking website that functions easily and offers customers easy navigation, strong photo images, professional quality content and an overall experience that engages them enough for them to want to do business with you is key.
One of the most surprising things when you look at small businesses is how many of them don’t have a website. You would think that in this day and age everybody would know how important a website is for all businesses. Clearly that is not the case. Any business that does not have a website is missing out on one of the most powerful marketing tools available to them. The main reason that it is important for businesses to have a website is how people are likely to find you. These days most people will go online and research products and companies before they make a purchase, if you don’t have a website you are missing out on all of this potential business. Even if people don’t buy your product online they are still likely to research it online so you have to have a website so these people can learn about your business. A website is also important because it helps you establish credibility as a business. Most people just assume that you have a website since the vast majority of businesses do, at least the vast majority of big companies do. There are actually still quite a few small businesses that don’t have a website and without one this is exactly what they will remain. If you don’t have a website that you can refer people to potential customers are going to assume that you are a small time company that does not take their business seriously. Once you establish this reputation it is going to be hard to make sales. A website will not only give you credibility but it will also help to give the impression that your company is bigger and more successful than it may actually be. One of the great things about the internet is that the size of your company does not really matter. There is no reason that you can’t get your site to rank in Google ahead of a large multinational competitor and funnel off some of their traffic. This is a big part of the reason that a website is even more important for a small business than a big one, it tends to level the playing field. Clearly there are still a lot of small businesses that do not have websites, there are various reasons for this but mostly it comes down to the belief that they are expensive. It is rather surprising how much small business owners believe a website will cost them. In truth a website can be built for very little money and if you are on a tight budget you can even get free websites. Remember you don’t need a giant ten thousand page website for your business, just a simple site that tells people about your company and your products will be more than enough.